Discover the benefits of joining the Airpoints Dollar frequent flyer program.
The Airpoints Dollar program is run by Air New Zealand and aims to give its members the opportunity to earn and redeem points on flights, upgrades, and hotel stays.
Aside from being a rewards system, it also offers travel benefits such as priority check-in, priority boarding, and access to airport lounges. This article looks into how Airpoints compares with other frequent flyer programs.
What is the Airpoints Dollar program and how does it work?
Membership TiersAir New Zealand’s Airpoints Dollar program is designed to maximise the number of points you earn every time you fly.
Air New Zealand offers three membership tiers including Elite, Gold, and Silver. The higher your tier is, the better the benefits. The basic tier is Silver. You need to accumulate 450 status points (250 of which must be earned on qualifying flights) to receive your Silver membership.
Unlike other airlines that only offer points or miles when you book regular-priced air tickets, the Airpoints program lets you accumulate status points even when you book a smart saver or grabaseat ticket.
Benefits of a higher status level
Becoming a higher tier frequent flyer with Air New Zealand offers a range of benefits including unrestricted lounge access, complimentary upgrades, hotel and car rental vouchers, and valet parking among others. In addition, Air New Zealand’s membership with Star Alliance means that you also gain a wide range of perks such as priority reservation waitlist, increased check-in allowance, and priority boarding wherever you fly to in the world.
Here’s what you can expect with each level of membership in the Airpoints program.
- Two complimentary lounge passes for all Koru lounges and international Air New Zealand lounges.
- Recognition upgrades, which allow you to request a one-class upgrade for one-sector, and receive confirmation 48 hours prior to travel.
- Special discounts on long haul business fare flights.
- The ability to use all Koru Lounges in New Zealand, and all international Air New Zealand lounges. Star Alliance Gold Lounges can also be used, and one guest may be brought in subject to space.
- Recognition upgrades, which allow you to request a one-class upgrade for one-sector, and receive confirmation 72 hours prior to travel. You receive one of these per membership year.
- Discounts on long haul business class fares.
- The ability to gift membership rewards to friends or family. They don’t have to be Airpoints members. Gold members can nominate two people.
- No expiry on Airpoints Dollars
- The ability to request frequent flyer seating regardless of which fare is purchased.
- You’ll receive a voucher to a complimentary one room category hotel upgrade or a rental car upgrade. Conditions apply.
- Relax in all Koru airport lounges in New Zealand, all international Air New Zealand lounges and Star Alliance Gold Lounges across the globe. Five guests can be brought into Koru and Air New Zealand international lounges, and one extra guest can be brought into Star Alliance lounges.
- Recognition upgrades, which allow you to request a one-class upgrade for one-sector, and receive confirmation 355 hours prior to travel. Elite members can gift this upgrade to a friend or family.
- Discounts on long haul business class fares—these are available in limited quantities.
- The ability to gift membership rewards to friends or family members. Elite members can nominate up to four recipients for potential gifts.
- Airpoints Dollars won’t expire.
- Request frequent flyer seating regardless of which fare you purchase.
- Any Status Points earned over the 1350 threshold can be rolled over towards your status points balance for the next year.
- If over 2000 Status Points are earned in a membership year you’ll receive an extra Elite year to use later.
- A hotel room upgrade for specific hotels in New Zealand and Australia.
- A rental car upgrade at participating locations in New Zealand and Australia.
- Five complimentary Koru valet parking vouchers, each entitling you to 24 hours parking at Auckland or Christchurch Airports.
- If you earn 2500 or more Status Points from your last requalification date you’ll be able to select from a range of experiences and items as a reward.
- The ability to nominate a family member or friend to also an Elite Partner, which gets them many of the same privileges.
How to earn Airpoints Dollars
There are a range of different ways you can earn Airpoints Dollars.
You can earn Airpoints Dollars by flying with Air New Zealand. All flights except for smart saver and grabaseat are eligible for points earning. A flight between Eastern Australia and London will earn 125 Airpoints Dollars when travelling in an Economy Flexi Plus seat.
You’ll also earn Airpoints Dollars and Status Points whenever you book an eligible flight on a Star Alliance member airline. Air New Zealand is a member of Star Alliance, which is an association of 28 airlines, to deliver seamless service to passengers to all corners of the world.
Aside from its membership in Star Alliance, Air New Zealand has also partnered with Cathay Pacific, Virgin Australia, Virgin Atlantic, and Etihad Airways to let its passengers get access to more destinations and gain more Airpoints Dollars in the process.
Linked credit cards
Air New Zealand has partnered with various credit card providers to allow members to earn points for everyday purchases. Just choose an Airpoints Dollars-linked credit card to earn points for every dollar you spend.
In Australia, there are no direct earn credit cards. Instead, you’ll have to apply for a bank rewards card which allows you to transfer points to the Air New Zealand Airpoints Dollar program. These include cards from American Express, Westpac and ANZ.
|Partner||Airpoints Dollars Earned|
|American Express||100 Membership Rewards points = 1 Airpoint Dollar|
200 David Jones American Express points = 1 Airpoint Dollar
|ANZ Rewards||200 Reward points = 1 Airpoint Dollar|
|Westpac Australia Altitude Rewards||160 Altitude Rewards points = 1 Airpoint Dollar|
You can earn Airpoints Dollars when you stay in any of their partner hotels including:
- Accor Hotels & Resorts - 1 Airpoint Dollar per $15 spent (1 Airpoint per $20 stay at Sofitel hotels)
Choice Hotels International
- Hilton Worldwide - 1 Airpoint Dollar per US$25 spent
- Langham Hospitality Group - 20 Airpoint Dollars per stay in New Zealand and Australia. Different rates for international hotels apply.
- Millennium, Copthorne & Kingsgate Hotels & Resorts
- The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Spa - 1 Airpoint Dollar per $20 spent
- Starwood Hotels & Resorts
If you rent a car with Avis or Budget, you will earn 2.5 Airpoints Dollars per day. Avis offers car rental services at airport locations throughout the world including Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Middle East, USA, and South America among others.
Budget Rent a Car offers car rentals in New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, Cook Islands, and select locations in Europe and North America.Back to top
Where can I redeem Airports Dollars?
Airpoints Dollars can be used to book a flight in over 1,300 destinations in over 190 countries. This is due to Air New Zealand’s membership with Star Alliance. Each Airpoints dollar is calculated as NZ$1. It will be automatically converted to Australian dollars for Australia-based members.
Use Airpoints Dollars to move up to a higher cabin class. OneUp is a program that lets passengers upgrade their flight when they are travelling internationally. Enjoy business and first-class convenience when you are a member of Air New Zealand’s frequent flyer program. Just go to ‘My Bookings’ to make an upgrade request. If you are a Silver, Gold, or Elite member, your status will be upweighted by the following amount:
- Elite – 50%
- Gold – 30%
- Silver – 10%
You can redeem your points at the airpoints store. You can choose from a wide range of items such as sportswear, perfume, appliances, and more. Simply log in to your account to browse the selection.
Airpoints Dollars can be used to pay for your accommodation at a range of hotels and resorts worldwide. Air New Zealand has partnered with many hotel chains.Back to top
How does the Airpoints Dollar program compare to other frequent flyer programs?
The point validity of the Airpoints Dollars is quite generous in comparison to other frequent flyer programs because it lasts for four years. In comparison, Singapore Airline’s KrisFlyer Miles have a validity of three years. Every time you use Airpoints Dollars, the oldest are used first which keeps the amount due to expire at a minimum.
If your Airpoints Dollars are close to expiring, you can make a reservation before the expiration date. The actual travel need not be commenced by the expiration. Flights can be booked up to eleven months in advance.
It should be noted that as mentioned above, those with a Gold and Elite membership won’t have their points expire.
Travellers earn Status Points when they book a flight with Air New Zealand or any Star Alliance member airline. The airline requires its passengers to have 450 points to become a Silver member. In comparison, Qantas requires 300 status points. However, it is important to note that Air New Zealand gives status points even when a traveller books a smart saver or grabaseat flight.
Below is a table that further illustrates how many points you need to move up to higher tiers at Air New Zealand.
|Tier||Number of Status Points to upgrade||Number of Status Points to retain status|
|Silver||450 (225 must be from qu alifying flights)||405 (202 must be from qualifying flights)|
|Gold||900 (450 must be from qualifying flights)||810 (405 must be from qualifying flights)|
|Elite||1,500 (900 must be from qualifying flights)||1,350 (810 must be from qualifying flights)|
|Air New Zealand Airpoints||Singapore KrisFlyer||Qantas Frequent Flyer|
|Priority Reservation Waitlist||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Alliance Membership||Yes (Star Alliance)||Yes (Star Alliance)||Yes (Oneworld)|
|Extra Baggage Allowance||No||No||Yes (varied on international flights)|
Air New Zealand offers relatively standard privileges on its frequent flyer program. Elite members have access to the complete range of benefits the airline can provide. However, the airline’s Silver program offers less perks compared to Qantas, though it is better than Singapore Airlines. Below is a table that shows the status benefits of Silver tier members from the three airlines:
Air New Zealand Airpoints
Qantas Frequent Flyer
Priority Reservation Waitlist
Yes (Star Alliance)
Yes (Star Alliance)
Extra Baggage Allowance
Yes (varied on international flights)
Pros and cons of the Airpoints Dollar Program
- Four-year points expiry. The Airpoints Dollars have a four-year expiry for Silver members and no expiration date for Gold and Elite members. This isn’t as good as the Qantas Frequent Flyer or Velocity frequent flyer programs, as these points won’t expire if you keep your account active.
- SharePoints. This program is specifically designed to let members pool their points to get rewards quickly.
- Limited rewards partners. Air New Zealand has fewer rewards partners compared to other airlines. For example, Emirates allows Skywards members to redeem their points on larger range of hotel chains.
- Confusing points structure for Australians. One Airpoints Dollars equates to one New Zealand dollar. The amount that is converted to Australians is subject to the company’s discretion.
Frequently asked questions about the Velocity Frequent Flyer Program
- Do I have to pay to join this program? There is a joining fee of NZ$30. However, this fee is waived if you have booked a first or business class flight with Air New Zealand
- Can Australians become an Air New Zealand Airpoints member Yes.
- Does Air New Zealand allow family pooling? Yes. You need to join the SharePoints program.