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Until this year, getting to New Zealand with miles in Business or First Class was almost impossible on nonstop flights from the U.S.
Air New Zealand operated as an effective monopoly.
But United and American have broken that with their own flights from San Francisco and Los Angeles to Auckland.
At first, availability was spotty – a couple seats here and there, save for a week when American was releasing massive amounts of long haul international award space across many routes.
Now, it looks like United MileagePlus is generously releasing awards near the end of its schedule.
Right now most flights in May and June from San Francisco to Auckland are wide open for Business Class awards at 70,000 miles one way.
Here’s space for four people (dates in green have Business Class seats)…
And it’s even better than that, with 9 or more seats available in the ‘I’ inventory that’s used for Saver Business Class awards. There’s also plenty of space to use a Global Premier Upgrade from ‘R’ class.
Coming back isn’t quite as spectacular, but there’s plenty of space for a family to come back at the end of May or early June.
United flies its flagship Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on the route.
It’s configured with a not so flagship 2x2x2 Business Class layout, but the seats are fully lie flat and the Dreamliner will leave you refreshed on arrival.
70,000 miles one way is a great price, and consider Delta will try to charge you 95,000 miles at minimum to reach Australia / New Zealand, while American wants 80,000 miles (110,000 for First Class).
American doesn’t have much availability for a family of 4 down there, but there is decent availability for a couple if you’re willing to connect in Sydney in April or early May.
While May isn’t the best time to visit New Zealand (it’s like November in the Northern Hemisphere), it does time well with the end of the school year. So if New Zealand is on your family’s bucket list, grab the United award seats now while the availability is generous.
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