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On Thursday, the news was awash with Air New Zealand and BNZ’s major anouncement to changes with BNZ’s GlobalPlus credit card products, with BNZ opting for the card to change to a ‘cashback’ rewards scheme instead of an Airpoints/Status points earning system from 1 May 2015.

BNZ's GlobalPlus credit card and home loan products are no more - At least as we know it, from 1 May 2015.
BNZ’s GlobalPlus credit card and home loan products are no more – At least as we know it, from 1 May 2015.

BNZ have been a key Airpoints credit card supplier for 16 years, with the GlobalPlus brand and card being launched in 1998. There are a huge number of customers that have GlobalPlus credit cards, and although the earn rates have not been as competitive as some of the newer Airpoints credit cards on the market, I believe the brand has made the term ‘GlobalPlus’ synonymous with Airpoints here in New Zealand.

As these changes are quite major, I thought that I would detail the key points of the changes as well as perform a new review and analysis of the Airpoints credit cards on the NZ market, similar to the review I did in 2013 when Kiwibank launched their new Airpoints credit cards. Hopefully this will help some of those people wondering what to do with their cards, especially those that are in the changing GlobalPlus ‘boat’.

A few months ago, Air New Zealand made some changes around their domestic fare products, effectively introducing a domestic version of ‘Seats to Suit(where you are able to add on upgrades to your basic seat, as you require). The changes had quite a large campaign program to promote it, including ads on TV, YouTube, online and on billboards – You would have likely have seen some form of advertising at some point about it:

airnz_newdom_seat_options_optimised

Air NZ state that the changes were made to provide flexibility, affordability and choice, which they do provide. In fact the seat and seat+bag options are still the same as the previous ‘grabaseat’ and ‘grabaseat+bag’ products, the main changes are to what was the ‘super saver’ and ‘flexi’ fares, which have been replaced with flexitime and flexiplus fare options.

The other week, Air New Zealand announced and released their new Airpoints credit cards. I was intending to post about this a lot sooner, but my spare time has been a bit short recently.. On the plus side, I now have the opportunity to give a more in-depth analysis of the card now that the initial rumours have passed and there is more information out in the market.

The new cards are issued by Kiwibank and as a result, the ‘Go Fly’ cards previously issued by Kiwibank have been discontinued. Those that currently have a ‘Go Fly’ Kiwibank credit card will be receiving a letter in the next couple of weeks to discuss your options, but your old card will continue to work until 30 November 2013.

airnz_kiwibank_logo

Interestingly, despite the new card being a partnership between Air New Zealand and Kiwibank, there is no Kiwibank logo on the front of the card – It seems that Air New Zealand is the prominent party promoting the card to customers and the market.

To kick the launch off, Air New Zealand is running a promotion for new customers who sign up for a Air New Zealand Airpoints credit card to go into a draw to win one of 20 prizes of 5,000 Airpoints Dollars before the end of the year (31 December 2013) – You must also use the card before the end of the promotion (which shouldn’t be hard if you do go through the effort of signing up for it).

credit_cardsOne of the biggest pet peeves which I have when doing online shopping (and of course, air tickets are no exception) are credit card transaction fees.

Over the past years, credit card and transaction fees are becoming increasingly more and more common, and more and more expensive – I find it is to the point where if I am not being charged a fee to use my credit card it is a pleasant surprise, like discovering a extra present hidden in the corner behind the Christmas tree. 😀

Most of my revenue travels (trips I pay for using cash) are on Air New Zealand, Grabaseat_Logowhich is one of the more ‘deal orientated’ airlines – It is easy to find flights domestically within New Zealand for less than $100, and with grabaseat, sometimes it’s possible to grab a steal like $5 or even $1 fares. — We New Zealanders love our deals!
..then it comes to that time where you go to pay for the ticket and find that the card payment fee is almost as much as the fare itself!

Credit card payment fees used to be a charge reserved for low cost carriers such as RyanAir; but in mid-2009 they were added to bookings made on the AirNZ Australia website, before being introduced in NZ at the end of 2010. The fee was initially $2 per person, per one way journey.

Today, the card payment fees are:

  • $4.00 per person per one way journey for domestic New Zealand fares
  • $6.00 per person per one way journey for short haul Tasman and Pacific Island fares (such as to Australia)
  • $12.00 per person per one way journey to Bali
  • $17.50 per person per one way journey for long haul International fares including Honolulu
  • You don’t pay a credit card payment fee if you use POLi (a form of internet banking supported by NZ banks), Airpoints Dollars (APD) or Travelcard (only for businesses).


    However, something I have found is if you purchase tickets for two passengers on the same booking (same PNR), but pay for one passenger with Airpoints dollars and pay for the other passenger with cash, you are not subject to card payment fees for both travellers.

    Travel – It’s always exciting once you’ve begun and are on your journey, but beforehand there is always the tedious task of packing, and possibly the difficulty of *trying* to fit everything in for the big trip.

    The most efficient way of rolling clothes, particularly shirts, is by rolling them to save space and make it easier to pack in your suitcase. It can also help to reduce wrinkles as well.
    wikiHow details this method quite nicely, with captioned pictures for t-shirts, pants and socks: How to Roll Clothes

    Rolling your clothes when packing can help to save space and eliminate wrinkles
    Rolling your clothes when packing can help to save space and eliminate wrinkles

    Edit: US Airways have since merged with American Airlines and consequently decided to (eventually) adopt American Airlines’ branding and loyalty system in future. This has resulted in their exit of the Star Alliance and the new American Airlines continuing their relationship with OneWorld. I will be looking to create a new step-by-step tutorial at some point in the near future – In the meantime, please feel free to contact me or leave a comment if you have any questions!

    So you’ve heard all about the way to book a cheap business class airfare to almost anywhere in the World by purchasing a Star Alliance Award ticket, possibly by reading my overview post earlier this week here.

    You might had a bit of a think, perhaps done some initial planning, and have decided that this is something that you want to give a go. This post is to help guide you step-by-step on how to go about doing it.

    Create a Dividend Miles membership
    First off, you need to sign up for and create your US Airways Dividend Miles membership. It is free to sign up, just go to the US Airways website and click on the “Join Dividend Miles” link.

    To join US Airways Dividend Miles, click on the highlighted link.
    To join US Airways Dividend Miles, click on the highlighted link.

    Signing up will require you to fill in various personal information, including your address, phone numbers, and details to create a login and password. The next steps will be to fill in various items of interest you may want to subscribe to, before verifying your information and submitting it to create your new account. Shortly afterwards, you will receive an E-Mail to the E-Mail address you used to sign up for your new account, which will have your Dividend Miles membership number and a virtual ‘membership card’. Take a note of your membership number – This will be useful later down the line when you need to purchase miles, and access your profile.

    Important Note: If you are looking to take advantage of the current US Airways Dividend Miles 100% Bonus Promotion (expires 31 May 2013) then you need to set an account up now. The terms and conditions of the promotion state that accounts must be open for a minimum of 12 days before any miles can be bought or gifted, however there have been reports of people purchasing them straightaway – As sign up is free, it does not hurt to set up the account now and it will be ready in under 2 weeks (plenty of time for you to do some thorough research and find a good itinerary ready to book!)

    Edit: US Airways have since merged with American Airlines and consequently decided to (eventually) adopt American Airlines’ branding and loyalty system in future. This has resulted in their exit of the Star Alliance and the new American Airlines continuing their relationship with OneWorld. I will be looking to create a new step-by-step tutorial at some point in the near future – In the meantime, please feel free to contact me or leave a comment if you have any questions!

    As I posted earlier last week, today I am going to share with you how to book a cheap business class (J class) fare to almost anywhere in the World, thanks to an opportunity that opened up a couple of days ago. This post is going to cover a general overview of how it all works, in a couple of days I will go through everything step by step on how to actually book an award ticket using this method – Easy as!

    Business Premier (Business Class) on the Air New Zealand 777-200ER
    Business Premier (Business Class) on the Air New Zealand 777-200ER

    So, how is this possible? Well – It is done through the purchase of a special award ticket, and in this case it is through/using Star Alliance airlines (Star Alliance Award). Most airlines, particularly the larger ones, are part of some kind of Alliance – The biggest one, made up of 27 airlines, is the Star Alliance, followed by OneWorld (12 airlines), and finally Skyteam with 19 airlines.

    As a frequent flyer of an airline, as you travel you will typically rack up points, miles, or in the case of Air New Zealand, Airpoints Dollars. Other earning methods include rewards credit cards, staying at partner hotels, or rental car companies. If you aren’t already a frequent flyer member of any airline, I fully recommend you join, as in most cases it doesn’t cost anything, and who knows, you might eventually find you have enough for an award one day 🙂
    Already many of you may have purchased a ‘free’ or award ticket with an airline, be it Air New Zealand or otherwise – possibly to a domestic destination, or perhaps short/medium haul, such as Australia. This concept is very similar. The ticket you will be buying is an award ticket, but instead of it being with only one airline, it will allow you to fly with any of the airlines that are part of the Star Alliance – Keep in mind that this is subject to availability.
    With 19 different airlines across the World each serving a raft of different routes and destinations, that allows for *quite* a wide range of possibilities for your next holiday 😉

    Star Alliance - The way the Earth connects
    Star Alliance – The way the Earth connects

    How does it work? Why is it so cheap? ..and what’s the catch?

    So we’ve already established that you’re able to book a Star Alliance award fare through one of the Star Alliance member airlines.

    Well, it just so happens that one of the airlines, US Airways, is currently running an open promotion to its frequent flyer members for a 100% bonus on frequent flyer miles bought, up to 50,000 miles. In other words, if you buy 50,000 miles, you will get another 50,000 miles free – that’s more than enough for a business class fare from New Zealand to Asia (90,000 miles) or with an additional top up of 10,000 miles you could fly to the United States/Canada in Business (110,000 miles) or for 20,000 miles more you could fly to Europe from New Zealand (120,000 miles). For those of you interested, that’s just over 1.88 cents (USD) per mile, or converted at todays rate for NZD, about 2.2 cents for mile.
    This is a time limited promotion which expires at the end of May, so if after reading through my overview post and you are still interested/convinced that taking advantage of this promotion is for you, then you can then start thinking about the places you want to go and start saving up the money required to purchase the appropriate number of miles.