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How to use Virgin Atlantic miles to get to Auckland

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Reader Charlie dropped me a note about an interesting Virgin Atlantic partner redemption that he has booked to get to Auckland.

Virgin Flying Club is a partner with Air New Zealand.  We don’t cover this much because Air New Zealand very, very rarely makes much reward space available between London and Auckland, which routes via Los Angeles.

Air New Zealand has other routes, of course.  The one that Charlie spotted was Tokyo to Auckland.

Redemption pricing for Air New Zealand is shown on the Virgin Atlantic site here.  As you can see, Tokyo to Auckland is just 40,000 miles each-way in Business Class.

This is for an 11 hour flight remember.  More interestingly, taxes are exceptionally low:

Tokyo to Auckland in Business Class is £35 one way

Auckland to Tokyo in Business Class is £16 one way

Obviously you need to get to Tokyo in the first place.  However, this is generally not a bad route to get seats compared to, say, Singapore:

you can fly on Avios via British Airways – or, if you are not using a 241 voucher, JAL

you can fly on Flying Club miles via ANA (we reviewed ANA’s Business Class here, redemption pricing is here)

Redeeming Virgin Flying Club miles on Air New Zealand

There is currently decent availability in Business Class for Tokyo-Auckland in March 2019 with some from Auckland during February 2019.  Air New Zealand seems to release seats on a rolling basis so future months should appear as time goes by.

There is an identical option available from Hong Kong.  This is still on Air New Zealand and with the same pricing.  Hong Kong is even easier to reach from the UK with either Avios or Virgin Flying Club miles.

Singapore and Shanghai are other possible starting points in Asia served by Air New Zealand although you are at the mercy of their erratic reward seat availability.

You can check Air New Zealand reward availability by using the United Airlines website.  You don’t need an account with United.  When you find a day with seats, simply call Virgin Flying Club to book – the availability should match.

How to earn Virgin Atlantic miles from UK credit cards

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Virgin Flying Club miles from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Virgin Flying Club miles.  That page is regularly updated with the latest special offers and will still be accurate even if you are reading this article months after publication.

Comments (66)

  • David Whitley says:

    Perhaps more interestingly, that 80,000 presumably works for the Hong Kong – Auckland route as well. Combine a 45,000 mile premium economy London to Hong Kong Virgin redemption with that, and this is very tempting indeed.

  • Mike Swann says:

    OT – I’ve just tried to link my Amex MR with Virgin and have been told the entire linking system is down and has been since the weekend, so nothing is getting processed!

  • xcalx says:

    OT Thoughts please.
    Yesterday I posted that IB removed 42500 Avios for inactivity on my account ( this was within days of me cancelling a reward booking due to a third date change).

    I emailed them pointing out I had made bookings using Avios during the last three years.

    Here is the response

    Dear Mr. xcalx

    Regarding your request, we inform you that that according to the conditions of Iberia Plus program your Iberia Plus account must have at least one movement (obtaining / using Avios) in the period of the last 36 months since the last transaction to avoid the expiration of the total Avios balance. Avios transfers is not considered an activity in your account, also when you make a reservation and the it is cancelled , there is not movement in your Iberia plus account and the avios may expired .

    We hope to continue with your confidence and take this opportunity to send you our warmest greetings.

    Iberia Plus Service Center

    This is the reply after I pointed out the use of Avios to make reward booking

    Dear Mr. xcalx

    We are sorry to inform you that the use of Avios is not considered a Movement, only obtaining Avios is considered a movement. You can obtain Avios when flying with us or one of our partners (Maybe you had a flight in the last 36 months in which you did not associate your account and we could study your case if you send us the boarding pass) or by making purchases with one of our non-flying partners. Transfers and purchase of Avios is not considered a movement and neither is the use of the Avios, it does not matter if there was an involuntary change on your tickets.

    Yours sincerely,

    Your Iberia Plus Service Center.

    They now claim using Avois is not classed as movement as the flight was cancelled

    • swhostring says:

      Good to know. Different rules to BAEC.

      Another good reason to transfer 1000 MR points to your IB a/cs once a year (just to play safe) then you can transfer them over to BAEC etc.

      • xcalx says:

        I also asked them to forward me the last 3 years “movements” as I can only search back to May 2018 but no mention of my request in either reply. I know from erewards that I transferred 8000er/3000IB on 17/12/16

    • Lady London says:

      I don;t think they’ve got a leg to stand on.

      You made an attempt to use the Avios. due to reasons beyond your control and fully within the control of Iberia, the Avios were not used despite your best attempts as they cancelled the flight. I think they’d lose on that one.

      More importantly when were you notified of such conditions previously? Were they drawn to your attention at any time (i.e. not buried in small print etc.). Can Iberia prove you were made aware of them? They won’t be able to.

      Personally I’d give them two more chances to be reasonable based on the first of the above and noting that you had not been made aware of such conditions as they are now seeking to introduce. If you get 2 refusals or a “final answer” of no then I’d do a moneyclaim dot gov dot uk and seek the cash value as of now – of the flight you wanted to book instead. plus expenses for correspondence and telephone calls trying to sort this out. They should fold.

      After Iberia trying to change the conditions on the 90,000 offer after the fact also, surely they’ve got “form” for this? Or, can any real lawyers amongst us advise?

      • xcalx says:

        I was aware of IB Avios 3 year rule but didn’t think that cancelling an award booking would deem the award booking “non movement”
        The account actually belongs to my 88 year old MIL which I manage and am a beneficiary. So wouldn’t be happy to go the court way. She gets confused enough when Amex cards keep dropping through the letterbox bless her.

    • Lady London says:

      “It does not matter if there is an involuntary change on your tickets”! personally I’d like to see a court decide that if you were not givena reasonable chance to find an alternative in that event. IME Iberia are being very scabby here.

      • swhostring says:

        The other way to get a few easy Avios earned is to buy something on ebay.es (thru the IB shopping portal). Many UK ebay sellers sell exactly the same stuff internationally, ie on ebay.es for the same P&P.

        • xcalx says:

          Looks like they have passed the problem on. What really irks me is that I agreed to there changes until the last one.

          This is how the booking went.

          MIA-MAD-LHR-LBA BA cancelled LHR-LBA ( wish I had accepted London overnight now) changed to
          MIA-MAD-LHR-MAN. BA cancelled LHR-MAN changed to
          MIA-MAD-MAN a day earlier.
          Then the MIA-MAD flight was changed to depart 2.15 mins later and the MAD-MAN flight cancelled due to late arrival . IB options offered, stay 3 nights in Madrid or return 2 days earlier and spend 1 night in Madrid or cancel. I cancelled and they removed the Avios. Hardly an inactive account .
          On a side note they also charged E25 cancellation fee.
          I did get the 10500 Avios back for the MAD-LHR-LBA/MAN flights which I luckily transferred back to BA in March.

          3rd reply from IB

          Dear Mr. xcalx

          We would like to notify you that we have requested the extract with movements from 2016 to 2018. In few weeks you will receive it via email.

          We are sorry to inform you that through this department we can only provide support about the Iberia Plus Program. Unfortunately, we are not able to modify, cancel, see or add elements to your booking.

          We kindly recommend you to contact our Customer Service Line at the phone number (+34) 913894357 in Spain or 02 036 843 774 in United Kingdom to request more information about the cancellation of your reservation.

          We hope to continue with your trust and we take this opportunity to send you our warmest greetings.

          Your Iberia Plus Service Center.

  • lev441 says:

    O/T – anyone know how the Virgin Money Virgin Atlantic Credit Card treats topping up revolut? Are there any charges (like cash advance) or anything like that? I know pre interchange cap they (revolut) charged 1% so I never bothered…

  • Leigh says:

    OT, thoughts please:
    I bought a non-refundable BA economy return ticket to Boston for next month, but my travel plan changed and I have to return from Philadelphia instead of Boston. I have now booked a single Avios ticket from Philadelphia to London (hence will be No Show for the original return leg). On BA system there are two tickets in my name for the same day: Boston-London (planned No Show) and Philadelphia – London. Is this going to be a problem?
    Thanks in advance.

    • Rob says:

      No, will be fine.

      • Leigh says:

        Perfect. Many thanks Rob.

        • Mikeact says:

          What were the charges on the one way back to London ? ( Arm and a leg ?)

        • Leigh says:

          One way back to London is an Avios reward ticket which is reasonable (comparing to cash fare). If I knew that I need to return from Philadelphia, I would have booked two one way reward tickets – cheaper and much more flexible.

    • Anna says:

      There might be a chance they’ll cancel your first booking if they think you’ve booked a cheap return to avoid paying for an expensive one way ticket and never intended to show up for the return sector. I don’t know if any HFPs readers have ever been in the same situation.

      • Leigh says:

        Hope they won’t. It doesn’t make sense for me to do so, the return ticket I paid for is more expensive than a one way Avios ticket (London to Boston).

    • Steve says:

      Whilst non-refundable, would it not be worthwhile still cancelling the Boston flight to prevent any issues on the day with the flight you will be taking?

      • Leigh says:

        I was told a re-calculation is required, which I assume is based on the current one way fare (very expensive).

  • BJ says:

    The number of entries in EY raffles is often huge, I am surprised more airlines have not gone down this route.