In the movie Up in the Air, George Clooney plays a compulsive corporate traveller, obsessed with earning status points with American Airlines, Hilton Hotels and Hertz.
My own interest in retaining my Silver Air New Zealand Airpoints Status from year to year, aspirations to hit Gold Status and the challenges of doing so without an Airpoints linked credit card was documented in a post I had in draft for some time but I was not happy with to the point of hitting publish.
My reason for not having an Airpoints Credit Card – I’m was entitled to a Platinum card on a different rewards scheme with no fees as a previous bank employee. Paying a large amount in annual fees with another bank didn’t stack up.
When BNZ’s GlobalPlus Airpoints relationship with Air New Zealand came to an end after 16 years in 2015 after 16 years, Westpac began to offer Airpoints Credit Cards and the right launch offer finally enabled me to get my hands on one.
So why is this the loss/gain of an airline rewards scheme such a big deal for consumers? And what are the benefits of being an Airpoints Credit Card holder?
Perceived rewards value
Whatever the reason for the conclusion of the relationship, it was no doubt a massive loss to BNZ (though their PR of course said otherwise) and they likely lost numerous high value customers to Westpac and other banks despite offering cash back at the same rate Airpoints were previously dished out at as a sweetener.
Though to some markets, such as if you’re earning Airpoints on your mortgage payments and can’t afford to travel much, cash back may actually be preferable.
With Westpac’s hotpoints scheme on the other hand it is confusing to realise the value of a hotpoint (earned at x hotpoints per $1 spend depending on the card and redemeed at different rates depending on an items value in the hotpoints store). Initially offering Airpoints rewards where one Airpoints dollar earned = $1NZ when redeemed made for a clearer rewards scheme option for customers and I suspect customers in certain brackets found this enticing.
Eligble card holders with ANZ, Kiwibank, American Express, BNZ /Westpac receive 1 Airpoints dollar per NZ $59 – $190 depending on the card and your purchase levels.
Platinum Cards and certain others also receive 1 status point per $200-$250 spent which will help you inch your way to the next membership tier quicker. As a frequent flyer, this is the feature which makes me want one of these cards.
Air New Zealand has a tool on their website to compare credit card benefits.
Discounted Koru Memberships and joining fee waivers
Unless your work is paying for your Koru Membership, these exclusive memberships are crazy expensive at full price (joining fee of $255 plus $694 for a 12 month membership). Certain cards waive the Koru Club joining fee and give you $145 off the standard 12 month membership rate, which amounts to a large proportion of the annual card fee.
My love of Air New Zealand’s Koru Lounges is no secret. My boyfriend kindly transferred a couple of Lounge Passes earnt through his credit card spend to me as my Christmas present, plus I received two complementary passes of my own for the year as a silver airpoints member.
You can experience a little Koru hospitality when you fly domestically with Air New Zealand between 4.30 and 7pm Monday to Friday with Koru hour, where cheese and crackers are served along with New Zealand wines, beer and L&P. It will make you wish you were a member if you don’t already!
Depending on the Airpoints Credit Card you may receive Airpoints advances, non-expiry of Airpoints dollars, travel insurance, gifting ability or valet parking vouchers. Loyalty pays dividends.
Do you have a credit card linked to an airline rewards scheme? Does it change your spending habits?