Good Air New Zealand Business Class Award Availability!

Air New Zealand is an airline that has historically been pretty stingy with making premium cabin award seats available, at least for travel to the U.S. That probably largely has to do with the fact that they had a monopoly in the U.S. mainland to New Zealand market. Fortunately in the meantime both American and United have started service to New Zealand, so they have some competition, at last.

Auckland, New Zealand

Last year we began to see some Air New Zealand award availability out of the U.S. for the first time in a long time, though we haven’t consistently seen space since then.

Well, at the moment Air New Zealand has a good amount of business class award availability between the U.S. and New Zealand. A majority of the space seems to be available between May and the end of September. Admittedly this is winter of New Zealand, though it can be a beautiful time to visit. I visited New Zealand in winter about a decade ago, and had an amazing time.

Queenstown, New Zealand, in winter

For example, the dates below with blue dots have availability between Houston and Auckland:


The same is true between Los Angeles and Auckland on the below dates:


There’s also availability out of San Francisco, and many dates have two business class award seats (though typically not more than that).


Air New Zealand’s business class is in a herringbone configuration, so seats are all fully flat and feature direct aisle access. Service is typically pretty good, as is the food — I review Air New Zealand’s business class between London and Los Angeles a few years ago.

Air New Zealand 777 business class

Like I said, this won’t be for everyone, but if you’re looking to travel to New Zealand during their winter (or if you’re looking to travel from New Zealand to the U.S. during our summer) this is a great opportunity.

In terms of mileage redemptions, your best options are as follows:

  • Air Canada Aeroplan charges 80,000 miles for one-way business class
  • Avianca LifeMiles charges 80,000 miles for one-way business class
  • United MileagePlus charges 80,000 miles for one-way business class

Anyone able to take advantage of this great business class award availability?

(Tip of the hat to @labastravel)


  1. @ Gary — Are you sure about that? Seems to show the nonstop having space as well, not just on the calendar, but when doing the actual search. Maybe it errors out on the final booking page, though?

  2. @Gary @Lucky – booked it yesterday for Sept; have eticket # and already assigned my seats – Houston to Auckland non stop with Air New Zealand.

  3. For someone who is looking to go during their primes season, FEB. Knowing I might have to pay standard award for business class. Which airline would you look at building your miles on.. United? Looks to have 175k each way where as AA and Delta look to much more.

  4. Totally agree
    Finding it hard to find award space on Air NZ for a flight in about 48hrs between Australia and NZ

  5. @Gary – go away, and quit crashing other peoples’ blogs with links to your own. No one trusts what you have to say anymore anyway.

  6. American used to fly the Pacific decades ago – Sydney, Auckland, Fiji, Honolulu, LAX, Chicago, Detroit with 707s, then disappeared. United came in 1986 when it bought failing Pan Am’s Pacific Pacific routes and planes. I flew them to LAX via Honolulu several times in the 1980s till the 747-400 arrived to allow non-stop. They later switched to 777s, could not make a buck and exited about a decade ago. Then Qantas called time on its QF/BA codeshares and hello, Air NZ monopoly.

    It was good to see United and American return to the Pacific but worrying UA is already pulling the plug on ‘winter’ service – Kiwis like California for their winter escapes so surprised there is not enough traffic the other way. Still trouble making a buck, I guess. AA is giving AKL-LAX a shot with efficient 787s so I hope they stay.

  7. The timing is great for me get back *from* Australia (I can spend a couple of days in NZ first to position for the flight) but I can’t find any direct business flights from Auckland to LA. Everything is a connection + long layover in China. Am I missing something?

  8. As of March 3rd, I only found a total of 3 dates with business class availability to New Zealand. Looks like it went “fast”.

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