How best to get to New Zealand? (which bonus CCs to use?)

Discussion in 'Newbies' started by surfstar, Jun 2, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. surfstar

    surfstar New Member

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    I use cash back credit cards, but in thoughts of a NZ trip next year, am thinking of applying for some airlines/travel cards in order to get the bonus points and hopefully a free flight. Initial searching makes it sound like a flight through Sydney would give a better opportunity at finding a business seat. Also the cards/bonus rewards (currently) that seem to help achieve this are: Chase United MileagePlus, Chase Sapphire Preferred, and US Airways MC.

    Origin would be LAX, stopoff in Sydney would be great (not sure if time would allow other destinations - ie Fiji) ending in New Zealand.

    As I'm new to airline rewards and miles, are those the best cards to sign up for and try to maximize bonus points for this trip? Am I blindly missing and going about it wrong?

    thanks in advance!
     
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  2. MX

    MX Gold Member

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    If you want to make a stop in Sydney or Hawaii, then OneWorld alliance (Qantas, American, etc) should be a good fit. Consider applying for Citi AAdvantage cards.
    If you'd rather fly non-stop or through Fiji, check out the Star Alliance (Air NZ, United, etc.). Chase UR program has a number of *A transfer partners.
     
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  3. NYBanker
    Original Member

    NYBanker Gold Member

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    I find Delta's partner, Virgin Australia, to offer quite generous award availability in business and economy from the US to Oz. Trans-Tasman award availability is usually quite good as well.
     
  4. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    FWIW, Fiji Airlines (formerly Air Pacific) codeshares with American Airlines. See: http://www.fijiairways.com/about-fiji-airways/partner-airlines/
     
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  5. kiwi
    Original Member

    kiwi Gold Member

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    I think you have it backwards. *A has service from mainland USA through HNL to NZ, oneworld does not (extra flights through Australia required). While NZ serves Fiji, there is no *A service between Fiji and USA, whereas Fiji Airlines is a partner to AA and QF.

    That said, if you want business or first class awards then *A is not a realistic option (NZ doesn't release any business awards on North America routes, and AC & UA have very limited business awards to Australia). Try Virgin Australia (partners with DL and Virgin America), oneworld (QF business awards between LAX and Australia are hard to come by but not impossible). HA flies to AKL - I have no idea what their award availability is like.
     
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  6. MX

    MX Gold Member

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    I meant HA as one of the options as well. It's not a part of OneWorld, but it can be purchased with AA miles. Availability is fairly decent, including business class. Also I had no big problem getting business award seats on Qantas earlier this year, although I was pretty flexible with dates of travel.
    So getting back to the OP's question, the comments so far are not very encouraging for their Chase UR points. Perhaps Citi AAdvantage cards will be more useful.
     
  7. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    As others have said, finding award space may be tricky, especially if you have firm dates. While there's no harm in trying to collect miles toward an award, don't expect to be able to use an award on this route - it might work, but it very likely might not.

    Two ideas for you: with the AA-US merger, you have an opportunity to double up on credit card signup bonuses by getting cards from both carriers, expecting the balances to be combined next year. I think AA's premium card may even still have a 100K signup bonus. US has also had mileage sales (in the form of "share miles" promos) for ~$.011 per mile - make sure you and your transfer buddy open accounts now, since new accounts aren't eligible for these promos.

    And: I notice that one of Virgin Australia's partners is Singapore. Singapore's KrisFlyer is a transfer partner of both Amex MR and Chase UR. I haven't looked at their award chart, but using Singapore miles for a Virgin Australia seat may be the way to go, using both Chase and Amex to load the account. Do not speculatively transfer points to KrisFlyer - they expire three years from when they're earned rather than just having an inactivity timer. [adding: the award chart is brutally expensive: north america to australia is 132K one-way in C, to NZ is 150K one-way in C. so maybe this isn't so useful.]
     
  8. surfstar

    surfstar New Member

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    I appreciate the insights and tips. I am thinking I might suck it up and find an economy award seat in order to better utilize points and find availability.
    I have opened a Chase United Mileageplus Explorer card based on the 50k points still possible via flyertalk thread(secure message to Chase and asking them to upgrade the offer from 30k), and then will be adding the Sapphire deal (if 40k is still available) to get 90k+ - possible 10k extra available via authorized user add ons This should cover a roundtrip easily.
    I would then look into AA bonus card offers to give us more flexibility. I did not jump on the US Airways card, as it requires an $89 annual fee to be paid before you get the 40k points.

    Now that my interest is piqued, I will be watching rewards and CC offer blogs/sites and hoping to maximize my miles in the year+ up to the trip :)
     
  9. wrxmom

    wrxmom Gold Member

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    The Citi Executive Card (American Airlines) with 100,000 miles would get you almost all the miles you need for a Business Class ticket. With the $10,000 minimum spending, you'd be at 110,000 miles, just 15,000 short of the 125,000 needed.

    Not sure when you want to go, but the AA website shows Business Class seats from LAX to AKL available on March 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 19, 20, 22, 24, 26, 27, 29, 30, 31.
     
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