Point Hacks Credit Card Guide

Air New Zealand American Express Platinum Credit Card Review

The Air New Zealand Platinum Card is now unavailable to new applicants, being replaced by the new American Express Airpoints Platinum card. We’ve left our guide up for reference for existing cardholders.

The Air New Zealand American Express Platinum card is the high-end Amex account for devoted Air New Zealand Airpoints members.

The current bonus offer is $200 in Air New Zealand Airpoints Dollars – the bonus is the equivalent to that amount flight credit to be redeemed with Air NZ.

The offer requires a $500 minimum spend within the first 3 months of ownership to trigger the bonus, and is worth considering for the committed Air New Zealand frequent flyer.

You could use Airpoints dollars to fly one way to Australia in Business Class – read the review of Business Premier between Auckland and Sydney →

Or fly to / from Australia in Premium Economy Class – read the review of Air New Zealand Premium Economy →

Digging into the details of the Air New Zealand American Express Platinum card

The Air New Zealand American Express Platinum has three key benefits, each of which we’ll get into in this guide:

  1. A free domestic Economy return flight with Air New Zealand each year, which helps offset the $395 annual fee
  2. Airpoints Dollars and Status Points on offer from your day to day spend
  3. $145 saving on your Koru Membership annual fee, and $255 joining fee waiver in the first year

Free domestic Economy return flight with Air New Zealand each year

The free return domestic flight each year kicks in with the date of activation, and then subsequent renewal of your card each year (it’s not based on a calendar year).

It’s valid for any direct routing (i.e. no connecting routes) on Air New Zealand’s network, but only in the cheapest fare buckets. To check availability and book your flight, you just call up American Express Travel on 0800 332 268.

You’ll need to book the flight before the end of your cardholder year otherwise it will be forfeit, but it can be booked for any time within the subsequent year, so you ultimately have nearly two years from the date you activate your card to travel with your first return flight.

The flight can be booked in anyone’s name, allowing you to gift it to a friend or family member if you won’t use it (or prefer to book yourself in Business Class or earn Airpoints Status on your paid flights instead).

Earning Airpoints Dollars from spend

The Air New Zealand American Express Platinum will earn you 1 Airpoints Dollar for every $75 spent on the card, so an effective earn rate of 0.0133 Airpoints Dollars per dollar spent.

I’m not going to Airpoints Dollars in detail here, leaving that to the intro guide to Airpoints. However, it’s not complex – 1 Airpoints Dollar = $1 of flight credit with Air New Zealand when it comes to redeeming them.

By comparison, the American Express Platinum Edge (which also comes with a free domestic flight) earns half the Airpoints dollars per dollar spent (outside supermarkets and fuel) when transferred to Airpoints, but with a much lower fee of $149.

Another data point – the Westpac Airpoints World Mastercard with a comparable annual fee slightly edges the Air New Zealand American Express Platinum with a touch more Airpoints Dollars and Status Points earned per $ on spend.

Earning Airpoints Status from spend

Alongside the Airpoints Dollars earned, you also earn Airpoints Status Points with your spend, with an earn rate of 1 status point for every $250 spent.

The earn rates for Status Points on spend are not high enough to make a huge dent in what you need to achieve status with Air New Zealand, with Gold membership requiring 900 Status Points and half of those have to be earned from Air New Zealand or Star Alliance partner flights.

Even if you maxed out the 450 Tier Points toward elite status with Status Points earned from your card you’d need to spend $112,500 on your Air New Zealand Platinum American Express to earn them, so for all but the biggest spenders, Status Points will just be a portion of your status earn to help top you up.

Koru Club fee reductions

Air New Zealand’s Koru lounge membership program offers Air New Zealand lounge access for a member and a guest when travelling on an Air New Zealand flight, regardless of class of travel.

You’ll also get access to Virgin Australia lounges when travelling with Virgin Australia in Australia, along with priority check in for Air New Zealand flights.

The standard joining fee of $255 is waived for Air New Zealand American Express Platinum cardholders, while the annual membership fee is reduced by $145 to $435 annually, which helps cover the cost of the annual fee of the card if you were going to be buying membership anyway.

Insurances and other benefits

Supplementary cardholders with the card are free, while the card also includes domestic and international travel insurance for you and your family, including coverage for medical expenses, cancellation and baggage/money/documents. You’ll need to check the terms of the insurance to make sure this will cover your own needs.

The full terms and conditions of the card can be found here (PDF).

Summing up – Air New Zealand American Express Platinum

This card can typically be found with either a large Airpoints Dollars signup bonus, or sometimes with a no annual fee (with no bonus) offer in the first year.

The different offers have differing appeal to different potential cardholders – a large bonus is appealing for those looking to redeem the Airpoints Dollars into free flights quickly, while no annual fee is handy for Koru discounts and insurance.

The free domestic flight is a good win, especially as it’s usable by anyone you want to use it for, not just the cardholder.

Either way the Airpoints Dollars and Status Point earn rate is one of the best out there, so if you’re a committed Air New Zealand frequent flyer looking to increase their potential for free flights and improve their status earn it’s worth considering.

Air New Zealand American Express Platinum Credit Card Review was last modified: October 31st, 2016 by Daniel Kinnoch

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Comments Expand Comments

  1. DC

    I used to have a AirNZ AE about 4 years ago, then I decided 1. the domestic return ticket is too hard to book, as it is the lowest booking class available and I always (3 times in 3 years) had to pay extra – given that AirNZ domestic flights are not that expensive anyway, the value of the free flight is not that great (probably worth about $100 only). 2. AirNZ’s international flights are REALLY expensive (I travel to Asia mostly), so the airpoints are not that valuable to me.

    I’d be interested to know if there’s any plan for AENZ to match their partner transfer rate for NZ cardholders to the same as AEAU cardholders, given that the forex rate is almost 1:1, but the transfer rate in NZ in only 1:0.5 – also with a lot fewer transfer partners as well.

    • Clayton Tremain

      Hi DC thank you for the interesting and somewhat timely contribution on the merits/value of the NZ Amex cards.

      I do agree that past the 800 Airpoints Dollars sign up bonus the Air NZ Platinum Amex would require some pretty hefty spending to compensate for the even heftier annual fee.

      However I am surprised with your statement regarding the annual Air NZ domestic return flight. I have the Platinum Membership Rewards Amex which has the same free flight benefit. I can’t say I’ve had a problem getting value from it and while it is technically a reward flight, making it difficult to pinpoint an exact monetary value it’s certainly more than $100.
      Two years ago I redeemed a return flight Auckland to Nelson that would have cost me $120 each way. I did not use last years but I am currently in the process of combining it with this years to fly my son and I down to Queenstown in November. At this stage I have located available award flights which are currently selling for $149 each way. At $298 that’s over $100 more than my annual fee on just the flight alone.

      I agree the points and status earn from some of Air NZ’s flight could be better but in terms of value it becomes an individual preference. Some people love flying the product Air NZ deliver and don’t mind paying for it and Air NZ to their credit have placed themselves in that niche market.

      Your final question is one that has also bugged me for a long time and in particular would like to see improve. Amex NZ and AU are both managed under the same business unit and given the current cross rates it is questionable why the NZ transfer value is only half that of AU’s.
      Unfortunately we aren’t aware of any plans to improve the Amex NZ MR programme but if it does happens we’ll certainly be letting you know.

      In the meantime we will be releasing a guide to Amex NZ MR soon, so keep an eye out for that and we’ll try to cover off some more opinions then.

      • DC

        I say the value was about $100 only because I used the free return flight for AKL-WLG once and AKL-ZQN once – and both are fairly busy (hard to get a seat in the lowest booking class) but competitive (airfares are cheap to start with anyway, given JetStar also fly those routes). It was sometime ago now so I couldn’t remember exact how much extra I had to pay, but I do remember the feeling “ouch, that’s not very free is it…” when I was told the amount, and I didn’t even bother redeeming my free flight on the 3rd year.

        I wonder if there’s an AENZ email address where people can tell them what we would like. Personally I’d apply for the Platinum Edge card without hesitation if AENZ increases the transfer ratio to 1:1.

        Anyways, good luck with your blog, it’s good to see something like this catering for NZ based FFers (although I personally think when AA announced the new award chart, South Pacific – Asia 1/2 didn’t get hurt that much precisely because there aren’t many FFers here, and I’d like to continue to have plenty of JAL first class award seats available for NRT-SYD, so don’t really want too many Kiwi/Aussies to know about the point game lol)

        • Clayton Tremain

          HI DC unfortunately there is no actual MR feedback email for Amex. However keep an eye out for our upcoming guide to Amex MR. If you feel inclined that would be a good opportunity to post your thoughts on the programme.
          Amex are followers of both sites and do take an interest in what members have to say. One of the reasons I want people to express their views constructively so hopefully with numbers we can encourage an improvement.

  2. Hitesh

    G’day Clayton,

    Some real pearlers there. Thanks for the handy tips and tricks. I just had a question regarding transferral of points between my two credit cards and was hoping you could shed some light on it? Do you know if it were possible to ‘move’ points from say, an AMEX platinum edge card, to Citibank World card. I know it sounds kinda random, but I have a fair few points sitting in my Amex card that I haven’t gotten around to using. Any advice??

    • Clayton Tremain

      Hi Hitesh

      Yes kinda random but interesting question.
      I am not aware of any credit card loyalty programme that allows transfers to competing credit card loyalty programmes.
      Are both these cards you mention Australian issued? is the Citi World a Mastercard?
      Depending on what airline transfer partners they both have you could possibly combine the points from each into the same airline programme if they both offer a partner with a programme that has awards useful to you.

      • Hitesh


        Thanks for the prompt reply. The AMEX platinum edge is a NZ issued card, whilst the Citibank-issued World card (previously called platinum) is an Aussie one. I thought I had read something about a certain loyalty programme allowing transfers between different credit cards. Hence the query 🙂 Thanks again.

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