American will be launching daily Boeing 787-8 flights between Los Angeles and Auckland as of June 2016. This is a really exciting route, given that previously Air New Zealand had a monopoly between the US mainland and New Zealand, and now both American and United are launching service in the market. For American, this is part of their expanded joint venture with Qantas, where we also saw them launch flights between Sydney and Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles to Auckland flight will operate with the following schedule, once it launches on June 23, 2016:
Los Angeles to Auckland departing 10:45PM arriving 6:35AM (+2 days)
Auckland to Los Angeles departing 1:20PM arriving 6:30AM
Up until now there hasn’t been much award availability on the flight. Yesterday I wrote about how I was finally seeing some upgrade space on the route, though not any award space.
Well, via View from the Wing, American is making a good amount of business class award space available to New Zealand after the route launches.
There are at least two business class award seats available from Los Angeles to Auckland on most dates through early September, while there are at least two business class award seats available from Auckland to Los Angeles through mid-October. Such an award will cost you 62,500 miles one-way in business class (the cost will increase to 80,000 miles one-way as of March 22).
American has a great business class product on the 787, with just a total of 28 seats all featuring direct aisle access.
If you’re looking to travel nonstop to New Zealand, this is a fantastic opportunity. Air New Zealand has long been extremely stingy with award availability between the US and New Zealand, so redeeming miles for business class New Zealand has been tough.
Keep in mind that American allows five day award holds, so you can always place the award ticket on hold now and then ticket later.
While most of this availability isn’t during peak season, New Zealand can be beautiful year-round. This is the first time in years I’ve seen saver level award availability between the US mainland and New Zealand on any airline, which is why it’s so exciting. And given that American has only 28 business class seats total, it’s great that they’re making some of those available.
It’s not the only way to get to New Zealand on miles, but if you’re looking for a solid hard product and direct route, this is tough to beat.