New Zealand is a natural wonderland for hikers and adventurous travelers, and it even made our list of the best places to travel in 2023.
If you’ve been itching to visit, you can now travel that long distance much more comfortably thanks to these business-class deals on nonstop flights from airports such as Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) to Auckland Airport (AKL) and Sydney Airport (SYD).
As reported by Frequent Miler and Dan’s Deals, you can find a business-class award seat using United MileagePlus miles for 80,000 miles one-way on United Airlines flights and for 99,000 Airpoints one-way on Air New Zealand-operated flights. There are also even better deals with availability if you book through other airline programs, including Virgin Atlantic (which currently has a transfer bonus from Chase Ultimate Rewards) and Air Canada’s Aeroplan.
We doubt this deal will last long, so here are the details.
Related: 7 tips and mistakes to know when planning a family trip to New Zealand
Airlines: United and Air New Zealand (which you can book via both airlines’ partners).
Routes: Nonstop from San Francisco, Los Angeles and Houston to Auckland and/or Sydney. Some seats on connecting flights are available from Washington, D.C., and other cities.
How to book: Directly on the United or Air Canada websites, or on the websites of the airlines’ partners. To use Virgin Atlantic points, you’ll have to call the Flying Club team at 800-862-8621.
Travel dates: Various dates from May through July.
Book by: ASAP.
Say you want to depart San Francisco on June 1. You can book a business-class seat on a nonstop United flight to Auckland for 80,000 miles. It departs at 11 p.m. PST and arrives in Auckland at 7:10 a.m. local time on June 3.
As you can see below, the same deal is available on May 30 and June 6, 8 and 13. We recommend using this flexible calendar date view to find the cheapest dates to fly.
United Polaris business class offers lie-flat seats with Saks Fifth Avenue bedding, free checked baggage, elevated inflight dining and beverages, amenity kits from Away, pajamas upon request and access to the United Polaris lounge before your flight.
If you’d prefer to fly on Air New Zealand, you can still earn and use United MileagePlus miles because United and Air New Zealand are Star Alliance members.
Air New Zealand’s business class offers each traveler a lie-flat bed with a memory foam mattress, two carry-on bags, three checked bags, premium check-in, lounge entry before your flight and food and drinks from the Business Premier menu.
On the United website, you can book a nonstop flight operated by Air New Zealand that departs Los Angeles on June 6 at 10 p.m. PST and arrives in Auckland on June 8 at 6 a.m. local time. It’ll cost 99,000 United miles plus $41.10 in taxes and fees.
Air New Zealand also operates nonstop flights from Houston on select dates. The below flight is available for booking using United MileagePlus miles.
You can book that same flight above via Air Canada’s Aeroplan program for just 75,000 miles plus taxes and fees each way. You can transfer points to Aeroplan from credit card programs such as Chase, Capital One and American Express.
If you are a Virgin Atlantic Flying Club member, you can also use your Virgin Atlantic points to purchase an Air New Zealand-operated flight. See the redemption rates here. Although New Zealand to North America isn’t listed, you can expect to use 62,500 miles each way, which could potentially cost you even fewer points by maximizing the current transfer bonus.
To book with Virgin Atlantic points, you’ll have to get in touch with the Flying Club team by calling 800-862-8621, though you may want to call and put the award on hold before transferring points as not all transfers are instant. That said, Chase transfers are often instant to Virgin Atlantic.
Note: The above fares were accurate at the time of writing but are subject to change.
Maximize your purchase
- If you fly United regularly: Use one of United’s cobranded cards, such as the United Quest℠ Card (which earns 3 United MileagePlus miles on United purchases) or the United Club℠ Infinite Card (which earns 4 United MileagePlus miles per dollar spent on United purchases).
- If you want flexible rewards: Use The Platinum Card® from American Express to earn 5 points per dollar spent on all flight purchases made directly with airlines or Amex Travel (on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year).
- If you want flexible rewards with a lower annual fee: Use the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card to earn 2 points per dollar spent on all travel purchases, including airfare. You can transfer miles from Chase Ultimate Rewards to United at a 1:1 ratio.
If you’re someone who needs a business-class seat to handle the long flight from the U.S. to New Zealand, now is the time to book. Deals like this are rare and don’t usually last long, so reserve your spot as soon as possible if you’re interested in a trip this summer from the U.S. (when, of course, it’s winter in New Zealand).