Award seats to AKL

Old Jan 29, 18, 2:00 am
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Award seats to AKL

Hi,
We want to go to Auckland next December and I thought I should start looking for award seats using UA miles. Biz class. I see New Zealand Air goes from IAH, SFO and LAX, how difficult is it to get award seats on ANZ?
Any other advice about how to get there from Chicago?
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Old Jan 29, 18, 3:59 am
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Air New Zealand is notoriously stingy with Award availability, and December is the high season.
Also keep in mind that United flies to AKL again (during the NZ summer months), so you can also check SFO-AKL on UA, but keep in mind that saver awards might be scarce!
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Old Jan 29, 18, 8:10 am
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Dec saver space into AKL is pretty hard to come by. UA only seems to release some very last minute but I do see more on NZ from SFO and LAX so if you're willing to position it may improve your odds
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Old Jan 29, 18, 10:14 am
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I've done some limited searches on UA.com for award to AKL in Dec. I saw no saver award availability at all. I did see saver to SYD, but that's with CA through PEK, not recommended.
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Old Jan 29, 18, 3:30 pm
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NZ has been decent about releasing I space, but only during low season (the southern winter). They do not release any I space at all until 90 days from departure.

With UA, you might have a sliver of a hope if you depart in the first week or two of December. If you're trying to head down south in the neighborhood of Christmas, just give up now and book Standard Awards or pay. There is some chance of transiting Asia, but that's long and all too often involves CA and/or an Asia-ANZ segment in Economy.
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Old Jan 29, 18, 3:47 pm
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Originally Posted by CIT85 View Post
I've done some limited searches on UA.com for award to AKL in Dec. I saw no saver award availability at all. I did see saver to SYD, but that's with CA through PEK, not recommended.
I've never flown CA, are they that bad or is the PEK transfer a pain? Or both?
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Old Jan 29, 18, 3:47 pm
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Dec is going to be tough, particularly past the 15th. Best bet is to look for flights through SIN or TPE or BKK, start with OW flights from there. SQ has flights to WLG through MEL but can also connect through either SYD, BNE, or CBR (1stop) to NZ flights or book a LCC to AKL (jetstar is decent for a shorter tasman flight, most NZ flights are econ only anyway). BR also has flights to BNE where you can to the same thing via TPE.
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Old Jan 29, 18, 3:49 pm
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Originally Posted by AceReport View Post
I've never flown CA, are they that bad or is the PEK transfer a pain? Or both?
Transfers in PEK are notoriously painful. Furthermore, CA has a track record of "disappearing" business class award bookings.
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Old Jan 29, 18, 4:00 pm
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Originally Posted by findark View Post
NZ has been decent about releasing I space, but only during low season (the southern winter). They do not release any I space at all until 90 days from departure.

With UA, you might have a sliver of a hope if you depart in the first week or two of December. If you're trying to head down south in the neighborhood of Christmas, just give up now and book Standard Awards or pay. There is some chance of transiting Asia, but that's long and all too often involves CA and/or an Asia-ANZ segment in Economy.
Echo these comments. I have a trip to New Zealand/Australia coming up at the beginning of March and finding direct award space to Auckland at the end of Summer/beginning of fall was super tough. Prior to the SFO-AKL route switching to the 773 I was only able to find business award space from LAX-SYD-AKL(now to be fare I was a bit date contained, but looking daily at February/March dates I don't remember seeing any dates with saver business space open up before I booked the LAX-SYD-AKL flight). Once the SFO-AKL route switched to a 773 business saver space opened up for a few days, but after that, it dried up again. Also, it seemed even harder to find direct saver business space back to the states from New Zealand/Australia than space getting there. In the end, I opted to purchases the returned flights during a OW P fare sale from AKL rather than wait to see if space opened up, as at ~4 months out I got tired of looking to see if space opened up every day. The long story short is direct saver business space to/from AKL is not easy to find during the southern summer. That said, there tends to be decent saver business space if you're willing to transition through Asia (via Asiana through South Korea during the southern summer or Korean Air year around, or SQ, etc...) but that makes for a not so fun 24 hour of flying.
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Old Jan 30, 18, 8:36 am
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Would October be better?

Looking for award seat for AKL in late Sept early Oct. When should I start and how is availability in general?
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Old Jan 30, 18, 9:45 am
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I lucked out and scored 2 saver J awards SFO-AKL on UA last month (12/26 may have had something to do with it). Look early, look often, and - of course - expect nothing.
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Old Jan 30, 18, 10:44 am
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Keep looking, the available spaces go quickly. On United the new Polaris hardware is available SFO-AKL so that's a consideration.
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Old Jan 30, 18, 1:09 pm
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October is much easier than December, but getting I space on UA metal is still very hard. R is much easier; I hit gold on my first try with SFO-SYD on 2 October.
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Old Mar 23, 18, 2:06 pm
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I just checked a few dates in January and February. No savers at all.

I then checked close-in awards, for April and May.

Some do turn up but it's like a 34 hour outbound going from SFO-YVR-SYD-AKL-WLG.

If I set the destination of the outbound as WLG, does it reduce my odds? Probably would transit through AKL regardless so I would think it would be the same as searching SFO-AKL?

There are also some UA segments such as SFO-SYD nonstop and then Y on NZ to AKL.

Haven't found anything with the SFO-AKL UA flight. I'm not even sure it has turned up even for the 200k anytime award.

Have anyone had any success booking in Y and upgrading with miles?
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Old Mar 25, 18, 9:37 pm
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I'm trying to find some 2 award seats for my parents in early November. Is this bumping into prime time and making things difficult? United's award search is slow as hell tonight and errors out for me.

I'm trying to get them to take a full month and maybe hop over to singapore or Thailand before heading down to NZ. I'm thinking maybe it will be easier to find flights that way and break up a otherwise 40 hr travel time. If not, then my dad needs to start listening to me about churning CC and shell out the 400k for full award biz
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