One Way to New Zealand using Avios

Old Feb 20, 21, 5:42 am
  #1  
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One Way to New Zealand using Avios

Later in the year (October/November) I am planning to move from London to New Zealand with my wife and 1 year old. I am a New Zealand passport holder (as too is my child) and my wife is in the process of applying for a resident visa.

We currently have approximately 300K Avios and 2x BA Amex Companion vouchers, so we were hoping to use these to get us there - particularly as one way cash bookings on such a route never represent good value.

I was wanting to see if anyone has any suggestions on how we may be able to get there by using our Avios and companion voucher. We would like to either do Business class or a mix of Business and Premium Economy. Happy to book in 2 legs and stay overnight if it makes more sense, and will be allowed given potential Covid entry restrictions still in place then.

I understand flying to Sydney may be difficult due to availability and entry restrictions. I was considering using BA to somewhere like:
- Doha
- Hong Kong
- Tokyo
- Singapore
- Los Angeles
- San Francisco
Then booking either a cash one way to Auckland from there (One World ideally as BA silver card holders, but not necessary if doing business class and get additional luggage), or if One World carrier availability exists, doing an Avios redemption. We would be OK with spending up to an additional £2500 for one way tickets for the 3 of us, for the final leg, if we had to do cash.

In the case of Doha, a cash booking would probably be no cheaper than doing from London on Qatar, so only Avios would really be an option. Although strangely one way business flights from South Africa to Auckland via Doha on Qatar seem quite reasonable for dates I was checking (and my wife is from South Africa) - but we aren’t confident it will be feasible to go back there then.

Any suggestions on a suitable route to do this - particularly if there are any other stopovers I haven’t considered or if others have similar experience?

Many thanks.
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Old Feb 20, 21, 6:04 am
  #2  
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No one knows what the situation will be in Oct-Nov 2021 Looking 30-60 days before travel would be best, but NZ MIQ is the big issue.

But it can be expected both AU & NZ will still have travel restrictions and the 14 days self paid quarantine for all of 2021. AU will not finish vaccinations until end of Oct. For NZ your guess is as good as anyone's (including Jacinda's), NZ has not published a hard vaccination policy-time line.

For NZ MIQ slots are hard to get. This will determine when you travel. After making a MIQ booking you have 48hrs to add flight number and PNR. When a new month is released they go in days. NZ Govt has budgeted for MIQ to continue to mid 2022 (=not 2021)Link-->https://allocation.miq.govt.nz/portal/ .

Currently you would not be allowed to go via USA. USA does not have "transit". A full USA ESTA or equal required and processing USA immigration-customs.

On current AU polices there are no issues transiting Sydney (or MEL - BNE) if on one ticket. A ticket to AU and then a separate ticket trans Tasman would likely fail, as the first airline would see AU as your destination, for which currently you would not be allowed to enter. Link--->https://covid19.homeaffairs.gov.au/

Currently Qatar QR flys DOH-BNE-AKL
Also keep a watch on CX Cathay
BA are currently not flying to SYD. Flights end at SIN By Oct Nov no-one knows.
Also currently SQ flys 2 days a week into CHC. All other current international flights go into AKL
Look here who in flying into NZ. But some may be cargo only flights or not real (to be or are cancelled). --->https://www.aucklandairport.co.nz/flights
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Last edited by Mwenenzi; Feb 20, 21 at 6:24 am
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Old Feb 20, 21, 7:40 am
  #3  
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Thanks very much for the detail Mwenenzi .

Yes, I’m aware of the MIQ situation - I should be able to get the date we need when they open up around June. I know we need to provide the flight details shortly after booking MIQ, I presume it is fine to book the flight beforehand as well (on the assumption MIQ will be secured for date wanted, or flight has flexibility to move date if needed)? There is a chance that a trans-Tasman bubble will be in operation by then, which should increase the general availability in MIQ.

In any case we will need to work out where we want to transit / stopover, so will keep an eye on US developments and schedules arriving into Auckland.
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Old Feb 20, 21, 7:54 am
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Yes. You can book MIQ and then the flight. Or book the flight and then the MIQ.
And hope both match or can change the flight. Most flights are not every day. Just a few times a week. All your own risk-gamble.
With MIQ you can change the flight details for the day. But if you want to change the MIQ date need to make a new MIQ and cancel the first. (That's what I did a few months ago - it may be different now) Or email MIQ.
Worth registering with the MIQ portal now. From looking at MIQ portal over the last few months the first week of a new month(when it goes online) goes very quickly. Later in the month a little longer
Some facebook groups on MIQ.

From reports before Christmas MIQ was 40% occupied by people ex Australia. However has seen reports/opinion that if the full TT bubble eventuates the MIQ capacity may reduce by the same amount.

Transiting - stop over will be issue. Separate tickets at some airport may be impossible depending on the rules at the time. If separate ticket you are not "transiting". Just the end of a flight/ticket at an airport and the start of new flight/ticket at the same airport. I would be looking for single ticket UK to NZ.
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Last edited by Mwenenzi; Feb 20, 21 at 8:00 am
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Old Feb 20, 21, 8:03 am
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Originally Posted by Mwenenzi View Post
Worth registering with the MIQ portal now. From looking at MIQ portal over the last few months the first week of a new month(when it goes online) goes very quickly. Later in the month a little longer
Yes, already registered. Thanks for the observations about what has been getting booked quickly. Will probably look towards end of October on that basis.

Originally Posted by Mwenenzi View Post
Transiting - stop over will be issue. Separate tickets at some airport may be impossible depending on the rules at the time. If separate ticket you are not "transiting". Just the end of a flight/ticket at an airport and the start of new flight/ticket at the same airport. I would be looking for single ticket UK to NZ.
Yeah - it will most likely need to be a stopover somewhere we can stay a night or 2. Will need to keep an eye on countries that will allow this.
If we need to book single ticket from UK, will do that, but given our Avios/voucher situation will try to get something that way if at all possible. We could possibly do Premium Economy via HK on Cathay (without using the voucher), need to check availability and schedule.

Last edited by Colossus; Feb 20, 21 at 8:09 am
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Old Feb 20, 21, 8:08 am
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Originally Posted by Colossus View Post
Yes, already registered. Thanks for the observations about what has been getting booked quickly. Will probably look towards end of October on that basis.
May MIQ is fully booked. Look when June is released so see if there is a pattern. April & May went on line 21 Jan
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Old Feb 20, 21, 8:10 am
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Originally Posted by Mwenenzi View Post
May MIQ is fully booked. Look when June is released so see if there is a pattern. April & May went on line 21 Jan
Yeah, will keep an eye on it as they open up for June.

Sorry edited my response on my previous post, after seeing your note re. transiting.
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Old Feb 20, 21, 9:17 am
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Having a look at redemptions for the three of you one stopping through HKG is 260k points +~£500 in premium and 390k points +~£750 in business. Currently Singapore isn't allowing transit if you've been in the UK in the previous 14 days, and HK not allowing transit if you're on separate tickets. It's these two restrictions that eliminate (as far as I can tell) companion voucher options through these ports as your onward travel would be on a separate ticket.

As you've already got 2 companion vouchers I'm assuming you don't have a way of getting more quickly/easily (through sign up bonuses) and could even *gulp* buy Avios to make up the shortfall (Iberia is selling Avios with a 50% bonus ATM.) The shortfall in Avios could be made up for less cash than your desired total outlay, with the usual caveats associated with this type of purchase.

Later in the year shows daily LHR-HKG-AKL flights and many with Avios availability, however based on their current schedule and the rate of improvement I'm doubtful they'll all be running. Perhaps if booking best to mirror what they're currently operating (or will be in the next month or two).

In any case I feel you'll need an element of good fortune for everything to come off with the move (as does a lot of travel to the antipodes at the moment) but I'm sure with time, flexibility and FT at your disposal you'll get an agreeable solution. Good travels!
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Old Feb 20, 21, 9:24 am
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Originally Posted by Colossus View Post
Yes, already registered. Thanks for the observations about what has been getting booked quickly. Will probably look towards end of October on that basis.


Yeah - it will most likely need to be a stopover somewhere we can stay a night or 2. Will need to keep an eye on countries that will allow this.
If we need to book single ticket from UK, will do that, but given our Avios/voucher situation will try to get something that way if at all possible. We could possibly do Premium Economy via HK on Cathay (without using the voucher), need to check availability and schedule.
The problem with this tactic is that what may be possible on the day you book and secure your MIQ slot, may not be permitted weeks or months later. Thus, a stop over may leave you either stranded or simply denied boarding at LON and with tickets which cannot be rebooked through some other point. This then means losing your MIQ slot and possibly having to wait another few months for another slot and then new routing.

In these times, I would strongly urge booking simple routings which involve only connections, e.g. one ticket and do not involve multiple transits. The ultimate cost may be much, much higher and thus the initial savings may be lost rather quickyl.
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Old Feb 20, 21, 12:26 pm
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Originally Posted by Colesmore View Post
Having a look at redemptions for the three of you one stopping through HKG is 260k points +~£500 in premium and 390k points +~£750 in business. Currently Singapore isn't allowing transit if you've been in the UK in the previous 14 days, and HK not allowing transit if you're on separate tickets. It's these two restrictions that eliminate (as far as I can tell) companion voucher options through these ports as your onward travel would be on a separate ticket.

As you've already got 2 companion vouchers I'm assuming you don't have a way of getting more quickly/easily (through sign up bonuses) and could even *gulp* buy Avios to make up the shortfall (Iberia is selling Avios with a 50% bonus ATM.) The shortfall in Avios could be made up for less cash than your desired total outlay, with the usual caveats associated with this type of purchase.

Later in the year shows daily LHR-HKG-AKL flights and many with Avios availability, however based on their current schedule and the rate of improvement I'm doubtful they'll all be running. Perhaps if booking best to mirror what they're currently operating (or will be in the next month or two).

In any case I feel you'll need an element of good fortune for everything to come off with the move (as does a lot of travel to the antipodes at the moment) but I'm sure with time, flexibility and FT at your disposal you'll get an agreeable solution. Good travels!
Thank you very much!

I was actually looking before at the gov.uk entry requirements for HK and it mentions:

“Transiting Hong Kong

Transit services at Hong Kong International Airport resumed on 15 June 2020 for passengers who can be checked through from port of origin to final destination. Transiting between flights operated by different airlines is now allowed.”

I thought this means it is ok to transit on separate tickets? Obviously there is additional risk in doing this in any case, if one flight is changed/cancelled.

In reality I think we’ll just try and monitor the situation for a few months, and unless we can realistically get out somewhere for a few days (due to policy changes), will look at booking a single ticket.
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Old Feb 20, 21, 12:32 pm
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
The problem with this tactic is that what may be possible on the day you book and secure your MIQ slot, may not be permitted weeks or months later. Thus, a stop over may leave you either stranded or simply denied boarding at LON and with tickets which cannot be rebooked through some other point. This then means losing your MIQ slot and possibly having to wait another few months for another slot and then new routing.

In these times, I would strongly urge booking simple routings which involve only connections, e.g. one ticket and do not involve multiple transits. The ultimate cost may be much, much higher and thus the initial savings may be lost rather quickyl.
Thanks! Yes, the MIQ considerations definitely makes any separate bookings risky, unless we perhaps stopover somewhere else for an extended period. We won’t be in any major rush to leave or arrive, so have some flexibility, things could change a lot in the next 6-9 months - the only thing forcing us to lock in a date is the MIQ booking unfortunately.
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Old Feb 20, 21, 12:46 pm
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Originally Posted by Colossus View Post
Thank you very much!

I was actually looking before at the gov.uk entry requirements for HK and it mentions:

“Transiting Hong Kong

Transit services at Hong Kong International Airport resumed on 15 June 2020 for passengers who can be checked through from port of origin to final destination. Transiting between flights operated by different airlines is now allowed.”

I thought this means it is ok to transit on separate tickets? Obviously there is additional risk in doing this in any case, if one flight is changed/cancelled.

In reality I think we’ll just try and monitor the situation for a few months, and unless we can realistically get out somewhere for a few days (due to policy changes), will look at booking a single ticket.
Pulling from the CX website, and in line with what could be slightly ambiguous above, transit is allowed if:
  • Their itinerary is contained in a single booking;
  • They meet the entry requirements of their final destination;
  • They have their baggage checked through to the final destination;
  • They have been issued their onward boarding pass(es) from their origin; and
  • The connection time between flights is within 24 hours.
Perhaps an option could be to book soonish/in line with your MIQ date, and then ammend the Avios booking for a small fee if/when conditions change and you can have a layover.
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Old Feb 20, 21, 1:06 pm
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Originally Posted by Colossus View Post
Thank you very much!

I was actually looking before at the gov.uk entry requirements for HK and it mentions:

“Transiting Hong Kong

Transit services at Hong Kong International Airport resumed on 15 June 2020 for passengers who can be checked through from port of origin to final destination. Transiting between flights operated by different airlines is now allowed.”

I thought this means it is ok to transit on separate tickets? Obviously there is additional risk in doing this in any case, if one flight is changed/cancelled.

In reality I think we’ll just try and monitor the situation for a few months, and unless we can realistically get out somewhere for a few days (due to policy changes), will look at booking a single ticket.
You presume that at some point in the future, you will be permitted to stop over at your chosen location. That is something I would not do.
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Old Feb 20, 21, 3:39 pm
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Originally Posted by Colossus View Post
I was actually looking before at the gov.uk entry requirements for HK and it mentions:

“Transiting Hong Kong

Transit services at Hong Kong International Airport resumed on 15 June 2020 for passengers who can be checked through from port of origin to final destination. Transiting between flights operated by different airlines is now allowed.”

I thought this means it is ok to transit on separate tickets? Obviously there is additional risk in doing this in any case, if one flight is changed/cancelled.
Transit applies to one ticket, not separate tickets. What it means when it says transiting between flights operated by different airlines is now allowed is that you can do this if both sectors are on the same ticket - previously you could not.
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Old Feb 20, 21, 4:16 pm
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Wednesdays in November seem to have business reward availability on LHR-KUL-AKL on MH (very few seats), there's also a BA/CX reward combination in Premium Economy (slightly more seats on some Wednesdays). Unfortunately, the protection you get by keeping everything on a single ticket is the price for not using the voucher, unfortunately.

Of course, the other option is to take a punt on a transit point, and if it all goes wrong you buy a cash ticket. I'm not sure the gamble is worth it.
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