The allure of Airpoints Credit Cards

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?

Air New Zealand Airpoints Credit Card Koru

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.

Earn Rates

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!

Other benefits

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?

Please note content on this page is provided for information purpose only, without taking your particular financial situation or goals into account.


  1. April 28, 2015 / 11:28 pm

    Hmm… I always find it such a struggle deciding whether or not to do this!
    We use to have one linked to our CC, but the negatives of having a CC at all made it not worthwhile.
    Plus we always travel with little kids and I’m not sure how those lounges would feel about us going in with a bunch of loud tired, stir crazy kids! 🙂

    Next wanderlust linkup is 6th May! You can sign up for a reminder too if you want. 🙂 see you then!

    • April 29, 2015 / 2:21 pm

      I think you have some pretty valid reasons there! May 6th is in the diary 🙂

  2. April 15, 2015 / 3:00 pm

    I always forget to get my points and kick myself later. I need to take more advantage of my frequent travels.

    • April 16, 2015 / 9:25 am

      Ah yes – I had a situation like that myself when I booked a trans-tasman flight which was on sale. I paid for the flights and realised I was only getting a tiny number of points and should have used my points to pay for it instead.

  3. April 2, 2015 / 12:20 am

    I got rid of my credit card and waved goodbye to the points, but perhaps I should reconsider. I accrued enough points over a couple of years to fly my kids godparents from WA to NSW business class, so perhaps its worth it. Hmmmm….you have me thinking #teamwanderlust

  4. Kirralee @ Escape With Kids
    April 1, 2015 / 11:05 pm

    Oooh I love an airport lounge! We’re very lucky that hubster’s Qantas Club membership gets us into Qantas lounges. But as for points, I’m happy to get the points I get with various cards, but it doesn’t make any difference to my spending habits.

    • April 2, 2015 / 11:30 am

      Other halves are great for perks like that! I’ve since picked up a points credit card, will see if the novelty wears off or proves worthwhile.