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Air New Zealand Airpoints: The Ultimate Guide

Air New Zealand Boeing 777-300 airplane.

Air New Zealand Airpoints a highly underrated Star Alliance Loyalty Program. If you are based in New Zealand, there are several earnings partners that can boost your Airpoints Dollars balance. If you are not based in NZ, but fly Start Alliance partners often (looking at you in the US, United frequent flyers), Air New Zealand can be a great way to earn Star Alliance Gold status easier than with United directly. For more information about Star Alliance, see my other article here. The Air New Zealand Airpoints Program offers a comprehensive range of perks and benefits to its frequent flyers, and it’s just a lovely airline to fly. Plus, with the upcoming cabin refresh, now is a great time to sign up for the Air New Zealand Airpoints Program.

How to Sign Up for Airpoints: Start Earning Rewards Now

If you’re not already an Air New Zealand Airpoints member, signing up is quick and easy. Simply follow the link here and complete the registration process.

Once registered, you can start earning Airpoints Dollars (Air New Zealand airline miles scheme) immediately by booking flights on Air New Zealand or any of its partner airlines, including Star Alliance.

You’ll also earn points when you use your Airpoints credit card, shop with one of the many retail partners in the program (remember to provide your Airpoints membership number) or shop through the Airpoints Mall online shopping portal.

Whilst most of these earning opportunities are tailored towards NZ-based flyers, US or UK-based flyers can still earn Airpoints Dollars indirectly through credit card or hotel reward schemes that partner with Air New Zealand, such as Marriott Bonvoy or American Express Rewards. Air New Zealand Airpoints is a Dollar-based scheme (rather than miles), with each Airpoints Dollar equivalent to 1 New Zealand Dollar.

777-300 aircraft wing.

How to Earn Airpoints: Tips and Tricks

Earning Airpoints is super easy, with multiple New Zealand-based options as well as international options for US, UK and Australia-based flyers. Here are some of the options available to skyrocket your Airpoints Dollars balance:

Flying Air New Zealand, Star Alliance, or another Air New Zealand Partner Airline

The most obvious way to earn Airpoints Dollars is by flying with Air New Zealand, a Star Alliance Partner airline or Cathay Pacific, Virgin Atlantic or Etihad Airways (partner airlines). Make sure to check the fare class and type before booking against the Airpoints Calculator here, as not all fare classes are eligible for Airpoints Dollars. Flights paid with Airpoints Dollars earn no Airpoints or Status Points, but Air New Zealand flights paid with Airpoints Flexi-pay earn pro-rated amount of Airpoints and Status Points on the cash amount of the fare.

Using your Airpoints Credit Card (NZ-residents only)

There are several NZ-based providers of Air New Zealand Airpoints earning credit cards including American Express. Whilst American Express’ Airpoints Platinum Card is the highest earning per $ spent, consider the various options and their benefits, and weigh these up against the annual fee.

Using your Air New Zealand Partner Credit Card (International)

For UK, US or Australia based flyers (and NZ too), Air New Zealand partners with American Express nd some other credit card companies in select countries, so you can use your credit card to earn American Express Membership Rewards points (some international credit cards earn Marriott Bonvoy points which also partners with Air New Zealand), then convert these into Air New Zealand Airpoints in their respective online portals. These cards tend to have generous sign up bonuses and accelerated points earning on spending with certain partners, so it could be worthwhile transferring points into Airpoints for flight redemptions, especially if you have a specific redemption in mind.

Shopping with the Airpoints Mall (NZ-residents only)

The Airpoints Mall is Air New Zealand’s version of a cashback site, whereby you can get Airpoints Dollars back from every dollar spent on everyday online shopping with various partners. Unfortunately it is limited to New Zealand residents only, however there are some high-quality globally renowned partners available including eBay, Mark’s and Spencer, asos and Apple. The best hack to earn more Airpoints Dollars is to double-stack by paying with an Air New Zealand Airpoints Credit Card, as you will earn Airpoints Dollars through both the Airpoints Mall and spend itself. Check out the Airpoints Mall here to see what partners are available, and any special discounts just for Airpoints Members.

Airpoints Earning Partners

Air New Zealand has a number of partners (including Marriott Bonvoy), in which you can link your Air New Zealand membership number to, and earn Airpoints Dollars.

  • For NZ-based Airpoints earners, Air New Zealand partners with:
    • New World
    • Mitre 10
    • Z
    • Caltex
    • Tower Insurance
    • Smiths CitySpark
    • AIA
    • Bayleys
    • LiquorLand
    • Audi
    • Gilmours
    • Trents Wholesale
    • Partridge Jewellers
    • Dicker Data
    • Komatsu
    • Pet Direct
    • Aelia Duty Free
    • Bluebridge Cook Strait Ferries
    • Cardrona Alpine Resort
    • Apex Car Rentals
    • Commodore Hotel
    • Quest Apartment Hotels
  • For US-based, Australia-based, Asia-based or UK-based Air New Zealand frequent flyers:
    • Marriott
    • Accor
    • Langham Hospitality Group
    • IHG
    • Millennium Hotels and Resorts
    • Avis
    • Budget
    • Pacific Resort Hotel Group

Additionally, you can also book hotels through the Air New Zealand website (in partnership with Expedia) to earn Airpoints Dollars. Do note that these are in NZ Dollars, so check the exchange rate fee your credit or debit card charges before purchasing, to see if the non-native currency fee is worth it for you.

With so many different Airpoints Dollar earnings options available for both international and NZ-based frequent flyers, earning Air New Zealand Airpoints is easy.

Air New Zealand ATR 72 Airplane

Airpoints Rewards: How to Redeem

As mentioned earlier, Airpoints Dollars are equivalent to 1 New Zealand Dollar. You can redeem them for any Air New Zealand flight (or codeshare) in their network through their website, just by signing into your Air New Zealand account. Alternatively, you can also call the contact center who can assist with booking of flights over the phone. However for US, UK or Australia-based flyers, you may need to book through their contact center as they will need to convert the flight cost to New Zealand Dollars. They do also have an easy-to-use Star Alliance flight portal here, with fixed-rate partner airline redemption rates here.

These fixed-rate partner airline redemptions can represent great value, especially on premium cabin and long-haul Star Alliance flights so it’s absolutely worth checking the portal and comparing to a cash fare if you have a hefty stash of Airpoints Dollars. Note, taxes and airport fees are excluded from these fares, and must be paid in cash. All in all, it is fairly easy to redeem Air New Zealand Airpoints Dollars for flights across the Air New Zealand and Star Alliance network.

One-Up Upgrades

One of my favourite ways to use Airpoints is for OneUp Upgrades, which is Air New Zealand’s bidding system for upgrades. After booking, simply open your flight booking in “Manage my booking” and click upgrade.

You can bid on how much you are willing to pay to upgrade to the next cabin class, with a frequent flyer uplift additional based on your frequent flyer tier.

Ignore the suggested offer strength indicator and compare to the next cabin class cash price, as your offer should be less. I always search FlyerTalk for the Air New Zealand OneUp forums, which should give you an indication of successful and unsuccessful bids, subject to availability on your flight.

The reason I prefer to use my Airpoints Dollars for these flight upgrades is because you will still receive Airpoints Dollars and Status Points on the underlying cash fare (you don’t earn Airpoints Dollars or Status Points on redemption flights paid with Airpoints Dollars). This Airpoints earn helps offset your Airpoints spend on your OneUp bid, after your flight.


If you’re wanting to book a redemption flight, but don’t have enough Airpoints Dollars, Air New Zealand Airpoints Flexipay is the solution. Whilst booking through Air New Zealand’s website, you can credit up to your total Airpoints balance towards your flight on the payment page, and pay the rest with your debit or credit card. The issue with Flexipay is that Air New Zealand does charge a 10% fee, and Flexipay cannot cover taxes and airport fees, but I have used it before and it is a helpful alternative.

Award Availability

For award flights, Air New Zealand award flight availability is notoriously difficult to find with other partner Star Alliance airlines. Your best bet at Air New Zealand flight redemptions is booking Airpoints redemptions through Air New Zealand directly. This is because every Air New Zealand flight with cash fare availability is able to be booked with Airpoints, whereas other Star Alliance partners have blackout dates and generally low availability.

Airpoints Store

For New Zealand-based flyers, Air New Zealand does also have the Airpoints Store for shopping redemptions if you have no upcoming travel plans or prefer to use your Airpoints for physical goods instead, with free shipping New Zealand wide.

All in all, there are plenty of valuable redemption opportunities for Air New Zealand Airpoints collectors around the world.

Bar at the Air New Zealand Lounge at Auckland International Airport
With enough Status Points, you could enjoy the Air New Zealand Lounge at Auckland Airport before your next flight.

Air New Zealand Airpoints Status Points: An Overview

Status Points are Air New Zealand’s version of status credits. Status Points unlock the ability to move up frequent flyer tiers, and receive perks and benefits when you fly with Air New Zealand, any other Star Alliance airline or Air New Zealand’s partner airlines on certain routes (Cathay Pacific, Etihad Airways and Virgin Atlantic). We’ll cover the different frequent flyer tiers further below in the article.

Status Points can be earned through flights with Air New Zealand (non-redemption flights), Star Alliance flights, certain partner flight routes and fare classes and purchases from some Air New Zealand Airpoints credit cards. Status Points are based on fare class, cabin and distance for Air New Zealand flights, and for Star Alliance flights, distance and fare class/cabin by flight segment. This is a great travel hack for accumulating Status Points, but more on that later.

What I like about Status Points is that the scheme is simple when compared to some of the US frequent flyer schemes with minimum spend requirements and minimum miles requirements. Below is the table of minimum Status points to move up a tier and renew for Air New Zealand:

Status Points to qualify04509001,500
Status Points to renew04058101,350

Note that over half of these Status Points must be earned from Air New Zealand or Star Alliance flights rather than credit card spend. Essentially, if you fly with Star Alliance airlines often, and are based in the US, Asia or the UK, it is entirely possible to reach these thresholds with your everyday flying, with no minimum number of flights on Air New Zealand and no minimum spend.

Air New Zealand Airpoints: Frequent Flyer Tiers

There are four Air New Zealand frequent flyer membership tiers: Jade, Silver, Gold and Elite. Below are the perks and benefits of each membership tier, and Status Points needed:

Jade – 0 Status Points

  • This is the entry-level frequent flyer tier with Air New Zealand when you sign up

Silver – 450 Status Points to qualify, 405 Status Points to renew

  • 2 Lounge passes per membership year for Air New Zealand lounges only
  • 1 recognition upgrade per membership year
  • 10% upweighting on OneUp upgrades
  • Access to discounted Business Premier Airpoints Dollars flight redemptions at the following rates here

Gold – 900 Status Points to qualify, 810 Status Points to renew

  • Access to the Air New Zealand and Star Alliance Lounge Network (Business Class Lounges only)
  • Free seat selection (including “frequent flyer” only seating at the front of each cabin)
  • 2 recognition upgrades per membership year
  • 30% upweighting on OneUp upgrade offers
  • One extra carry-on bag and one extra checked bag
  • Priority check in, boarding and baggage
  • Access to discounted Business Premier Airpoints Dollars flight redemptions at the following rates here

Elite – 1,500 Status Points to qualify, 1,350 Status Points to renew

  • Access to Air New Zealand and Star Alliance Lounge Network (business and first class lounges)
  • Free seat selection (including “frequent flyer” only seating at the front of each cabin)
  • 2 recognition upgrades per membership year
  • 1 short-haul recognition upgrade per membership year
  • 50% upweighting on OneUp upgrade offers
  • One extra carry-on bag and one extra checked bag
  • Priority check in, boarding and baggage
  • 5 complimentary valet parking at Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch airports
  • Elite Partner membership
  • Access to discounted Business Premier Airpoints Dollars flight redemptions at the following rates here
  • Access to Airpoints Dollars fixed companion redemptions
  • Ability to gift recognition upgrades, Airpoints Dollars or OneUp upgrades to other Airpoints members
  • Elite banked year if you earn over 2,400 Status Points per year
  • Threshold gifts at 3,000, 5,000, 7,500, 10,000 and 12,500 Status Points
Air New Zealand Premium Economy Footrest
Air New Zealand Premium Economy features a built-in footrest and extra legroom.

Travel Hacks for Maximizing Your Air New Zealand Airpoints and Benefits

Air New Zealand has a few great tools to help make your Airpoints Dollars go further. Firstly, the grabaseat program is worth a look for NZ-originating itineraries, as if you are flexible with dates and times, you can get great one-way or return cheap flight deals for a range of domestic and international destinations. If you are US, UK or Australia-based, it is worth still checking and pricing out as you may find two one-way fares are cheaper than a return ticket when you include a grabaseat fare outbound from New Zealand. You can use Airpoints Dollars on all of these flights, but as mentioned above, it is much easier for flights originating from New Zealand in New Zealand Dollars so consider paying for a one-way flight and booking the NZ-originating sector with Airpoints Dollars if you have enough for the full flight price.

Google Flights has a great feature whereby you can set your origin airport, then set your destination to “Anywhere”, set the Airline filter to Air New Zealand and set your price budget, and see what flight options are available. You can also play around with the dates calendar if you are flexible to find the cheapest flights across the month.

If you have any other Air New Zealand travel hacks, comment below or send me an email at [email protected].

Sunset over an Airplane Engine

Air New Zealand Airpoints: Advanced Insider Tips and Strategies

OneUp Upgrades

So this is the fun part. To kick off, as mentioned above, using Airpoints Dollars for OneUp upgrades is a great way to still earn Airpoints Dollars and Status Points on the base fare (which helps offset the cost of the upgrade). Albeit, you do still need to have the total amount of Airpoints Dollars of your OneUp bid in your account first. The downside is these clear after recognition and elite upgrades, so it is a lottery as to whether your bid will be successful or not.

Connecting Flights and Multi-stop Flights on Star Alliance Partner Airlines

For US-based United frequent flyers (or frequent flyers who fly any other Star Alliance carrier regularly), you earn Status Points with Air New Zealand on each flight segment, not on the overall journey. The travel hack here is to book connecting flight itineraries and multi-stop itineraries. This works especially well for US domestic travel in First Class, and I have myself utilised this to acquire over 600 Air New Zealand Status Points on a multi-stop US trip with United for relatively low cost when compared to flying Air New Zealand metal. Note, Domestic US First Class isn’t that luxurious, but fairly decent. For United, you won’t receive lounge access on domestic itineraries in First Class, unless you currently hold Air New Zealand Gold frequent flyer status.

Airpoints Mall (NZ residents only)

A great Airpoints Dollars earning hack for New Zealand-based frequent flyers is to do as much of your online shopping as possible through the Airpoints Mall shopping portal, and stack points earnings by using your Air New Zealand credit card for payment as you’ll get points for both.

Physical Retailer Partners (NZ residents only)

This method can also be used for physical purchases with Air New Zealand partners too. For NZ-based frequent flyers, you can connect your Flybuys (including your New World card) and your AA Smartfuel card to your Air New Zealand account to earn Airpoints Dollars, and pay with an Air New Zealand credit card to stack your Airpoints earnings.

Fixed Price One-Cabin Flight Upgrades (Elite status holders only)

For top-tier Elite status frequent flyers, you have the option of fixed price Airpoints Dollar one-cabin flight upgrades. These represent good value compared to cash prices, and are confirmed before recognition and OneUp upgrades. These can be great when the price differences between cabins is at a premium, either during peak travel seasons or last minute. The fixed rate table is here.

Star Alliance Airpoints Flight Upgrades

Air New Zealand frequent flyers at any tier also have the option of using Airpoints Dollars on Star Alliance airlines. The cost to upgrade is found in the table here. Only certain fare classes are available, so best to check the fare class before you book if you intend on upgrading. Star Alliance upgrades are a somewhat manual process, and are subject to availability. You can apply for these by filling out this form here after logging into your Air New Zealand Airpoints account.

Complimentary Recognition Upgrades and Stacking

Lastly, if you hold status with Air New Zealand, you should be aware of the number of complimentary recognition upgrades you have outstanding. You can stack these with Airpoints redemptions to get even more value. For instance, I recently flew from Melbourne to Auckland in Business Premier for $150 NZD ($90 USD) (just taxes and airport fees) by paying for the flight with Airpoints Dollars and using a complimentary upgrade voucher. This booking had a cash price of over $1,400 NZD ($830 USD) so this was a very good redemption. Note, on short-haul trans-Tasman services, complimentary upgrades (subject to availability) are two-classes, eg. Economy to Business Premier. If you are in the process of acquiring status, note these upgrades reset when you move up a tier (as I found out the hard way), so use these up before you move up a tier.

Air New Zealand tail fin of a parked aircraft.

Conclusion: One of the Best Star Alliance Loyalty Programs

I’m a big fan of Air New Zealand and the Airpoints Program in general, and have been a member for decades. Whilst it is a dollar-based system (rather than miles) and definitely has some limitations for non-NZ based frequent flyers, if you regularly fly Star Alliance, it can be a simple and easy program to achieve Star Alliance Gold and gain access to Star Alliance Lounges within the US. The recognition upgrade benefits are also great if you usually to travel to New Zealand or Australia at least once a year. With the upcoming cabin changes and lounge refurbishments, there never has been a better time to strive for Star Alliance Gold Status with Air New Zealand.