How to get to New Zealand on miles and points

Feb 7, 2020

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New Zealand is a really amazing destination to visit, especially if you love diverse nature and scenery within a relatively small country — or if you’re a big Lord of the Rings fan. It’s also about as far from the U.K. geographically as you can get. There are some interesting routing options for getting there, as travelling east via Asia or the Middle East can be a similar distance and travel time to travelling west via North America.

Related: It’s Kiwi to me: A review of Air New Zealand’s 777-300ER in business class

If you’ve had your eye on NZ, here is how to get there on miles on points.

Most travellers will fly into Auckland (AKL), the largest airport on the North Island, and indeed, in the country. Note, however, that most of the best scenery is in the South Island. There are fewer international flights into the South Island, though some airlines now fly into Christchurch (CHC) and Wellington (WLG), the capital of New Zealand.

Scenic train ride along Pacific ocean coast in Canterbury regoin, South Island of New Zealand
Scenic train ride along Pacific ocean coast in Canterbury region, South Island of New Zealand. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

Avios

While British Airways does not fly to New Zealand, several of the airline’s Oneworld partners do:

  • American Airlines flies from London to Auckland and Christchurch (CHC) seasonally via Los Angeles (LAX), as well as seasonally to Auckland from Dallas (DFW). If you can get to LAX, you can also use Avios on Fiji Airways via Nadi (NAN);
  • Cathay Pacific flies from London (LHR and LGW) and Manchester (MAN) to Auckland (AKL) and Christchurch (CHC) via Hong Kong (HKG);
  • LATAM flies from London (LHR) to Auckland (AKL) via Santiago (SCL), though note the carrier will leave the Oneworld alliance on 1 May, so book before then if you want to use Avios;
  • Malaysia Airlines flies from London (LHR) to Auckland via Kuala Lumpur (KUL);
  • Qatar Airways flies from London (LHR and LGW), Birmingham (BHX), Cardiff (CWL), Edinburgh (EDI) and Manchester (MAN) to Auckland (AKL), via Doha (DOH). You can even fly Qsuite the entire way;
  • Qantas flies from London (LHR) to various New Zealand airports via Brisbane (BNE), Sydney (SYD) and Melbourne (MEL) via its Singapore (SIN) and Perth (PER) services from London.

All of these flights should be bookable on BritishAirways.com. As British Airways charges per flight, not per journey, the Avios needed will vary significantly based on the routing. Here’s a guide to how many Avios you’ll need, one-way per person, plus fees, taxes and surcharges, assuming same class for the entire journey, noting that not all classes (especially premium economy and first), will be available on all flights:

  • American Airlines: 62,000 points (economy), 123,750 (premium economy), 221,500 (business), 247,250 (first)
  • Cathay Pacific: 61,000 in economy, 124,000 in premium economy, 185,500 in business, 247,500 in first
  • LATAM: 82,500 in economy, 165,000 in premium economy, 247,250 in business (no first-class product)
  • Malaysia Airlines: 64,000 in economy, 123,750 in premium economy, 185,500 in business (no first-class product)
  • Qatar Airways: 72,250 in economy, 216,500 in business, 288,500 in first (no premium economy product)
  • Qantas: from 60,500 in economy, 115,500 in premium economy, 176,000 in business, 250,000 in first

Related: Why there are almost no transoceanic flights in the Southern Hemisphere

(QSuite. Photo by Zach Honig/TPG)
Qsuite. (Photo by Zach Honig/TPG)

Flying Club miles

You’re more limited in your options using Flying Club miles. Virgin Atlantic doesn’t fly to New Zealand, and unfortunately, several of its partners either don’t fly to the U.K., and/or don’t fly to New Zealand. Those that do include:

  • Air China from London (LHR) to Auckland via Beijing (PEK), however, Flying Club only allows redemptions to Beijing and not all the way to Auckland;
  • Air New Zealand from London (LHR) to Auckland via Los Angeles and on to various domestic destinations. Flying Club allows one-way redemptions in economy class for 60,000 miles, or 95,000 miles in business class;
  • Singapore Airlines from London (LHR) and Manchester (MAN) to Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington via Singapore. The Wellington flight stops in Melbourne both ways. Flying Club only allows economy class redemptions on Singapore Airlines between Europe and Asia, which would be 35,000 miles one-way, with the Australia to New Zealand leg priced as 27,500 miles in economy, 42,500 miles in business class and 62,500 miles in first.

Related: Friendly fifth freedom: A review of Air New Zealand’s 777-300ER in premium economy, LAX to London

(Photo by Emily McNutt / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Emily McNutt / The Points Guy)

Other points and miles

If you have points or miles in another Oneworld airline programme such as American Airlines AAdvantage, you can use them on the same airline as you can with Avios. AAdvantage uses a zone-based award chart so you won’t have to be calculating the length of each flight — it’s the same mileage required from anywhere in Europe to anywhere in New Zealand. In this programme, you’ll need 60,000 miles in economy 70,000 miles in premium economy, 85,000 miles in business and 115,000 miles in first, per person, one-way plus fees, taxes and surcharges.

For Star Alliance miles, Air New Zealand is a smart choice given its wealth of domestic connections across the country once you arrive into the Star Alliance hub of Auckland (AKL). There are also options via Asia on the likes of Thai Airways via Bangkok (BKK) or United via San Francisco (SFO), in addition to the Singapore Airlines and Air China routes mentioned above. Both United MileagePlus and Singapore KrisFlyer also use zone-based redemptions.

United MileagePlus charges one-way per person, plus fees, taxes and surcharges, though United no longer published an award chart for United-operated flights:

  • 60,000 miles in economy, 90,000 miles in business and 115,000 miles in first class one-way (where offered) for flights operated by Star Alliance partners.
United
United’s current multi-course service begins with an appetizer, salad and bread. (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer charges, one-way per person, plus fees, taxes and surcharges:

  • 53,000 miles in economy, 91,500 miles in premium economy, 116,000 miles in business and 163,000 miles in first class on Singapore Airlines-operated flights; and
  • 56,500 miles in economy, 105,000 miles in business and 148,000 miles in first one-way, where offered, on flights operated by Star Alliance partner airlines.

Related: Sky Family: Thai Airways’ A350 in Business Class From Bangkok to Frankfurt

If you collect miles in a SkyTeam programme, like Air France/KLM’s Flying Blue or Delta SkyMiles, there are several redemption options from the U.K. to New Zealand. Korean Air flies between London and Auckland via Seoul (ICN). Delta SkyMiles and Flying Blue no longer publish award charts.

Related: First class (almost) all to myself: A review of China Southern’s A380 in first class from Guangzhou to LA

Bottom line

Getting to New Zealand can take planning — and lots of it. Getting from the U.K. to New Zealand can prove to be difficult. But if you have loads of points and miles, are flexible with your dates of travel and are persistent in searching for availability, you could save some cash by maximising your points.

Featured image by Gettys Images

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