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Feeling like you need a holiday lately (especially after feeling some of these recent cold snaps) but not too sure where to go? …Perhaps some bargain motivation might help? 😉

Tomorrow, as part of Air New Zealand’s new ‘where to next‘ advertising campaigns, ‘Dawn Deals’ will start – It will run each Friday for the next four Fridays (14/08, 21/08, 28/08 and 04/09).

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Just a quick post today, but it was only 6 years ago that Qantas subsidiary Jetstar entered the skies here in New Zealand with cheap no-frills fares. Even though people do like to complain about them, any competition is always good competition and in the majority of instances, you do get a cheap fare to get from A to B.

Jetstar_logoTo celebrate Jetstar’s 6th Birthday, they are offering ‘Take a friend for free’/’2 for 1’ fares between various locations domestically in NZ (both ways) and to Australia (one way and direct flights only).

The sale is only for the next 48 hours (finishes 23:59 on Wednesday 10 June 2015) so get in quick!

As usually is the case with Jetstar, remember checked baggage is not included as part of the sale (these are starter fares) and is an additional ‘add on’ for a fee. There are also booking fees unless paying by direct deposit / POLi, or voucher for bookings through jetstar.com.
For all other bookings, a Booking and Service Fee of $5 per passenger per domestic flight and $8 – $12.50 per passenger per international flight applies.

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nz_passportUs kiwis love to travel overseas.

Perhaps it’s due to our remoteness to the rest of the World, but whether we are travelling for a relaxing holiday, for work, to visit friends and family, or some other reason to take flight, each journey requires one important document – and today it has been announced that the NZ government and cabinet has approved a substantial increase in the New Zealand passport validity from 5 years to 10 years.

This is great news, considering the validity of a passport is 4.5 years for many countries which will not allow entry without six months remaining on a travellers passport, with some exceptions (eg. the United States).

There has been quite a movement calling for change to the validity of the New Zealand passport, with a petition started on change.org about 2 years ago, which gained over 17,500 supporters, and the petition was submitted to the government at the end of 2013.

After news in May 2014 that 10-year passports had been backed by a select committee, and announcements by John Key last month that 10-year passports would be coming in six months, it is great to finally see it come to fruition.

Do you live in the UK and ever dreamt of visiting New Zealand? …or perhaps you’re a New Zealander and want to visit friends and family? Well – here’s your chance!

For 100 lucky travellers, Air New Zealand and STA Travel are offering return flights for £75 pounds from London to Auckland as part of a special one-off deal it is running as part of its 75th anniversary celebrations.

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The 100 ‘flying Kiwi’ tickets will go on sale at the STA travel in London Victoria, as well as over the phone and on social media.

  • 50 tickets are available in store at STA Travel Victoria at 9am on 16 April
  • 40 tickets will be sold over the phone from 10am on 16 April – Call on 0333 321 3085
  • 3 tickets will be given away in a raffle at STA Travel London Victoria, drawn at 9am on 16 April – You can enter the raffle from 9am, 16 April
  • 2 tickets will be given away on STA Travel’s Facebook and Twitter pages (competition closed)
  • 5 tickets will be given away by Air New Zealand UK’s Facebook page (competition closed)

This is a great promotion and an amazing opportunity to get an incredible fare at a frankly ridiculous price. Air New Zealand have said that there are no plans to run the promotion in other countries but there will be more good things to come as part of its 75th anniversary celebrations – Keep your eyes peeled!

Even better, the promotion and fares allow for stopovers in Los Angeles in both directions (routing is only LHR-LAX-AKL both ways) – So you can even get a chance to visit the States for effectively free!

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See the STA Travel promotion page here for more info.

Terms and Conditions:

  • Each passenger must either book in person at the STA Victoria store, or by calling 0333 321 3085
  • For booking in store, you may not hold spots for others in the line or queue jump; you will be removed from the queue and become ineligible to purchase tickets if found to be queue jumping or assisting in queue jumping
  • For booking over the phone, a maximum of two tickets may be booked and both passengers must be available to provide their details to the sales consultant
  • Flights are in Economy Class and routing is only valid for LHR-LAX-AKL return; any connecting flights or feeder flights must be purchased separately
  • Free stopovers in Los Angeles are allowed in both directions
  • Outbound travel must be during 16 – 27 May 2015 and return during 26 May – 09 June 2015; a very limited number of seats for return travel are also available in October 2015
  • Some travel dates may not be available and some may sell out during the promotion
  • Flights must be booked and paid for on the day of the sale; bookings are not confirmed until payment has been accepted
  • Tickets are non-refundable and non-changeable; tickets are valid only for flights shown
  • Flights are not eligible for earning Airpoints Dollars or any other frequent flyer points or miles
  • Multiflex passes are not eligible with this promotion
  • STA’s £49 deposit scheme is not available with this promotion
  • Tickets are available only on the day of the promotion, 16 April 2015, until sold out
  • Unless specified above, standard Air New Zealand terms and conditions apply
  • Not to be used in conjunction with any other Air New Zealand offer

Good luck and happy travels everyone!

/ Jeremy

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’.

So I noticed this little picture below on the Air New Zealand homepage on the weekend, which was a bit of a surprise. Looks like the Night Rider service is back, just as we knew it, with all seats $29 each (or $39 for a seat+bag).

nightrider_back_feb15There are only two routes available on the new night rider service (at least initially), which are:

  • Auckland – Nelson (and vice versa)
  • Auckland – Christchurch (and vice versa)

The available travel period is very short too, at only a month from mid-February to mid-March: 20 Feb – 19 Mar 2015, perhaps suggesting that this may be a trial/temporary route.

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:

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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.

Change is in the air for domestic travel in NZ – Yesterday afternoon Air New Zealand announced that they would be cutting some of their regional routes in April 2015 which have typically been serviced by their smaller 19-seat Beech 1900D aircraft, as they have been losing money on these routes for some time. airnz_logoIn addition, the Hamilton-Auckland route would also be suspended from February 2016.
Also Jetstar announced changes at the end of last month to their carry-on baggage allowance, reducing the weight limit from 10kg to 7kg, which will be in line with Air New Zealand, and most other major airlines.

Air NZ’s regional changes come on the back of a review of its regional aircraft operations, particularly around their 19-seat fleet of aircraft; whereas regional centres served by their 50 and 68-seat aircraft are able to enjoy improved economies of scale.
According to the report, Air NZ has been losing about $1M per month for the last two years, causing them to make some changes.
By August 2016, all of Air NZ’s (owned by their Eagle Air subsidiary) 19-seat Beech 1900D aircraft will be replaced with either 50 or 68-seat aircraft, allowing for greater capacity and fare reductions. Air NZ have already announced intentions to buy/deliveries of another 6 ATR72-600 aircraft over the next 3 years.

Air New Zealand are no strangers to launching new, quirky and interesting updates to the otherwise typically drab inflight safety videos that are shown at the beginning of every flight, and their latest update released a few days ago is no exception.

Air New Zealand's new epic Hobbit safety video. Photo credit: Air New Zealand
Air New Zealand’s new epic Hobbit safety video. Photo credit: Air New Zealand

Titled, The Most Epic Safety Video Ever Made, the new video was shot over 6 days over many of the Middle-Earth’s ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’ film locations in New Zealand.

It is likely that this will probably be the last of a number of Hobbit themed safety videos, launched 1.5 months before the premiere of the final more in ‘The Hobbit’ trilogy in Wellington. The new video replaces the current ‘Bear Grylls’ video which in turn replaced the short-lived “Safety in Paradise” Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition (50th Anniversary) video which some travellers complained of being ‘highly sexualised’.

The new video is currently the most popular and viewed to date, with over 16 million views since its release in the past week.

A number of cameos feature in the video, including: Elijah Wood (Frodo Baggins), Dean O’Gorman (Fili the Dwarf) and Sylvester McCoy (Radagast). It also features cameos from The Hobbit Trilogy director Sir Peter Jackson, Weta Workshop Co-Founder Sir Richard Taylor and the director of the video, Kiwi filmmaker Taika Waititi.

Watch some of the other Air New Zealand in-flight safety videos here:

What do you think of Air New Zealand’s ‘The Hobbit’ safety video? Feel free to post your comments below.

Update (6:45am): Looks like there is going to be some sort of sale or promotion today, as flights are sporadically turning up with the ‘sale’ moniker on the Air NZ website when searching this morning – Interestingly not when searching AKL-SIN, but when searching WLG-SIN or from another regional NZ airport.
I was able to find $432 one-way fares from WLG-SIN this morning for early Feb, and sale fares from other domestic airports available in January too. At a guess, this could mean a similar sale to Singapore Airlines last month, at about $380 one way/$770 return, however as yet I haven’t been able to find any sale fares from SIN-AKL or anywhere else as yet (maybe they haven’t turned them on yet?) – In any case, looks like a sale could be imminent!

Update (7:30am): Looks like I found some return sale fares as well, but in March from Wellington. For those in the capital, the cheapest return fare with a domestic connection to Auckland appeared to be $432 (WLG-AKL-SIN) and $452 (SIN-AKL-WLG) which is $884 incl. taxes, but excludes the card fee for booking online – Not a bad price at all! Unfortunately this is for a February departure and March return, but better dates may open up when the promotion is finally announced.
Looking at the flights a bit more closely, I just noticed that the long-haul flights are operated by Singapore Airlines, and the Air NZ owned and operated flights have not gone live yet. This suggests that perhaps there may be even better deals to come, as Air NZ will have more flexibility to dictate prices with their own flights – It also explains why the sale fares live already are similar is price to the promo run by SIA last month. Hopefully we’ll see an Air NZ announcement soon!

Update (9:10am): Looks like sale fares just went live on the Air NZ website, with the same sale prices as I mentioned this morning. Sale dates are 15 Jan – 18 Feb & 1-27 Mar 2015. The sweet spot is that there does not appear to be any difference between flying AKL-SIN and WLG-SIN (at this stage), which is good for those in the capital, even though the advertised price is AKL-SIN return only. Fares available appear to be both AirNZ and SIA operated flights. Advertised sale fare is $888 (8 in Chinese culture is a lucky number), which is pretty good, especially for anyone keen to fly on SIA’s A380 Superjumbo aircraft. Happy travels all!

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From tomorrow (25 September 2014), Air New Zealand will finally be selling seats on their direct flights to Singapore operating from Auckland and Christchurch as part of their Singapore Airlines Alliance.

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Flights and travel will begin from 6 January 2015, and Air NZ will be operating daily flights from Auckland on one of their refitted Boeing 777-200ER aircraft. Singapore Airlines will be operating flights from Christchurch as well as Auckland, with Christchurch flights also on their recently refitted Boeing 777-200ER aircraft. SIA will also operating an Airbus A380 from Auckland, the second airline to do so besides Emirates.

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