There are plenty of rare things in the world of travel, but one of the most rare is award inventory to and from New Zealand in business class. I can only recall seeing it widely available a few times here and there over the years.
View From The Wing just posted that there is pretty decent availability right now for this summer (New Zealand winter, though still mild). He’s right.
That’s a screenshot of United’s website. I see plenty of days in July where seats are available between Houston, Los Angeles, Sydney and Auckland. The only disappointing part is that I don’t see days with 4 seats available, so families may be out of luck unless you’re willing to split up. I do see a handful of days with two seats and even more with one seat. There’s also some routing through Sydney, so you could fly over nonstop to Auckland and potentially fly United home from Sydney to complete a round-trip.
As Gary notes, if you have access to Virgin Atlantic, the best values are there with an American Express Membership Rewards partner. With the current 30% transfer bonus to Virgin, just 49,000 American Express Membership Rewards points gets you a one-way business class ticket. If you were transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United, that same one-way would cost you almost double at 90,000 points.
The Final Two Pennies
Don’t sleep on this one. Get your awards booked quickly if you’re thinking about this, and adjust later. Keep in mind any award redeposit fees if you don’t have elite status that would waive them. I don’t see this availability pop up very often at all, so it’s worth jumping on this if New Zealand is on your bucket list. If it’s not, you should probably rethink that list!
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