How to earn Air New Zealand frequent flyer 'Airpoints Dollars'

Do you often fly with Air New Zealand or one of their partnering or co-operating airlines such as Etihad or Air China? If so, you may be interested in finding out more about the Air New Zealand frequent flyer program, including how you earn points, the rewards on offer and whether loyalty programs are generally worth it for consumers.

Air New Zealand has its own frequent flyer loyalty program called Airpoints. Members can earn and redeem Airpoints Dollars on qualifying flights and other eligible purchases. Meanwhile, travellers can earn the airline’s Airpoints Status Points on eligible Air New Zealand and partner airline flights. These points go towards making customers eligible to upgrade their Airpoints membership to higher tiers.

Check in at the business counter using Airpoint status points
Source: Air New Zealand

How to earn Airpoints Dollars with Air New Zealand

Members of Air New Zealand’s Airpoints program can earn Airpoints Dollars on Air New Zealand flights (with the exception of ‘greenlight grabaseat’ fares), as well as certain Star Alliance and partner airline flights. Members can also earn points through hotel and rental car bookings, as well as other qualifying travel purchases, or by using a credit card from an Air New Zealand financial partner and by shopping at the Airpoints Mall. 

Earning Air New Zealand points on flights

Airpoints members earn Airports Dollars and Status Points when they quote their Airpoints number or present an Airpoints card when booking an eligible flight. If you don’t use your Airpoints membership number when booking, you may be able to claim missing Airpoints Dollars after the flight. Members can’t earn Airpoints Dollars or Airpoints Status Points on flights that are purchased by redeeming Airpoints Dollars.

How many Airpoints Dollars or Airpoints Status Points that you earn on flights may depend on factors such as the airline you travel with, your booking class, and the date of travel. 

The Air New Zealand calculator allows customers to calculate the points they may earn. As an example, at the time of writing, the calculator estimates that a one-way basic economy Air New Zealand flight from Melbourne to Vancouver could potentially earn you the following:

Flying Melbourne to Vancouver with Air New Zealand
Cabin Class Potential Airpoints Dollars Earned
Economy Saver 16.00 – 65.10
Economy Flexi 69.50 – 104.00
Premium Economy 117.00 – 247.10
Business 312.10 – 447.00

Source: Air New Zealand

By comparison, a one-way flight with partner airline Air Canada from Melbourne to Vancouver could potentially earn the following points:

Flying Melbourne to Vancouver with Air Canada 
Cabin Class Potential Airpoints Dollars Earned
Discount Economy 36
Full Economy  53
Business Class  110
First Class 158

Source: Air New Zealand.

Earning Air New Zealand points on Rental Cars

Airpoint members can earn Airpoints Dollars through rental car bookings with participating car rental services. Bookings made through Air New Zealand with Avis and Budget can earn members three Airpoint Dollars per rental day, while booking with Apex Car Rentals can earn a member 0.5 Airpoints Dollars per rental day.

Earning Air New Zealand points on accommodation

Airpoint members can earn Airpoints Dollars when they book a hotel with an Air New Zealand flight via Expedia or by booking directly with an Airpoints partner hotel. According to Air New Zealand, Airpoints members earn Airpoints Dollars and receive promotional discounts when booking through the Expedia powered service.

Members can also earn Airpoint Dollars for bookings made directly with over 10,000 partner hotels around the world. At the time of writing, the earn rate for points starts at around one Airpoint Dollar per 12 New Zealand Dollars spent on the booking, but it varies across the hotels. Other perks may include free Wi-Fi or resort vouchers.

Earning Air New Zealand points through a credit card

Airpoint members who have a credit or charge card with one of the participating card partners can convert their card rewards points to Airpoints Dollars. There is currently no way of directly earning Airpoints Dollars through a credit card in Australia.

At the time of writing, rewards points from participating card partners are converted to Airpoints Dollars as follows:

Partner Points required for 1 Airpoints Dollar
American Express Membership Rewards Australia 100 Membership Rewards points
200 David Jones American Express points
ANZ Rewards 200 Membership Rewards points
ANZ Business One Rewards Options 200 Rewards points
NAB Rewards 200 NAB Rewards points
NAB Rewards Business 200 NAB Rewards points
Westpac Australia Mastercard & Visa Altitude Rewards 180 Altitude Rewards points
Westpac Australia American Express Altitude Rewards 180 Altitude Rewards points

Source: Air New Zealand

Earning Air New Zealand points on retail spending

Airpoints members can also earn Airpoints Dollars by making purchases through the Airpoints Mall. The Airpoints Mall is an online shopping platform with over 120 retail brands, including The Iconic, eBay and ASOS, to name a few. At the time of writing, purchases made when signed into your Airpoints account via the Airpoints Mall earn up to three Airpoints Dollars per NZD100 spent.

How to earn Airpoints Status Points

Airpoints members can also earn Status Points on eligible Air New Zealand, Star Alliance and partner flights. As you earn and accumulate status points, you can reach new Airpoints membership tiers – starting at Airpoints membership followed by Silver, Gold and Elite – which upgrades your membership status and gives you access to more benefits and services. 

Air New Zealand Airpoint Status points can earn class upgrades
Source: Air New Zealand

The Airpoints Status Points required to reach and maintain each tier status are as follows:

Tier Status Points required to reach each tier Status Points required to retain tier status
Silver 450 405
Gold 900 810
Elite 1,500 1,350

Source: Air New Zealand

Once you have reached a new tier, you have 12 months to either reach the next tier or earn 90% of the points required for your current tier to maintain that tier status. 

To reach the Silver status, at least 50% of the required Status Points must be earned on Air New Zealand, eligible Star Alliance or qualifying partner airline travel. To upgrade to Gold at least 50% of the required Status Points must be earned on Air New Zealand, eligible Star Alliance, qualifying partner airline travel or via the Frequent Flyer Status Boost (more on this below). An upgrade to the Elite status requires that at least 900 of the Status Points required are earned on Air New Zealand operated flights or qualifying partner airline flights or from Frequent Flyer Status Boost, while to retain Elite status, at least 810 of the Status Points needed must be earned that way.

Tier Benefits

Some benefits of each tier level, according to Air New Zealand, are outlined below. Bear in mind that terms, conditions and exclusions could apply so be sure to confirm any details with Air New Zealand.

Silver Tier level

Lounge privileges

  • Two complimentary single-entry lounge passes each year, which can be used at all Air New Zealand lounges when you are departing on an Air New Zealand flight

Upgrades

  • One recognition upgrade each time you become a Silver member, or maintain your Silver status. Recognition upgrades may be used to request an upgrade by one cabin class – for example, premium economy can be upgraded to business premier. This upgrade can only be used on Air New Zealand ticketed and operated flights.
  • Upgrades offers with OneUp (Air New Zealand’s upgrade system for international flights) are upweighted by 10%. OneUp allow you to make an offer to upgrade by one cabin for Air New Zealand ticketed and operated international flights. 
  • Discounted Business class fares for long haul flights.

Gold Tier level

Lounge privileges 

  • Access to any Air New Zealand, Star Alliance or partner airline lounge prior to a flight with Air New Zealand, Star Alliance or any eligible partners.
  • A lounge pass for one additional guest to join you in an Air New Zealand, Star Alliance or partner airline flight.

Upgrades

  • Two recognition upgrades each 12 months that you become a Gold member or maintain your Gold tier status. 
  • OneUp upgrades offers will be upweighted by 30%.

Additional benefits 

  • Complimentary frequent flyer seating towards the front of the plane on most Air New Zealand flights, available on a first in, best dressed basis.
  • Members can check in one extra bag weighing up to 23kg on NZ domestic flights and international flights at no extra charge. The maximum number of checked-in bags is three.
  • Priority check-in, boarding and baggage claim on most New Zealand Air and Star Alliance flights.
  • Complimentary vouchers for hotels and rental cars with participating partners..
  • Discounted Business class fares on long-haul flights.
  • No expiry on Airpoints Dollars.

Elite

Lounge Privileges 

  • Access to Air New Zealand, Star Alliance and partner partner airline lounges when departing on an Air New Zealand, Star Alliance or eligible partner flight.
  • Up to three guest passes for Air New Zealand International and Domestic Lounges when travelling on an Air New Zealand flight.
  • Up to one guest pass for Air New Zealand regional lounges, partner lounges and Star Alliance lounges when travelling with Air New Zealand.
  • Air New Zealand lounge entry for up to three children between three and 17 years old, subject to availability. Children two years and over are included as part of your guest allowance in Star Alliance and partner airline lounges.

Upgrades 

  • Two long haul flight recognition upgrades and one short haul flight recognition upgrade each time you become an Elite member, or retain your membership. These are valid for 12 months.
  • Elite members can request an Elite Airpoints Dollar upgrade by using their Airpoints Dollars at a set rate.
  • Members can gift recognition or Elite Airpoints Dollar upgrades to other Airpoints members who are on their gifting register. 
  • OneUp upgrade offers are upweighted by 50%. 

Additional Benefits

  • Access complimentary Frequent Flyer seating which is located towards the front of the cabin on most Air New Zealand flights.
  • Additional baggage privileges on eligible flights.
  • On Air New Zealand Link regional domestic flights, members can drop off and pick up their bags beside the aircraft.
  • Priority check-in, boarding and baggage claim when travelling on Air New Zealand and most Star Alliance flights.
  • Five complimentary Air New Zealand valet parking vouchers each year. Each voucher entitles members to 24 hours of complimentary parking, when you are travelling on an eligible Air New Zealand flight, and is valid for 12 months.
  • A complimentary gift when you reach status point thresholds. The gift selection at each threshold may vary, however some examples are dining, long haul upgrades, overnight accommodation or vouchers and tickets to a variety of activities.
  • A complimentary hotel voucher for a room upgrade at participating hotels in New Zealand and Australia.
  • A complimentary car rental voucher for a car type upgrade at participating locations in New Zealand and Australia. 
  • Access to discounted long-haul Business Class fares.
  • 30 bonus Status Points for every 10 journeys taken within a tier status year. 
  • No Airpoints Dollars expiry.

Frequent Flyer Status Boost

Elite and Gold level tier level members may also qualify for a Frequent Flyer Status Boost. Airpoints Gold members earn 15 bonus Status Points and Elite members earn 30 bonus Status Points for every 10 Status Boost Journeys completed.

An eligible ‘Status Boost Journey’ is any Air New Zealand or qualifying partner airline flight that earns Status Points.

Airpoints on mobile phone
Source: Air New Zealand

How to use your Airpoints Dollars

Members can redeem Airpoints Dollars on a variety of rewards such as flights, upgrades and rental cars. Each Airpoints Dollar is equivalent to one Australian dollar. The program also has an Airpoint Flexipay feature which allows you to make a purchase using a combination of cash and Airpoints Dollars. 

Flights

Members can redeem Airpoints Dollars, or a combination of points and cash, on any available seat on any Air New Zealand ticketed and operated flight. Members can also use Airpoints Dollars to pay for Star Alliance flights and flights with some partner airlines.

Members may also use Airpoints Dollars for onboard purchases such as food, beverages and entertainment when flying internationally with Air New Zealand.

Car Rentals

Airpoints Dollars can be used to book rental cars through Air New Zealand, however, rental cars that have been paid for using points do not earn Airpoints Dollars.

Upgrades

Airpoints members can use their Airpoints Dollars on OneUp upgrade and recognition upgrades on eligible flights. You can request a cabin class upgrade with OneUp or Economy Skycouch when you’re booked on an Air New Zealand ticketed and operated international flight, at least three days prior to departure.

Koru

Airpoints Dollars can also be redeemed on Air New Zealand’s Koru program, which provides access to benefits such as Air New Zealand and some partner airline lounges, priority check-in and boarding and complimentary frequent flyer seating. 

What to look out for in a frequent flyer program – are they worth it?

Frequent flyer programs are booming in Australia. For example, according to consumer watchdog, the ACCC, the Qantas Frequent Flyer program currently has just under 13 million members, which is the equivalent of over half of Australia’s population. Velocity Frequent Flyer, the second-most popular scheme, has about 9.8 million members.

But despite their popularity, loyalty programs, including frequent flyer schemes, are not without their critics. For example, they recently came under fire from the ACCC which warned that consumers have little control over how their personal information and data can be used. It called for a raft of changes to how these programs work and are regulated, such as improving consumer communication and tightening privacy laws.

That said, if you are careful about how you use it, a frequent flyer program may offer benefits you otherwise wouldn’t have access to.

To help you to make the most from your membership, here are a few of the factors worth considering when picking out a frequent flyer program, and indeed before deciding whether it will be worth joining one at all:

  • Annual fee – membership of some frequent flyer programs is free of charge, such as Airpoints, whereas others will charge a fee for joining. For example, while Air New Zealand’s Airpoints program is free to join, the airline charges a $255 fee for an individual joining the Koru program in addition to an annual membership fee, at the time of writing.
  • Partner airlines – are the program’s partners likely to be ones you’ll actually fly with? Most programs will allow you to earn points when you fly with a variety of partner airlines. For example, Air New Zealand allows you to earn and redeem points with over 30 Star Alliance and cooperating partner airlines such as Etihad Airways, Air China, Virgin Atlantic and Singapore Airlines.
  • Other program partners – programs also typically partner with hotel companies, car rentals, retail companies and more. For example, you can currently earn Air New Zealand Airpoints Dollars by exchanging membership rewards points from participating credit cards. Some examples are ANZ Rewards, Westpac Altitude and American Express Membership Rewards cards. Before signing up, consider checking what value overall the card offers, taking into account factors such as the interest rate, fees charged and the points earn rate.
  • Points expiry – don’t forget that points may have an expiry date. For example, the expiry date on Air New Zealand Airpoints Dollars currently depends on your tier level. 

If you’re considering taking out a frequent flyer credit card to help boost your points, consider comparing your options with Canstar. If you’re keen to use your credit card to add to your Air New Zealand rewards, be sure to sure to double check whether the points on your credit card can be converted to Airpoints Dollars.

Header Image Source: James Coleman (Unsplash)

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