Point Hacks NZPoint Hacks NZ https://www.pointhacks.co.nz The best frequent flyer deals & offers for New Zealand. Fri, 20 Oct 2017 00:35:02 +0000 en-NZ hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.1 Starwood Hotels & Uber tie-up provides opportunity to earn points with every taxi ride you take https://www.pointhacks.co.nz/spg-uber-partnership-guide/ https://www.pointhacks.co.nz/spg-uber-partnership-guide/#respond Wed, 18 Oct 2017 20:00:06 +0000 Wed, 18 Oct 2017 20:00:06 +0000 Starwood Preferred Guest are partnered with and will have you earning at least 1 Starpoint per US dollar for every ride made with Uber.

There’s only one catch – 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.

Not an easy feat here in New Zealand where there are no SPG hotels – though this is set to change in 2018 with the new Four Points by Sheraton in Auckland Central. In the interim, you’ll need to take up a stay in Australia or further abroad.

As an upside, you’ll earn extra points if you Uber during your stay at a Starwood hotel, with the bonus matching that of your SPG tier – so Gold and Platinum members will earn triple points on Uber spend after check-in.

All Starwood Preferred Guest members otherwise can benefit from the tie-up, unlike Starwood’s deals with Emirates and Delta where you’ll need status with either Starwood or the airline to get any advantage.

SPG Uber Earn Table

Why’s this partnership so great?

It gives me an additional incentive to use Uber to pre-book taxis for work and personal expenses, rather than just hailing them off the street, and I’ll feel slightly less hard-done by when using the more expensive Uber Black when I have to as well.

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 Air New Zealand.

Uber is a great addition into the mix of American Express Membership Rewards and Starwood hotel stays for Starpoint earn.

How to get started

Linking accounts is pretty easy over at the dedicated SPG site – you’ll need to make sure your last name and email address match on both your SPG and Uber accounts.

SPG Uber Account Link Success

That’s it, simple.

Will earning SPG points from your taxi spend with Uber change your taxi booking behaviour?

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Meet the Point Hacks team and see how each person travelled to Singapore for our catchup https://www.pointhacks.co.nz/point-hacks-singapore-team-meetup/ https://www.pointhacks.co.nz/point-hacks-singapore-team-meetup/#respond Tue, 17 Oct 2017 20:00:36 +0000 Tue, 17 Oct 2017 20:00:36 +0000 The Point Hacks crew just wrapped up a team meetup in Singapore last month. As we are spread from coast-to-coast in Australia, across to Auckland, up to The Philippines and over to the US, we enjoyed getting to spend some time face-to-face.

The picture above is of us on a sunset walk along the Southern Ridges (which we’d highly recommend on your next Singapore stopover!). Now you can put faces to names for some of our team (L-R): Warren, Keith, Matt, Todd, Sheena, Steven and Daniel.

We also have a few others working both as writers and behind-the-scenes who were unable to make it.

Most of us stayed at the St. Regis Singapore, an excellent Starwood property, and during our three days together we went hiking, marvelled at the Cloud Forest at Gardens by the Bay, and enjoyed the Formula 1 Grand Prix.

The breakfast buffet at the St. Regis, with typical Singaporean tropical steaminess on the windows

Here is how each person flew to Singapore and what they thought of the product:

Keith from Sydney in British Airways First Class

Role: As the founder of Point Hacks, I manage all the various moving pieces of the Point Hacks machine and try and make everyone else’s jobs as straightforward as possible
Based in: Sydney, Australia
Cost: 50,000 AAdvantage miles + ~$150 USD in taxes

The Qantas International First Lounge in Sydney was, as usual, consistently good with the British Airways flight well-timed at 3pm for a three-course meal before departure.

The BA First seat and cabin were neat and spacious, although needed a bit of a clean. Comfort and privacy were definitely improved compared to most Business Class offerings, especially BA’s Club World, which is not so great – First was definitely a cut above.

The flight attendants were the friendliest and most professional I have had with BA, and the service didn’t really miss a beat anywhere. I was impressed – I must have got a good crew.

Steven & Sheena from Manila in Singapore Airlines Business Class

Role: As Operations Manager, I always try my best to make everyone’s life at Point Hacks a lil’ bit easier by acting as an extra hand, while also making sure everything is running smoothly and on schedule
Based in: Tagaytay City, The Philippines
Cost: 17,000 KrisFlyer miles + $11.06 USD in taxes per person

I travelled to Singapore with my partner Sheena, who used to have my job and still helps out with some work for the site.

We had the SilverKris Lounge all to ourselves very early in the morning and it was quite spacious yet cosy with lots of individual seatings and each cubicle having its own power outlet and side table.

For the flight, the angled-flat leather seats were comfortable and wide with lots of legroom, acceptable for regional flights but perhaps not so ideal for long-haul flights due to the limited recline.

The service was awesome, with welcome drinks, hot towels provided and even taking the extra step of calling me by my surname when they asked us for our meal choices.

The overall experience did not disappoint at all, however, the main drawback of this flight was the dated cabin, which still has a nice design but is showing its age.

Daniel from Auckland via Sydney in Qantas Business Class

Role: As Managing Editor of Point Hacks NZ, I introduce Kiwis to the world of points and miles, showing them the full range of options to help them travel cheaply and in style
Based in: Auckland, New Zealand
Cost: Points + Pay and a double Status Credits offer (800 SCs for the return trip)

After flying on a Boeing 737 for the shorter Trans-Tasman segment, the Sydney to Singapore leg was on the newer Airbus A330, whose Business Class Suites are comfortable and have plenty of space for working during the flight.

I like that you have the ability to order your meal online prior to boarding – that way, you only need to worry about what drinks you’ll be pairing your food with!

The Qantas International Business Class Lounge in Sydney is usually pretty crowded, but the quality of food and drink in the lounge is good.

Customer service on Qantas is always top-notch, especially if you have status with the airline.

Warren from Brisbane via Bangkok in THAI Business Class

Role: As Community Manager for Point Hacks AU, I mainly look after the Questions section in the Community area of the website and edit questions to make it more conducive for other Point Hacks readers to answer
Based in: Brisbane, Australia
Cost: 30,000 United MileagePlus miles (jumps to 50,000 miles after devaluation on 1 November)

This was my third time flying the Brisbane – Bangkok route with THAI.

Customer service onboard is warm and friendly as usual, and I have always had a good sleep on their flat bed in Business Class despite being in the 2-2-2 configuration. The food and beverage were good.

The Air New Zealand Lounge in Brisbane was very decent, however, the Royal Silk Lounge in Bangkok was very busy as usual and I did not get my free massage again.

I got the United miles via a Marriott Travel Package.

Matt from San Francisco direct in Singapore Airlines Business Class

Role: As Managing Editor of Point Hacks AU, I am responsible for producing my own and editing our other writers’ blog posts to help you travel more frequently, cheaply and comfortably
Based in: Austin, USA
Cost: 68,000 KrisFlyer miles + $361 USD in taxes (after KrisFlyer pricing changes in March, increased to 88,000 miles but only $28 USD taxes)

I was excited to fly the newish Airbus A350 on the world’s fifth longest flight, a total of 16 hours in the air.

I enjoyed excellent service and a very comfortable bed with direct aisle access, which was important for such a long flight.

The inflight entertainment system was very responsive and I was able to watch four movies during the flight, as well as get some work done with an acceptable wifi speed.

Even though the cabin was full, I only had to wait for the lavatory once, and the cabin was noticeably quieter on the more fuel-efficient A350.

My only gripe was that I had ordered a special meal and received the same one for both lunch and dinner but the cabin crew were happy to modify the à la carte menu to cater to my needs.

This same seat can be found on the entire Airbus A350 and Boeing 777-300ER fleet, which services a big chunk of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane (by mid-January 2017) flights. This flight was part of a larger trip around the Pacific.

Todd from Singapore in MRT Standing Class

Role: As Analytics Manager, I build useful tools for Point Hacks readers
Based in: Singapore
Cost: $1.78 SGD for a metro ride

Summing up

With the entire Point Hacks team working remotely, this was a special opportunity to do some team-building and chat about what we’re doing right and what we can do to improve.

We hope you have gotten to know us a little better and we thank you for your continued support of our efforts.

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Blacklane now offering 3x Asia Miles per $1 USD for rides until 31 March 2018 https://www.pointhacks.co.nz/earning-points-new-zealand-taxis-guide/ https://www.pointhacks.co.nz/earning-points-new-zealand-taxis-guide/#respond Tue, 17 Oct 2017 19:30:11 +0000 Tue, 17 Oct 2017 19:30:11 +0000 Blacklane is running a promotion to get you using their luxury airport transfer service, with 6 Asia Miles per $USD spent on bookings made by the 31st December 2017, and completed by the 31 March 2018.

Be sure to add your Asia Miles membership number to your Profile under the Frequent Flyer program section on the Blacklane website.


How to earn points with airport shuttle, taxi, rideshare, 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, KrisFlyer or Starwood Preferred Guest loyalist will typically 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 Miles6 miles per USD107132 (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
ConxxeEtihad Guest1 mile per USD18N/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: 6 miles per USD/EUR/GBP spent on bookings made by 31 December 2017, for rides completed by 31 March 2018

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

Asia Miles is a much more useful and accessible program for travellers in New Zealand than Lufthansa’s Miles & More, so we’d recommend you stick with them.

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 four 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. Etihad Guest is a good program for Virgini Australia redemptions, so they could be an option too. 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, 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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Save an upfront 16% off hotel bookings with CheapTickets until 13 November https://www.pointhacks.co.nz/promo-codes-for-cheaper-hotel-bookings/ https://www.pointhacks.co.nz/promo-codes-for-cheaper-hotel-bookings/#respond Tue, 17 Oct 2017 18:30:59 +0000 Tue, 17 Oct 2017 18:30:59 +0000 You can always save between 8 – 20% off your hotel bookings by using promo codes on CheapTickets, Orbitz, Expedia and Hotels.com.

While these codes cannot be used on bookings with most of the major hotel chains, they can be used with thousands of independent hotels around the world.

In this guide, we’ll look at the different promotions on offer, the relevant terms / exclusions for each, and the credit cards you can use that have low international transaction fees (as CheapTickets and Orbitz charge in US Dollars).

We’ll republish this guide each time new promo codes are released.

It’s usually a prerequisite to have an account with these sites if you want to use their promo codes, so if you don’t already, you can join up via these links:

Orbitz

Beach Resort

If you frequently stay at independent hotels, use Orbitz for most of your bookings, and you’re happy to use their mobile app, this offer works out to be the best available (even taking into account any international transaction fees).

The Orbucks you earn can be used on future hotel bookings, and you don’t require any minimum amount to redeem (e.g. if you only have 2 Orbucks, you can redeem them for a $2 USD discount off a future stay).

  • Promo Code: HAPPYFALL
  • Discount: 15% + 5% back in ‘Orbucks’ if you use their mobile app
  • Valid until: 23 October 2017 4.59PM NZST
  • Travel finished by: 30 June 2018
  • You can see the full offer details and how to use the promo code through this link

You are limited to two redemptions of the promo code (they usually offer a new one each month), and up to a maximum saving of $150 USD per booking (excludes Orbucks earn). After those two bookings, this promo code will not be able to be used again, even if one or more of those bookings is cancelled.

Below is another Orbitz offer that we are aware of:

Save $25 USD on bookings via the Orbitz app

  • Promo Code: 25DOWNLOAD
  • Discount: $25 + 5% back in ‘Orbucks’ if you use their mobile app
  • Valid until: 31 December 2017
  • Travel finished by: 31 December 2017
  • Only available on bookings that are $100 or more, and for 2 or more nights. Limit one discount per hotel room, and one promotion code per booking.
  • You can see the full offer details and how to use the promo code through this link

CheapTickets

Hammock on the beach

CheapTickets usually have the best offer available if you want an upfront discount, and will be best for those who don’t travel or stay at independent hotels regularly.

  • Promo Code: FALLPLAY
  • Discount: 16%
  • Valid until: 13 November 2017 4.59PM NZST
  • Travel finished by: 30 June 2018
  • You can see the full offer details and how to use the promo code through this link

You are limited to two redemptions of the promo code (they usually offer a new one each month), and up to a maximum saving of $150 USD per booking. After those two bookings, this promo code will not be able to be used again, even if one or more of those bookings is cancelled.

Expedia

Bagan Myanmar

The offer below is exclusive to New Zealand Mastercard credit card holders.

Although you won’t incur any international transaction fees when booking through Expedia, you’ll find that Orbitz and Cheaptickets still offer a greater discount overall. However like Orbitz, you can earn Expedia+ Points towards future bookings, once you have at least 140 points (which is equal to $1 NZD).

  • Promo Code: Randomly generated, visit this page
  • Discount: 12% + at least 2.85-5.7% back in ‘Expedia+ Points’ if you use their mobile app, depending on whether you end up redeeming your Expedia+ points for normal hotels, or VIP Access hotels
  • Valid until: 31 December 2017
  • Travel finished by: 30 June 2018
  • No blackout dates, can be combined with special +VIP hotel offers, such as free nights, discounts, upgrades, and dining and spa credits (where available)
  • Only one Coupon per transaction may be used. In a multiple-room booking, the discount will be applied to only one room.
  • You don’t need an account to use the Mastercard code, but you must have an account to earn Expedia+ Points
  • You can see the full offer details, including excluded hotel chains, through this link

Hotels.com

Pool by the beach

Hotels.com generally offer the least appealing offers out of the booking sites in this article. Using any of these promo codes will also cause you to miss out on earning any Welcome Rewards nights, so if you book regularly with Hotels.com, you’re generally better off sticking to the free nights rather than using promo codes.

On the plus side, there are lots of offers available, and you won’t incur any international transaction fees when booking through Hotels.com.

Mastercard Offer

This offer is exclusive to Mastercard credit card holders.

  • Promo Code: MASTERCARD – must book via this page
  • Discount: 8%
  • Valid until: 31 December 2017
  • Travel finished by: 31 March 2018
  • Only one Coupon per transaction may be used. In a multiple-room booking, the discount will be applied to only one room. Only for stays of up to 28 nights.

Visa Offer

This offer is exclusive to Visa credit card holders.

  • Promo Code: VISA8 – must book via this page
  • Discount: 8%
  • Valid until: 31 December 2017
  • Travel finished by: 31 March 2018
  • Only one Coupon per transaction may be used. In a multiple-room booking, the discount will be applied to only one room.

Key points that are common for all Hotels.com offers:

  • If you subscribe to their emails, you’ll receive an exclusive promo code every month or so.
  • Most major hotel chains are excluded, you can see the full list at this link.

Factors to consider when using these promo codes

As with any promotion, there are different factors you’ll need to consider before booking:

  • All of these offers are for stand-alone hotel bookings only, not in conjunction with any other product types (unless otherwise mentioned above).
  • The discounts will not apply to taxes/fees.
  • You must pay up front and not at the hotel (though the codes can still be used on refundable rates, it just means you’ll need to wait for a refund back to your credit card account if you choose to cancel).
  • CheapTickets and Orbitz charge in US Dollars, which means that you’ll incur international transaction fees with most credit cards, effectively reducing your ‘discount’ by up to 2.5% for the NZD amount, depending on your credit card (we have listed all the available rates in New Zealand below). Though in saying this, they still generally offer a better discount than the sites that don’t incur credit card fees.
  • Sometimes – and it’s less likely when the discounts are as large as some of those listed above – it can be better value to contact the hotel and enquire what deal they can offer, if you book direct. All hotels pay commission to these sites for each booking, and if you book direct instead, the hotel saves on these fees. While they may not offer a discount, they could offer a room upgrade or daily free breakfast (from my experience), and that could work out good value for longer stays. If they offer you something like this, make sure you get it in writing!

Minimising your international transaction fees

CheapTickets and Orbitz charge in US dollars, so you’ll more than likely incur an international transaction fee when booking through these sites with a credit card.

Most credit cards in New Zealand issued by the major banks charge on average about 2.5% on the NZD converted amount of international transactions. However, there are quite a few that are lower than this.

We have listed the different card providers below so you can compare. Remember that your credit card may have a reward program that provides a return on your spend (cashback, frequent flyer miles etc.), so make sure you factor this in when deciding which card to use.

E.g. the American Express Airpoints Platinum will see you earn 1 Airpoints Dollar for every $59 you spend on your Card, which will reduce the ‘currency fee’ to an effective 0.8%.

Note that we have not included the fees charged for any discontinued products.

Credit CardInternational Transaction Fee
Flight Centre Mastercard1.4%
Q Mastercard1.4%
Kiwibank1.85%
Countdown Onecard1.9%
Diners Club New Zealand2%
Gem Visa2%
Warehouse Money2%
ASB2.1%
BNZ2.25%
American Express2.5%
Westpac2.5%
TSB2.5%
The Cooperative Bank2.5%

Do you need help finding the best deals on hotels?

Hotel

While the offers above are simple to redeem, I do offer a service that helps you find the cheapest prices for hotel bookings, including liaising with hotels directly to see if they can offer better prices or stay offers when booking direct. This is especially useful for those who are short on time, but would still like to save money.

If you ever need help with a hotel booking, please feel free to contact me.

Summing Up

Saving money on your hotel stays isn’t hard – I’m always surprised to hear people say that they’ve paid full price for accommodation on their holidays.

CheapTickets is generally your best choice for up front discounts, and Orbitz is best where you make frequent bookings and can take advantage of the Orbucks earn. These sites however have a savings cap of $150 USD. If you’re booking expensive stays, it could be cheaper to use Expedia or Hotels.com.

Always do your comparisons and sums to make sure you’re getting the best deal on your booking. Prices can vary between sites, even in spite of promo code usage, and sometimes the best deal can be found by contacting the hotel directly.

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Singapore Airlines Award Seats can now be booked online at United.com https://www.pointhacks.co.nz/book-singapore-airlines-award-seats-online-united/ https://www.pointhacks.co.nz/book-singapore-airlines-award-seats-online-united/#respond Tue, 17 Oct 2017 00:00:55 +0000 Tue, 17 Oct 2017 00:00:55 +0000 Singapore Airlines award space is now appearing on United.com, which is great news for New Zealand travellers who may have MileagePlus miles that they wish to use before their award chart devaluation on November 1.

United have previously required you to make Singapore Airlines award bookings over the phone, which is a process that requires both time and patience.

You won’t find any Business Class award seats on direct flights to Singapore from Auckland and Christchurch, however availability is wide open from Wellington via Canberra on the ‘Capital Express’.

Singapore-777-200

Singapore Airlines feature their Boeing 777-200 Regional Business Class between Wellington and Canberra on the ‘Capital Express’. Image courtesy of Singapore Airlines.

Those based in Auckland and Christchurch can redeem via Wellington for the same price, with a connecting award flight on Air New Zealand, albeit in Economy.

United-MileagePlus-1

United-MileagePlus-2

This won’t appeal to all, given it will require at least two layovers if you’re not starting from Wellington.

A one-way Business Class redemption between New Zealand and Singapore will cost 30,000 United MileagePlus miles until the end of October 2017, increasing to 50,000 miles from the 1 November 2017.

The main way that Kiwis can acquire MileagePlus miles is via one of their regular buy miles promotions, which we cover here.

Economy award seats are showing on most direct Singapore Airlines flights from Auckland and Christchurch, if this is seen as a more preferable option.

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Case study: How Qantas, Finnair and British Airways’ Business Class products compare (Part 3) https://www.pointhacks.co.nz/bevan-case-study-part-3/ https://www.pointhacks.co.nz/bevan-case-study-part-3/#respond Mon, 16 Oct 2017 20:00:59 +0000 Mon, 16 Oct 2017 20:00:59 +0000 This series wraps up with a look at Bevan’s experiences of some of the flights and lounges on his trip to Europe and Asia.

Plus, why you should try to avoid flying British Airways Business Class.


Case study: Bevan’s oneworld Classic Flight Reward redemption to Europe and Asia

Part 1: About me and how I accumulate points
Part 2: How I booked my oneworld Classic Flight Reward
Part 3: My experiences of the flights and lounges


Sydney to Hong Kong on Qantas’ Boeing 747

Qantas’ Business Class seat provides plenty of legroom and the privacy shell is cosy without being claustrophobic. There are plenty of nooks and spaces for mobile phones, reading glasses and other paraphernalia.

Upstairs on the 747, the curvature of the fuselage provides extra storage space right by the seat.

There are only 16 Business Class seats in the nose of Qantas’ 747

Unfortunately, the much-hyped Neil Perry food was disappointing. The cabin crew were a little stressed and overworked on this full flight, continually offering bread and cakes to my gluten-intolerant partner.

Read more in our review of Qantas 747 Business Class.

Osaka to Helsinki on Finnair’s Airbus A330

This was the best flight of our trip in terms of seat comfort and service. The plane was an older A330 as Finnair has not upgraded this flight to the A350 yet. The A330 employs an alternating 1-2-2 configuration, which provides plenty of room.

Seats 2A and 6A are the picks, being the ‘throne seats’

The seat becomes lie-flat with your feet extending underneath the armrest of the seat in front. There was plenty of room for my 183cm frame; even in the footwell, I could not touch the end and was able to easily turn over without whacking my ankles or knees against the partitions.

Indeed, the lie-flat seat was so comfortable I did not watch any video on the entire nine-hour flight.

Nordic style abounds on Finnair, from the Marimekko crockery and iittala glassware, to the Marimekko bed linen and amenity pack.

All bundled up in Marimekko bedding

My breakfast on this flight was the best airline meal of the tripl

We were arriving into Helsinki on the day of the midsummer festival and chatted with cabin staff about things to do. We were particularly impressed when the steward returned with a full page of handwritten notes on locations to visit, tours to take, distances from our hotel and even prices. This was above and beyond the call of duty.

Transiting to Zurich the next day, unfortunately, I could not experience the sauna in the Finnair lounge, as that is located in the non-Schengen departures area.

Finnair Schengen lounge

We thoroughly enjoyed our flight with Finnair and they backed it up again the next day on the leg to Zurich. I am looking forward to flying the A350 when Finnair deploys it routes to Asia.

Intra-European legs on British Airways

To get to and from Reyjavik, we had to fly British Airways through London Heathrow.

This flight only operates five times a week and the plane departs Heathrow at 8am, so I took advantage of the transfer rule to book an overnight stay at the Sofitel Heathrow. The hotel is a short undercover walk from Terminal 5 and is good for a late-night arrival or early-morning departure but otherwise it is a lot of money for what you get.

Business Class on short-haul European flights is just Economy with the middle seat spare, and free food and drinks. These were three-hour flights, on which we were served a tolerable but bland lunch. There is no onboard entertainment system – only the flight map.

London to Hong Kong on British Airways’ Boeing 777

This configuration is highly ‘efficient’, cramming in eight seats per row on all wide-body aircraft, except for the 787 which has one less seat in the middle. To make this work, four seats in each row face backwards.

This shot is taken looking towards the front of the plane

My partner and I had two middle seats and it was a little disconcerting to be facing the ‘wrong’ way, especially when taxiing, however, high partitions surround all the seats, making the middle section almost like a private nest.

Once the seats fold out, it is almost like a double bed, with only a small partition between our heads. Having said that, this seating arrangement would be a little too intimate if one were seated next to a stranger.

The downside of this configuration is that the backward-facing seats like ours do not have direct-aisle access. One has to squeeze between a narrow gap in the partitions and, if the neighbour has the bed extended, then step over their feet to get to the aisle.

Luckily on our flight, the cabin was only half full, so passengers re-arranged themselves to avoid disturbance, however, this would be a different matter if the flight was full.

Cabin crew need to lower the privacy screen in order to serve food and drinks, meaning they lean right over your neighbour facing the aisle. If I was sitting in one of those seats, I would find that extremely annoying.

From the menu, the food sounded good, however, we found the food on almost all of the BA flights we took to be overcooked, uninspiring and lacking taste. It seems British Airways is caught up in a race to the bottom with low-cost carriers.

Breakfast on this flight was a watery, uninspiring traditional English meal – it is curious that a British airline is unable to put together a proper English breakfast.

Despite the poor quality of food, I actually had a great flight.

The cabin crew service was impeccable – they delivered and cleared the food quickly to leave as much time as possible for sleep. The staff were also so attentive that they remembered what type of tea we liked and woke us gently when breakfast was served.

The bed was really comfortable and I managed about six hours of reasonably deep slumber, arriving in Hong Kong refreshed, despite the seven-hour time difference.

Having said that, next time I will try to organise an itinerary which flies Finnair, Cathay Pacific or perhaps even Qatar Airways to get out of Europe.

Heathrow Terminal 5 Aspire Spa and Lounge

This lounge is a welcome retreat from the frenetic hustle and bustle of the main terminal. However, it is small and given the sheer volume of flights, is probably crowded most of the time (it certainly when we visited during the busy summer holidays). However, good food and friendly, conscientious staff compensate for this shortcoming.

We entered this lounge for free due to the Priority Pass membership that comes with my American Express Platinum Charge card.

The lounge opened in 2015 and about a third of this space is occupied by a spa and showers, so there is not much room left over for chairs and tables.

The lounge staff were friendly and helpful but clearly very busy trying to service the lounge but that did not stop one of them exceeding our expectations. We were settled in sharing seating with some other travellers (without necessarily being comfortable) when one of the attendants approached and offered to move us to some vacant seats.

It took us a few moments to gather up all our belongings, during which time they stood guard by the vacant seats until we arrived. We then had a very comfortable two hours relaxing in deep easy chairs and were very grateful.

As the lounge was full, the food emptied quickly but was regularly replaced, meaning the food was fresh and quite tasty.

Spa services and showers are available between 9am and 5pm at an additional cost.

The sister lounge in Terminal 3 is one of the best shared lounges I’ve ever visited.

Summing up

I have flown similar legs previously in Economy and this time I noticed a significant reduction in jetlag after having a decent sleep on the flight. Indeed, the Business Class seats on all flights were so comfortable that I barely used any inflight entertainment.

After Business Class, I can probably never go back to Economy for long-haul flights. I do not put a great priority on the food and drinks but lie-flat beds cannot be beaten when spending so many hours in the air.

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Case study: how I saved $500 in fuel surcharges by booking my Virgin Atlantic award flight through Velocity https://www.pointhacks.co.nz/velocity-points-virgin-atlantic-flights-booking-guide/ https://www.pointhacks.co.nz/velocity-points-virgin-atlantic-flights-booking-guide/#respond Sun, 15 Oct 2017 19:00:49 +0000 Sun, 15 Oct 2017 19:00:49 +0000 I wanted to share my discovery that one of the best uses of Velocity Points is for Virgin Atlantic Upper Class redemptions.

Here is how I used only 40,000 points + $14.90 AUD in taxes to book a $7,000 USD flight from New York to London during the Christmas holidays.

The challenge

Recently, I booked a trip to New York during the 2017 Christmas holidays and after New York, I planned to go to London.

I looked at a number of options on the first airlines you would think of – the big three US carriers and British Airways – but availability was limited as it was peak season.

So I checked sale airfares hoping to find cheap cash tickets but then I saw Virgin Atlantic and that’s when it hit me: ‘why didn’t I think of Virgin Atlantic Upper Class?’ Note: Upper Class is Business Class.

Why consider Virgin Atlantic?

Virgin Atlantic is a British airline with bases at London Heathrow, London Gatwick and Manchester.

They fly mainly to leisure destinations in the US and Caribbean, with a smattering of routes to Asia (Hong Kong, Shanghai and Delhi), Africa (Johannesburg and Lagos) and Dubai.

They fly Airbus A330 and A340 and Boeing 747 and 787 Dreamliner aircraft. The most common configuration is 1-1-1 but some squeeze in 1-2-1 and the 747 has just 1-1 in the nose of the plane.

Flying out of New York, you get access to the highly-regarded Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse JFK with à la carte dining, just like at the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse San Francisco, which Point Hacks visited last year.

Desserts galore in San Francisco

Plus you get to spend the seven hours flying across the pond in a lie-flat seat:

1-2-1 Business Class on the A330

I was sold, so now I had to figure out the cheapest way to book a seat.

How to search for flights

As an American Express Platinum Charge cardholder, I can transfer my Membership Rewards points to seven airline programs, including Virgin Atlantic’s own Flying Club (via SPG) and Virgin Australia’s Velocity programs. So, which frequent flyer program offered the best value of the two?

I created a Virgin Atlantic Flying Club membership so I could search for the award seats and found that availability was fantastic because Virgin Atlantic operates nine daily flights between both New York JFK and Newark and London Heathrow.

As you can probably tell, 57,500 miles to fly one-way in Business Class is OK value but over $500 USD in taxes and fuel surcharges?! Note: this redemption drops to 47,500 miles during off-peak season.

Having said that, the retail airfare was over $7,000 USD to travel during the Christmas holidays, so no presents for the kids if I went down this path.

But then I remembered that Virgin Atlantic was a partner of Velocity Frequent Flyer, which has a reputation for lower taxes than some other programs. According to the Velocity award chart, this redemption would cost 49,500 Velocity Points.

As Virgin Atlantic awards cannot be booked online, I gave Velocity’s call centre a ring, fed the agent a number of dates I had found availability on and she confirmed there were open seats on all the dates I enquired.

Then she quoted me the taxes – are you ready? $14.90 NZD! I nearly fell off my chair.

Transferring the points

In New Zealand, I would need to transfer 100,000 Amex Membership Rewards points to Velocity to redeem this one-way trip ticket. But, as timing is everything and Velocity were offering a 25% transfer bonus, I only had to transfer the Australian equivalent of 80,000 Membership Rewards points. That represents great value for a $7,000 USD ticket.

The booking process

The booking experience over the phone was fairly simple.

However, be mindful that the phone agents cannot see Virgin Atlantic award availability over a five-week calendar like you can on the Flying Club website, so when you are enquiring about availability, the agent needs to manually submit a request to Virgin Atlantic, which respond back with yes or no.

This is one request at a time, for each flight on whichever date you request, so it definitely speeds things up if you can give the agent the flight number you have found an open seat on.

Summing up

From my experience, from the six different flights and dates I asked about, Velocity confirmed availability on all of them so, on face value, it appears Velocity gets access to all available award seats on Virgin Atlantic.

One last note: Velocity points bookings on Virgin Atlantic are not eligible for the complimentary chauffeur service, but since you are saving so much on fuel surcharges by booking through Velocity instead of Flying Club, you may deem this tradeoff worth it.

Please let me know how you go with booking your award flight on Virgin Atlantic and let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.

Supplementary images courtesy of Virgin Atlantic.

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Case study: How I booked my oneworld Classic Flight Reward (Part 2) https://www.pointhacks.co.nz/bevan-case-study-part-2/ https://www.pointhacks.co.nz/bevan-case-study-part-2/#respond Fri, 13 Oct 2017 00:00:21 +0000 Fri, 13 Oct 2017 00:00:21 +0000 In the second installment of this three-part series, Bevan teaches us that it takes a lot of planning, patience and practice to book your dream trip.


Case study: Bevan’s oneworld Classic Flight Reward redemption to Europe and Asia

Part 1: About me and how I accumulate points
Part 2: How I booked my oneworld Classic Flight Reward
Part 3: My experiences of the flights and lounges


Planning, planning and more planning

It takes a lot of planning to research routes and flights. The oneworld Where We Fly interactive map is a great tool for inspiration.

I plan in excess of twelve months before the next trip. I realise not every traveller wants everything so tightly organised, or is willing to plan so far in advance. However, this is the trade-off for flying with points, especially at the pointy end of the plane.

Usually the most award availability opens just under a year out from departure, or in the 1-2 weeks just before a flight.

Know the product

To make the most of your itinerary, ensure you know the rules of redeeming a oneworld Classic Flight Reward, including understanding stopovers (over 24 hours) compared to layovers (under 24 hours), surface sectors, mileage thresholds and direction of travel.

For example, it is a common misconception that you have to travel in one direction when using this reward. In reality, you can travel in any direction you like provided you use the right combination of airlines and comply with the maximum stops, transfers and surface sector rules. That’s what I did.

Here is how my itinerary complied with this particular award’s conditions:

  • Less than 35,000 miles: Great Circle Mapper calculates this itinerary as 26,537 miles, well within the range. Note: booking this itinerary using Cathay Pacific Asia Miles would have saved me 90,000 points – I know where all my American Express Membership Rewards points are going from now on!
  • Five stopovers (over 24 hours): Osaka, Zurich, Reykjavik, London (second time) and Hong Kong
  • Transfers (less than 24 hours): Hong Kong, Helsinki and London (first time), permitted because I departed each city within 24 hours of arriving
  • Two surface sectors: Zurich to Gothenburg, and London to Barcelona
  • At least two oneworld alliance airlines other than Qantas: Cathay Pacific, Finnair and British Airways. Note: I could have flown from Sydney to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific and avoided Qantas completely, which is permitted under this award

Be flexible

When travelling to or from Europe on oneworld airlines like Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines, there is more seat availability via Hong Kong and Japan.

It is almost impossible to find two Business Class seats travelling through Dubai or Singapore with Qantas, even twelve months in advance. Remember, Emirates and Jetstar are not part of oneworld, so including them on your itinerary makes the ticket a Qantas Partner Reward, which costs more points.

You’ll also need to be flexible with timing and destinations. For example, you might have to travel out of Osaka instead of Tokyo to get to Europe on the day you want, or you might have to travel on a less preferred day if you are leaving from a specific location.

Finnair has flights to Helsinki from Tokyo but also Nagoya, Osaka and Fukuoka

Practice, practice and more practice

I usually use the Qantas.com booking engine to run trial bookings with hypothetical dates. This lets me test likely seat availability and also provides an estimate on taxes and fees.

For example, despite extra fuel surcharge of $100 per ticket, I chose to fly Qantas instead of Cathay Pacific out of Sydney in order to sit upstairs in the bubble of the 747. I would not have known this without the trial bookings.

Be aware the Qantas site does not show all Qatar Airways award flights or any Japan Airlines redemption seats. The site is also really bad in the fact that it shows combined Business and Economy seats as a Business Class award.

I use AwardNexus, British Airways Executive Club (I signed up using the address of a London hotel!) and JAL Mileage Bank as a backup to test for apparent lack of availability or phantom seats.

Qantas shows two Finnair flights from Tokyo Nartia to Helsinki

AwardNexus shows the same results but also a British Airways-Finnair combo via London Heathrow

Qantas.com cannot show the Japan Airlines award space but the British Airways site can

The same search on Japan Mileage Bank showed that the seat required waitlisting (denoted by the diamond symbol)

Book early

Once you have your itinerary locked down, book as soon as availability opens – in general, for Qantas, this is 353 days before the last flight in the itinerary.

This is why trial bookings are useful as you can adjust your itinerary for known availability beforehand.

Summing up

Advanced points redemptions like this one require a lot of planning, often more than a year in advance.

My advice is to research each segment individually and piece them together to complete the trip.

Stay tuned for the final installment in which I compare the Business Class offerings between Qantas, Finnair and British Airways.

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Qantas shifts its London flights hub back to Singapore and focuses A380s on Asia https://www.pointhacks.co.nz/qantas-emirates-joint-venture-guide/ https://www.pointhacks.co.nz/qantas-emirates-joint-venture-guide/#respond Thu, 12 Oct 2017 19:00:17 +0000 Thu, 12 Oct 2017 19:00:17 +0000 From March next year, Australia’s flag carrier will refocus on Asia, bringing First and Premium Economy Class back to some of its Singapore flights and aiming to provide a superior transit experience for passengers at Changi Airport than they currently have in Dubai.

Qantas and its joint venture partner Emirates will extend their partnership for another five years but Qantas will switch its London flights hub back to Singapore in order to “shift capacity to the fast-growing Asia market.”

Here is our analysis of the big changes.

Current arrangement

Back in 2013, the two airlines signed a joint venture agreement to share revenue and passengers through Emirates’ giant hub in Dubai, mainly on routes to Europe.

That meant that Qantas switched Singapore for Dubai as its hub between Australia and London.

Routes

Currently, Qantas operates one daily Airbus A380 flight each from Sydney to Melbourne to Dubai, featuring all four cabins (First, Business, Premium Economy and Economy Class). Both flights then continue onto London Heathrow.

Qantas’ current Kangaroo Route

The only aircraft that Qantas has First Class on is its Airbus A380

Alternatively, Qantas Frequent Flyer members can also use the same amount of points to fly Emirates part or the whole way. Emirates is a preferred partner of Qantas, with other partners charging a higher number of points.

The advantage of this arrangement is that Emirates offers direct services from New Zealand to Dubai – flying from Auckland – as well as a wider network to Europe (and other regions).

All Emirates flights from New Zealand to Dubai and onwards to selected European destinations

Lounge access in Dubai

Qantas First and Business Class passengers, as well as those holding Qantas and oneworld elite status, can access the excellent Emirates First and Business Class Lounges in Dubai’s Terminal 3 Concourse A.

Economy and Premium Economy Class passengers can also pay to access the Emirates lounges.

Priority Pass members can only access the average Marhaba Lounge in this area of the airport as well as the sleep ‘n fly sleep pods and cabins.

New arrangement

After five years of the partnership, Qantas will be switching its Kangaroo Route hub from Dubai back to Singapore from 25 March 2018.

Routes

Qantas will redirect its two A380s to stop over in Singapore before one of them continues onto London.

Qantas’ new Kangaroo Route

There will still be one daily A330 service to Singapore from both Sydney and Melbourne. The A330 doesn’t feature First or Premium Economy Class but the Business Class product is much better than the one on the A380 (which is due to get an upgrade in coming years).

Qantas’ A330 Business Studios product is far superior to…

…what’s found on its Airbus A380s

This change will occur one day after Qantas commences its nonstop Boeing 787 Dreamliner service from Perth to London, so it is all timed to happen at once.

These changes occur separately to the Sydney – Hong Kong route being upgraded to an A380 for the busy summer travel season.

Emirates will still operate its A380 and 777 services to its Dubai hub from Auckland and Christchurch.

Lounge access

Qantas First Class passengers will now lose out, no longer being able to access the luxurious Emirates First Class Lounge in Dubai.

For Business Class passengers, it is as much of switching from the Emirates Business Class Lounge in Dubai to the Qantas Singapore Lounge at Changi – they are both great lounges.

Qantas Singapore Lounge

For other passengers, the Priority Pass options in Singapore are superior to those in Dubai. Qantas operates from Terminal 1 at Changi, and the three Priority Pass lounges in that terminal are highly rated.

Singapore as a stopover

While everyone’s preferences are different, the general consensus is that Singapore offers better stopover options to visit the city than Dubai, not to mention Changi being a more traveller-friendly airport.

With layovers of under 24 hours permitted when using Qantas Points, travellers will be able to take advantage of the free Singapore city tour offered by the airport if their connecting flight is at least 5½ hours away.

Redemption opportunities

First Class and Premium Economy will now be available between Sydney/Melbourne and Singapore (and onwards to London, just like before).

Qantas Premium Economy

Paid and award inventory is opening up at time of writing.

The seats on the current Sydney – Dubai – London flight won’t see much of a change as the stopover is just switching to Singapore.

However, the addition of the A380 service between Melbourne and Singapore should see some First and Premium Economy seats open up, as the current A330 aircraft servicing this route does not offer these cabins. Here is how to search for Qantas award space.

Travellers with existing bookings

If you are already booked on a Qantas service going through Dubai for travel from 25 March 2018 onwards, contact Qantas to discuss alternative travel arrangements.

Summing up: our take

From late March 2018, you’ll have three options to fly to Europe with these two airlines: with Qantas via Perth from Auckland (noting that this is a seasonal service), with Qantas via Sydney/Melbourne and Singapore, or all the way with Emirates via Dubai from Auckland – this being the most direct option for Kiwi travellers, but certainly one that doesn’t allow you to stretch your legs much.

Qantas is expected to launch more nonstop services from Australia to other European destinations such as Rome, Paris and Berlin with the delivery of more 787s in the future, so the days of stopping over in Asia or the Middle East may be a thing of the past in the next decade – you may just need to stopover in Aussie!

Supplementary images courtesy Qantas and Emirates.

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A comprehensive directory of award charts for key frequent flyer programs https://www.pointhacks.co.nz/award-charts-key-frequent-flyer-programs-directory/ https://www.pointhacks.co.nz/award-charts-key-frequent-flyer-programs-directory/#respond Thu, 12 Oct 2017 00:00:13 +0000 Thu, 12 Oct 2017 00:00:13 +0000 You have been working hard to build up your points balances, have read our best uses of points guides, and now have your eye on a specific redemption.

But have you been in the same situation as me that you just can’t work out where to easily find the correct price on the frequent flyer program’s website? Given the myriad of tables and links that they publish, it can seem to be an attempt to confuse and discourage us from using our points for free/discounted travel.

Well, I’ve had that problem a number of times before too, so I’ve collated the links to the award charts for key frequent flyer programs used in New Zealand into just one place – here.

Why this guide is important

First of all, understand that those in the US win in the global frequent flyer game – all distances are measured in miles, not kilometres.

To calculate the distance between two airports, I’d recommend Great Circle Mapper.

Some frequent flyer programs like Qantas and Velocity have their own calculators, which are a little more exact for their redemptions but GCMap won’t be far off.

Auckland-Sydney

GCMap calculates Auckland to Sydney as 1,345 miles while Velocity puts it at 3 miles shorter – not a big deal in the scheme of things, but it can make a difference if you’re right between one award bracket and another

If you want to compare pricing across a number of programs at once, you may consider a tool like AwardAce but note that they are not always 100% accurate, so be sure to come back to this list to confirm the correct pricing on the program’s official site.

Lastly, devaluations by programs are announced periodically (the first half of 2017 saw Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Avianca LifeMiles, Malaysia Airlines Enrich and MilagePlus all change their redemption values), so we will update this guide with links to the most current award charts so that you are able to accurately plan your award travel.


Air New Zealand Airpoints

Flights with Air New Zealand and on select codeshare routes are easy to figure out – 1 Airpoints Dollar will equal $1 NZD worth of flight value. There is no need to bother with award charts.

To redeem with one of their partners, including other Star Alliance airlines, you’ll need to refer to their partner award chart. This chart will also apply to any Air New Zealand leg combined with a partner redemption.

United

It’ll cost you less Airpoints Dollars to fly United to San Francisco than with Air New Zealand

Qantas Frequent Flyer

Qantas has four award charts depending on which airline/s you are flying with:

Did you know it is cheaper to fly the same distance on Emirates than on most other Qantas Frequent Flyer partner airlines?

Velocity Frequent Flyer

Compared to Qantas, Velocity has just two award charts, again depending on which airline you are flying with:

  • Table 1 (cheaper): for travel on Virgin Australia, Air New Zealand (Trans-Tasman services), Alitalia, Delta Airlines, Virgin America, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Samoa
  • Table 2 (more expensive): for travel on airberlin, Air New Zealand (New Zealand domestic and long-haul services), Capital Airlines, Etihad, Hainan Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, SilkAir and South African Airways

Check out our guide to Velocity’s partners for changes affecting redemptions on Air New Zealand, HNA Group airlines (Hong Kong Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Capital Airlines and Tianjin Airlines), Singapore Airlines and Virgin America in the second half of 2017.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

Alaska has a quite simple and attractive award chart for travel on its own aircraft as well as partners such as Qantas, Fiji Airways, and Cathay Pacific:

American Airlines AAdvantage

AAdvantage keeps it easy-to-understand with just two award charts for:

British Airways Executive Club

My recommendation is to cut through all the muddle and use the following award chart broken down by distance and peak/off-peak pricing:

Note: all non-British Airways and Iberia partner flights are always priced at the peak level.

Avios redemptions can be hard to price if just using the BA website but buying Avios for last-minute redemptions in Qantas Business and Economy Class can represent excellent value

British Airways no longer publishes an award chart and has a really poor Avios calculator.

It is further complicated by peak and off-peak pricing for British Airways and Iberia flights. You can view the calendar by going to this page and clicking on the ‘Working out the cost’ tab and then ‘Learn more and view the British Airways peak and off-peak calendar’.

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles

Of Asia Miles’ four award charts, you really only need to be interested in the:

  • Asia Miles Awards Chart: for travel on one carrier or two carriers (Cathay Pacific must be included in the latter)

If you want to go around the world, then you might want to check out the:

Etihad Guest

Etihad Guest doesn’t publish an award chart for Etihad flights, so to calculate the redemption cost of your flight, go to the:

For Virgin Australia flights, see the fixed-price:

For all other partners like American Airlines and Jet Airways, go to the:

JAL Mileage Bank

Japan Airlines has a number of award charts, of which the most useful may be the ones for:

Note that there are discounted redemptions if you fly on certain days of the week.

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

KrisFlyer has the most award charts out of all of the programs listed here but the most important three are:

While the 15% online booking discount was removed in March 2017, KrisFlyer no longer applies fuel surcharges to redemptions on Singapore Airlines flights

If you’re travelling on Virgin America, Virgin Atlantic or another partner airline, check out the:

If you want to go around the world, then you might want to check out the:

United Airlines MileagePlus

United has a quite handy:

but you can also check out the following award chart for travel following MileagePlus’ devaluation:

Note that there is a difference between pricing on United and non-United (i.e. Star Alliance) flights.


Summing up

Being able to accurately price an flight redemption is important, especially when aiming transfer the correct amount of points from flexible points currencies like American Express Membership Rewards.

Feel free to comment below if you become aware of any updated award charts for any of the programs above, or any new programs altogether that you feel should be included.

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