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Air New Zealand Booking Tips

Wether you’re looking to book a flight with Air New Zealand internationally or domestically, I’ve got Air New Zealand booking tips for you. If any Kiwis have stumbled upon my blog, I’d love to know if you found these tips helpful and any tips you would add for visitors! Obviously with booking a flight comes actually flying! Check back for my review on the airline and to see if I scored an upgrade on either of the legs of my long-haul flight from Texas.

Notice: All prices listed below are in USD.

Travel Tip #24: Track Your Flights

This one is a repeat from one of my Iceland blog posts, but it’s important! Have you ever tracked a flight? If you haven’t let me explain the process. Usually when I’m at this stage, I know what dates I’m going. However, with New Zealand, I was looking at multiple dates, but I knew I wanted to leave on a Friday and arrive back in Texas on a Monday. I use a combination of apps and services with smaller, more flexible trips, but for New Zealand I used Google Flights.

I walked through the steps, picked a range of dates between February and March that I was interested in and then looked at flight times and connections. Something that was really important to me and Ben (my boyfriend and travel buddy) was to limit our travel time. While I was tempted to book a flight with a long layover in Sydney, we set our sights on the nonstop flights with Air New Zealand (which can also be booked through United). Click “Track Prices” to save them and receive alerts when prices rise and fall. You can also track all flights for a specific day.

How far ahead should you book?

I began tracking our late summer (and early fall) flights options October 22, 2019. This date ended up being 108 days before the flight option we chose. I booked our flights at the lowest point within those 108 days at 72 days before take off. Just two weeks before we booked, our flights had jumped $400 to more than $1,600 for one ticket, and I was sweating.

But here’s what helped me chill out: I had tracked a similar flight for November 2019 in March 2019. I had watched those flights fall just under $940 at around 224 days before take off. I thought, “Surely these flights will creep back down.” And they did. From 52 to 81 days before our flight, the prices were under $1,200 almost everyday. Only four days in this range had flights under $1,100 and one day at $995.

From 7 to 50 Days Before Flight

It got really hairy for prices 50 days and under for our flight. More than 20 days within this timespan had flight prices of more than $1,500. More than 10 of these days were over $2,000. There was a small dip under $1,100 in prices from 14 to 21 days before take off, but inside two weeks they jumped directly up to $1,600 and then continued to climb.

I’ve always read the sweet spot for booking international flights is right around three months. If I would have booked our flights at the 90 day mark, I would have paid about $400 more for each ticket.

Air New Zealand Booking Tips

  • Consider booking with United
  • Don’t click through from Google Flights to book with Air New Zealand
  • Don’t pay in NZD
  • Pay with a travel credit card

Why consider booking with United?

Full disclosure, I chose to book with Air New Zealand due to reason I will discuss in the next section.

Booking with United for my flight was listed as $100 more on Google Flights, however if you are close to receiving status with United or Star Alliance, you should weigh it out. Something else to point out, if you book with Air New Zealand and receive a “sweet” fare, you will not earn miles or points with United even if you enter your rewards number. I also considered booking with United because I’m able to transfer my points from my travel credit card to United.

No accrual of frequent flyers miles/points with airline partners.

Air New Zealand: Sweet Deals Fare Conditions

Update: Even though the above quote is taken directly from Air New Zealand’s webpage about their Sweet Deals Fare Conditions, I received mile credit with United!

Go to Air New Zealand’s website to book.

You may be wondering why I don’t want you to click through and book with Google. Here’s why: It might cost you money.

When I received a Google Alert that one of my tracked flights had dropped to $995, I was ready to pull the trigger. However, in the States it was the day before Thanksgiving and I wondered if Air New Zealand was participating in any Black Friday deals. Guess what? I went to their website and they had a promo code for $100 off long-haul flights! I had already saved $200 (total) just by checking their website.

Important: If there is a promo code, you must put it in first, directly under where you are making the selections to search for your flight. I didn’t (at first) and almost missed out on that $200.

There was an even greater surprise waiting for me in the flight selection. Air New Zealand’s website was showing my flight for $885. I know this because I went through the whole process and then realized I never entered the promo code. I went back, added it and the same flight was then showing at $785 (excluding taxes and fees)! This was the price we could have gotten our tickets at, but we chose to buy seats together which added an additional $80 to our total.

Funny Story: Did you see how I said “at first” I didn’t enter the promo code? That’s because I fully booked our tickets and then realized my mistake. Bless Air New Zealand and their cancellation policy. I immediately canceled our flight and booked the next set with the promo code!

Pay with a travel credit card, but not in NZD.

If I am making a foreign purchase, I usually opt to pay in their currency. There are times when paying in US dollars will cost you more, as some companies have a conversion service that you would pay for. I’m not saying Air New Zealand has this service (but Jetstar does), but I did see an unfavorable price difference between NZD and USD.

Travel Tip #27: Apply for a Travel Credit Card

If you aren’t already using a travel credit card for your flights, you need to jump on board. Not only do they usually come with some sweet perks (like travel insurance), but they also have no foreign conversion charges for your purchases while you’re on your trip. But as with all the best travel credit cards, you earn some type points! For mine and my boyfriend’s flights, we spent $1868.90 and received a minimum of $47 in travel rewards… BUT I never recommend you use those as money in travel rewards.

Here’s a little pitch: Don’t already have a travel credit card, consider Chase! It is highly rated for travel and if you spend $4,000 in the first three months of being open, you can earn 60,000 bonus points. Guess what? Those bonus points can be redeemed for up to $750 with Chase! And even more if you’re savvy… (Example: I used 66,000 points – which would equal $825 – to book two flights to Greece that were $940 EACH!) If you’re interested and would like to give me credit for sending you their way, click here. Be sure and shoot me a message if you do, that way I can see if I earned points from you signing up!

– Texan Travels

Hi friends! This is one post of my blog series for New Zealand! Let me (and other readers!) know in the comments below if you have any Air New Zealand booking tips!

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