Blacklane are running a promotion to get you using their luxury transfer service, with 3x Asia Miles for bookings made by 31 December, for pick-ups until the end of March 2019.
Guide to earning points with airport shuttle, taxi, and luxury car booking services in New Zealand
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 or KrisFlyer loyalist will typically determine which services are best for you.
This guide explores the different options, 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 service||Frequent flyer program||Earn rate||Points/miles on $25 NZD ride||Points/miles on $25 NZD ride when paid with highest earning credit card|
|Air New Zealand Taxis||Airpoints||1 point per $50 NZD, with a minimum of 1 APD earned for trips below this price||1||1.42 (Amex Airpoints Platinum)|
|Blacklane||Asia Miles||6 miles per USD||108||133 (Amex Platinum Charge)|
|Blacklane||Enrich||2 miles per USD||36||61 (Amex Platinum Charge)|
|Blacklane||KrisFlyer||2 miles per USD||36||61 (Amex Platinum Charge)|
|Blacklane||Miles & More||2 miles per USD||36||56 (Amex Platinum Charge via Marriott, assuming 60,000 point transfer)|
|Blacklane||Qatar Privilege Club||1 mile per USD||18||38 (Amex Platinum Charge via Marriott, assuming 60,000 point transfer)|
|Blacklane||Thai Royal Orchid Plus||2 miles per USD||36||56 (Amex Platinum Charge via Marriott, assuming 60,000 point transfer)|
|Conxxe||Asia Miles||2 miles per USD||36||61 (Amex Platinum Charge)|
|Conxxe||Enrich||3 miles per USD||54||79 (Amex Platinum Charge)|
|Conxxe||Krisflyer||1.5 miles per USD||27||52 (Amex Platinum Charge)|
|Conxxe||Etihad Guest||1 mile per USD||18||38 (Amex Platinum Charge via Marriott, assuming 60,000 point transfer)|
|Rideways||Asia Miles||1 mile per 10 HKD||14||39 (Amex Platinum Charge)|
|Rideways||Etihad Guest||1 mile per 1 USD||18||38 (Amex Platinum Charge via Marriott, assuming 60,000 point transfer)|
|GroundLink||American Airlines||200 miles per booking||200||220 (Amex Platinum Charge via Marriott, assuming 60,000 point transfer)|
|GroundLink||United||200 miles per booking||200||222 (Amex Platinum Charge via Marriott, assuming 60,000 point transfer)|
|GroundLink||IHG Rewards||500 points per booking||500||N/A|
|Viator||Qantas Frequent Flyer||1 point per 1 AUD||23||48 (Amex Platinum Charge or ANZ Qantas Visa)|
|Viator||Krisflyer||1.5 miles per USD||27||52 (Amex Platinum Charge)|
We’ll now look at the different services and what they offer.
Air New Zealand Taxis & Airport Shuttles
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 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, plus with the ability to earn miles.
You can earn miles with:
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.
More information: our guide to getting the most out of your Asia Miles
Conxxe provide private sedan and minivan transfers from airports and cruise terminals across New Zealand.
You can earn miles with:
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. Etihad Guest is a good program for Virgin Australia redemptions, so they could be an option too. The redemption opportunities with Enrich are generally not as good value.
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.
You can earn miles with:
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 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 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
It is important to make sure we are comparing apples with apples, not apples with oranges.
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.
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 or KrisFlyer balance with a higher earn rate, then use Blacklane; if you purchase a lot of miles when they’re on sale to redeem on flights through AAdvantage or United MileagePlus, go with GroundLink (but only for long-distance transfers, as short trips are ridiculously expensive).
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.
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, I would still go with UberX; even if you can’t earn Starpoints with them anymore, 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 or KrisFlyer 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.