Air New Zealand must have the worst award availability of any alliance airline.
I often hear grumbling about trying to get a business class award on the prized Los Angeles – Auckland flight. At least there are alternatives to get you there.
What I want are monopoly routes where the alternatives are yacht or swim.
Awards do exist on domestic New Zealand flights that are generally cheap to pay cash. Awards turn up on Asia routes with heavy competition. On Pacific monopoly routes there may never be a seat. I monitored the Norfolk Island flights for two years and never saw a seat. Same for Niue.
Here’s typical award availability for Auckland – Rarotonga, Cook Islands, in business and economy, which runs two flights a day. Pick any month and it is the same.
I wish Star Alliance would force member airlines to make some amount of awards on all routes available to partners. The alliances are mostly toothless, I hear, and this kind of thing will never be a priority.
Air New Zealand’s frequent flyer program, Airpoints, is a revenue-based program where 1 Airport = 1 NZD. The only transfer partner I know I have access is Starwood, which transfer at a rate of 65:1. For the roughly 2,000 NZD the tickets I want would cost, I would need to spend 130,000 StarPoints.
I can use points such as Citi ThankYou or CapitalOne for the cash tickets, though those have tradeoff costs for my other uses.
Readers, is there some secret here or do I have to find bags of cash under the sofa cushions?
Any Star Alliance flights that make sense to credit to Air New Zealand to earn Airpoints?
Any convoluted daisy chain transfers to Airpoints that make sense?