What Do You Think Of Yesterday’s Crazy Award Deal To New Zealand?

Depending on who you ask, yesterday’s New Zealand was either the deal of the century or sheer lunacy. Let’s set it up. Just yesterday, American Airlines announced they would increase flying to New Zealand next year with two new routes. They announced flights between DFW and Auckland as well as LAX and Christchurch. Those were met with celebration by the miles and points community. New Zealand is a lovely destination, though somewhat difficult to get to using points and miles.

Separately, American Airlines launched an Economy Web Special (or made a mistake, though I believe it’s the former) that offered economy class seats from LAX to Auckland for as little as 5,000 AAdvantage miles one-way. There was phenomenal availability January through March of 2020. The availability got snapped up pretty quickly, I could see different days disappearing as I kept refreshing the page.

Incredible Deal Or Torture?

There was plenty of chatter on the internet. Most of the folks I saw discussing this deal proclaimed it an incredible deal. Many folks I know jumped on the deal. Still others poked around and found similar incredible deals to fly LAX to Sydney. LAX to Auckland is blocked at 13 hours and 35 minutes, or a bit more than 12 hours of flying.

I really can’t recall a mileage deal that was this good. There have been a variety of mistake fares that might rival this, but that’s really all I can remember. And yet, I never considered booking this. Let me tell you my reasoning:

  1. The timeframe didn’t overlap with a school break. That meant, by definition, it couldn’t be a family trip.
  2. Even if it did overlap, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t book it for a 9-day spring break from school. It’s essentially a full day to fly there as well as another for the return. That would leave no more than 7 days there. That would be sufficient for exploring the area. But, we’d be exhausted when we got there. And, to make sure the kids didn’t suffer at school, it would be prudent to leave early so they had time to adjust from jet lag.  We would still need to get to and from LAX, which tacks on another 5 hours to the travel time.
  3. Picking a day that didn’t involve the whole family wouldn’t be fair to my wife. She spends a decent chunk of the year being a single mom while I travel. Visiting a place she really wants to see without her would be a bit cruel.
  4. If I did do it as a short trip on my own, I think I’d be utterly exhausted in my haste to get home to family.  I did do a couple days in Sydney a few years ago and enjoyed the trip.  But, it was much better with family this year.
  5. I’m fortunate to be able to generate a lot of miles and points from my normal travel.  I’d really prefer to experience this trip in business class when I do experience New Zealand.

The Final Two Pennies

My answer?  Both.  This was an incredible deal, but it would have been a really bad fit for my family.  I’m super thrilled for all the folks that were able to take advantage of this.  I’ll be living vicariously through you.

But, I really want to know your opinion?

Do you think this is an incredible deal, or are you in the “no way” category?

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  1. I was about half an hour too late to take advantage of it. I wouldn’t have done it for myself (I’m getting too old to fly that long in coach, and I’ll be in New Zealand and Australia next year anyway), but I would have gotten two tickets for my sister and her husband, who aren’t into points.

  2. I’m in the same boat as you with a family of five, and for all of the same reasons you listed, it was big no-go for me.

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