Point Hacks NZPoint Hacks NZ https://www.pointhacks.co.nz The best frequent flyer deals & offers for New Zealand. Thu, 15 Mar 2018 23:14:56 +0000 en-NZ hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.3 Which frequent flyer program and rental company combinations offer the most points? https://www.pointhacks.co.nz/car-rental-comparison-guide/ https://www.pointhacks.co.nz/car-rental-comparison-guide/#respond Wed, 14 Mar 2018 19:00:46 +0000 Wed, 14 Mar 2018 19:00:46 +0000 Making a decision about which car rental company will earn you the most frequent flyer points will depend on where your allegiance lies and your status within the frequent flyer programs.

It’s not as easy as you think, so that’s why we’ve broken it down for you. If you want to understand the methodology we’ve used, explore the tables; if you just want an easy answer, look at the tables without numbers plus our conclusion.

What’s in this guide?

This guide summarises the number points you can earn from six of the world’s leading car rental companies. It covers frequent flyer programs that are most relevant to New Zealand consumers and provides an example for both domestic and overseas car rental bookings.

The frequent flyer programs covered are the ones travellers in New Zealand are most familiar with (we have separate car rental guides with each of the below):

and the car rental companies covered are:

Note that you can also earn Fly Buys points on domestic car rentals with Avis and Budget. We have looked at the earn rates for these also, given they can be redeemed on flights in almost the same way that Airpoints Dollars can.

Earn rates

Car rentals are either awarded on a points per day spend, points per dollar spend, or a fixed allocation of points per booking. The relevant earn rates for domestic and overseas bookings are shown in the following comprehensive table – you can use the search function to narrow down to desired car rental company and/or frequent flyer program:

Car RentalFrequent Flyer ProgramDomestic NZ Earn RatesOverseas Earn Rates inc. Australia
AvisAir New Zealand Airpoints3 Airpoints Dollars for every rental day3 Airpoints Dollars for every rental day
AvisQantas Frequent Flyer700 points per rental4 points per AUD in Australia, 700 points per rental elsewhere
AvisCathay Pacific Asia Miles250 miles on contracted rates
500 miles all other rates
250 miles on contracted rates
500 miles all other rates
AvisSingapore Airlines KrisFlyer250 miles on contracted rates
500 miles all other rates
250 miles on contracted rates
500 miles all other rates
AvisFly Buys1 point per $10 NZDNot a Partner
BudgetAir New Zealand Airpoints3 Airpoints Dollars for every rental day3 Airpoints Dollars for every rental day
BudgetQantas Frequent Flyer700 points per rental4 points per AUD in Australia, 700 points per rental elsewhere
BudgetFly Buys1 point per $20 NZDNot a Partner
EuropcarVelocity Frequent FlyerFor contracted rates, 2 points per AUD

For all other rentals:
Red Member: 4 points per AUD
Silver Member: 4.5 points per AUD
Gold Member: 5.25 points per AUD
Platinum Member: 6 points per AUD
For contracted rates, same as NZ Domestic in Australia, otherwise 400 points per rental elsewhere

For all other rentals, same as NZ Domestic in Australia, otherwise 800 points per rental elsewhere for Red Members, 1,200 for Silver Members, 1,400 for Gold Members, and 1,600 for Platinum Members
EuropcarCathay Pacific Asia Miles500 miles per rental500 miles per rental
EuropcarSingapore Airlines KrisFlyer300 miles on contracted rates
500 miles on all other rates
300 miles on contracted rates
500 miles on all other rates
HertzVelocity Frequent FlyerRed Member: 3 points per AUD
Silver Member: 4.5 points per AUD
Gold Member: 5.25 points per AUD
Platinum Member: 6 points per AUD
Same as NZ Domestic in Australia, otherwise 800 points per rental elsewhere for Red Members, 1,200 for Silver Members, 1,400 for Gold Members, and 1,600 for Platinum Members
HertzCathay Pacific Asia Miles250 miles on contracted rates
500 miles all other rates
250 miles on contracted rates
500 miles all other rates
HertzSingapore Airlines KrisFlyer250 miles on contracted rates
500 miles all other rates
250 miles on contracted rates
250 miles on rentals within Asia
500 miles on rentals outside Asia
SixtCathay Pacific Asia Miles500 miles per rental500 miles per rental
SixtSingapore Airlines KrisFlyer500 miles per rental500 miles per rental
ThriftyVelocity Frequent FlyerRed Member: 3 points per AUD
Silver Member: 4.5 points per AUD
Gold Member: 5.25 points per AUD
Platinum Member: 6 points per AUD
Same as NZ Domestic in Australia, 800 points per rental elsewhere

With Asia Miles and KrisFlyer, you could also earn miles with all of the above programs by booking via Rentalcars.com. You’ll earn 2 miles for every HK$10 spent, and 1.5 miles for every US$1 spent, respectively.

Below are hypothetical case studies of a domestic and overseas car rental booking that show the value obtained from crediting points to your frequent flyer program for each car rental company. You can read more about how we value points.

Note that these values are Keith’s own take and, of course, your values may well be different due to your own personal preferences on how you like to earn and redeem points. They are useful to generate a comparison though.

Case study: domestic rental

In this case study, we assume a booking for a four-day standard car, i.e. not a prestige vehicle, for example, with a total cost of NZD $360. The results for each car company is shown below, factoring in different earn rates for some companies based on frequent flyer status level:

Avis Domestic Rental

Budget Domestic Rental

Europcar Domestic Rental

Hertz Domestic Rental

Sixt Domestic Rental

Thrifty Domestic Rental

Assuming you have no status, the winners for each car rental company are:

Car Rental CompanyFrequent Flyer Program
AvisQantas Frequent Flyer
BudgetQantas Frequent Flyer
EuropcarVelocity Frequent Flyer
HertzVelocity Frequent Flyer
SixtAsia Miles or KrisFlyer
ThriftyVelocity Frequent Flyer

and the winners based on your Velocity status level are:

StatusCar Rental Company
Base LevelEuropcar with Velocity Frequent Flyer
Silver LevelEuropcar, Hertz & Thrifty with Velocity Frequent Flyer
Gold LevelEuropcar, Hertz & Thrifty with Velocity Frequent Flyer
Platinum LevelEuropcar, Hertz & Thrifty with Velocity Frequent Flyer

Case study: overseas rental

In this case study, we assume a booking for a seven-day standard car with a total cost of NZD $760. As with the domestic case study, the results for each car company is shown below, factoring in different earn rates for some companies based on frequent flyer status:

Avis International Rental

Budget International Rental

Europcar Intertional Rental

Hertz International Rental

Sixt International Rental

Thrifty International Rental

Assuming you have no status, the winners for each car rental company are:

Car Rental CompanyFrequent Flyer Program
AvisQantas Frequent Flyer in Australia, Airpoints everywhere else
BudgetQantas Frequent Flyer in Australia, Airpoints everywhere else
EuropcarVelocity Frequent Flyer in Australia, Asia Miles everywhere else
HertzVelocity Frequent Flyer in Australia, Asia Miles everywhere else
SixtAsia Miles
ThriftyVelocity Frequent Flyer in Australia, Asia Miles everywhere else

and the winners based on your Velocity status level are:

StatusCar Rental Company
Base LevelAvis & Budget with Qantas Frequent Flyer
in Australia, Airpoints everywhere else
Silver LevelEuropcar & Hertz with Velocity Frequent Flyer
Gold LevelEuropcar & Hertz with Velocity Frequent Flyer
Platinum LevelEuropcar & Hertz with Velocity Frequent Flyer

Things to remember

The above analysis looks solely to points earned on personal car rental bookings, not business rentals.

The decision on which car rental company will undoubtedly look at other factors first, such as price, availability of preferred vehicle class, capping on kilometers driven, cost of extras such as insurance and whether you have elite status with that rental company.

If you are in the market to redeem for Qantas flights, remember that you can use Asia Miles to travel on many Qantas flights for a reduced number of points.

If Virgin Australia and Singapore Airlines are your redemption partners of choice, remember that you can transfer points between Velocity and KrisFlyer under their unique partnership at a rate of 1.35:1 in either direction.

Also remember that the Cashrewards program provides you with ‘cashback’ when purchasing through their link, without compromising on any points that can be earned.

Summing up

This guide does not reveal any major surprises in that most of the winning frequent flyer programs for each rental car company are also that company’s major frequent flyer partner.

Some key takeaways are:

  • High-value international rentals will often be best credited to Asia Miles or KrisFlyer, booked via Rentalcars.com, noting that these will be tied to dollar value rather than a fixed amount. Cheaper bookings of only a one or two day duration will be better credited to a program with a fixed points/mile value.

  • Domestic rentals are best credited to Velocity with Europcar, where you’ll earn more points than which any other program.

Don’t forget that points are only one element that should be considered in a car rental decision; however, they can serve as a valuable tie-breaker when the offers provided by the rental companies are similar.

You should also take into account car rental discounts that may tip the scales in favour of a particular company – for example, those offers available to Entertainment Book cardholders.

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Thursday only: 4x Airpoints Dollars or Fly Buys points at New World https://www.pointhacks.co.nz/earning-points-new-world/ https://www.pointhacks.co.nz/earning-points-new-world/#respond Wed, 14 Mar 2018 00:00:17 +0000 Wed, 14 Mar 2018 00:00:17 +0000 New World are again running a bonus points offer for qualifying supermarket purchases.

Scan your Clubcard until close on Thursday 15th March, and if you’re spending a minimum of $50 on qualifying products, you’ll earn either 4x Airpoints Dollars, or 4x Fly Buys points.


This offer excludes tobacco, cigarettes, lotto, gift cards, Christmas Club top ups, phone top ups, AT HOP card top ups, payment of any accounts, and EFTPOS withdrawals.

You’ll earn bonus points with online/mobile app purchases at ‘I shop New World‘ but not in-store at Fresh Collective by New World.

Guide to earning points at New World

You have a choice between earning 0.185 Airpoints Dollars or 1 Fly Buys point for every $25 spent at New World – but not both.


To earn points in either program, apply online for a New World Clubcard, and choose whether you would like to collect either Fly Buys points or earn Airpoints Dollars. You will receive a personalised Clubcard in the mail that you can then scan at the New World checkout.

So, should I be earning Fly Buys points, or Airpoints Dollars?

Before applying for a Clubcard, you should have a think about which points program is best for you.

The Club Deals discounts you earn in-store are the same regardless of the type of card you opt for. Both programs also offer the ability to pool points across multiple New World Clubcards.

Therefore in our view, the program you pick should be based on maximising your points earn towards flight redemptions.

Fly Buys points have a fixed value of 16.6c each where put towards a flight booking with Helloworld. You can also earn standard points and status on these bookings, and Fly Buys, which can really boost the value proposition.

You’ll earn the equivalent of 18.5c with Air New Zealand Airpoints for the same $25 spend, but you’re restricted to redeeming these on flights with Air New Zealand and their partners, and flight upgrades.

If your goal is to travel with just Air New Zealand, or you already have a significant Airpoints Dollars balance, then opting to earn Airpoints Dollars will probably be the better option .

However if you want the flexibility to redeem on both Air New Zealand and a full range of other airlines, and a chance to still earn points on those bookings, then Fly Buys may be more favourable.

I am currently earning Fly Buys points and have decided that Airpoints Dollars are better for me (or vice versa). How do I switch?

You can change your preferred rewards program from Fly Buys to Airpoints (and vice versa) on the ‘Your rewards‘ page when you log in or by calling the Clubcard Helpline on 0800 80 70 70.

However don’t just swap between programs before each regular shop – each switch will tell New World to send you a new membership card.

If you’re really feeling the need to earn points with a program different from the one currently linked to your Clubcard, you can just swipe your normal Fly Buys or Airpoints membership card in-store. You won’t however enjoy any additional Clubcard benefits.

Do I have to wait until I receive my Clubcard before I can start earning points?

You can scan a digital version of your Clubcard at the checkout right away – simply log in to your account on your mobile phone, and your digital card will be available to use.

If you don’t have your phone, you can just swipe your normal Fly Buys or Airpoints membership card in-store to collect standard points. Though you won’t enjoy any additional Clubcard benefits, or be able to take advantage of any bonus points promotions.


Key points that you should know

  • You’ll earn 1 Fly Buys points or 0.185 Airpoints Dollar per $25 spent in-store or online with the New World Clubcard. You cannot earn both at the same time.
  • Fly Buys offer better value overall based on flexibility, and potential additional earnings from flight bookings.
  • To earn points in-store, customers will need to present/swipe their Clubcard at the register. When shopping online or via the phone app, just enter your Clubcard membership number.

New World accept all major credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, Amex, Diners) with no transaction fees, which provides a good opportunity to double dip and earn points through card spend too.

If you’re looking to maximum the number of Airpoints Dollars you earn on everyday spend, I would recommend the American Express Platinum Edge, where you’ll earn the equivalent of 1 Airpoints Dollar for every $58.33 spent.

As a flexible points program, you’ll also have the choice to transfer your Membership Rewards points to other frequent flyer programs like Qantas Frequent Flyer, KrisFlyer, and Velocity. With these programs, you’ll earn the equivalent of 1.5 points per $1 spent.

You can read more about flexible points here.

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A comparison of digital wallet options for Android users https://www.pointhacks.co.nz/android-digital-wallets/ https://www.pointhacks.co.nz/android-digital-wallets/#respond Tue, 13 Mar 2018 21:50:36 +0000 Tue, 13 Mar 2018 21:50:36 +0000 With over half of all smartphones in New Zealand running the Android platform, we weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of the various Android digital wallet services on the market in 2018.

If you are an Apple user, we have a separate guide for you.

Google Pay

Launched as Android Pay in mid-2016, this app has undergone a rebrand and integrated its Google Wallet into one app. It will also be able to be used in Google Chrome.

You can use Google Pay with any Android device running KitKat 4.4 or above. This app can currently be used in NZ with BNZ —check the list to see if your card is eligible.

Google Pay also has the advantage of supporting in-app purchases for retailers such as Airbnb.

Just like Apple Pay, if you lose your phone, you can track your device and wipe the data using the Android Device Manager.

Download link

Samsung Pay

This option is not currently supported in New Zealand – but we’ll let you know when and if that changes.

Bank-specific digital wallets

These are the most restrictive of the bunch, obviously only covering certain cards at one bank, plus convenience is reduced for these applications, as for payments over $80, you still have to enter your PIN.

ANZ GoMoney Wallet

ANZ Go Money

This wallet has received pretty good reception from its users.

It is built into the ANZ GoMoney app, which is the internet banking app that can be used by all ANZ customers. There is no need to download and use multiple apps on your device.

The wallet is compatible with ANZ Visa Debit and personal ANZ Visa Credit Cards. It does not currently support EFTPOS cards, MasterCard Credit Cards or Business Credit Cards.

Download link

ASB Virtual

ASB Virtual

You can add ASB Virtual to any of your ASB Visa credit cards and ASB Visa Debit cards that you have available in the cards menu of your ASB Mobile app.

Download link

Other options

If you are an ASB customer and have a Fitbit wearable device, then you can use Fitbit Pay.

Summing up

Innovation in payment via phones and wearables is exciting! We hope to see more options rolled out to New Zealand customers soon, as the reach seems to be lagging, with Westpac and Kiwibank being the big two that are not currently offering anything in this space.

A word of warning: whilst there is a high convenience factor in using your phone to pay for a lot of purchases, maybe think twice when going through a drive-thru and reaching your phone out to a terminal or cashier—it might be better to use an actual card in that case to avoid any unexpected drops.

Supplementary images courtesy respective suppliers.

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A guide to Apple Pay, the cardless payment tool for iOS users https://www.pointhacks.co.nz/apple-pay-nz-guide/ https://www.pointhacks.co.nz/apple-pay-nz-guide/#respond Tue, 13 Mar 2018 21:45:24 +0000 Tue, 13 Mar 2018 21:45:24 +0000 This contactless technology is useful for people in the frequent flyer points game because there are no extra costs to the consumer and you still earn rewards just as you would if you used the physical credit or debit card. You also benefit from increased security and convenience.

The goal of this guide is to walk you through just what Apple Pay is, who it is available to, how it affects your rewards programs, and importantly, the security behind the platform.

If you are an Android user, we have a separate guide for you.

Which cards can be used?

Apple Pay is currently available to customers of:

  • ANZ
  • BNZ

How does Apple Pay actually work?

Apple Pay is a method of payment whereby you link your credit card to the Wallet app (previously called Passbook) in your Apple device and use the phone to purchase items. This avoids you having to open your wallet, or worse still, remember which card is in which wallet or purse.

It can be used anywhere you see the contactless or Apple Pay symbols:

Contactless Apple Pay symbols

Here are some of the key retailers displaying the Apple Pay logo:

Apple Pay retailers

How does Apple Pay work with my rewards programs?

If you do have an eligible card, your ability to earn points through your card remains unchanged. Whether you use Apple Pay or carry out a traditional transaction with your physical card, your rate of points earning will remain exactly the same.

The aim is for store loyalty programs to eventually link into Apple Pay, as has already happened with the Walgreens pharmacy chain in the US. Whilst they are not linked to frequent flyer programs, they will ensure a greater adoption of the platform across the board, and innovation overseas will be a blueprint for what comes to New Zealand in due course.

How do I set up and use Apple Pay?

Setting up Apple Pay on your device

Any of the newer iPhones, Apple Watches and iPads are ready to be used with Apple Pay. Check the Apple website to see if your device is included.

There is a beauty in the simplicity of the setup process: users who already have their eligible card set up with their iTunes account simply need to enter the card’s security code to add this card to their iPhone’s Wallet app.

If you don’t have this card set up within your iTunes account, simply tap the + sign in Wallet and add your card’s details.

For more detailed guides on set-up, visit these bank-specific pages:

Once you have set up the Apple Pay function on your iPhone, you begin to realise that this product simplifies things.

Using an iPhone at a point of purchase

iPhone models from the iPhone 6 up have been set up with a function called ‘Near Field Communication’ (NFC). Consumers simply need to hold their iPhone near a contactless card reader, with their finger on the Touch ID button.

Alternatively, you can double-click the Home button and go to the Wallet app.

Apple Pay iOS Amex

Using an Apple Watch at a point of purchase

Apple Watch owners simply need to double-click the side button on their watch and hold it near the contactless card reader. A tap and beep then confirm the payment has been sent.

Using Apple Pay in Safari

If you use Safari as your web browser on your iPhone, you can expedite the purchase process with Apple Pay.

If you are browsing on your Mac or iPad and have your iPhone or Apple Watch next to you, then you can complete the process with your handheld device.

If you are lucky enough to have the MacBook Pro with Touch ID, then you can verify your identity that way.

Using Apple Pay within apps

Apple has been slow in rolling this out. As far as I know, you can use Apple Pay to make app purchases within the App Store but most other apps with this capability, like Uber competitor Lyft, are limited to US consumers.

How secure is Apple Pay?

As soon as anyone mentions touchless technology, it’s only a matter of time before someone else sprouts the associated dangers (some perceived and some real). In my humble opinion, however, this is what sets Apple Pay apart from its competitors.

When using a credit card, your name and credit card number are shared and used across multiple platforms. Apple Pay removes the necessity for your name or credit card details to appear anywhere.

Apple Pay creates a Unique Account Device Number (UADN) which it assigns, encrypts and securely stores in ‘secure element’, a dedicated chip in your device.

When you make a purchase, the UADN along with a transaction-specific dynamic security code, are used to process the payment, thereby bypassing the need for your name or details to be shared with anyone.

Should the unfortunate situation arise that you either lose your phone or have it stolen, you are able to use Apple’s Find My iPhone website or app, which can track, delete or suspend both payment details and all other information on your device.

You will no longer have to waste time on the phone to suspend or cancel a card that you have lost at home. You can locate it remotely, or suspend the payment feature until you have found your device.

Summing up

Consumers have formed strong habits around contactless options and Apple Pay achieves the aim of making transactions easier and more secure for those with access to it.

For points collectors who are heavy credit card users for their day-to-day transactions, the added security should be appealing and the ability to easily switch between different cards at the point of sale is helpful too.

Personally, I love Apple Pay, and I think that as more people start to understand the benefits of security and convenience, they will start to love it in the same way that I do.

Let’s hope that the other banks extend this service to their customers sooner rather than later.

Supplementary images courtesy Apple or ANZ.

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The Marriott hotel redemption options in Australia now available via SPG & Marriott Rewards transfers https://www.pointhacks.co.nz/australian-marriott-hotels-spg-transfers/ https://www.pointhacks.co.nz/australian-marriott-hotels-spg-transfers/#comments Mon, 12 Mar 2018 19:00:34 +0000 Mon, 12 Mar 2018 19:00:34 +0000 As part of the Marriott takeover of Starwood Hotels, the Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott Rewards programs are slowly merging.

The first integration between the two programs was released in late September, with the ability to transfer points and match status between the two programs.

Given SPG is an American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner, this means you can now transfer points from Membership Rewards to Starwood, and then onto Marriott for redemptions – so I thought I’d take a look at what this opens up for us in New Zealand and around.

How the Marriott & SPG partnership works and why it’s relevant

Marriott Rewards & Starwood Preferred Guest points are now interchangeable. Transfers are immediate between either program, with 1 Starpoint = 3 Marriott Rewards points, and vice versa, so you can move points back and forth as you need.

There are no linked Marriott credit cards in New Zealand but you can collect Starpoints with American Express Membership Rewards, with a view to redeeming for either Starwood or Marriott stays.

Marriott Hotels in Australia

There are unfortunately no Marriott Hotels in New Zealand – we’ll of course create a specific guide for these options, if there ever are any!

There are 7 Marriott properties in Australia – three in Sydney, two in Surfers Paradise and one each in Brisbane and Melbourne.

Here’s the list, alongside their cost in Marriott Rewards points, and effective costs in Starpoints and Membership Rewards points.

HotelCityRedemption CategoryMarriott Rewards RequiredSPG Points Required (minimum 1,000 transfer increment to Marriott Rewards)Equivalent in American Express Membership RewardsFrom Rate ($AUD)Cents per Membership Rewards point
Brisbane MarriottBrisbane630,00010,00030,4001870.62
Melbourne MarriottMelbourne840,00014,00042,5002540.60
Courtyard Sydney North RydeSydney525,0009,00027,3001280.47
Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort & SpaSurfers Paradise735,00012,00036,4002280.63
Marriott Vacation Club at Surfers ParadiseSurfers Paradise735,00012,00036,4003911.07
Pier One Sydney Harbour, Autograph CollectionSydney840,00014,00042,5002930.69
Sydney Harbour Marriott Hotel at Circular QuaySydney840,00014,00042,5002440.57

Marriott also noted a ‘from’ rate on their site for each property, which I assume would be the lowest prepaid rate you’d find outside of a deep discount sale. I’ve included this as a way to judge the relative redemption value of each property, not so much as a way of judging whether each property is good value in it’s own right.

Generally, a sub 2c redemption value for Membership Rewards points should be avoided. But as mentioned above, assuming the advertised rate is a prepaid, and not always available rate – while room redemptions are fixed cost and flexible – it’s important to note you’re not comparing like for like, and you should be able to get more value from your Membership Rewards points than indicated in the table.

Marriott Hotels in Australia

In terms of redemption value, the most appealing of the list looks to be the Surfers Paradise Vacation Club.




The Pier 1 Hotel in Sydney comes next best in this simple value calculation.




Both hotels look to be the more aspirational of the Marriott brand here in Australia, with the rest more business traveller focused and/or lacking any wow-factor.

Basics of Marriott Rewards Redemptions

Marriott has two charts for redemptions – one for Ritz Carlton properties where hotels are grouped into Tiers, and the other for Marriott and associated brands, where hotels are grouped into Categories.

The award chart for both Ritz Carlton and Marriott properties is here.

Just like Starwood Preferred Guest, if you redeem for a 5 night stay the 5th night is free, so you’ll only pay for 4 nights.

It’s also possible to reduce your out of pocket costs using Cash + Points, but this can’t be used toward 5th night free.

We touched on the Marriott Rewards Hotel + Frequent Flyer packages redemption option a week ago, where you can redeem large amounts of points for both multi-night hotel stays and a ton of frequent flyer miles or points, which is worth mentioning again.

Outside of Australia

Right now there are no Marriott hotels here at home, none in the Pacific Islands, and a limited footprint in Asia – compared to Starwood, anyway.

There is a Ritz-Carlton in Bali as well as Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve – but that doesn’t participate in Marriott Rewards.



The Ritz-Carlton Bali is a ‘Tier 3’ category in Ritz Carlton rewards.

A Tier 3 redemption would cost 50,000 Marriott Rewards points nightly, or 17,000 Starpoints = 51,600 Membership Rewards points. Rates varied quite a lot on the dates I checked so I couldn’t easily get a sense of how much of a good value redemption this could be, but it would be worth looking into.

There are heaps of hotels in the US, Canada and the UK, many in Europe and other countries too.

Given Starwood has a presence in most of the locations in Australia that Marriott are also present, there are few additional immediate geographically close redemption opportunities that stick out – but there will be plenty further afield. That’s going to be a topic for another post though.

The full list of Marriott properties globally is here.

Summing up

New points redemption options are always welcome, and during the time that Marriott and SPG take to develop their new program there are some new hotel redemption opportunities on the cards for those with access to Starwood Preferred Guest points.

I suspect that some of the best value and more aspirational hotels for redemption would be found globally, and not in Australia – if you know of any, please let us know in the comments and we’ll include them in a future round-up.

What happens with the new Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest program and it’s partnership (or not) with American Express Membership Rewards remains to be seen – let’s hope that a partnership, along with a decent transfer rate continues.

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Earn 4,000 KrisFlyer miles and save up to 20% on car rental with Avis https://www.pointhacks.co.nz/earning-krisflyer-miles-rental-cars/ https://www.pointhacks.co.nz/earning-krisflyer-miles-rental-cars/#respond Sun, 11 Mar 2018 23:00:02 +0000 Sun, 11 Mar 2018 23:00:02 +0000 Rent a car with Avis in New Zealand or Australia before the end of March and you’ll pick up bonus KrisFlyer miles, plus save up to 20% off the car hire rate.

With a couple of simple clicks, you will be on your way to earning KrisFlyer miles on rentals with Avis, Europcar, Hertz, Sixt, and more.

In this guide, we explore earn rates, the best booking channels, and how to get cashback on car rentals.

Offer 1: Earn 4,000 KrisFlyer miles and receive an to 20% discount on rental car bookings with Avis

Make a rental car booking in New Zealand or Australia for three or more days before 31 March, for pickup before 30 April, and you’ll earn 500 regular miles, plus 3,500 bonus miles.

This offer is valid on Car Group C and above.

You’ll need to quote the applicable AWD number below with your PPS Club/ KrisFlyer membership number when you make a reservation, and present your PPS Club/ KrisFlyer membership card at the rental counter.

Avis AWD

If you book via this page, the correct AWD will be inputted automatically once you select your KrisFlyer membership level.

Offer details and full terms and conditions are available here.–>

Offer 2: Earn up to 2,000 KrisFlyer miles and receive a 10% discount on rental car bookings with Hertz

Make a rental car booking in New Zealand or Australia for one or more days before 31 March, for pickup before 30 April, and you’ll earn up to 2,000 KrisFlyer miles.

This promotion is tiered, meaning you’ll earn a different number of miles depending on the duration of car rental.

You’ll earn the regular 500 miles per rental, plus:

  • 1-4 consecutive days: 500 bonus miles + 10% off
  • 5-6 consecutive days: 1,000 bonus miles + 10% off
  • 7 or more consecutive days: 1,500 bonus miles + 10% off

You’ll need to quote the applicable CDP number and the Promotion Code (PC) below with your PPS Club/ KrisFlyer membership number when you make a reservation, and present your PPS Club/ KrisFlyer membership card at the rental counter.

Hertz CDP

Hertz PC

If you book via this page, the CDP and PC numbers should be inputted automatically.

Offer details and full terms and conditions are available here.

Which car hire companies can I earn KrisFlyer miles with?

You can earn KrisFlyer miles with:

How much can I earn?

Here is a comparison of how many KrisFlyer miles you can earn with the partners above:

Miles earn for personal hire in NZ/AU500 miles per rental500 miles per rental500 miles per rental500 miles per rental1.5 miles for every US$1 spent
Miles earn for corporate hire250 miles per rental300 miles per rental250 miles per rentalN/AN/A
CashRewardsBonus 4.9% cashbackBonus 5.5% cashbackBonus 2.1% cashbackBonus 5% cashbackN/A

How do I make a miles-earning booking?

You can earn KrisFlyer miles by making a booking with any of their car rental partners, by using the links provided above.

In terms of eligibility, earning miles simply requires you to be a member of the KrisFlyer program.

Maximise value tip 1: start with Cashrewards

Avis, Europcar, Hertz, and Sixt are program partners of Cashrewards, which gives you an opportunity to earn cashback on each rental car booking.

Clicking through to these car rental websites from the Cashrewards landing page will yield you miles and a discount, which is not available by going through the KrisFlyer-branded pages directly.

The links above will take you directly to the relevant Cashrewards page.

Maximise value tip 2: compare prices between Rentalcars.com and other partners for long-term rental

For any long-term rental, make sure to compare prices between Rentalcars.com and the other direct booking partners.

If prices are the same, and there are no current bonus miles promotions, you’ll generally earn more miles on a booking via Rentalcars.com if the cost of the hire is US$335 (NZ$460) or more.

This is because you’ll earn a fixed 500 miles on personal car rental with each partner, whereas you’ll earn 1.5 mile per US$1 (NZ$1.37) with Rentalcars.com.

Offer history


  • February – March 2018: Up to 1,500 bonus KrisFlyer miles and a 10% discount


  • March – April 2018: Earn 3,500 bonus KrisFlyer miles and receive an up to 20% discount

Summing up

If KrisFlyer miles are your currency of choice, you’re in luck, as you can pretty much earn on car rentals with most of the major companies, either directly, or through KrisFlyer’s relationship with Rentalcars.com.

Make sure to maximise value by booking through Cashrewards where possible.

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Air Canada Boeing 777-200LR Business Class overview https://www.pointhacks.co.nz/reviews/air-canada-boeing-777-200lr-business-class-overview/ https://www.pointhacks.co.nz/reviews/air-canada-boeing-777-200lr-business-class-overview/#respond Sun, 11 Mar 2018 18:45:53 +0000 Sun, 11 Mar 2018 18:45:53 +0000 This Star Alliance airline has been aggressively expanding into Australia, flying direct from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to Vancouver, offering an alternative to flying through Los Angeles or San Francisco.

At home in New Zealand, most will prefer flying with Air New Zealand, who fly direct from Auckland to Vancouver year round.

I used 80,000 United MileagePlus miles + ~$88 NZD in taxes per person for this one-way flight.

Fleet & Routes

Air Canada has fitted the ‘Executive Pods’ to its fleet of Boeing 777 and 787 aircraft, which fly from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

The Cabin: Seats & Seatmap

Air Canada currently has six Boeing 777-200LR configured with 40 ‘Executive Pod’ Business Class seats:

24 seats in Premium Economy:

and 236 seats in Economy Class:

Air Canada has selected the excellent Rockwell Collins (formerly B/E Aerospace) Super Diamond reverse herringbone seat for its 777 and 787 fleet. Positioned in a 1-2-1 configuration, all seats have direct aisle access:

and are convertible into a lie-flat bed.

A large pillow and duvet is provided however there is no ‘turn down service’ or mattress topper.

26 seats are in the front cabin and 14 in the rear mini-cabin (pictured below).

There is excellent storage around the seat including a deep storage bin alongside the window where the remote control, headphone jack, USB and power adapter are located. This means you can charge small electronic devices and have the lid closed so everything is out of sight.

The literature pocket is located under the tray table alongside the window, as well as another storage pocket in front.

Additional storage space is located under the armrest, however, this is exposed to the aisle, so I would not recommend storing anything of value in there.

The seat has an electronic height adjustable headrest and massage feature. As my seat controller completely froze during the flight, I was temporarily unable to adjust the seat, however, thankfully a restart of the seat fixed the issue.

Seat choice

Here is what the seat map looks like (ignore the Xs on this particular flight booking):

Window seat lovers will choose any A or K seats, which angle towards the window, whilst those travelling together would usually want the E and F centre pair, which angle towards each other.

Do note that the privacy divider between the seats cannot be lowered.

However, if you’re travelling with someone, you might opt to both enjoy windows seats, which is what we selected.

I was seated in 1K and it felt very private due to the bulkhead which extends into the cabin. Row 8 in the rear cabin would feel the same yet may have more traffic, considering the toilets are located directly in front of these seats.

Service: Food & Drink

After take-off, warm nuts and a drink are offered.

The lunch service included delicious yellowfin tuna for appetiser with a mixed salad.

For the main, I selected the seared salmon and my partner had the herb-crusted lamb—both were cooked perfectly and were full of flavour.

The Spanish Treixadura wine paired perfectly with my seafood dishes.

Dessert was a selection of cheese, ice cream or a slice of pumpkin cake.

A breakfast service is offered before landing in Vancouver, which included a choice of an omelette, crepe or pasta.

Meals are served from a trolley with dinnerware pre-set on trays, which doesn’t feel as premium as Virgin Australia’s restaurant-style meal experience, although it does make for faster food service.

Air Canada also allows you to ’Dine Anytime’ (like on Qatar Airways) but this must be arranged with the crew prior to take-off.

Here is the food and drink menu from my flight:

The crew were professional and personable. The cabin service manager personally introduced himself before departure from Sydney.

The crew were also very attentive offering refills to drinks and checking if we needed anything a few times after the meal service. I never had to use the call bell.

Inflight Entertainment

A large 18-inch fixed-angle HD display sits in front and you can either select content from the responsive touchscreen or from the wired hand controller. Noise-cancelling headphones are also available.

There was a large selection of content including new-release movies and TV shows.


One lavatory is located at the front of the aircraft and two more where the cabin is split into two. The lavatories afford amazing views out the window!

You’ll receive a small fabric amenity kit with a magnetic lock, including socks, earplugs, toothpaste, a toothbrush and an eye mask.

The slippers are a very welcome addition.

How to redeem points for this flight

Hee are some key guides on how to redeem points for this flight. Air New Zealand Airpoints Dollars are also an option, costing 2,070 APD + 100 NZD service fee, and applicable taxes, levies and surcharges.

Lounge Access

Guests travelling in Business Class are offered to use the Air New Zealand or Singapore Airlines lounges at Sydney Airport (same case in Brisbane and Melbourne).

In the other direction, you’ll gain access to the well-rated Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge.

Those with Priority Pass access may want to compare it to the Plaza Premium Lounge, however, the latter’s reviews mention a dated decor and crowded atmosphere.

Our other Transpacific flight reviews

Summing up: why choose this flight?

North American carriers do not have the best reputation, yet I was really impressed by Air Canada.

The crew were professional, friendly and attentive. The seat was great yet really needs a mattress topper to make it more comfortable to sleep on.

I would happily fly Air Canada again without hesitation.

Supplementary images courtesy Air Canada.

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Case study: why you should call to confirm seats are available before transferring points https://www.pointhacks.co.nz/gregs-air-canada-redemption-case-study/ https://www.pointhacks.co.nz/gregs-air-canada-redemption-case-study/#respond Sun, 11 Mar 2018 18:44:46 +0000 Sun, 11 Mar 2018 18:44:46 +0000 After reading the Point Hacks Air Canada redemption guide in early 2017, I started planning an epic, all-points round-the-world holiday with my partner over Christmas.

What I did not realise at the time was this was going to be the most complicated redemption that I had ever attempted, and that I was also about to learn a very important lesson—a lesson I wanted to share with our readers to ensure no one makes the same mistake.

Redemption options

I had a stash of KrisFlyer miles that I wanted to use and the Air Canada Business Class award flight from Sydney to Vancouver was priced at 97,500 KrisFlyer miles each at the time (now 117,000 since KrisFlyer’s devaluation), however, the call centre couldn’t find availability on the days I wanted in peak ski season.

I found availability from Sydney to Vancouver on the United website, which happened to have a better redemption of 80,000 each. However, I had no MileagePlus miles. I also found the same award flights on Air Canada’s own Aeroplan website but faced the same problem of not having any Aeroplan miles.

I decided to call KrisFlyer again just to confirm and they said Air Canada does not always release award seats to them.

I knew that I had to act quickly to secure the seats, so the three options that I could think of were transferring the very flexible Starpoints to:

  1. United MileagePlus: you can transfer SPG points to United at the unfavourable rate of 2:1, equating to 320,000 Starpoints for the one-way trip. I didn’t have these points available, which would mean I would need to transfer 640,000 American Express Membership Rewards points to SPG (2:1 ratio in Australia), representing terrible value. The value is equally bad for transfers to SPG from NZ Amex Membership Rewards
  2. Aeroplan
: you can convert 1:1 to Aeroplan, however, I didn’t have 160,000 Starpoints available, so once again, I would have needed to transfer Amex points to SPG at 2:1 ratio in Australia, which would have also been a terrible redemption of 320,000 Amex points
  3. Marriott Travel Package
: I remembered reading about the Marriott Rewards program after I achieved Platinum Elite following an SPG Platinum status challenge, so I knew they partnered with United. I also discovered the accommodation and miles packages for 270,000 Marriott Rewards points which also included a maximum of 132,000 United miles—this was going to be the best redemption option

Marriott Rewards Travel Package

I decided to order a Marriott Rewards 7 Night Category 1-5 package, with the maximum available 132,000 United MileagePlus miles. With this voucher purchase, I was then only 28,000 miles shy of what I needed!

Plus, United had a 50% bonus on purchased miles that month, so I would only need to buy 20,000 and receive 10,000 bonus points.

I already had 26,000 points in Marriott Rewards and 48,000 in SPG, bringing me to 170,000 Marriott points. I just needed a top-up of 67,000 Amex points, which converted to 33,500 SPG Starpoints at 2:1 ratio in Australia, which then converted to 100,500 Marriott Rewards points to make up the shortfall.

So at this stage, I was excited that my plan was going work perfectly.


After calling Marriott Rewards to order the Travel Package, the United miles came through overnight, so I immediately went to the United website to book the flights.

After entering the final payment details and clicking ‘Purchase’, it returned a page error.

I tried another credit card and it failed as well.

I jumped on the phone and the operator broke the news there was in fact no availability for 24 December and that United had IT issues relating to Star Alliance awards showing as phantom space!

The operator said that the situation was most likely that award seats were available on to Aeroplan frequent flyer members only, as they don’t always release seats to partners.

Considering the effort to transfer points to United, I was furious. However, there was nothing I could do about it except try to find other dates with real availability.

Hindsight really is a wonderful thing, and I really should have read the warning signs when KrisFlyer didn’t show the same availability as United.

Thankfully, I found availability a month later for Brisbane to Vancouver on Air Canada’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner and called to confirm before shifting all our plans out a month. So instead of Christmas and New Year in Canada, it turned into a January birthday holiday.

Then around five months before departure, I received a notification from ExpertFlyer that award seats on the direct flight from Sydney to Vancouver were available, which made me switch for an additional $145 AUD in fees.

Total points used

All up, I used:

  • 68,000 Amex points (2:1 ratio to SPG in Australia)
  • 48,000 SPG points
  • 26,000 Marriott Rewards points

equalling 142,788 points, which converted into 270,000 Marriott Rewards points to get the 132,000 United points.

The one-way flights were priced at $7,024 AUD each at the time of booking, a smidge cheaper than the $7,687 required for return flights.

Plus, I calculated approximately $1,400 value in the seven-night accommodation package.

Considering I only used 142,788 points to convert into 270,000, I calculated a redemption value of over 10 cents per point.

The value of Marriott Rewards Travel Packages

The Marriott Rewards Travel Packages are a great option for getting points into various frequent flyer programs if you also need accommodation.

It is important to remember that these must be used in sequential days at the one property and if you do not stay all seven nights, the remaining nights will be forfeited.

You have 12 months to use the certificate but if you upgrade the certificate to a higher hotel tier package, you’ll receive an extra 12 months from the time of the upgrade. I have done this twice so far without any issues.

Summing up

I learnt a valuable lesson booking these flights: phantom award seats are real and you should always call to confirm partner award seat availability before you move a single point.

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Iberia sale: fly in a lie-flat Business Class seat between Europe and the US for only 25,500 Avios https://www.pointhacks.co.nz/iberia-plus-avios-offers/ https://www.pointhacks.co.nz/iberia-plus-avios-offers/#respond Thu, 08 Mar 2018 23:00:14 +0000 Thu, 08 Mar 2018 23:00:14 +0000 The following question posted in our Australian Questions & Answers section is a golden one:

Is it worth joining Iberia Plus after joining British Airways Executive Club?

My answer would be, ‘most definitely’, as you can transfer your British Airways Avios over to Iberia for (often) lower award pricing and (almost always) lower taxes.

Current offer: 25% off awards to select US, Latin American and Asian destinations

Until 18 March, you can save 25% off the regular award price for Business Class travel between Iberia’s hub in Madrid and destinations in The Americas and Asia, including (all one-way pricing):

  • New York: 25,500 Avios
  • Boston: 25,500 Avios
  • Chicago: 25,500 Avios
  • Miami: 31,900 Avios
  • Shanghai: 38,000 Avios
  • Buenos Aires: 38,250 Avios
  • Tokyo: 44,600 Avios

Travel dates are 1 October to 15 December 2018 and bookings must be made by 18 March.

The discount applies only to direct flights to/from Madrid, i.e. connecting intra-European segments or travel on partner airlines like American Airlines or British Airways is not eligible.

There is no clear promotion page, however, the discount should be automatically applied when you find an open seat.

And depending on the direction of travel and airport, taxes should be around the $85-115 USD mark.

There are also discounts for Economy travel but we’d suggest saving your points for premium cabin flights.

Iberia Business Class

I flew with Iberia from Medellín, Colombia to Madrid last year and gave the flight three stars. Most importantly, you’ll get lie-flat bed and direct aisle access but reports are that service can be very variable and I found the food bland.

Iberia’s main lounge at Madrid’s Barajas Airport has recently been renovated.

How to get your hands on Iberia Plus Avios

Carefully read the section When to transfer Avios over to Iberia Plus in our guide to buying British Airways and Iberia Plus Avios, taking special note of the following:

One key point to note is that your Iberia Plus account must be 90 days old and must have earned at least 1 Avios point to be able to purchase and transfer miles.

The easiest way to fulfil this requirement is to simply credit your next Qantas or oneworld flight, car hire or hotel stay to Iberia Plus.

Sometimes if you’re lucky, and you’ve had your account for a few months already, Iberia will credit you with a few Avios to get you started.

How to make a booking

Given Iberia’s new search function is quite restrictive, you may prefer to first search for award flights on the American Airlines website (click Non-stop flights only) to see a month view, and then proceed with your booking on the Iberia website.

Offer history

  • March 2018: 25% off Business and Economy Class tickets to the US, Latin America and Asia
  • January 2018: 25% off Business and Economy Class tickets to the US, Africa and Asia

Summing up

If you don’t already have an Iberia Plus account, then open one for free now and credit your next eligible flight to them, meaning you’ll be eligible to transfer British Airways Avios across for the next promotion.

If you are lucky enough to have access to Iberia Plus Avios and are planning some travel to/from Spain in the next few months, then this could be a great award redemption for you!

Have you made any good-value redemptions through Iberia Plus before? Please share in the comments below!

H/T: Ultima Llamada

Do you have a points-related question?

  1. Search the Point Hacks website using the Looking For Something? box (located to the right-hand side of any post) to see if we have already answered your question in a previous post.

  2. You can submit your question in the comments section below, and someone from the Point Hacks Community, whether another reader or one of our team members, will hopefully be able to help you out.

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4x Fly Buys or Airpoints Dollars on fuel purchases this Friday 9 March https://www.pointhacks.co.nz/earning-airpoints-dollars-z-fuel/ https://www.pointhacks.co.nz/earning-airpoints-dollars-z-fuel/#respond Thu, 08 Mar 2018 17:00:58 +0000 Thu, 08 Mar 2018 17:00:58 +0000 Z Fuel are again running a flash bonus Fly Buys and Airpoints Dollars offer for fuel purchases from Z stations.

Scan your Fly Buys or Airpoints card when you fuel up with petrol or diesel at Z from 6am on Friday 9th March, to 6am Saturday 10th March, and you’ll earn either 4x Fly Buys points, or 4x Airpoints Dollars.


We recommend swiping your Fly Buys card for this offer – you’ll not only earn quadruple Fly Buys points, but you’ll also receive a 6 cents per litre discount. This means you’re effectively ‘earning back’ 9.2 cents per litre.

If you opt for Airpoints Dollars, you’re only ‘earning back’ a meagre 4 cents per litre.

Guide to earning points at Z for fuel and in-store purchases

You have the choice of earning either Fly Buys points or Airpoints Dollars when purchasing fuel at Z. You can also earn points on some in-store purchases. You have to pick one or the other – you cannot earn both.

Fly Buys

You’ll earn 1 Fly Buys point every time you purchase 20 litres of fuel and swipe your membership card. A record is kept of your fuel talley, so you won’t miss out on points if you’re filling up less than 20 litres at a time.

You need 6 Fly Buys points to redeem for $1 on flights via Helloworld. Therefore at the standard earn rate, you’re effectively receiving 0.8 cents back for each litre you fuel up.

However, as a bonus, you’ll also get an instant 6 cents off per litre, each time you fuel up. This then works out to be an effective 6.8 cents back for each litre of fuel.

You can also earn Fly Buys points for the following in-store purchases:


Airpoints Dollars

You can earn 1 Airpoints Dollar (or part thereof) for every 100 litres of fuel purchased at Z, and 1 Airpoints Dollar (or part thereof) for every $50 you spend on the following:


Based on Airpoints Dollars being pegged to the New Zealand Dollar, the standard earn rate effectively works out to be a 1 cent per litre discount, and a 2% rebate on qualifying purchases.

The effective ‘discount per litre’ is abysmal compared to Fly Buys, and can likely be attributed to the fact that the rewards program is 25% owned by Z.

Key points of the partnership that you should know

  • To earn points, customers will need to present their Fly Buys or Airpoints membership card at the cash register, or scan their card directly at the pump
  • There is no need to split your transactions to maximise earn – with Fly Buys, a talley is kept of how much fuel you purchase to ensure you don’t miss out on points. With Airpoints, you’ll earn APD ‘part thereof’ according to your fill and/or spend
  • If you want to save money on fuel purchases, you’re better off opting to use your Fly Buys card

Remember that Fly Buys and Airpoints members will also earn points if using a credit card that allows you to ‘double dip’ on spend.

The highest earning Airpoints card currently available is the American Express Airpoints Platinum, where you’ll earn 1 Airpoints Dollar for every $59 spent.

You can also collect points when you use a Z Gift Card to pay for qualifying items.

Pay for a Z Gift Card with an American Express Platinum Edge from any of the following supermarkets, and you’ll earn Membership Rewards that can be transferred to numerous different frequent flyer programs:

  • Countdown
  • Farro Fresh
  • FreshChoice
  • New World
  • Nosh
  • SuperValue

Earning points with the Z Card

You can earn points through your business too.

If you have your Fly Buys number loaded on your Z Card account, Z Fuel will add up your total fuel spend at the end of the month. You’ll get 1 Fly Buys point for every complete $50 (incl GST) you spend on fuel.

If you have your Airpoints number loaded on your Z Card account, they’ll add up your total fuel spend at the end of the month and you’ll earn Airpoints Dollars at the rate of 1 for every $200 (incl GST) spent.

The plus is that there is no need for you to swipe your Fly Buys or Airpoints card in store – your points will be collected automatically.

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