Air New Zealand is the flag carrier of New Zealand and a member of Star Alliance. Based in Auckland, the airline operates passenger flights to 20 domestic and 32 international destinations in 20 countries. While Air New Zealand flies primarily within and around the Pacific Rim, it does venture further to eastern Asia, the United Kingdom and the Americas.
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Airpoints is Air New Zealand’s frequent flyer program. Members from the United States can earn “Dollars” by transferring from partner loyalty programs, flying with Air New Zealand or with one of its 30+ airline partners and more. Redemption options include flight awards, upgrades and other travel perks. Keep reading for all the best ways to earn and burn Airpoints Dollars.
|Airline Alliance||Star Alliance|
|Hub||Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington|
|U.S. Destinations||Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco|
|U.S. Credit Cards||None|
|Transfer Partners||Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honors|
|Redemption Options||Flights, upgrades, companion tickets, ancillary fees, lounge membership, rental cars, travel insurance, merchandise, wine|
Airpoints Elite Status
When you join Airpoints, you’ll automatically become a Standard member. Above Standard are three status tiers: Silver, Gold and Elite. To move up a tier, you need to earn a certain amount of Status Points within a 12-month period:
|STATUS TIER||STATUS POINTS REQUIRED|
*At least 900 on Air New Zealand-operated flights or qualifying partner airline flights or from Frequent Flyer Status Boost.
When you reach a tier, you’ll have that status for the next 12 months, and you’ll enjoy the following benefits:
|Lounge access (Air New Zealand)||X||X|
|Short-haul recognition upgrade||1/year|
|OneUp upgrades upweighting||10%||30%||50%|
|Carry-on baggage allowance||1 extra||1 extra|
|Checked baggage allowance||1 extra||1 extra|
|Star Alliance lounge access||X||X|
|Star Alliance priority check-in||X||X|
|Star Alliance extra baggage allowance||X||X|
|Star Alliance priority boarding||X||X|
|Hotel voucher or car rental voucher||Choose 1||Both|
|Complimentary valet parking||X|
|Elite Partner membership||X|
|Status Points rollover||X|
|Elite banked year||X|
|Elite threshold gifts||X|
|Parental status hold||X||X|
|Frequent Flyer Status Boost||X||X|
Airpoints has another status tier called Elite Partner. You gain Elite Partner status when an Elite member nominates you to receive status benefits.
Earning Airpoints Dollars
Compared to Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, Delta SkyMiles and other frequent flyer programs based in the United States, earning Airpoints Dollars doesn’t come as easily for Americans. That said, it’s not impossible. Let’s go over all the ways to earn Airpoints Dollars below.
The best way to earn Airpoints Dollars is through transfer partners. Marriott Bonvoy members can convert their points to Airpoints Dollars at a 200 to 1 ratio, with a minimum transfer of 3,000 points. For every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points transferred, you’ll get a bonus of 75 Airpoints Dollars, for a total of 375.
Hilton Honors also transfers to Airpoints, but the ratio is much worse – 500:1. We don’t recommend making this transfer unless you’re looking to top off for a specific award.
Earn Airpoints Dollars when you fly with Air New Zealand and the following airline partners:
The number of Airpoints Dollars you earn is directly tied to the the number of New Zealand Dollars you pay. For every one New Zealand Dollar paid, you’ll get one Airpoints Dollar.
Other ways that U.S. residents can earn Airpoints Dollars include:
- Booking accommodations directly with an Airpoints hotel partner.
- Booking accommodations with Expedia.
- Booking rental cars with Avis, Budget or Rent-a-Car.
There are more options to earn Airpoints Dollars, but they’re not very worthwhile or convenient for those living in the United States.
Redeeming Airpoints Dollars
Airpoints Dollars are often used for award flights with Air New Zealand. The cash cost of the flight will be the amount of Airpoints Dollars required, with one Airpoints Dollar equal to one New Zealand Dollar. This method of award pricing also applies to upgrades, companion tickets, ancillary fees, lounge membership, rental cars, travel insurance, merchandise and wine. Please note, Airpoints charges fees between NZ$25 to NZ$100 for non-flight redemptions. See the program fee chart here.
Award flights with Star Alliance and other partner airlines are, of course, available redemption options. However, award pricing here is not based on cash pricing. Instead, the number of Airpoints needed for a partner award is determined by cabin class and number of kilometers per one-way sector. A 100-km flight in Economy goes for 125 Airpoints Dollars, while a 15,000-km flight in First Class will cost 2,500 Airpoints Dollars. Star Alliance and partner airline flight awards are the only way you can squeeze more value out of your Airpoints Dollars. See the partner airline award chart here.
Airpoints Dollars Expiration
Each year, on the anniversary of the date you joined the Airpoints program, your account is reviewed and any Airpoints Dollars earned more than four years prior will expire. This rule does not apply to members with higher elite status.
Airpoints Tips & Tricks
Depart from Australia. Flights from Australia to the United States on Air New Zealand Premium Economy and Business Class may be 50% cheaper than departing from New Zealand.
Book New Zealand domestic flights on airnz.co.nz. It’s up to 75% cheaper than the Air New Zealand site ending in .com.
Opt for a Boeing. For a more comfortable journey, go with a Boeing instead of an Airbus, especially if you’re going on a long-haul flight. Boeing aircrafts have more bathrooms, more overhead locker space and more legroom.
Discount codes. Air New Zealand releases discount codes all year that can save you hundreds of dollars, or Airpoints Dollars. Go to the Air New Zealand homepage, hit “Control” + “F” and search for “promo” to quickly find current discount codes. Another option is to search your email for “air new zealand promo.” And lastly, you can search the Air New Zealand Twitter page.
Sales. Sign up to receive Air New Zealand email newsletters. Sales happen frequently and are often themed around regions (New Zealand, Asia, Pacific Island, Australia and etc.). Discounts can be up to 35% off on Seat and Seat+Bag fares.
Don’t get Air New Zealand travel insurance. In short, it’s more expensive than other providers, without any additional benefits or protection.
Membership fee. If you don’t fly Air New Zealand at least once a year, Airpoints will charge you a $30 account maintenance fee.
Air New Zealand Airpoints is a unique program that’s almost completely revenue-based. The dollars you earn are directly tied to the fare, and the rate you redeem is also directly related to the flight cost. However, Airpoints has a fixed-price award chart for partner award flights, which is where the best-value redemptions lie. Airpoints isn’t the most rewarding frequent flyer program, but it can be useful to those who fly with the carrier on a regular basis.
You might want to have a look at Qantas Frequent Flyer as well. The loyalty program from Australia’s flag carrier is a Oneworld member, and you can earn Qantas Points by transferring from American Express Membership Rewards®, Capital One® Rewards, Citi ThankYou® Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy.