Point Hacks NZPoint Hacks NZ http://www.pointhacks.co.nz The best frequent flyer deals & offers for New Zealand. Mon, 26 Jun 2017 06:31:39 +0000 en-NZ hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 103018514 Air New Zealand introduces Airpoints Flexipay http://www.pointhacks.co.nz/air-new-zealand-flexipay-guide/ http://www.pointhacks.co.nz/air-new-zealand-flexipay-guide/#respond Sun, 25 Jun 2017 20:00:06 +0000 Sun, 25 Jun 2017 20:00:06 +0000 Air New Zealand are sending out invites for Airpoints Flexipay, a new flight payment feature that lets you use a mixture of Airpoints Dollars and cash to complete a booking.

The Flexipay trial is seemingly only available for a few weeks, and only to select customers. I have no status with Air New Zealand, but I have redeemed Airpoints Dollars for flights before, so that may be why I’ve received an invite.

This post goes over the when, why and how of using Airpoints Flexipay, and why it’s cheaper to top-up with your Kiwibank-issued Air New Zealand Airpoints Mastercard if you have one.

What flights can I book using Flexipay?

Payment using Airpoints Flexipay is available on:

  • Air New Zealand marketed and operated flights
  • Air New Zealand codeshare Virgin Australia operated trans-Tasman and Australian domestic services
  • NZ codeshare United Airlines operated flights between Auckland and San Francisco (return)
  • NZ codeshare Cathay Pacific operated flights between Auckland and Hong Kong (return)

Note that there is a minimum of 20% and maximum of 90% applicable to the proportion of a Flexipay payment that can be paid for using Airpoints Dollars – you won’t see Flexipay as an option if you don’t have at least 20% of the cost of the flight in your Airpoints account.

Status Points and Airpoints Dollars Accrual

LAX Star Alliance Lounge

Earning Status Points with Air New Zealand could get you closer to complimentary access to the LAX Star Alliance Lounge

One of the benefits of using Airpoints Flexipay is the ability to earn Status Points and Airpoints Dollars on your bookings.

The accrual will be at 20% of the rates that apply to Air New Zealand and Partner airline flights (these can be calculated here).

This is contrast to using an Air New Zealand Mastercard to top-up an Airpoints account, which would see you miss out on any accrual.

You should note however that the cost to use Airpoints Flexipay will typically cancel out any Airpoints Dollars accrual from the flight itself (as you’ll read more about below).

Cost to use Airpoints Flexipay

There is a cost to use Flexipay, in addition to the airfare, payable in Airpoints Dollars. This amount is based on the route flown, and according to Air New Zealand, is subject to change at any time.

The cost isn’t transparent or listed anywhere, and only reveals itself when you get to the ‘Review and pay’ page for your flight booking.

I have searched numerous routes, and from what I can tell, the cost is currently set at 10% of the Airpoints Dollars that you intend to redeem.

Refunds / Flight Changes

Changes to Flexipay bookings and cancellations are only permitted via the Air New Zealand contact centre and cannot be made online – which means you’ll incur a Service Centre fee of $30 for New Zealand domestic flights, $35 for international short haul, and $60 for international long haul.

A ticket paid for using Flexipay is defined as an Airpoints redemption ticket. If the ticket is eligible for a refund, the refund of the fare will be made to the original form of payment and Airpoints Dollars will be applied first, and then the Flexipay cost.

Any Airpoints Dollars and Status Points earned would also be reversed.

The Flexipay cost is only refundable if the whole ticket is fully refundable. No partial or refunds of the Flexipay cost will be made once travel has commenced.

Top-Up via an Air New Zealand Airpoints Mastercard vs Airpoints Flexipay

For some time, an Air New Zealand Airpoints Mastercard has let you purchase as many Airpoints Dollars as you like for a low $5 fee. These top-ups are done online outside of the flight booking process, and help to bridge the gap between your Airpoints Dollars balance and the cost of the flight.

Airpoints Flexipay will instead let you ‘top-up’ your Airpoints account at the time of booking.

Let’s look at which of these top-up methods is best value, using an example return Economy class flight between Auckland and Singapore.

The price of the trip in mid-September is $1,189.

Air New Zealand Booking

At the time of writing this post, I currently have 513 Airpoints Dollars. This leaves me 572 Airpoints Dollars short for the redemption (you cannot use Airpoints Dollars towards taxes and charges, which are helpfully listed below the total booking amount).

Knowing the difference between the flight cost and my Airpoints balance, I would usually use my Air New Zealand Airpoints Mastercard to purchase the extra Airpoints Dollars, for a total of $577 ($5 fee, plus $572 for the Airpoints Dollars).

Including taxes of $104.33, my total out-of-pocket costs for the booking would be $681.33.

However, if I were to use Airpoints Flexipay, I would need to pay a 51.3 Airpoints Dollars fee at the time of booking (10% of the Airpoints Dollars redemption amount), and then pay the balance of the flight costs. Including taxes, the cost of the booking goes up to $727.30.

Air New Zealand Flexipay

Yes, I will earn back 12 Airpoints Dollars from the flight, and if I were to pay for the booking using a high-earning Airpoints Dollar credit card, like the American Express Airpoints Platinum, I would earn back a further 12 Airpoints Dollars ($59 = 1 Airpoints Dollar). This would reduce the difference to $22.

The credit card payment fee for the above flight scenario would usually be $35. You won’t have to pay this fee when using Airpoints Flexipay, however you also won’t have to pay it when topping up Airpoints Dollars with the Air New Zealand Airpoints Mastercard, so I cannot factor this into the cost difference.

To summarise the best-case cost and accrual differences for the above scenario:

 Normal flight purchase (no Airpoints usage)Airpoints FlexipayTop-Up via Air New Zealand Airpoints Credit Card
Costs
Flight cost (excl. taxes and fees)$1084.67$622.97N/A
Taxes and fees$104.33$104.33$104.33
Credit card fee$35N/AN/A
Number of existing Airpoints Dollars used
(non-purchased)
N/A513 APD (inc. 51.30 APD Flexipay fee)513 APD
Cost to top-up Airpoints DollarsN/AN/A$572
Top-up feeN/AN/A$5
Accrual
Star Points
(Flight)
9018N/A
Airpoints Dollars
(Flight)
60 APD12 APDN/A
Status Points
(American Express Airpoints Platinum)
42N/A
Airpoints Dollars
(American Express Airpoints Platinum)
20.7 APD12.3 APDN/A
Total Out-of-Pocket Costs$1224$727.30$681.33
Total Status Points earned9420N/A
Total Airpoints Dollars earned80.7 APD24.3 APDN/A

Summing up

If you don’t have an Air New Zealand Airpoints Mastercard, using Airpoints Flexipay might work out alright for cheaper flights, taking into account the savings from not paying credit card fees, and the ability to earn Airpoints Dollars and Status Points from your credit card spend and the flight.

However using an Air New Zealand Airpoints Mastercard for top-ups will still work out to be the cheaper flight redemption option, especially as the cost of the flight goes up.

E.g. with a Flexipay redemption of 2,000 Airpoints Dollars towards a $2,500 flight (not including taxes and fees), your Flexipay fees would go up to 200 Airpoints Dollars – and you’ll end up paying $700 with Flexipay vs $505 with the Air New Zealand Airpoints Mastercard.

If you’re just short of requalifying for your Status Tier, or looking to move up to the next Tier level, Flexipay may be worth it for you – however for now, I’ll be sticking with top-ups via my Air New Zealand Airpoints Mastercard.

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Air New Zealand Auckland International Lounge Overview http://www.pointhacks.co.nz/reviews/air-new-zealand-auckland-international-lounge-overview/ http://www.pointhacks.co.nz/reviews/air-new-zealand-auckland-international-lounge-overview/#comments Thu, 22 Jun 2017 00:00:51 +0000 Thu, 22 Jun 2017 00:00:51 +0000 Air New Zealand’s key Business Class lounge at Auckland International Airport reopened in September 2015 after a NZ $14 million refurbishment.

Given that this is Air New Zealand’s flagship lounge, on recent visits to Auckland Airport a couple of us have both checked it out, taken photos and noted our impressions – all up it’s a very solid change with a couple of key features turn heads, and it’s generally worthy of flagship status in Air New Zealand’s Koru Club network.

On previous trips, the couple of other Auckland lounges visited offered mixed impressions at best. The privately run Auckland Emperor Lounge, which I was able to review prior to my first US status run, had me far more impressed with what was offered than I had been expecting.

However as part of my trip including LATAM’s Dreamliner Business Class flight to Sydney, I experienced the aging and unloved Qantas Auckland International Business Lounge too which was a bit of let down.

While my hopes were high given the $14 million pricetag of the new Air NZ Auckland International Lounge (the lounge), I had decided not to hold my breath on being blown away.

Thanks to another cheap flight to Los Angeles with Virgin Australia, I had decided to embark on another US status run. This gave me the opportunity to access the lounge thanks to the Velocity Gold status earned during my first US status run.

Lounge Location & Opening Hours

Air NZ Auckland Map

Upon exiting Auckland customs and immigration into the duty-free shopping atrium, two signs direct the way to the terminal’s lounges, the right leading to the Emperor, Qantas, and Emirates lounges, and the left to the new Air NZ lounge.

A set of escalators overlooking the terminal gates leads to the lounge reception, located on the terminals second floor.

The reception area is sleek and welcoming, its modern contemporary design featuring large scale digital screens with looping time lapse imagery of New Zealand scenery a suitable welcome to the slick Kiwi inspired 2,000 sqm lounge.

Air New Zealand Auckland International Lounge Entrance (1)

Air New Zealand Auckland International Lounge Entrance

Many of the lounge’s features are designed in partnership with Californian Gensler Architect, and follow on from themes developed into the Air NZ Sydney and award winning Air NZ Los Angeles Star Alliance lounges.

Auckland Air New Zealand Lounge Entrance

When it’s light outside, there are some great views outside to the airport at the entry, and this continues inside the lounge.

Air New Zealand Auckland International Lounge Entrance View

Lounge Seating & Views

The lounge itself apparently incorporates 24 different styles of seating, spread across multiple intricately lit and specifically themed zones, tailored to the needs and requirements of the lounges many different types of guest.

nz-auckland-lounge-wc2415-bar-wc-980x300

Auckland Air New Zealand Bar

A large open seated area greets you upon entering through the glass doors which is next to the cocktail and expresso bar. This area provides comfortable seating and an excellent place for arranging to meet fellow guests.

Air New Zealand Auckland International Lounge Seating

Auckland Air NZ Business lounge Bar

The light and white dining zone provides multiple seating options to suit the requirements and number of guests in those parties sampling the lounge various catering options on offer.

Air New Zealand Auckland International Lounge Dining Area

Next to the dining area is a TV and Movie room.

Air New Zealand Auckland International Lounge TV Room

Those seeking a little more rest and relaxation can head to the back corner of the lounge, where a chill-out zone awaits with mood suttle lighting, and a tranquil setting including reclining loungers.

Those seeking a little more rest and relaxation can head to the back corner of the lounge, where a chill-out zone awaits with mood subtle lighting, and a tranquil setting including reclining loungers.

nz-auckland-lounge-wc2415-loungers-980x300

Adjacent to this, and servicing the chill zone and outdoor terrace is one of the two self service bars, perfect for a quiet meet up.

Incorporating a series of comfortable oversized padded bar stools and stylish swivel seating, the bar area leads out to the lounge’s prized feature, a covered outdoor terrace.

IMG_20160519_053136 (1024x758)

Complete with retractable roofing, and great plane spotter views of the runway, the terrace also sports a native growing wall complete with fireplace, and various functional outdoor seating arrangements.

Air New Zealand Auckland Lounge Outdoor Terrace

Air New Zealand Auckland Lounge Outdoor Terrace (3)

Air New Zealand Auckland Lounge Outdoor Terrace (2)

Including at the far end, 3 ‘Zen temple’ like padded suspended cane chairs.

Air New Zealand Auckland Lounge Outdoor Terrace (1)

The lounge being located on the 2nd floor of the terminal, and incorporating floor to ceiling windows, means the view is very appealing across the runway and terminal gates, regardless of the time of day.

IMG_20160519_054859 (1024x758)

Air New Zealand Auckland Lounge Dining

Along with the various passenger friendly seating options and suspended Silver Fern inspired lighting design, the lounge’s dining zone provides guest with an array of options catering to most tastes.

For those looking for a light continental start to the day, cereal/muesli options are on offer, complimented by various whole and cut seasonal fruit. Plenty of fresh granola & yogurt pots, dried fruit & nuts are also on offer to entice those just after a quick snack to graze on.

The buffet station provides a good selection of various hot meal options throughout different times of the day.

IMG_20160519_054952 (1024x758)

The lounges Kiwi hot breakfast of sausages, scrambled eggs, crochets, and baked beans – definitely the tastiest and freshest I’ve had from an airport lounge buffet.

IMG_20160519_053721 (1024x758)

While not in operation during my early morning visit, an innovative cuisine station similar to that installed into the new Air NZ Sydney lounge, serving up cooked to order treats by the lounges resident chef, sits between the buffet and breads/hotcakes station.

IMG_20160519_055135 (1024x758)

The latter cooking up fluffy, and fairly decent hotcakes at the push of a button (great fun for the kids too).

IMG_20160519_061029 (1024x758)

Those in need of liquid refreshments are also well served. Stationed at the main bar serving signature cocktails, is also the lounges in-house barista pouring out personalised expresso’s, made to order either direct from an Ipad at the bar, or even your own device operating the Air NZ App.

IMG_20160519_055757 (1024x758)

These technological innovations are another example of Air NZ’s creativity, and makes it a breeze to drop into the lounge on your way to the gate for a fresh espresso to-go.

IMG_20160519_055004 (1024x758)

The third bar, and second self serve option of the lounge is located to the right side of the food service zone. All three bars within the lounge offer access to a great selection of premium New Zealand crafted wines and beers, along with a few quality imported options.

IMG_20160519_055021 (1024x758)

Self serve bar areas also provide unlimited fresh chilled water and a selection of juices, along with an integrated soft drink station.

Other Amenities

Technology requirements are well catered for within the lounge with excellent WiFi connectivity, along with more than 300 power-points and USB connections strategically integrated throughout all lounge zones.

The lounge’s additional features include 7 separate shower rooms for those looking to freshen up before a long haul flight.

A modern business zone including printing facilities (not pictured), and for the mini-sized guests, an entertaining and interactive Kiwi tree-house modeled kids zone.

nz-auckland-lounge-wc2415-stairs-980x300

The Lounge Access Options

With Air New Zealand being a member of the Star Alliance along with having many direct strategic airline partnerships, not to mention their Koru Club lounge programme, there is a myriad of obvious and complicated methods of accessing the Air NZ Auckland International Lounge.

Air New Zealand & Star Alliance Business or First Class ticket holders or Elite Status holders

Access is complimentary to any passenger holding a ticket with a same day Air NZ Business Premier, Star Alliance airline business or first class flight departing Auckland.

Star Alliance

Air NZ Gold, Gold Elite, and Star Alliance Gold members are entitled to access the lounge prior to a same day flight in any cabin class departing Auckland with Air NZ or any Star Alliance airline.

Koru Club Members

This is where it gets a little complicated due to reciprocal lounge access arrangement between Air NZ and their strategic or code share partnership agreements. I’ve broken it down to specific airlines below to hopefully make it a bit easier to understand.

  • Air New Zealand – prior to any same day Air NZ ticketed and operated flight departing Auckland, in any cabin class.
  • Virgin Australia – prior to any same day Virgin Australia ticketed and operated Trans-Tasman flight departing Auckland, in any cabin class.
  • Cathay Pacific – prior to a same day Air NZ ticketed but Cathay Pacific operated (code share) flight from Auckland to Hong Kong, in any cabin class.
  • United Airlines – prior to any same day Air NZ ticketed but United Airlines operated (code share) flight from Auckland to San Francisco, in any cabin class.
  • Singapore Airlines – prior to any same day Air NZ ticketed but Singapore Airlines operated (code share) flight from Auckland to Singapore, in any cabin class.
  • Air China – prior to any same day Air NZ ticketed but Air China operated (code share) flight from Auckland to Beijing, in any cabin class.

As Koru Club is not a Star Alliance product, members are unable to access the lounge when onward travel (excluding elite cabin and status passengers) from Auckland involves a Star Alliance carrier other than the specifically arranged opportunities above.

If interested you can find out more about the Air NZ Koru Club programme here, along with various Air NZ credit cards that provide free joining and discounted Koru club membership here.

Single Entry Passes

Those passengers who have received one-off passes, such as the 2 complimentary passes received for reaching Air NZ Air Points silver status, or those provided by Air NZ credit card partners, are eligible to access the lounge prior to flights meeting the same requirements as a full Koru Club member above.

Virgin Australia

The strategic partnership agreement between Air NZ and Virgin Australia provides reciprocal benefits between the two airlines and including the following lounge access arrangements.

Access is complimentary to any passenger prior to departing the same day with a business class ticket on a Trans-Tasman flight departing Auckland, ticketed and operated by Virgin Australia.

  • Velocity Gold & Platinum elite status – prior to any same day Virgin Australia or Air NZ ticketed and operated Trans-Tasman flight departing Auckland, in any cabin class.
  • Virgin Australia lounge members – prior to any same day Virgin Australia or Air NZ ticketed and operated Trans-Tasman flight departing Auckland, in any cabin class.

There’s one gotcha: – Those passengers with Velocity Elite status or Virgin Australia lounge membership are unable to access the lounge when departing when departing on Virgin Australia short-haul flights from Auckland to the Pacific Islands.

If interested you can find out more about Virgin Australia lounge membership here.

Guest Allowances

The following guests are entitled to have one extra guest accompany them into the lounge, provided they are traveling on the same onward flight as the primary guest.

  • Air NZ Gold status holders
  • Star Alliance Gold status holders
  • Virgin Australia Gold status holders
  • Air NZ Koru Club members
  • Air NZ Silver single entry pass holders

In addition, Velocity Platinum status guests are entitled to have three extra guests accompany them into the lounge, provided they are traveling on the same onward flight as the primary guest.

Finally Air NZ guests with Elite status are entitled to have five extra guests accompany them into the lounge, provided they are traveling on the same onward flight as the primary guest – a very generous benefit.

Child Allowances

The following guests are entitled to have outside of normal guest allowances, two children under 12 years old accompany them into the lounge, provided they are traveling on the same onward flight as the primary guest.

  • Air NZ Gold or Gold Elite status holders
  • Virgin Australia Gold and Platinum status holders
  • Air NZ Koru Club members

For all other guests children over the age of 2 will be counted as part of their normal guest allowance, if any.

Check here for more information on the Auckland International, and other Air NZ lounges, including access and guest qualifications.

If you would like to share your own experiences with the Auckland Air New Zealand International lounge or are aware of an alternative access option not provided above, we would welcome your input.

Our Take – Auckland Air NZ International Lounge

Given my previously mixed experience with other Auckland airport lounges I was a little unsure what to expect, but my apprehension was completely put to rest on entering the lounge. It’s clear to see the degree of thought that has gone into not only design but also meeting the modern requirements of different guests needs.

The lounge’s coolest aspect – and my favourite – is the covered outdoor terrace with it’s integrated fireplace making it usable during the colder months, but will be a magnet for guests during the summertime when the retractable roof can be opened.

The different zones throughout the lounge make for comfortable environments catering to the different demographics of each guest, it’s nice to see an airline lounge move away from just catering to the stiff shirted businessman.

The drinks options are of a high standard and personalised barista made coffee certainly provide what is needed to relax for a couple of hour prior to your flight.

The dining zone is well set out, I particularly admired the suspended Silver Fern inspired lighting, and provides a good number food options to suit different tastes.

Although at 2,000 sqm the lounge encompasses a large floor, with the number of access options available through various Air NZ alliances, not to mention Koru Club membership, I suspect (and have heard) it will, and does, get packed to the rafters prior to high demand flight times, particularly around school holiday periods.

All up, this is a lounge I’m happy to return to.

Some images courtesy of www.airnewzealand.co.nz

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Amex Travel offering extra point per $ spent on hotels, car hire and experiences all this year http://www.pointhacks.co.nz/american-express-travel-bonus-membership-rewards-points/ http://www.pointhacks.co.nz/american-express-travel-bonus-membership-rewards-points/#respond Tue, 20 Jun 2017 21:00:28 +0000 Tue, 20 Jun 2017 21:00:28 +0000 You can earn an additional Membership Rewards point per dollar spent on hotels, car hire and experiences when booking through American Express Travel until the end of 2017.

If you have a Membership Rewards-linked card and are in the market for a hotel booking, it’s probably at least worth checking the price through Amex Travel. The hotels included in the offer are fairly broad in terms of region and budget.

This post goes over the why and how of when using American Express Travel can be a useful way to get discounts and earn more Membership Rewards points.


Guide to American Express Travel as a way to earn more Membership Rewards points

If you hold an Amex card that earns Membership Rewards, American Express Travel is a useful travel booking option to have in your back pocket when doing your travel booking research.

Every time you make a booking for hotels, car hire or experiences, Membership Rewards cardholders will earn an earn an additional bonus point per $ spent.

In theory, the terms state that this promo is only on offer until 31 December 2017 but it has been renewed consistently.

Using American Express Travel for hotel bookings

I mostly find this useful for hotel bookings, where I’m not particularly wedded to a specific hotel chain (in terms of retaining or earning hotel status – I just don’t stay in hotels enough). By booking through American Express Travel, you can bump up your Membership Rewards points balance instead.

I’ve also found Amex Travel to sometimes offer extra-competitive rates on certain hotels – for example, when I booked a stay at the Andaz Tokyo, pictured above, just before New Year’s Eve I was looking at a rate of around $700 on the Hyatt website.

Most hotels in Tokyo at this time were expensive, and I couldn’t justify that kind of money, but Amex Travel came up trumps.

They had a rate of $480 for essentially the same room as from Hyatt directly, which was just within my price threshold. I also found lower rates at the Park Hyatt Tokyo than were available directly through Hyatt for that time too (but still too expensive for me).

You’ll find that most hotels won’t then offer you points in their own program with your stay, but given I’ve earned with Amex instead, that’s OK.

Using American Express travel for flight bookings

If you are sitting on a wealth of Membership Rewards points, you can also use American Express Travel to redeem them for paid flights and hotels at a rate of 1c per point, which is better than you’ll get from cashing them out for gift cards or statement credit.

You’ll also earn points and status on airline tickets booked using Membership Rewards points, given that it’s a paid fare you are purchasing. This is worth bearing in mind if you are points rich and want to redeem points while still earning Qantas or Virgin status credits.

You can’t, unfortunately, earn Membership Rewards points on flight bookings through Amex Travel either, which would be a great points-earn opportunity.

Summing up

If you hold a Membership Rewards-linked American Express card and are in the midst of a hotel or car hire search, don’t forget about the Amex Travel site as well as your usual booking channels, as you could pick up some extra points with this promo (and a potentially lower price.)

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Blacklane offering 3x Asia Miles for bookings made by 30 June http://www.pointhacks.co.nz/earning-points-new-zealand-taxis-guide/ http://www.pointhacks.co.nz/earning-points-new-zealand-taxis-guide/#respond Mon, 19 Jun 2017 21:00:11 +0000 Mon, 19 Jun 2017 21:00:11 +0000 There are a variety of ways that you can earn points/miles on airport shuttles, taxi rides, and luxury car services in New Zealand – and how much you’re willing to spend, the purpose of your trip, and whether you’re an Air New Zealand Airpoints, Asia Miles, KrisFlyer or Starwood Preferred Guest loyalist will determine which services are best for you.

This guide explores the different options, including Uber, Air New Zealand Taxis, and Blacklane, and weighs up which programs are best in terms of overall value, particularly here at home.

First, the numbers

You can see from the table below that it is hard to compare simple earn rates when there are different frequent flyer programs at play. It also gets more confusing if you’re paying in currencies other than NZD or USD, which is possible for some services, such as Blacklane in the UK and Europe. Though in New Zealand, you will likely only be paying in either NZD or USD, so we have only listed the earn rates for these.

Car serviceFrequent flyer programEarn ratePoints/miles on $25 NZD ridePoints/miles on $25 NZD ride when paid with highest earning credit card
UberStarwood Preferred Guest1 point per $2 USD (more during SPG hotel stay)925 (Amex Platinum Charge)
Air New Zealand TaxisAirpoints1 point per $50 NZD, with a minimum of 1 point earned for trips below this price11.42 (Amex Airpoints Platinum)
BlacklaneAsia Miles2 miles per USD3661 (Amex Platinum Charge)
BlacklaneMiles & More1 mile per USD1838 (Amex Platinum Charge via SPG, assuming 20,000 Starpoints Transfer)
ConxxeAsia Miles2 miles per USD36N/A
ConxxeEnrich2 miles per USD36N/A
ConxxeKrisflyer1.5 miles per USD27N/A
RidewaysAsia Miles1 mile per 10 HKD1439 (Amex Platinum Charge)
RidewaysEtihad Guest1 mile per 1 USD1838 (Amex Platinum Charge via SPG, assuming 20,000 Starpoints Transfer)
GroundLinkAmerican Airlines200 miles per booking200220 (Amex Platinum Charge via SPG, assuming 20,000 Starpoints Transfer)
GroundLinkUnited200 miles per booking200210 (Amex Platinum Charge via SPG, assuming 20,000 Starpoints Transfer)
GroundLinkIHG Rewards500 points per booking500N/A
ViatorQantas Frequent Flyer1 point per 1 AUD2348 (Amex Platinum Charge or ANZ Qantas Visa)
ViatorKrisflyer1.5 miles per USD2752 (Amex Platinum Charge)

‘N/A’ means that there is no credit card on offer in New Zealand that will allow you to earn the same point/miles currency with both the service and the card. However you may be able to earn other points/miles.

E.g. Conxxe only accepts Visa and Mastercard, which means that although you cannot earn points with a flexible points program like Amex Membership Rewards, you could still use a card like the Westpac Airpoints World Mastercard and earn a high rate of Airpoints Dollars in addition to the base earn with Asia Miles / Enrich / KrisFlyer.

We’ll now look at the different services and what they offer.

Uber

There are currently three types of Uber services you can request in New Zealand:

  • UberX: the low-cost option, with up to four seats in cars manufactured from 2000 onwards, e.g. Toyota Prius, Honda Accord
  • UberASSIST: drivers assist riders into vehicles and can accommodate folding wheelchairs, walkers, and scooters. Same cost as an UberX.
  • UberXL: up to six seats in a 4WD or minivan, e.g. Toyota Prado, Jeep Grand Cherokee. More expensive than UberX.

If you are a Starwood Preferred Guest member, you can link your SPG and Uber account over at this dedicated SPG site and you will earn at least one Starpoint per $2 USD spent.

You’ll need to have made a Starwood hotel stay in the current calendar year before you can earn any SPG points for that year.

Unfortunately, there are no SPG Hotels in New Zealand, so you’ll have to rely on an overseas stay to post to your account first. This should be easy to achieve if you travel at least once a year to Australia.

If you Uber during your stay at a Starwood hotel, you’ll earn 2 points per US dollar or foreign equivalent (in lieu of the base earn rate). However again, you unfortunately cannot take advantage of this offer at home.

Starwood Preferred Guest, for those who aren’t aware, is one of the most stable loyalty programs out there with a huge range of frequent flyer program partners – including Asia Miles, Air New Zealand Airpoints, Velocity and AAdvantage.

The other main way to earn Starpoints in New Zealand is from everyday spend with an American Express Membership Rewards credit card, like the Platinum Edge or Platinum Charge.

Air New Zealand Taxis

New Zealand based Airpoints members earn Airpoints Dollars when booking taxis and shuttles with Air New Zealand Taxis – or even a helicopter ride between Auckland International Airport and Auckland City, Waiheke Island, Coromandel and more (for those who have no time and lots of money).

Unfortunately for 65% of the population, point-to-point taxi rides can only be booked in Auckland and Palmerston North.

You’ll earn 1 Airpoints Dollar for every $50 spent, which is calculated on the total booking amount. For a booking under $50, you will still earn a minimum of one Airpoints Dollar.

Quote your Airpoints Membership number when making a prepaid taxi or transfer booking on their dedicated website.

Blacklane

Blacklane is a luxury airport transfer, point-to-point and hourly (think weddings or parties) car service. They are available in Auckland, Christchurch, Queenstown and Wellington.

They have three categories:

  • Business Class: equivalent to UberBLACK
  • Business Van/SUV: equivalent to UberSUV
  • First Class: equivalent to UberLUXE (Auckland, Queenstown only)

All the ‘equivalent’ Uber options listed above are not available in New Zealand, so Blacklane could be an option if you’re looking for something a bit fancier.

Currently, there are two frequent flyer earn options:

  • Asia Miles: 2 miles per USD/EUR/GBP spent + 3x miles for booking a service by 30 June 2017, with service completed by 31 December 2017 – see this promo page here

  • Miles & More: 1 mile per EUR spent in Lufthansa’s frequent flyer program

Asia Miles is a much more useful program for travellers in New Zealand than Lufthansa’s Miles & More, so even though the bonus miles for sign-up and booking is higher for the latter, we’d still recommend going with Asia Miles, especially as its ongoing earn for Blacklane rides is two Asia Miles per EUR spent versus one Miles & More mile.

More information: our guide to getting the most out of your Asia Miles

Conxxe

Conxxe provide private sedan and minivan transfers from airports and cruise terminals across New Zealand.

There are three frequent flyer earn options that I am aware of (and you have to book through the different links below for each program):

Asia Miles and KrisFlyer are both useful programs for travellers in New Zealand, and we’d recommend that you choose to credit to either of these. The redemption opportunities with Enrich are generally not as good value.

Note that Conxxe doesn’t allow payment with American Express, and therefore your ability to ‘double dip’ with points earn will generally be limited to direct-earn Air New Zealand Airpoints credit cards.

Rideways

Rideways provide private sedan and minivan transfers from airports across New Zealand, including point-to-point in some locations. Their downtown rates are reasonably competitive, and they could be a good way to boost your Etihad Guest Miles balance for cheap Virgin Australia Business Class redemptions.

There are two frequent flyer earning options that I am aware of that (and you have to book through the different links below for each program):

I have found the above websites to be painfully slow. The Asia Miles site wouldn’t let me complete a search, and the Etihad site required that I refresh the site a few times to have the vehicle options displayed.

More information: our guide to buying miles with Etihad

Groundlink

GroundLink is a point-to-point and hourly car service. They offer standard and premium vehicle types.

Their point-to-point prices in New Zealand seem to be fixed – e.g. a search showed that it would cost $142 USD for a short 1 km trip in Auckland within the city centre, in an ‘Economy’ vehicle. However a 37 km trip from the city to Drury in the south is the same cost.

GroundLink have three earn options that may be of interest to New Zealanders:

  • AAdvantage: 200 miles per ride in American Airline’s frequent flyer program
  • Mileage Plus: 200 miles per ride in United’s frequent flyer program
  • IHG Rewards: 500 points per ride in IHG’s hotel reward program

If you use promo code ‘SaveGL’ you’ll receive 10% off the cost of your ride.

AAdvantage and Mileage Plus are useful programs for travellers in New Zealand who tend to purchase points to redeem on Business Class travel, particularly to Asia.

More information: our guide to buying miles with AAdvantage, as well as our guide to buying miles with United Mileage Plus

Viator

Viator is a company that lets you purchase tickets for over 10,000 hand picked activities and tours in 800 destinations around the world.

It wouldn’t be the first website you’d think of for transfers and ground transport, but they do sell tickets for airport shuttles all over the world, including in Auckland, Wellington, Rotorua, Queenstown, Christchurch and Dunedin.

Viator have two earn options that may be of interest to New Zealanders:

  • Qantas Frequent Flyer: 1 point per AUD in Qantas’s frequent flyer program
  • KrisFlyer: 1.5 miles per USD in Singapore Airline’s frequent flyer program

Our take

It is important to make sure we are comparing apples with apples, not apples with oranges.

Rideshare

UberX is currently the only ‘on demand’ rideshare service in New Zealand. They generally come out far cheaper than any other service. So providing you’ve had at least one stay at an SPG hotel, they will be your number one choice for last minute bookings. They are also allowing advance bookings in some limited locations, albeit not at a fixed fee like more traditional point-to-point services.

Point-to-Point (Standard)

Air New Zealand Taxis and Rideways provide standard point-to-point services, letting you book more traditional taxi services at a fixed rate, and at a set time. They are generally cheaper than just hailing a cab off the street.

If you’re in Auckland or Palmerston North and frequently take short inner-city trips around the $10-$15 mark, opt for Air New Zealand Taxis. You’ll earn 1 Airpoints Dollar no matter what you spend, and for short trips, that can be a 5-10% return on every booking, based on 1 Airpoints Dollar equalling $1 NZD spent on flights with Air New Zealand.

For longer distance point-to point trips, opt for Rideways, with Asia Miles being the better program in terms of earn and redeem flexibility.

Point-to-Point (Premium)

Air New Zealand Taxis offer premium airport transfer and point-to-point services, as do Blacklane and GroundLink.

If you want to invest in your Asia Miles balance with a higher earn rate (and potentially bonus miles), then use Blacklane; if you purchase a lot of miles when they’re on sale to redeem on flights through AAdvantage or United Mileage Plus, go with GroundLink (but only for long-distance transfers, as short trips are ridiculously expensive).

Holiday

The airport shuttle services provided via Viator are more suited for those holidaying across the country. Most shuttles will require you to share with other passengers.

Conxxe provide for private transfers from airports and cruise terminals, so are also likely angled towards those on holiday – however for those who like the privacy of being in their own vehicle.

Compare the prices between Viator and Conxxe – I would then recommend that you direct your miles to either Asia Miles or KrisFlyer.

Summing up

I didn’t even realise just how many shuttle, point-to-point and airport transfer services there were in New Zealand until I started writing this article – and the fact that so many of them are partnered with frequent flyer programs is great news.

In the case of unplanned, simple trips, go with UberX; even if you can’t earn Starpoints with them, they’re still far cheaper than any other providers, and will generally come out well ahead value-wise even without any points earn.

If you’re going on holiday, don’t intend to hire a car, and want the simplicity of an airport to hotel transfer, compare prices between Viator and Conxxe – I would then recommend that you direct your miles to either Asia Miles or KrisFlyer.

For premium services, use Blacklane if you want to grow your Asia Miles balance. Otherwise go with GroundLink for longer-distance transfers, and grow your Mileage Plus or AAdvantage balance so you don’t need to purchase so many miles for your next trip.

Either way, you’ll be earning points on a service you were going to use anyway, so it’s a win – and make sure you use a points-earning credit card, so you can maximise your return.

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How to get the most out of Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles program – our tips for using your Asia Miles http://www.pointhacks.co.nz/100k-asia-miles/ http://www.pointhacks.co.nz/100k-asia-miles/#respond Sun, 18 Jun 2017 21:00:55 +0000 Sun, 18 Jun 2017 21:00:55 +0000 Cathay Pacific’s frequent flyer program Asia Miles is one of our favourites due to its consistently lower-than-average award redemption rates and high-quality airline partners.

One key thing to note is that the best value redemptions are to be had by redeeming for Premium Economy, Business or First Class flights.

Here are our top tips for getting maximum value from your Asia Miles balance.


When you think Qantas, re-think Asia Miles

Asia Miles redemption rates are generally cheaper than Qantas Frequent Flyer and have most of the same partners, as they are part of the same oneworld alliance.

For example, a Business Class seat on the seasonal Qantas Auckland to Perth route will set you back 80,000 Asia Miles return, whereas you would have to pay 100,000 Qantas Points for the same privilege.

Do note that the main partner that Asia Miles doesn’t have access to and Qantas does is Emirates; conversely, Asia Miles members can earn and redeem miles on some Star Alliance airlines like Air New Zealand and Air China, which Qantas members cannot. Given Air New Zealand is our national airline, this actually increases the appeal of Asia Miles even more.

Read more: Comparing Asia Miles and Qantas redemptions on Transatlantic travel

Book a return rather than one-way ticket

Unlike in a lot of programs, including Air New Zealand Airpoints, Qantas and Velocity Frequent Flyer, Asia Miles redemptions for return flights are less than double the price of a one-way.

For example, 70,000 Asia Miles is required for a one-way Business Class ticket on Air China from Auckland to Beijing, whereas a return ticket costs 120,000 miles, which is less than double.

You can access the full Asia Miles award chart here.

Read more: Introduction to the Asia Miles program

Fly to Hong Kong return for 120,000 in Business Class/72,000 in Premium Economy

Cathay Pacific flies from Auckland to Hong Kong daily, and will commence direct flights from Christchurch in December 2017.

You’ll get (generally) excellent customer service and a comfortable lie-flat seat in Business Class on Cathay’s brand-new Airbus A350 for 120,000 miles return.

If you wanted to save some points or take another person with you, you could fly in Premium Economy for 72,000 miles.

Note that Cathay does not currently offer a First Class product to New Zealand, so look to connecting flights to US cities like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago, and European cities such as London Heathrow, Paris and Frankfurt for that experience.

Read more: Guide to making Asia Miles redemptions: stopovers, award holds and pricing quirks

Fly the modern A350 in Business Class from Auckland to Europe or Canada for 110,000 one-way

The Airbus A350 is the newest plane in Cathay Pacific’s fleet, which compared to the A330 and 777, offers wifi connectivity, increased oxygen circulation (which reduces jetlag), more storage, and an improved modern design.

All flights from Auckland are operated by an Airbus A350, with other routes in our region including Melbourne, Manila, Taipei, Singapore and Bangkok, as well as London Gatwick, Paris, Rome, Dusseldorf and Vancouver. Expect more routes to be served by the A350 in the future.

You can fly Business Class on the A350 all the way one-way from Auckland to any of those European destinations or Vancouver for 110,000 Asia Miles.

Fly to South America in LATAM Business Class for 120,000 return

Business Class on the LATAM 787 Dreamliner serving Auckland

South America is one of the most expensive continents for travellers to get to. Luckily, the direct flights from Auckland are operated by LATAM, a oneworld airline, meaning you can use your Asia Miles to avoid spending a lot of cash on your ticket.

Do note that redemptions on LATAM flights must be return tickets.

Read more: Guide to LATAM redemptions

Fly American Airlines Business Class Auckland to Los Angeles for 70,000 miles one-way

American_Airlines_Auckland

Whilst it can be extremely difficult to find award space in Business Class on any airline on direct flights across the Pacific, particularly on Qantas flights from Australia, it’s seemingly not so bad from New Zealand – and if you come across availability in American Airlines Business Class, you’ll save 14,000 points by redeeming an award through Asia Miles (70,000 miles) rather than Qantas (84,000 points).

Book from Hong Kong and on Cathay Pacific and certain partners to minimise fuel surcharges

Flights on any airline in any cabin departing from Hong Kong will attract very low or no fuel surcharges, which definitely favours Cathay Pacific, as Hong Kong is its hub.

In addition, you will pay minimal fuel surcharges on the following partner airlines:

  • American Airlines: except flights to/from Europe
  • LATAM
  • airberlin: a great option for Transatlantic travel
  • Iberia
  • Aer Lingus

Read more: Guide to the airlines and frequent flyer programs that charge the lowest fuel surcharges

Quarterly 20% redemption discounts

About every three months, Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles frequent flyer program discounts by 20% redemptions for last-minute award seats on select routes in Business, Premium Economy and Economy Class.

From experience, discounts are frequent for New Zealand, and tend to favour Business and Premium Economy redemptions over Economy ones, which is good news from a value point-of-view.

Read more: Guide to quarterly Asia Miles redemption offers

Fly around the world on oneworld carriers on one award

Asia Miles RTW Example

Using the oneworld Multi-Carrier award chart, you can travel on a lengthy round-the world-itinerary in Business or First Class with five stopovers and two open-jaws on a combination of oneworld carriers, including Cathay Pacific.

The major advantage of this Asia Miles redemption over Qantas’ equivalent is that it is far cheaper!

Qantas allows a round-the-world itinerary up to 35,000 miles, but charges 280,000 Qantas Points in Business Class, and 420,000 in First Class.

For a similar distance, Asia Miles only charges 190,000 and 275,000 miles in Business and First Class, respectively.

Comparing Qantas to Asia Miles, this is a whopping 145,000 points saving for First Class and 90,000 in Business!

Read more: Asia Miles round-the-world redemption guide


Summing up

Asia Miles is one of our top four frequent flyer program recommendations for travellers in New Zealand due to their favourable medium- and long-haul redemption rates, especially compared to Qantas Frequent Flyer, and their large number of high-quality airline partners.

What has been your best-value redemption for Asia Miles? We’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Supplementary images courtesy of Cathay Pacific and Asia Miles.

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An introduction to Air New Zealand Airpoints http://www.pointhacks.co.nz/air-new-zealand-airpoints-guide/ http://www.pointhacks.co.nz/air-new-zealand-airpoints-guide/#respond Thu, 15 Jun 2017 21:00:43 +0000 Thu, 15 Jun 2017 21:00:43 +0000 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.

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Earn Double Airpoints Dollars with Apple – until 6 July http://www.pointhacks.co.nz/air-new-zealand-airpoints-mall/ http://www.pointhacks.co.nz/air-new-zealand-airpoints-mall/#respond Thu, 15 Jun 2017 09:00:33 +0000 Thu, 15 Jun 2017 09:00:33 +0000 Online Malls work by making you log in with your account details before then being referred out (with a click) once logged in to make a transaction over on the retailer’s website.

The Airpoints Mall is no different, and it is New Zealand’s largest, with over 160 retailers. This is an overview of the Airpoints Mall for those who aren’t familiar with the concept or the retailers in it, or want a refresher.

As a current special offer, you’ll earn double Airpoints Dollars when you purchase from Apple until 6 July 2017.

The Airpoints Mall can be found at: https://airpoints-mall.co.nz.

Their website is also mobile optimised, which makes it easy to shop on the go.

The Airpoints Mall have prepared a ‘how to use’ video and guide and it’s helpful to watch and read for first time users. Their FAQ page is also helpful, and clarifies some questions, such as whether you need to have a New Zealand address tied to your Airpoints account (you do), and how to make sure cookies on your computer are working properly (they need to be allowed and not blocked so Airpoints Mall can track your purchases and award you Airpoints Dollars for your spend).

The standard earn rate for retailers at the Airpoints Mall is 1 Airpoints Dollar earned per 100 dollars (NZ) spent – so an effective return of 1% on your online shopping.

Here’s the full list of retailers – we’ll update the list and re-promote this guide if any good bonuses come along.

RetailerAirpoints Dollars earned
per NZ$100 spend
aboutgiving1
Accessorize1
@cquisitions Gifts1
Agent Provocateur1
AEO1
Ann Taylor1
Anthropologie1
Apple2
Asos1
Autograph1
Baby Gap1
Banana Republic1
Barkers1
Beauty Bay1
BetterWorld Books1
Bijoux Collection1
Birdsnest1
Bloomingdale's1
Blue Nile1
Bonds1
Boohoo.com1
Booktopia1
Dell1
Disney Store1
DKNY1
Dorothy Perkins1
Dotti1
eBay1
Ecc1
Edwin Watts Golf1
Esprit1
everme.co.nz1
Ezibuy1
Farfetch1
1Above Flight Drink1
Footlocker.com1
Forever New1
Forzieri1
Free People1
GAP1
General Pants Co.1
Glassons1
Golfetail.com1
Hallenstein Brothers1
iSubscribe1
iTunes1
Jacquie E1
Jessica Buurman1
Just Jeans1
Karen Millen1
Karen Walker1
Kathmandu1
Kobo1
Latest Buy1
Lenovo1
Linden Leaves1
Livingsocial1
Loft1
Lorna Jane1
luggage.co.nz1
Macy's1
Marcs1
Marks & Spencer1
Matches Fashion1
Mattel1
Max1
Menulog1
Merchant1
Microsoft1
Miss Selfridge1
Missguided1
Molten Store1
Molton Brown London1
Mothercare1
Mr Vintage1
Norton1
NoteMaker1
nzgameshop.com1
Onsport1
Overstock1
Oxford1
Peter Alexander1
Photobox1
Pillow Talk1
Portmans1
Pumpkin Patch1
Queen Bee Maternity1
RedCurrent1
Rivers1
Rodd & Gunn1
Saba1
Saks Fifth Avenue1
Sears1
Selfridges1
Sephora1
Shoe Clinic1
Shoe Connection1
Shopbob1
Smiggle1
Smith + Caughey's1
Sporting House Direct1
Sportscraft1
Strawberrynet1
Superdry1
Superette1
SurfStitch1
T M Lewin1
Tarocash1
Teleflora1
The Baby Factory1
The Baby Story1
Book Depository1
The Iconic1
The Nile1
Tony Bianco1
Torpedo71
True Religion1
UK Soccer Shop1
Urban Outfitters1
Value Basket1
Van Heusen1
Vision Direct1
Vistaprint1
Wiggle1
Wild Earth1
Wildfire Sports1
Xbox1
Yd1

Make sure you confirm the Airpoints Dollar earn at the Airpoints Mall directly, as the earn rate can go up if there is a special. Each store will also have their own Terms and Conditions, in addition to the overall Airpoints Mall Terms and Conditions.

Vouchers and Special Offers

The Airpoints Mall provides a list of vouchers that can be used to save money at some of the different retailers. Be wary using promo codes not provided on this page, as this could preclude any Airpoints Dollars earn due to the way the affiliate arrangements work between Airpoints and the retailers.

Missing Airpoints Dollars?

Sign into your Airpoints account and then fill in the Claim Missing Airpoints form.

How to maximise your Airpoints Dollars earn

The best way to maximise the number of Airpoints Dollars you earn through the Airpoints Mall is to use an Airpoints earning credit card. So not only will you get Airpoints Dollars for shopping through the Airpoints Mall but you also get the Airpoints Dollars from your credit card spend.

For example, say you have the Airpoints Platinum American Express, you can pick up 1 Airpoints Dollar for every NZ$59 spent.

And then for the Westpac World Airpoints credit card, you’ll earn 1 Airpoints Dollar for every NZ$65 you spent, or 1 Airpoints Dollar for every NZ$50 equivalent spend in a foreign currency.

If you make a purchase for $100 (excl GST and delivery) at an Airpoints Mall retailer that has an earn rate of 1 Airpoints Dollar for every NZ$100 you spend, and your purchase is from a retailer that charges in foreign currency, using your Westpac World Airpoints credit card will see you earn 3 Airpoints Dollars for that spend.

You can review all Airpoints earning cards in the NZ market in our full cards table.

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Using Asia Miles ‘multi-carrier’ awards for great value around the world redemptions with oneworld http://www.pointhacks.co.nz/asia-miles-around-the-world-redemption-guide/ http://www.pointhacks.co.nz/asia-miles-around-the-world-redemption-guide/#comments Wed, 14 Jun 2017 20:00:50 +0000 Wed, 14 Jun 2017 20:00:50 +0000 Asia Miles is a very interesting frequent flyer program which we at Point Hacks feel isn’t so familiar to most Kiwi frequent flyers – but should be in your box of tricks.

It is not a simple or common program to earn miles from flights, and it also has a confusing set of award charts and routing rules. But by looking deeper into Asia Miles redemption options, there are a lot of hidden gems if you get into the details.

Considering Asia Miles can be earned relatively easily through American Express Membership Rewards, there are some good value opportunities here for using your points.

If you’re completely new to Asia Miles, then start with our intro guide here. This guide will focus on how to use Asia Miles on an around the world trip, primarily in Business if you’re starting from New Zealand – but there’s also value to be had with Economy redemptions too.

For a comparable guide to Qantas around the redemptions, check out our guide here →

The basics: Asia Miles is a part of oneworld

oneworld is a strong alliance of 14 member airlines, including Qantas. Here’s the full list:

  1. Air Berlin
  2. American Airlines
  3. British Airways
  4. Cathay Pacific
  5. Finnair
  6. Iberia
  7. Japan Airlines
  8. LATAM
  9. Malaysia Airlines
  10. Qantas
  11. Qatar Airways
  12. Royal Jordanian
  13. S7 Airlines
  14. SriLankan Airlines

Asia Miles is a points transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards.

Getting into Asia Miles around the world redemptions

There is actually no specific award chart for around the world redemptions with Asia Miles. But if you look into their award charts, there are two that will allow round the world redemptions redemption.

The first is for a single Asia Miles partner airline, or you can mix one with Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon, but no more than 1 different partner. This makes it hard to redeem for an around the world itinerary – it’s technically possible, but not the focus of this guide.

The second chart is the oneworld Multi-Carrier Award Chart. This award chart is applicable when you redeem a round-trip award ticket with an itinerary which covers:

  • Two oneworld alliance airlines, where Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon is not included; or
  • Three or more oneworld alliance airlines when Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon is included.

This might be slightly more limiting than the comparable Qantas award, as only up to two oneworld partners can be included if you don’t have Cathay Pacific in your itinerary.

However, this is not a major problem for us in New Zealand as Cathay Pacific flies to Auckland and Christchurch (come December 2017) and as part of an around the world trip, it’s not that inconvenient to have Hong Kong as a major hub.

Here is the award chart (as of June 2017):

And the rules, in a nutshell:

  • You must redeem a roundtrip award ticket.
  • Your itinerary must include two Oneworld airlines not including Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon, or three or more Oneworld airlines including Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon.
  • The maximum distance range is up to 50,000 miles.
  • You can have a maximum of five stopovers, two transfers, and two open jaws either at the origin, en-route, or the turnaround point.

So if you can maximize the 5 stopovers and 2 open jaws, you can visit a whole range of cities around the world.

The major advantage of this Asia Miles redemption over Qantas’ equivalent is that it is far cheaper!

Qantas allows an around the world itinerary up to 35,000 miles, but charges 280,000 Qantas Points in Business Class, and 420,000 in First Class.

For a similar distance, Asia Miles only charges 190,000 and 275,000 miles in business and first class respectively for distance up to 35,000 miles.

Comparing Qantas to Asia Miles, this is a whopping 90,000 points saving for first class!

An example itinerary

In the example below, you could have stopovers in

  1. Hong Kong
  2. San Francisco
  3. Santiago
  4. Frankfurt
  5. Doha

Asia Miles RTW Example

This routing comes in at 39,715 miles which is more than the distance Qantas would permit for their comparable round the world redemption, and costs less (220,000 miles in business).

Now, here are the limitations:

  • You can have up to 5 stopovers
  • You can have up to two open-jaws (where you arrive into one city, but depart from another)
  • According to the rules you can only have 2 transits. This means if you need to use short-haul connecting flights to get to non-hub destinations, you can only have up to 2 in your itinerary, otherwise it will be considered as stopover.
  • To use this chart, you must use at least two oneworld partners
  • You can’t use more than two oneworld partners without including Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon
  • You can’t include Cathay Pacific’s non-oneworld partners such as Air China or Alaska Airlines.

Other than these few limitations, it can be great value if you maximise the 5 stopovers, 2 transits and 2 open jaws – if you do you can potentially visit up to 9 cities with much lower miles than required with Qantas Frequent Flyer.

To make things a bit easier, you can use the Asia Miles’ Award finder and type in your itinerary and see how many miles you will need, or do the same via gcmap.com.

Making your booking, and taxes…

Asia Miles does impose fuel surcharges and taxes on their awards, so the usual tactics to minimise these would apply – these include avoiding high tax departure cities such as London or Frankfurt, and airlines like British Airways.

Taxes and fees should be comparable to if you used Qantas Points for the same flights.

Summing up – Asia Miles multi-carrier awards

These have to be redeemed over the phone with Asia Miles, and – big caveat – I am yet to redeem for one, so don’t have any personal experience to share with booking. Yet.

That said, on paper these seem like excellent value for holders of points balances that can be transferred to Asia Miles, and who wish to travel on a lengthy around the world itinerary in Business Class.

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Buy AAdvantage miles and get up to 100,000 bonus miles plus 10% discount – until 30 June http://www.pointhacks.co.nz/aadvantage-purchase-miles-guide/ http://www.pointhacks.co.nz/aadvantage-purchase-miles-guide/#respond Tue, 13 Jun 2017 23:00:07 +0000 Tue, 13 Jun 2017 23:00:07 +0000 American Airlines is now offering up to 100,000 bonus miles and an additional 10% discount when buying AAdvantage miles before June 30 – this equates to around 1.72 US cents per mile.

This is as cheap as their June 2016 offer and is worth taking a look for those who have an upcoming redemption in mind and need to top up their account – but only if you know you’ll get the most from a large purchase.

So, how does this work for cheaper Business and First Class flights?

The current AAdvantage purchase miles promotion

  • Bonus: 2,500 to 100,000 miles (tiered)
  • Discount: 10% starting from 11,000 miles
  • Valid until: 30 June 2017
  • Best value redemptions: domestic Qantas Business Class, Fiji Airways Business to Fiji, Qantas/Cathay Pacific/Japan Airlines Business or First to Asia, and oneworld Business to Europe
  • Book awards online: for AA, Qantas, British Airways, and some others (full list)
  • Book awards over the phone: for other partners, you can only book over the phone and are charged a $75 USD booking fee
  • You can buy miles in this promotion through this link

This promotion yields the cheapest per mile price of 1.72 USD cents per mile when buying at the maximum 150,000 miles (250,000 miles total including the bonus) with a 10% discount.

Why purchase AAdvantage miles?

  1. For oneworld partner redemptions: American Airlines is a member of the oneworld alliance, so you can redeem AAdvantage miles across any oneworld airline, including all those who fly direct from New Zealand – Qantas, Cathay Pacific, LATAM, Malaysia Airlines, Japan Airlines and Qatar Airways
  2. For other partner redemptions: American Airlines have other partner airlines that fly to New Zealand that you can redeem AAdvantage miles for, including Fiji Airways, Hawaiian Airlines and Air Tahiti Nui
  3. Very helpful award hold policy: with AA, it is possible to hold award bookings for up to five days (if booking more than two weeks from departure) or 24 hours (if booking closer), allowing you to pencil in plans and then confirm the ticket once you’ve bought or transferred the miles into your account. This policy makes it easy to make risk-free redemption holds while you re-confirm total costs of making your booking and buying the points
  4. More generous point promotions than Qantas and Air New Zealand: AAdvantage offers the option of purchasing miles outright at a fixed value, unlike Qantas Frequent Flyer and Air New Zealand Airpoints, where points purchases are both expensive and limited in the amount and circumstances in which you can buy

The best value AAdvantage redemptions for NZ travellers

Here are some of the better-priced and more readily-available awards for travellers from NZ:

Example RedemptionAAdvantage Miles requiredCost (USD) with latest promotion at highest purchase tier (150,000 miles)*
* All redemption prices are in USD, one way and do not included booking fees, taxes and other charges
Australia to/from New Zealand in Business Class with Qantas or LAN 25000$430
New Zealand to Fiji in Fiji Airways Business Class30000$516
New Zealand to Tahiti or Air Tahiti Nui Business Class30000$516
New Zealand Business Class to Asia Zone 1 (Brunei, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam)40000$688
New Zealand Business Class to Asia Zone 2 (Japan and Korea)40000$688
New Zealand Business Class to Hawaii on Hawaiian Airlines65000$1118
New Zealand Business Class to Contiguous 48 U.S. states80000$1376
New Zealand Business Class to Europe85000$1462

Factors to consider when purchasing AAdvantage miles

Just like any miles purchase deal, you’ll need to take into consideration the following factors:

  • The cost of the miles required for your intended route
  • The $75 USD phone booking fee for some partners
  • The USD:NZD exchange rate
  • The taxes that come along with the booking, which are most easily confirmed by American over the phone
  • The time taken to research award availability and make the booking
  • AAdvantage accounts less than 30 days old are not permitted to buy or gift miles, so register for an account now so you can take advantage of future promotions
  • AAdvantage usually lets you purchase or gift 100,000-150,000 miles (not including the bonus miles on offer) per year per account receiving the miles, so ensure you are buying into a deal when you have a redemption in mind OR you think it’s a really good one
  • Be sure to get to the checkout page to see the full cost of your purchase including all USD fees and taxes

Previous offers

The simplest way to track historical AAdvantage offers is with the US cents per mile cost for the best offer tier for that period:

  • 1.72c per mile in May 2017
  • 1.77c per mile in May 2017
  • 1.80c per mile in March 2017
  • 2.24c per mile in February 2017
  • 2.13c per mile in January 2017
  • 1.77c per mile in December 2016
  • 1.90c per mile in November 2016
  • 2.02c per mile in September 2016
  • 2.00c per mile in August 2016
  • 1.72c per mile in June 2016
  • 1.89c per mile in May 2016
  • 1.81c per mile in March 2016
  • 2.02c per mile in February 2016
  • 2.13c per mile in January 2016
  • 1.81c per mile in December 2015
  • 2.00c per mile in November 2015
  • 2.10c per mile in October 2015
  • 2.09c per mile in August 2015
  • 2.00c per mile in July 2015
  • 2.06c per mile in May/June 2015
  • 2.09c per mile in May 2015
  • 2.00c per mile in April 2015
  • 2.07c per mile in February 2015
  • 2.14c per mile in January 2015

Why purchasing AAdvantage miles is easier than earning them

The most common way to acquire AAdvantage miles for New Zealand travellers outside of flights would be to either:

  • purchase them (the purpose of this guide)
  • earn them through hotel stays, car rental or the AAdvantage online shopping mall for purchases from US retailers

Starwood Preferred Guest is also a points transfer partner, and they also run promotions for discount or bonus points a couple of times per year, which may also be worth taking advantage of.

Purchasing miles directly from American Airlines is usually the most cost-effective method if you have a specific flight you are targeting.

With most of these promotions I am usually quite risk-averse, and would only recommend purchasing miles for topping up an account or buying the full chunk of miles if you have a specific redemption in mind, but not to purchase speculatively. Your preferences may differ though!

Making your booking

Bookings using your miles can be made online if looking to fly American, Hawaiian Airlines, Qantas or and a few other airline partners.

If not, they’ll have to be made over the phone with the (usually excellent) call centre for the region, which happens to be in Fiji.

From New Zealand, you can contact them on (09) 308 4014, selecting option 3 for award travel.

Be sure to check the taxes and fees that will be incurred with your booking as well. I find the easiest way to do this is simply to research availability online on the Qantas website and call AAdvantage to price up the booking.

Summing up

The appeal of AAdvantage has declined since their devaluation in March 2016, but Australia and New Zealand still do have some well-priced redemption opportunities available to use for cheaper premium cabin flights by buying miles and immediately redeeming them.

AAdvantage’s generous award hold policy makes the process much less risky, allowing you to hold an award, buy the miles and then call back to get it ticketed once they are added to your account.

Buying miles to redeem for flights in this way is still time-consuming, requiring you to research availability to death before you can book.

Whilst there aren’t many valuable deals for Economy travellers here, if you are keen for a Business or First Class bargain, you can still pick one up when buying AAdvantage miles.

You can purchase AAdvantage miles here.


Are you new to the purchasing points game?

If you’re new to the world of buying points/miles, I’ve written a full intro guide.

You can also access more comprehensive guides for buying points in each individual frequent flyer program below.

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Earn 3 Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at cafes and restaurants http://www.pointhacks.co.nz/earning-amex-membership-rewards-on-dining-new-zealand/ http://www.pointhacks.co.nz/earning-amex-membership-rewards-on-dining-new-zealand/#respond Mon, 12 Jun 2017 20:00:19 +0000 Mon, 12 Jun 2017 20:00:19 +0000 The American Express Platinum Edge is in many points-collector’s armoury for maximum Membership Rewards points earn, with a 3 points per dollar earn rate on New Zealand supermarket spend. This is equal to 1.5 points/miles per dollar spent, when transferred to Asia Miles, Qantas Frequent Flyer, KrisFlyer, or Velocity.

You can extend this high earn rate to thousands of restaurants, cafes, bars and eateries across New Zealand by heading to one of the major supermarkets and purchasing either the ‘Restaurant Gift Card’, or the ‘Prezzy Card’.

Many of the outlets accepting these cards don’t accept American Express. Alternatively, some may have surcharges. Therefore, this is a great way of increasing the number of merchants you have access to with your Amex card, and your points earn rate – especially if you were going to eat out anyway. It just requires a bit of forward planning, and a stop by the supermarket before dinner!


Option One: How to earn Amex Membership Rewards points when dining out with the Restaurant Gift Card

The Restaurant Gift Card is a product of the New Zealand Restaurant Association and can be used at over 700 great restaurants, cafes, bars and eateries throughout New Zealand. You should be able to find the card in denominations of $50, $100 or $200. There are no fees for purchasing or loading the card.

Restaurant Gift Card

Before purchasing, you’ll want to make sure that the outlet accepts the card. You can do so by visiting this page to find the range of participating cafes and restaurants in your area. You can search by region, cuisine and suburb. The results will tell you the average dining prices, and when you click ‘Read More’, the linked page will provide contact details, and links to websites where available.

Restaurant Search

Once you’ve decided on where to eat, or confirmed that the café/restaurant you want to visit accepts the Restaurant Gift Card, you can visit one of the following supermarkets to make your gift card purchase:

  • Countdown
  • Farro Fresh
  • FreshChoice
  • New World
  • Nosh
  • PAK’nSAVE
  • SuperValue

Make sure you treat the Restaurant Gift Card as cash – it cannot be replaced if lost or stolen. Once activated, it can be redeemed for purchases at any participating Restaurant Association member outlets. Any balance that remains on the card after your visit can be used in whole or in part against future purchases.

The card will expire 12 months after purchase or last recharge. Any balance that remains on the card after expiry will not be available for use.

Option Two: How to earn Amex Membership Rewards points when dining out with the Prezzy Card

The Prezzy card from Kiwibank gives you access to tens of millions of Visa outlets around the world, including selected online merchants. It is an amazing way of extending the reach of your Amex to all of those outlets that don’t otherwise offer acceptance, or have surcharges.

Prezzy Gift Card

Your Prezzy card can be used at almost any restaurant, cafe, bar or eatery in New Zealand, apart from those outlets that only accept cash or EFTPOS.

Unlike the Restaurant Gift Card, the Prezzy card costs $5.95 to purchase. For this reason, we would recommend that the Restaurant Gift Card be your first choice, if the outlet accepts them, and then the Prezzy card as your second. It will also be better to purchase the card at a higher denomination, to minimise your overall fee outlay, especially if you think you’ll be using them regularly.

You can visit one of these supermarkets to make your Prezzy card purchase:

  • FreshChoice
  • New World
  • PAK’nSAVE
  • SuperValue

For added security, you can register your Prezzy card online as soon as you purchase it – that way they may be able to help you if your card is lost or stolen, or if you want to dispute a transaction made on your card.

Prezzy cards are issued with a minimum use of 12 months. Your card can’t be used after the expiry date printed on the front of the card, and unused value remaining on expiry will automatically be forfeited – so make sure you use it all up beforehand.

More information on the card can be found on their official website.

Conclusion

These gift cards are a relatively easy way of extending the reach of your American Express Platinum Edge, so you can earn 3 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at almost any restaurant, cafe, bar or eatery in New Zealand.

Just make sure you use them before the expiry date, otherwise the points you earn won’t have been worth it – though if you’re anything like me, you’ll probably burn through the cards pretty quickly!

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