Beginner’s guide to using your points to get to New Zealand (East Coast & South Australia)

GUIDE: Using Points
DIFFICULTY: Easy
TIME TO READ: 2 minutes
POSTED: March 7, 2016
UPDATED: December 19, 2017
LOYALTY PROGRAMS: Relevant to Multiple Programs

Decided you want to use your frequent flyer points to get to New Zealand? Here’s how, if you’re looking to depart from the East of Australia.

First up – flights to NZ are usually going to be less than four hours, and cash Economy fares are very competitive, so you’ll want to maximise the value you get for your points if you do decide to use them.

In essence – use your cash for economy flights, and save your points for Business or First Class tickets.

With that decision made, here are our pointers for getting the most from your cash or points to get to New Zealand.


Point Hacks New Zealand Guides

Part I: The Why: Six reasons why you should use your points to visit New Zealand

Part II: The How: A beginner’s guide to using your points to get to New Zealand (East Coast & South Australia)

Part III: The HowA beginner’s guide to using your points to get to New Zealand (Western Australia)


Using cash for economy tickets

If you are travelling economy, your best value is generally to buy the ticket outright.

As there are eight airlines servicing the Trans-Tasman route – Qantas, Virgin Australia, Air New Zealand, Jetstar, Emirates, LATAM, China Airlines and AirAsia – prices are competitive and generally hover around $350-460 for a return trip in Economy from the East Coast. If travelling from Adelaide or Hobart, you are looking at more like $430-710.

AirAsia service started service from the Gold Coast to Auckland in March 2016.

Captura de pantalla 2016-02-25 a las 17.47.57

From my experience, AirAsia’s service and in-flight comfort are towards the top when it comes to low-cost airlines. Photo courtesy of @deakim74.

Cheaper Economy fares can also often be found from the foreign airlines that service the route as an extension to a long-haul flight to/from New Zealand and Australia.

Look at pricing from Emirates, LATAM and China Airlines for Economy travel. You’ll trade some convenience in flight frequency and timings, and some familiarity, in exchange for cheaper flights.

LATAM return airfares from Australia in Business Class can be relatively affordable too, often coming in around $850 AUD. You’ll also pick up some Qantas status credits and points too, although fewer if you book through LATAM than if you booked the same class of travel with Qantas (but paid a lot more).

Using points for business class tickets

Business Class is where the most value is to be found using points to get to New Zealand.

Here is an overview of the points needed to buy a return business ticket from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide or the Gold Coast to Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington and Queenstown:

Frequent flyer programAirlinesPoints required for return tripImportant notes
Etihad GuestVirgin Australia26,700 (Sydney - Queenstown), 43,600 (all other routes)
Virgin America ElevateVirgin Australia, Emirates32,000 (VA), 44,000 (Emirates)Emirates has higher taxes on this route (420 USD)
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyerSingapore Airlines, Air New Zealand, Virgin Australia56,000 (Singapore and Air NZ), 70,000 (VA)There is limited award space on Air NZ-operated flights made available to its partners. Here is a review of their 777 and 787 Business Class
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, American Airlines AAdvantageQantas, LATAM50,000
VelocityVirgin Australia, Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines71,000 (VA and Air NZ), 76,000 (Singapore)Again, limited availability for Air NZ reward flights (see KrisFlyer note above); Virgin Australia-Air NZ partnership ends 28 October 2018
Qantas Frequent FlyerQantas, Emirates, LATAM72,000You can also fly First Class on the Emirates A380 for 108,000 points

Note that Emirates is cutting the majority of its Trans-Tasman flights between July 2017 and March 2018.

All these redemptions usually come with taxes between $120 and $210 depending on the airport you fly into.

Captura de pantalla 2016-02-25 a las 17.48.31

The Emirates A380 First Cabin. Courtesy of @amybartholomew.

Transferring points

If you have:

So what are you waiting for? Book a flight and say ‘kia ora’ to Aotearoa, the Land of the Long White Cloud…

Part III: The HowA beginner’s guide to using your points to get to New Zealand (WA)

Beginner’s guide to using your points to get to New Zealand (East Coast & South Australia) was last modified: December 19th, 2017 by Matt Moffitt