I took Air New Zealand to New Zealand (gasp!) two years ago, and I really enjoyed my experience with them. Their Business Premier product is quite good, and New Zealand is one of the most amazing places in the world. Ever since then, award availability in business class has been nearly impossible to come by, but it seems like they’re finally releasing quite a bit of award availability for May through August of this year on the LAX/SFO-AKL routes. While there’s not space every day, availability is quite good, and on many days there’s even room for multiple people. It’s definitely worth looking into if you’ve wanted to visit New Zealand. Yes, it’s the low season there right now, but the conversion rate is awesome at the moment and New Zealand is beautiful any time of year.
What really pains me is the number of miles it takes. A mere two years ago it cost 90,000 United miles for a business class award, but now it costs 135,000 miles. Ouch!