An introduction to Air New Zealand Airpoints

GUIDE: Program Guide
DIFFICULTY: Easy
TIME TO READ: 7 minutes
POSTED: June 16, 2017
UPDATED: June 15, 2017
LOYALTY PROGRAMS: Air New Zealand Airpoints

Airpoints is the frequent flyer program of Air New Zealand. It has a lot of relevance for New Zealand frequent flyers, thanks to the wide Airpoints Dollars (APD) earning reach with Air New Zealand, Star Alliance, and many other partners including hotels, car hire companies, and retail outlets.

It is a somewhat unique program, as when travelling with Air New Zealand, it is completely revenue based – the ‘points’ you earn are directly tied to the fare you pay, and the rate at which you can redeem them is directly related to the cost of the flight. This can be quite consumer unfriendly as it doesn’t offer good value compared to some of the other frequent flyer programs that we talk about on this site (e.g. it’s hard to earn enough APDs to redeem on high-cost Business Class flights with Air New Zealand). However, the program is simple to understand and explain as a result.

How to sign up for an Airpoints account

It is free to sign up and hold an Air New Zealand Airpoints account.

You can do so via this page.

Earning Airpoints Dollars on Air New Zealand flights

You can earn Airpoints Dollars on almost every Air New Zealand flight, excluding greenlight grabaseat fares via grabaseat.co.nz and fares purchased using Airpoints Dollars.

Simply enter your Airpoints membership number when you book a flight.

Air NZ Airpoints Membership Number

Look out for this part of the ‘enter passenger details’ page when booking

If you’ve got upcoming travel with Air New Zealand already and you haven’t already entered an Airpoints number, you will have the chance to do so when checking in online, or by providing your card or number at the airport.

You could also message Air New Zealand via their Facebook or Twitter account and they’ll also be happy to input your account number for you. I have used both and have always found the staff to be really helpful.

If you’ve already travelled and forgotten to use your Airpoints number when booking, you may be able to claim missing Airpoints Dollars after the flight via this page.

Air New Zealand have a really helpful calculator that let you see how many APD you could earn for a specific flight. The APD earn rate is also confirmed before you book – if you’re using a desktop computer, look out for the top right-hand corner of the screen.

APD Earn

As the earn rate is variable depending on the fare (e.g. sale or flexible), the price, and the route, it’s always best you either use the calculator or do a flight search to confirm.

Redeeming Airpoints Dollars on Air New Zealand flights

You can spend your APD on any available seat on any Air New Zealand flight. If there is a seat for sale, you can buy it with APD.

As you may know, 1 APD equals $1 NZD spent on flights with Air New Zealand.

The flight part of your booking needs to be paid in full with APD. For any associated airport or government costs you can choose to pay for these by credit card or POLi.

You can book in any of the following three ways (the first was is the simplest):

  • Book online: Simply sign in to your online account with your Airpoints details before or while you are booking your flight and select to pay with Airpoints Dollars at the payment stage
  • Book by phone: Have your Airpoints number ready when you call the Air New Zealand Airpoints contact centre on 0800 247 764 (or +64 (0)9 357 3000 if you’re calling from overseas)
  • Book via a travel agent: Provide your travel agent with your Airpoints number at your time of booking

Redeem APD

Select ‘Use Airpoints Dollars’ on the online payment page to use your APD to pay for a flight

If you plan to purchase a Business Class, Premium Economy, Economy Flexi, Flexi Works or Flexi Works Deluxe ticket, you’ll also have access to specially priced ‘Companion Tickets’ that you can purchase with APD. This is a good way of reducing the average price of two revenue fares between yourself and a travelling companion – you can read more about these here.

If you don’t have quite enough APD to pay for your flight you might be able to top up if you have one of the following Airpoints-partnered credit cards:

Earning Airpoints Dollars on everyday spend with credit cards

One of the most available methods to earn APD is from credit card spend.

APD earning Credit Cards

There are a few different ways to earn APD into the Airpoints program from credit card spend in New Zealand – with either a dedicated Air New Zealand card, or using American Express Membership Rewards as a transfer partner:

Star Alliance and Partner Airlines

Your APD can also be earned and used on a range of flights with Air New Zealand’s airline partners, including with Star Alliance. We’ll go into more detail on redeeming APD with these partners in another article, however in the interim, you can check how many Airpoints Dollars you’d need with their partner airline reward chart.

The key thing to note about APD redemptions with partner airlines is that while they’ll be in shorter supply, they can be much better value, particularly for long-haul Business and First Class flights.

The airlines that APD can be redeemed on include (with those that fly direct from New Zealand in bold):

  • Aerolíneas Argentinas (select AirNZ codeshare flights between Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paulo)
  • Adria Airways
  • Aegean Airlines
  • Air Canada
  • Air China
  • Air India
  • ANA
  • Asiana Airlines
  • Austrian Airlines
  • Avianca
  • Avianca Brasil
  • Brussels Airlines
  • Cathay Pacific (on flights between New Zealand and Hong Kong)
  • Copa Airlines
  • Croatia Airlines
  • EgyptAir
  • Etihad
  • Ethiopian Airlines
  • EVA Air
  • Jet Airways
  • LOT Polish Airlines
  • Lufthansa
  • SAS
  • Shenzen Airlines
  • SilkAir
  • Singapore Airlines
  • South African Airways
  • Swiss International
  • TAP Portugal
  • Thai Airways International
  • Turkish Airlines
  • United
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Virgin Australia

Status Points and Frequent Flyer Tiers

Status on Air NZ Airpoints

Holding status with Air New Zealand means that you can skip lines, enjoy complimentary food and drink in lounges, and receive a range of other complimentary benefits that will genererally make flying more enjoyable, including with Star Alliance members and select partner airlines. Below is a run-down of the different status tiers and the benefits that accompany each.

Membership Tiers

There are four membership tiers with Air New Zealand, from lowest to highest:

  • Standard
  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Elite

Complimentary seat upgrades clear in reverse order, starting from Elite down to Silver.

The figures for achieving and maintaining each status level are based on membership year.

You can find more detailed information on Status Points and tier benefits on the Air New Zealand website, however here is a summary:

1. Standard

To achieve: 0 SPs
To maintain: 0 SPs

There are no substantial benefits to this entry status level. It just means you are a member of the Air New Zealand Airpoints program and is a base to start earning Status Points to move up.

2. Silver

To achieve: 450 SPs
To maintain: 405 SPs (at least half on Air New Zealand operated flights, qualifying partner airline flights, or Star Alliance qualifying flights)
Star Alliance equivalent: Silver

  • Two complimentary single-entry lounge passes each membership year that can be used at all Air New Zealand owned lounges when departing on an Air New Zealand ticketed and operated flight and eligible partner flights
  • One recognition upgrade each time you retain or become a Silver member
  • OneUp offers will be upweighted by 10%
  • Priority wait-listing
  • Priority airport standby
  • Discounted business class award fares

3. Gold

To achieve: 900 SPs
To maintain: 810 SPs (at least half on Air New Zealand operated flights, qualifying partner airline flights, or Star Alliance qualifying flights)
Star Alliance equivalent: Gold

Star Alliance LAX Business Class Lounge

Star Alliance LAX Business Class Lounge Overview

  • Access to Air New Zealand, Star Alliance and partner airline lounges, regardless of class. You may also invite one guest
  • Two recognition upgrades each time you retain or become a Gold member
  • OneUp offers will be upweighted by 30%
  • Complimentary frequent flyer seating on any fare type
  • One extra checked bag (apart from seat only fares)
  • Two pieces of carry-on baggage, with a combined total weight of 14kg with a maximum weight of either bag of up to 10kg
  • Fast Bag service, where you can drop off and pick up your bag right beside the aircraft on Air New Zealand Link regional domestic flights
  • Priority check-in
  • Priority boarding
  • Priority baggage claim
  • Priority wait-listing
  • Priority airport standby
  • Gold Track with Star Alliance members (Priority Security & Immigration)
  • Voucher for a complimentary, one room category, hotel upgrade at participating hotels in New Zealand and Australia
  • Voucher for a complimentary, one car type rental car upgrade at participating locations in New Zealand and Australia
  • Discounted business class award fares
  • No APD expiry
  • Extra gift recipients for APD

4. Elite

To achieve: 1,500 SPs
To maintain: 1,350 SPs (at least 60% on Air New Zealand operated flights, qualifying partner airline flights, or Star Alliance qualifying flights)
Star Alliance equivalent: Gold

Air NZ Auckland International Lounge

Air New Zealand Auckland International Lounge Overview

In addition to Gold privileges, you’ll get:

  • Access to Air New Zealand, Star Alliance and partner airline lounges, regardless of class. You may also invite one guest for regional lounges, partner lounges, and Star Alliance lounges, and up to five guests for Air New Zealand International and Domestic lounges
  • Two long-haul and one short-haul recognition upgrades each time you retain or become an Elite member
  • Airpoints Dollars upgrades
  • The ability to gift Recognition Upgrades or Elite Airpoints Dollar upgrades to other Airpoints members
  • OneUp offers will be upweighted by 50%
  • Five complimentary Air New Zealand Valet parking eVouchers
  • Special Elite gifts
  • Roll over Status Points if you earn between 1,500 and 2,399 Status Points
  • Elite banked year if you earn more than 2,400 Status Points
  • You can nominate an Elite Partner to receive many of the same benefits, even when travelling separately

Air New Zealand status is a valuable benefit for those who are loyal to flying Air New Zealand and its partner airlines.

Given the specific figures required to achieve and maintain each status level, if you are chasing status with Air New Zealand, having this information is important in devising your flight booking strategy and where your allegiance lies.

Remember, once you have status with one airline, you have your foot in the door and can status match to other airlines and alliances.

Summing up: why consider Air New Zealand Airpoints?

Air New Zealand is our national airline, and Airpoints Dollars are relatively easy to earn from flights, hotels and a large range of outlets, including online. If you’re a Kiwi, it’s more than likely that you’ll accumulate a reasonable number of them somewhere along the line, so it’s important to learn how to get the best value out of redeeming them. We’ll keep working on guides that show you how to get the most out of the program.

Also, if you’re flying regularly, it’s relatively easy to move up the rank in terms of status tier, and this comes with some great benefits that are unrivalled compared to some of the airlines across the Tasman – including upgrades and access to some great domestic lounges.

Supplementary images courtesy Air New Zealand.