Help Required: 2019 Trip to New Zealand

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Old Jan 5, 18, 5:22 am
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Help Required: 2019 Trip to New Zealand

Hello All,

Please except my apologies if this is placed in the wrong part of the forum but considering this is the area I read the most I thought it was a good place to start. I'm in a bit of a muddle about organising some flights for the early part of next year and wanted to see if the experts had any opinions. Any thoughts or advice on the below would be grateful appreciated!

I'm putting together a 'Gap Year' of sorts for my retired parents who are looking to travel to Australia and New Zealand for Jan, Feb and March of 2019. Aware I can't book any flights at the moment but want to be slightly clever about getting seats sorted and therefore am looking at getting all the knowledge and tips I can before they do that. They are long standing Executive Club members but over the past few years have dropped out of Silver and Gold status to Blue after retirement and have used a considerable amount of miles over the past few years and therefore have sub £50K left.

They are keen to get good seats for such a long trip (LHR - SIN - AKL / AKL - MEL - LHR) considering both in 70's and ideally want to be flying Premium and above - ideally business. I'm keen to get them the best seats possible without it costing a fortune. My plan is to try and funnel spending through a rewards credit card as there are some fairly large payments coming up this year. We are looking at booking the flights by the end of March so not much time to be shrewd about this all!

So knowing all that I have a number of questions:

1. Companion Vouchers: There are a few large spends to come this year that should tip over Amex cards voucher trigger very early into this year. Will they have the ability to use this voucher as soon as they've spent the £10K limit? Or is that only available at the end of the year?
2. Without cheating on the Exec Club - considering the other mileage schemes out there and the routing (ideally they would like to do a stop in SIN or HKG on the way to AKL and then through MEL on the way back) is there maybe a better mileage scheme to be cracking on with to get companion vouchers, credit card mile bonuses etc?

Thank you all in advance for having a look through and thank you for your help!
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Old Jan 5, 18, 5:36 am
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I'd also keep an eye on Qatar's promotions this month. They fly direct to AKL and you can get good 241 (paid) deals, particularly if willing to fly from Paris / Oslo / Stockholm.


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Last edited by toothy; Jan 5, 18 at 6:32 am
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Old Jan 5, 18, 5:37 am
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Originally Posted by AManInEivissa View Post
They are keen to get good seats for such a long trip (LHR - SIN - AKL / AKL - MEL - LHR) ...

So knowing all that I have a number of questions:

1. Companion Vouchers: There are a few large spends to come this year that should tip over Amex cards voucher trigger very early into this year. Will they have the ability to use this voucher as soon as they've spent the £10K limit? Or is that only available at the end of the year?
As a first shot, I would forget about using a companion voucher for this trip. It can only be used on BA-operated flights, and that can only take you as far as SYD at best - and that is one of the most difficult routes to get premium cabin award seats for. Otherwise, they might only get as far as BKK, HKG, KUL or SIN and still have to bridge the gaps to NZ using cash tickets or full price award tickets.

The Avios that they have (or might earn using a credit card) may be better used for short-haul flights within Australia and New Zealand. And the long-haul flights may be better bought for cash.
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Old Jan 5, 18, 5:41 am
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Originally Posted by toothy View Post
I'd also keep an eye on Qatar's promotions this month. They fly direct to AKL and you can get good 241 (paid) deals, particularly if willing to fly from Paris / Oslo / Stockholm.


Paul
Thanks both for the responses. Paul, do Qatar advertise the business class seats as 2-4-1 or are they slightly more sneaky about the whole thing?
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Old Jan 5, 18, 5:48 am
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Originally Posted by AManInEivissa View Post
Thanks both for the responses. Paul, do Qatar advertise the business class seats as 2-4-1 or are they slightly more sneaky about the whole thing?
Not sure what QR 2-4-1 should mean in that context. That said they had very decent fare to AKL from OSL. So decent that it would seem more economical to pay £1,300-1,400/person than flying there on miles. Some of the offers to Australia on QR were restricted to reservations for at least 2 passengers. Isn't a true 2-4-1 though.
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Old Jan 5, 18, 6:30 am
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QR has had true 2-4-1 promotions in the past, where the fare for one person might be £2k + taxes and for two people, would also be £2k + taxes in total (and possibly adding fuel surcharge in each case).

However, I'd suggest a QR sale as the best way to get to AKL, though it might be quite some time until 2019 dates are included in one.
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Old Jan 5, 18, 6:30 am
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By £50K avios do you mean 50k or is it a different typo. I'm afraid 50k won't get you very far, so the Qatar option would be most sensible if that's the case. And I assume by further spending you're talking about tens of £ks not £100k which would get you somewhere on other airlines?

If you had the avios and the voucher you would need to be booking a Jan19 flight for SYD this month, not in March (adding the return later). Other than booking the seats on release (T-355) you're very unlikely to find anything outbound.

Last edited by pauldb; Jan 5, 18 at 6:47 am
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Old Jan 5, 18, 6:36 am
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Look at BA/CX opportunities via HKG and
BA/MH opportunities via KUL.

Avoid B787 aircraft in Economy.
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Old Jan 5, 18, 6:44 am
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Aim for the BA codeshare to AKL from HKG? Can't get much better than CX J on the route, I think
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Old Jan 5, 18, 4:16 pm
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Can I throw an off-the-wall suggestion into the mix? Use a 2-4-1 for LHR-ICN return - shouldn't have much difficulty finding inventory there if you're reasonably flexible. Then start collecting MRs through an Amex card. Convert these into DL miles (stay with me...) and redeem them for KE ICN-AKL. Lots of availability on that route (can be checked on the DL website without logging in), and a lovely new comfy 747-8 for the connection.
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Old Jan 5, 18, 4:54 pm
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I have worked on the reverse routings several times; cheap J-class tickets from NZ to anywhere in Europe. I have managed to use my Qantas points to get on the NZ-SYD-BKK route, then a Finnair J-class from BKK to most places in Europe (in my case AMS and CPH - both of which are cheap with point of sale BKK). Note there is very little corporate traffic from BKK so airlines tend to dump BKK J-class inventory compared to HKG or SIN routes. The amount of ME3 capacity into BKK means that all airlines have to compete hard for any premium traffic. Finnair has tried to push its fares up with the A350 on the route but QR and the Thai A380 into FRA limits their pricing.
Allow an overnight in Asia as a buffer for two-ticket options. My Wife and I used the Novotel at BKK as a crash pad (late in and early out meant we have no time to go into the city). Furthermore, Finnair tends to offer its best fares on the early morning BKK departure, which connects with nothing from Aus/NZ.
Gettng anything in J-class for under NZ$5,500 is tough out here but do-able if you research and watch the OTA's. CX is a price leader at the moment, especially on the AMS route.I won't travel with Mainland Chinese operators (I do enough flying on them for work) as the airport product is lousy and punctuality can be an issue. Customer service is minimal but I digress.
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Old Jan 5, 18, 5:51 pm
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Originally Posted by AManInEivissa View Post
<snip>
I'm putting together a 'Gap Year' of sorts for my retired parents who are looking to travel to Australia and New Zealand for Jan, Feb and March of 2019. Aware I can't book any flights at the moment but want to be slightly clever about getting seats sorted and therefore am looking at getting all the knowledge and tips I can before they do that. They are long standing Executive Club members but over the past few years have dropped out of Silver and Gold status to Blue after retirement and have used a considerable amount of miles over the past few years and therefore have sub £50K left.

They are keen to get good seats for such a long trip (LHR - SIN - AKL / AKL - MEL - LHR) considering both in 70's and ideally want to be flying premium and above - ideally business. I'm keen to get them the best seats possible without it costing a fortune. My plan is to try and funnel spending through a rewards credit card as there are some fairly large payments coming up this year. We are looking at booking the flights by the end of March so not much time to be shrewd about this all!

So knowing all that I have a number of questions:
1. Companion Vouchers: There are a few large spends to come this year that should tip over Amex cards voucher trigger very early into this year. Will they have the ability to use this voucher as soon as they've spent the £10K limit? Or is that only available at the end of the year?
2. Without cheating on the Exec Club - considering the other mileage schemes out there and the routing (ideally they would like to do a stop in SIN or HKG on the way to AKL and then through MEL on the way back) is there maybe a better mileage scheme to be cracking on with to get companion vouchers, credit card mile bonuses etc?
There are other threads on getting from UK to Australia/NZ using avios and/or 2 for 1's and wanting a premium cabin seats. Are very hard, as many others are wanting to do the same. Getting 2 premium awards seats on the same flights is 3 times as hard (not twice)

Some BA forum threads (there more threads on NZ, but cannot find them just now)
Finding award seats from EDI to Australia
UK To Australia
Advice needed - Open jaw to Australia, 100K Avios best routing
LHR-SYD-AKL. 2-4-1 ticket + transfer visa / baggage question
Advice for travel to Auckland

BA flys LHR-SIN-SYD so that limits your options on BA.
Oneworld OW airlines that fly into NZ are QF, QR, MH, CX & JL via Asia/ME/Aust and AA & LA from the Americas. Australia has the same airlines plus BA, but a lot more flights and to more state capital cities. Looking for cities other than SYD increases your chances, as most people do not think past Sydney=Australia. Many/most do not consider PER ADL MEL BNE CNS.

All OW airlines have the same nominal award availability, but in practise it does vary.
Different ffp have vastly different award cost in miles/avois/points and cash surcharges.

With the SIN/HKG - MEL stopovers they will need separate one way awards. Generally cannot get "free" stop overs on ffp awards.
I would start looking & booking one way awards, if they have the avios, as soon as they begin to show on-line (~T-355 days) [~Feb Mar 2018]
For Jan Feb Mar 2019 far less hope of finding premium cabin awards if looking/booking with avios in say Nov Dec 2018, when they may have a bigger stash of avios.
But 50,000 avios is not a lot: cannot go far with those.
Or look/hope for a good ex Eu cash business class fare to Australia/Asia and avios/cash onto NZ.

Is AKL the only NZ destination?
Getting to Australia and then a cash fare Australia - NZ is an option. There is a lot of competition Australia - New Zealand on the trans Tasman route. Flights (east coast Australia) are scheduled to take about 3:15hr to 3:45hr. East bound is faster due to prevailing winds. Trans Tasman pricing is very competitive. Fares are often ~AU/NZ$225-$275 one way in economy/coach, but can be more or less. Both economy & business fares can be low to very low. Or at peak times can be very high (double or triple the lowest).

Airlines that fly Australia (CNS* MCY* BNE OOL SYD CBR MEL ADL PER) to/from New Zealand (AKL WLG CHC DUD ZQN) (not from all airports to all airports).
- Air Asia D7 (OOL - AKL)
- Air New Zealand NZ Codeshares with VA. [Star Alliance] {* winter seasonal}
- China Airlines CI (BNE SYD MEL** – AKL CHC**) [Skyteam Alliance] {** November to March}
- Emirates EK (SYD – CHC, BNE MEL – AKL) Codeshares with QF. EK will only fly SYD-CHC from March 2018
- Jetstar JQ (owned by QF)
- LAN LA (SYD AKL) [OneWorld Alliance]
- Philippines PR (CNS - AKL) Route withdrawn 06 Dec 2017
- Qantas QF Codeshares with EK. [OneWorld Alliance]
- Singapore SQ (CBR WLG) [Star Alliance]
- Virgin Australia VA Codeshares with Air NZ & AC*. (Delta & AC** partner) [*= some routes in 2017, ** ffp late 2017]

Last edited by Mwenenzi; Jan 5, 18 at 8:02 pm Reason: added more linked threads
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Old Jan 8, 18, 9:46 am
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Thank you all for your advice and help.
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Old Jan 8, 18, 10:49 am
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We fly CDG-AKL every January returning early April and have used SQ, EK, BA, QF and CX but the last 3 trips have been CX via HKG as they work out the most reasonable from CDG if you can adjust dates to grab an "I" class fare (usually €2300 to €2700 return). Would love to try QR in the future from OSL, STO or CPH but at the moment the 5am arrival time in AKL is a no-no for that. We have got to Silver with the CX Marco Polo club and have built up quite a lot of miles which are hard to actually use because there's never any award/upgrade space when we need to travel and it's hard to transfer the Asia Miles to anything else.
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Old Jan 8, 18, 10:55 am
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I am based in CPH and on Qatars mailing list. A few times a year to have a 2-4-1 in business class offer. For most destinations this is 2-3000 GBP for 2 people. Difficult to beat.
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