Air NZ Elite vs Gold benefits

Old Mar 12, 2024, 8:51 pm
  #1  
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Air NZ Elite vs Gold benefits

Hi I'm trying to work out whether there is any point trying to chase Elite.

From what I can find online here are the extra Elite benefits vs Gold (I have deliberately left out any "upgrade vouchers" such as hotel/rental car and am really only interested in complementary gifts or benefits):
  • Lounge guests - 3 (1 with Gold)
  • Upgrades - higher priority
  • Recognition upgrades - (I don't understand the difference vs Gold)
  • APD upgrade requests
  • Ability to gift upgrades
  • OneUp higher priority
  • Higher Frequent Flyer Status Boost
  • Roll over SPs and potential to bank a year
  • Extra gifting recipients
  • Valet parking vouchers
  • Elite Partner - side question - could someone please fully explain example what does the partner actually get??
Am really trying to work out the "real" benefits vs perceived.
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Old Mar 12, 2024, 9:12 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2023
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Originally Posted by 40love
Lounge guests - 3 (1 with Gold)
Note this is only for the Air NZ international and domestic lounges.

Originally Posted by 40love
Recognition upgrades - (I don't understand the difference vs Gold)
You get an additional short haul upgrade valid for trans-tasman and pacific islands.

Upgrades can be confirmed at time of request subject to R/A class availability.

Originally Posted by 40love
Elite Partner - side question - could someone please fully explain example what does the partner actually get??
It's almost equivalent to a Koru membership - Air NZ lounge access (+1 guest), extra checked bag, priority check in / boarding, complimentary seating.

I'd say a lot of the value is in the upgrades, if you're in a position to take advantage of them (flexible with dates / booking in advance).
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Old Mar 12, 2024, 9:14 pm
  #3  
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Originally Posted by 40love
Hi I'm trying to work out whether there is any point trying to chase Elite.

From what I can find online here are the extra Elite benefits vs Gold (I have deliberately left out any "upgrade vouchers" such as hotel/rental car and am really only interested in complementary gifts or benefits):
  • Lounge guests - 3 (1 with Gold)
  • Upgrades - higher priority
  • Recognition upgrades - (I don't understand the difference vs Gold) just 1 additional short haul
  • APD upgrade requests
  • Ability to gift upgrades
  • OneUp higher priority
  • Higher Frequent Flyer Status Boost
  • Roll over SPs and potential to bank a year
  • Extra gifting recipients
  • Valet parking vouchers
  • Elite Partner - side question - could someone please fully explain example what does the partner actually get?? see below
Am really trying to work out the "real" benefits vs perceived.
Key benefits above Gold (to me) are:
  • Ability to have upgrade clear in advance (usually immediately - so no upgrade lottery)
  • Unlimited Elite Airpoint Dollar upgrades
  • Ability to gift RU and Elite Airpoint Dollar upgrades
  • One extra RU (Short Haul only)
  • Nominating Elite Partner - effectively gives someone Koru+ or NZ Gold-minus
  • (ie not as good as Gold because benefits very much only on airNZ network)
Less interesting are Banked year (don’t fly enough), Roll over (handy enough, but effectively just a top-up)

Some reports that RUs when lodged as a Gold status member cannot be cleared in advance once hitting Elite status.
This seems especially miserly. Happened to my sister…..
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Old Mar 12, 2024, 9:30 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
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Originally Posted by 40love
Hi I'm trying to work out whether there is any point trying to chase Elite.

From what I can find online here are the extra Elite benefits vs Gold (I have deliberately left out any "upgrade vouchers" such as hotel/rental car and am really only interested in complementary gifts or benefits):
  • Lounge guests - 3 (1 with Gold)
  • Upgrades - higher priority
  • Recognition upgrades - (I don't understand the difference vs Gold)
  • APD upgrade requests
  • Ability to gift upgrades
  • OneUp higher priority
  • Higher Frequent Flyer Status Boost
  • Roll over SPs and potential to bank a year
  • Extra gifting recipients
  • Valet parking vouchers
  • Elite Partner - side question - could someone please fully explain example what does the partner actually get??
Am really trying to work out the "real" benefits vs perceived.
The answer is "it depends ". Myself and Mrs edmm are both Elites, we only book business class, so don't use our upgrades, and can't use the parking vouchers. Beyond the banked year the SPs aren't of much value. So in our situation Elite doesn't really give us much benefit over gold. So the answer to this question is very much dependent on what your situation is.
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Old Mar 12, 2024, 9:46 pm
  #5  
 
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The biggest difference for me is that:

1) Your upgraded have priority. This makes them far more likely to clear. 90% Of my upgrades clear if I am flying in off peak times.

2) You have unlimited upgrades. You don't just get your two gold upgrades. You can get unlimited APD upgrades and you can buy unlimited APD with a kiwibank card.

3) You can upgrade your family unlimited amounts of times.

4) Your upgrades can be cleared guaranteed if you book far enough in advance. I just had two PE to BP upgrades clear automatically to/from LAX later this year.

There are other upgrade benefits too, but I use them less (like the reduced partner airfare)

The real benefit lies in the unlimited, generous upgrades. If you don't make good use of them, then I would not say elite is worthwhile. But if you do, you will save extraordinary amounts of money. I save tens of thousands of dollars each year.
​​​​​
A lot of Gold members don't even know that APD upgrades exist because it is an elite only benefit. With these, Oneup becomes useless. You no longer use it and instead just use APD upgrades. They have top priority, just as much as recognition upgrades whereas Oneup is at the very bottom of the priority list.
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Last edited by kiwifrequentflyer; Mar 12, 2024 at 9:56 pm
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Old Mar 12, 2024, 9:48 pm
  #6  
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Originally Posted by Thai-Kiwi
Key benefits above Gold (to me) are:
  • Unlimited Elite Airpoint Dollar upgrades
Sorry newbie here - please explain in detail? What do you mean by adding "unlimited". And does this make a case for ensuring you have a large pool of accumulated APDs to use for this purpose?
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Old Mar 12, 2024, 9:57 pm
  #7  
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Originally Posted by kiwifrequentflyer
The biggest difference for me is that:

1) Your upgraded have priority. This makes them far more likely to clear. 90% Of my upgrades clear if I am flying in off peak times.

2) You have unlimited upgrades. You don't just get your two gold upgrades. You can get unlimited APD upgrades and you can buy unlimited APD with a kiwibank card.

3) You can upgrade your family unlimited amounts of times.

4) Your upgrades can be cleared guaranteed if you book far enough in advance. I just had two PE to BP upgrades clear automatically to/from LAX later this year.

There are other upgrade benefits too, but I use them less (like the reduced partner airfare)

The real benefit lies in the unlimited, generous upgrades. If you don't make good use of them, then I would not say elite is worthwhile. But if you do, you will save extraordinary amounts of money. I save tens of thousands of dollars each year.
​​​​​
Showing my newbie here. Without Elite, what does upgrading look like? Is it the OneUp lottery?

When people refer to unlimited upgrades, am I right in saying that the APD upgrades aren't necessarily guaranteed?
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Old Mar 12, 2024, 9:58 pm
  #8  
 
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Originally Posted by 40love
Sorry newbie here - please explain in detail? What do you mean by adding "unlimited". And does this make a case for ensuring you have a large pool of accumulated APDs to use for this purpose?
There is an entirely different way to upgrade flights called APD upgrades. You get access to them once elite. They are unlimited. You pay a set amount in Air Point Dollars and you can lodge an upgrade. They have the exact same priority as RU upgrades. The only catch is you have to pay in APD but you can buy unlimited amounts with the right Kiwibank credit card.

So for example I paid for PE airfare on sale to LAX for $1600 and lodged an APD upgrade recently for 695 APD and got upgraded to business class. It's cheaper also to go from economy to PE. That saved me about $1,500-$2,000 versus buying a BP seat outright.
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Old Mar 12, 2024, 10:04 pm
  #9  
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Originally Posted by 40love
Showing my newbie here. Without Elite, what does upgrading look like? Is it the OneUp lottery?

When people refer to unlimited upgrades, am I right in saying that the APD upgrades aren't necessarily guaranteed?
Can I suggest you read the AirNZ web information on status? And then scan/search the threads here?

Much is explained……
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Old Mar 13, 2024, 12:48 am
  #10  
 
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You might find the charts here helpful to show how much each upgrade might cost (if successful) in APD for various options.

Elite Airpoints Dollar™ upgrades - Upgrades - Spending Airpoints Dollars™ - Airpoints™ | Air New Zealand
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Old Mar 13, 2024, 1:52 am
  #11  
 
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As a relatively new (in my first year) Elite member, I think whether or not you should chase this status and the value it provides depends heavily on how and where you fly.

For example, if you mostly fly domestically, then it's not worth it. In fact I'd say Gold is hardly worth it for local flying, just buy a Koru membership!

If you are in a position to always buy business class airfares personally or for work/biz travel, then it's not worth chasing Elite (although if you fly Air NZ you'll get it anyway). In that case I'd just be buying whichever airline has the best flight for the best price.

However, I find the program very valuable because of the combination of RUs and APD upgrades. I've submitted 5 upgrade requests this year (3x economy to premium APDs, 2x premium to business RUs). All these flights are upcoming, and 4/5 of them have cleared already (on a side note if anyone from Air NZ is reading make it 5/5 and upgrade my Auckland to Singapore flight plz).

I don't know all the ins and outs of how the upgrades work and who gets what - and there are some weird issues and inconsistencies I've encountered e.g. the support agent I spoke to today saying that upgrades are only ever approved in the departure lounge despite the written policy saying otherwise (I was calling up to see why my app still shows another flight with a pending upgrade where I cancelled that to put towards my AKL - SIN flight, and tried to see if I could sweet talk my way into that upgrade I mentioned above but no luck)

Issues aside, I'm basically at ~$5000, perhaps even more, of 'real world' value in terms of what these fares would have cost me extra in terms of cash. As somebody who flies economy most of the time, or sometimes PE if there is a good deal going or I'm travelling for work and have a tight turnaround, it's honestly a good program. It doesn't fix some of the issues like poor service center call times, overcrowded lounges etc but from an upgrade perspective I like it. I do wish there was a way of guaranteeing upgrades at the time of booking the ticket however (so you could choose for example to delay travel a day or two in order to definitely get an upgrade)

The caveat? I have a credit card that earns APD at a healthy rate, and is expensed monthly. This means I've got plenty of APD to do the APD upgrades with. If I was just using 2x RUs per year I'd be a lot less enthusiastic I imagine.
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Old Mar 13, 2024, 2:08 am
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After many years at GLD, I moved up to ELT in October 2023. There really is no huge difference between the tiers. I usually book PE or BP outright so do not use the upgrades and being based regionally the parking vouchers are useless. The ELT partner is a nice touch for my partner, however.
If the Air NZ overlords are reading this, a dedicated ELT lounge in the main ports would be much appreciated (along with enforced priority boarding)!
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Old Mar 13, 2024, 2:18 am
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Originally Posted by samjaynz
I don't know all the ins and outs of how the upgrades work and who gets what - and there are some weird issues and inconsistencies I've encountered e.g. the support agent I spoke to today saying that upgrades are only ever approved in the departure lounge despite the written policy saying otherwise (I was calling up to see why my app still shows another flight with a pending upgrade where I cancelled that to put towards my AKL - SIN flight, and tried to see if I could sweet talk my way into that upgrade I mentioned above but no luck)
Definitely the support staff give incorrect information in regards to upgrades but they are overall pretty simple in terms of priority as far as I am aware.

Elite RU & APD are same priority. They get cleared first, in order of time they were lodged.

Then gold RU comes next, cleared in order of time lodged. Gifted APD to gold members clears here.

Silver RU is next, cleared in order of time lodged. Gifted APD to silver members also clears here.

Next I think comes APD upgrades gifted to jade members.

Then I believe Oneup clears, in order of spend (which includes uplift)

​​​​​​Elite upgrades can clear any time from about one year out to literally when you are about to board the aircraft. Why they clear so oddly and randomly in terms of timing I honestly don't know but my best guess is an algorithm tries to determine if there is any chance someone might choose to pay in they moment.
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Old Mar 13, 2024, 2:42 am
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Originally Posted by kiwifrequentflyer
Definitely the support staff give incorrect information in regards to upgrades but they are overall pretty simple in terms of priority as far as I am aware.

Elite RU & APD are same priority. They get cleared first, in order of time they were lodged.

Then gold RU comes next, cleared in order of time lodged. Gifted APD to gold members clears here.

Silver RU is next, cleared in order of time lodged. Gifted APD to silver members also clears here.

Next I think comes APD upgrades gifted to jade members.

Then I believe Oneup clears, in order of spend (which includes uplift)

​​​​​​Elite upgrades can clear any time from about one year out to literally when you are about to board the aircraft. Why they clear so oddly and randomly in terms of timing I honestly don't know but my best guess is an algorithm tries to determine if there is any chance someone might choose to pay in they moment.
Regarding gifted RUs/EAPDUs. My ‘no status’ wife has generally had her upgrades clear along with me, including clearing immediately when there is upgrade class available. I recall the rules state that a gifted upgrade will be cleared ether with the status of GE member when travelling together, or at their own status if traveling without the GE member.

When exactly Elite upgrades clear is supposed to be determined quite simply (in theory); if upgrade class R (for biz) or A (for PE) is available when the upgrade is lodged then it’ll clear immediately. Otherwise the upgrades are queued and checked periodically by the ’upgrade robot’ which sweeps the queue and checks if any R or A class seats have been released and, if so, then clears the upgrade in queued order. Of course, AirNZ revenue control determines how many /A are released and when. And there are many reports of inconsistency of upgrades clearing. It is all so opaque that unless clearing immediately, one has no idea.

Last edited by Thai-Kiwi; Mar 13, 2024 at 2:48 am
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Old Mar 13, 2024, 3:01 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: Sep 2022
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Originally Posted by kiwifrequentflyer
Definitely the support staff give incorrect information in regards to upgrades but they are overall pretty simple in terms of priority as far as I am aware.

Elite RU & APD are same priority. They get cleared first, in order of time they were lodged.

Then gold RU comes next, cleared in order of time lodged. Gifted APD to gold members clears here.

Silver RU is next, cleared in order of time lodged. Gifted APD to silver members also clears here.

Next I think comes APD upgrades gifted to jade members.

Then I believe Oneup clears, in order of spend (which includes uplift)

​​​​​​Elite upgrades can clear any time from about one year out to literally when you are about to board the aircraft. Why they clear so oddly and randomly in terms of timing I honestly don't know but my best guess is an algorithm tries to determine if there is any chance someone might choose to pay in they moment.
Thanks for the helpful comment (and to Thai Kiwi as well who quoted your response). I think it's the oddness/randomness of the timing that can be frustrating. For example, if I look at the July flight I'm hopeful to get upgraded I can see that there are quite competitive specials on Business class for that specific date/route (part of the current Asia/North America sale) but the vast majority of business class seats are free whereas PE only has a couple of spare seats. With my commercial hat on it would make sense to not give out upgrades now in case a whole bunch of people suddenly decide to book tickets for that route. But from the 'end user' perspective it can all seem very opaque and random.

Nonetheless I don't want to sound ungrateful - I've done well (so far) out of the upgrade system.
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