Award Seats Loaded on New Air New Zealand Route to Houston

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Back in May a new route I am very excited about, Houston – Auckland, New Zealand went on sale. This route will start operating on December 15, 2015 and will be operated by Air New Zealand.

Air New Zealand

However, when it first went on sale there were no award seats loaded for booking on miles via Star Alliance partners like United. However, a search I did today shows that there are now awards seats available for this soon-to-launch route using Star Alliance partners such as United!

Air New Zealand Availability

The route will operate five days a week Tuesday – Friday and Sunday via a Boeing 777-200 with a new interior, the Economy Skycouch option, Premium Economy Seats, and lie-flat Business Class seats. Of course, not all of those will be available for booking using United miles.

Air New Zealand Economy Skycouch

Air New Zealand Economy Skycouch

I found spotty saver economy awards available beginning in December, but availability improved as you got into the spring 2016 months and beyond. If you booked via United miles it would be 80,000 miles round trip in economy. Theoretically, business class seats would be 160,000 United miles round trip, but I checked every date and so far there are no business class awards to be found. This is hardly surprising given how hard it is to find business class awards on Air New Zealand to/from any of the routes in North America. It does happen, but it is very rare.

Air New Zealand’s Houston – Auckland schedule from December 15, 2015 will be as follows:

Departure Time (local) Arrival Time (local)
Houston to Auckland NZ29 8:25 p.m. 5:55 a.m. (Arriving two calendar days later)
Auckland to Houston NZ28 6:30 p.m. 1:15 p.m. (Arriving same calendar day)

I also want to add that I saw economy fares on this route as low as about $871 round trip all-in. At that price you really are not getting your money’s worth out of your United miles and you would be better off using cards with fixed value points. Of course other dates are much more expensive and in that case 80,000 United miles isn’t that bad for a round trip flight to New Zealand!

Air New Zealand Cheap Flight

Is anyone booked on this route? I’d love to hear about it as I am drooling a little on my keyboard thinking how awesome this flight would be!

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  1. Yeah, who goes to New Zealand in July? Only Aussies for skiing, hence the dirt cheap prices.

    And let’s see how the AA and United routes force Air NZ to start releasing awards soon, now that they no longer have a monopoly.

    • @nick unfortunately Air New Zealand rarely releases business award space to partners. Would love to try as well or even there premium economy too.

      FYI flights switch to Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday starting in March. Much better actually schedule actually. Been looking for a Sat/Sun return flight but of course UA domestic flights are nonexistent…

  2. your post was very timely and a great help
    My wife and I are looking to fly from Detroit to Nelson NZ in late Feb early March. WE have around 120,000 Aeroplan points and $78,000 Amex points
    Any suggstions on how to maximize the value?
    Thanks again for your great blog

  3. IAH-AKL is 14 hours and 30 minutes in Economy?


    Sounds like something you get sentenced to when convicted of a serious misdemeanor. 🙁

      • So I can see the anticipated excitement of that cushioning the pain on the outbound.

        But of course when the vacation is over, you are facing 13 hours and 45 minutes of agony in Economy just to get home and go back to work.

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