How to use your points to get to Spain

GUIDE: Using Points
DIFFICULTY: Intermediate
TIME TO READ: 4 minutes
POSTED: May 11, 2018
UPDATED: May 10, 2018
LOYALTY PROGRAMS: Qantas Frequent Flyer, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Emirates Skywards, American Airlines AAdvantage, Korean Air Skypass, United MileagePlus, Air New Zealand Airpoints, Alaska Air Mileage Plan

In this guide, we identify the best airports in Spain to fly into, how to minimise travel time with only one stop, and detail the points currencies you can use to make a redemption on the varying routes.

If you’re just getting started, you can find out more about why we focus on using points for redemptions in Business and First Class rather than Economy Class.

All redemption pricing in this guide is for one-way Business Class travel unless otherwise stated.

Point Hacks Spain Series

Part I: The Why: Sun and Fun in Spain: a destination guide
Part II: The How: A comparison of your points options to get to Spain

The one-stop routings from New Zealand

My recommendation is to fly into and out of Madrid, Europe’s sixth-busiest airport, or Barcelona, which is number seven. These are the only airports that you can fly to from New Zealand with only one stop.

Routes via Asia include Singapore with Singapore Airlines, Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific, Beijing with Air China, or Seoul with Korean Air:

you could fly via Emirates and Qatar Airways’ Gulf hubs:

of greater distance is flying via Los Angeles with American Airlines and Iberia, or via Santiago with LATAM:

We’ll now look at the detail on the products and redemption pricing for these routes.

Singapore Airlines Business Class

Singapore Airlines offer a solid product to and from New Zealand’s biggest cities, though do not currently service Madrid. They fly the wonderful Airbus A350 from Singapore through to Barcelona.

Points needed: 105,000 KrisFlyer miles or 139,000 Velocity Points

Flight review

Cathay Pacific Business Class

With all Cathay Pacific services into and out of New Zealand and Spain featuring lie-flat seats and direct aisle access, this Hong Kong based airline is a fantastic option, and potentially very affordable if purchasing miles with Alaska Mileage Plan or AAdvantage.

Points needed: 72,500 Mileage Plan miles, 85,000 AAdvantage miles, 110,000/175,000 Asia Miles one-way/return, or 139,000 Qantas Points

Flight review

Air China Business Class

Air China fly their Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner between Auckland and Beijing, and onwards to Madrid, with 30 lie-flat seats in business class in a 2-2-2 configuration. Their Airbus A330 can be seen on flights to Barcelona.

They are by far the most generous Star Alliance partner at releasing award availability.

Points needed: 90,000 United MileagePlus miles, 105,000 KrisFlyer miles, 2,965 Airpoints Dollars

Korean Air Business Class

Why not visit Korea en-route to Spain? Korean Air fly to Auckland year-round, with flights onwards to both Madrid and Barcelona.

If you’re on one of their seasonal 747-8i flights from Auckland, Business Class will be configured in a 2-2-2 layout, though each window seat has direct aisle access via a closed-off walkway. The 777-200ER flown for most of the year has a less desirable 2-3-2 layout in Business Class.

Points needed: 195,000/290,000 Korean SKYPASS miles off-peak/peak or 256,000 Emirates Skywards miles (return redemption only)

Korean Air First Class

Korean Air is one of only two airlines that currently offer one-stop First Class flights from New Zealand to Spain – the other being Emirates.

You’ll want to look out for flights on their Boeing 747-8i aircraft, which is flown to Auckland on a seasonal basis, typically from December through February of each year. These feature their newer Kosmo Suites 2.0. A slightly older First Class product is offered on the 777-200ER, which is flown to Auckland for the balance of the year.

Read our guide to using SKYPASS miles to find out how you could redeem for a First Class flights with Korean Air.

Points needed: 240,000/360,000 Korean SKYPASS miles off-peak/peak

Flight review

Qatar Airways Business Class

Unfortunately, Auckland is still serviced by the old Qatar Airways Boeing 777 with a 2-2-2 configuration.

However you’ll get to experience the newer A350 or Boeing 787 Dreamliner on flights between Doha, and Madrid and Barcelona. These flights feature an excellent reverse herringbone lie-flat Business Class seats with direct aisle access for all passengers.

Points needed: 85,000 AAdvantage miles, 110,000/175,000 Asia Miles one-way/return, or 139,000 Qantas Points

Flight review

Emirates Business Class

Most flights in and out of New Zealand on Emirates are served by the Airbus A380, which is the same aircraft that flies onwards to Madrid and Barcelona.

Using your Qantas Points on Emirates flights is a good option, and ironically cheaper than using Emirates’ own Skywards miles. Malaysia Airlines Enrich miles are slightly better value if making a return redemption.

Just note that the daily flights from Auckland via Bali are on the older, less comfortable Boeing 777 in a 2-3-2 configuration.

Points needed: 128,000 Qantas Points or 165,000/254,000 Malaysia Enrich miles one-way/return

Flight review

Emirates First Class

Emirates is the second airline offering a one-stop option to get from New Zealand to Spain in First Class the whole way.

For the added glitz of an onboard shower and bar, choose an Airbus A380 service from Auckland or Christchurch over the Boeing 777 via Bali.

Points needed: 192,000 Qantas Points

Flight review

American Airlines and Iberia Business Class

American Airlines offer seasonal direct flights October through March between Auckland and Los Angeles on their Boeing 787 Dreamliner. From LAX, you can connect to Madrid with oneworld partner Iberia on an Airbus A330.

Points needed: 85,000 AAdvantage miles, 110,000/175,000 Asia Miles one-way/return, or 139,000 Qantas Points

Flight review Iberia


For the real Spanish adventure, you can fly with LATAM via South America. Hop on their daily direct Boeing 787 Dreamliner flight to Santiago in 2-2-2 Business Class, and connect with either an onwards LATAM flight to Madrid, or a flight with oneworld partner Iberia.

Points needed: 85,000 AAdvantage miles, 110,000/175,000 Asia Miles one-way/return, or 139,000 Qantas Points

Flight review

Transferring points from flexible currencies

American Express Membership Rewards points transfer to Velocity, KrisFlyer, Asia Miles, Emirates Skywards, Enrich, and Qantas. You can use Starwood Preferred Guest to transfer points to Alaska Mileage Plan, AAdvantage, and Korean Air SKYPASS.

Read more about why flexible currencies increase your points value.

Supplementary images courtesy respective airlines.

How to use your points to get to Spain was last modified: May 10th, 2018 by Daniel Kinnoch