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NZ reward points values drop in 2023: 5 ways savvy travellers can stay ahead


New bank rules mean you’ll earn fewer points in 2023. Cost of living pressures are making it harder to go on holidays. So how can you keep travelling in style?

Since late last year, credit card reward points have been generating a lot of headlines. New financial regulation in New Zealand has meant that a number of banks are scaling back their reward offerings.

This can be frustrating if you earn rewards through a card, or were planning to. After all, the travel rewards and bonuses are often the reason that people use credit cards!

But this doesn’t mean you can’t still find good value and leverage your rewards effectively. With the right card selection and judicious use of your rewards, you can still stay ahead of the curve.

👋 Hey there! We’ve partnered with American Express for this article, we’ll be using a number of its products as examples throughout. However, you should always compare your options to see what’s right for you. Additionally, make sure to read the product T&Cs before you sign up for any financial product.

Card providers have also been affected in different ways by the legislative changes. So it’s important to look at a range of different options. However, as American Express does not use the same interchange fee structures as banks, the organisation has been unaffected by the new regulations.

1. Make sure your card is earning as many points as possible

When you’re weighing up different credit card options, a major consideration is the spend-to-points earned ratio.

After all, this determines how quickly you’re able to earn enough points to redeem them for rewards.

Let’s consider the American Express Airports Platinum Card. Generally considered to have one of the stronger earn rates among Platinum and rewards-based cards, $59 spend equates to 1 Airpoints Dollar.

You’re able to earn Airpoints Dollars through everyday spend. So if you spent an average of $4,000 a month, by the end of the year you’d have around 406 Airpoints Dollars – enough for a flight to Australia!

Certain cards also have a $0 annual fee, which means you don’t need to worry about the benefits of points earning being offset by expensive fees. One example is the American Express Airpoints Card.

Everyone’s needs are different. But with the right card, you’re able to generate points more rapidly – which in turn means that you can get started on your next holiday sooner.

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2. Shop around for the best travel days

Whether you’re paying for travel directly or using your reward points to offset costs, it always pays to do some shopping around.

We’ve got a range of travel deals on the website – but here are a few tips to keep in mind when you’re looking around:

  • Keep an eye on peak and off-peak seasons: You can often get a better deal by travelling outside of peak times of the year.
  • Don’t automatically opt for package deals: Package holidays can be convenient – but it’s often cheaper to book the individual legs of travel yourself. Caveat emptor!
  • Take advantage of sales: Travel is rarely cheap per se, but by following travel companies on social media, you can find out when they’re running special deals or sales.

3. Take advantage of complimentary travel insurance

One of the biggest expenses that can pop up while you’re preparing for your next trip is travel insurance.

However, some credit cards will actually provide complimentary travel insurance as part of their rewards scheme.

The American Express Gold Rewards Card allows you to receive complimentary travel insurance for domestic or international travel when you use it to pay for your return trip.

By taking advantage of perks like this, you can potentially make big savings – which means more cash for fun activities while you’re away.

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4. Use your dining credits for a free feed when travelling domestically

When you’re talking credit card rewards, a lot of the focus tends to be on airline tickets. But there are other ways to leverage them for travel savings, too.

One common method is using reward points for dining experiences. A great high-end meal can be a fantastic way to really take your holiday to the next level.

Depending on your specific card, you may be able to secure discounted – or even free – meals at select restaurants.

American Express Platinum Rewards and Gold Rewards Cards both include a range of dining rewards that can be used by card members within New Zealand.

So if you’re thinking about new credit cards – or just reassessing your current one – why not take a look at some of the dining rewards you have available?

5. Split your bookings – business one way, economy the other

Holidays are a time to enjoy some luxury – but that doesn’t mean you need to carelessly splash cash.

If you’re thinking about flying in style, you might want to consider using some of your reward points to score yourself an upgrade.

You might decide that you want to pay for business class while you’re heading in one direction, then for economy on the return journey. But in the interim, you could also use your reward points to score yourself an upgrade.

With hacks like this, you can make big savings while still enjoying a luxe holiday.

Learn more about American Express credit cards

Name Product Purchase Rate Annual Fee Balance Transfer Rate
American Express Airpoints Platinum Card
22.95% p.a.
Receive 300 bonus Airpoints Dollars when you apply online, are approved and spend a minimum of $1,500 on your new card within the first 3 months of membership. This offer is available to new Card Members only. T&Cs apply. You will also earn 1 Airpoints Dollar for every $59 you spend on your card.
American Express Airpoints Card
0% for 6 months (changes to 22.95% p.a.)
Be rewarded with 50 bonus Airpoints Dollars. Simply apply, be approved and spend $750 on your new Card within the first 3 months of membership. This offer is available to new Card Members only.
American Express Platinum Card
Receive 100,000 bonus Membership Rewards points when you apply online by , are approved and spend $1,500 on your new card within the first 3 months. This offer is available to new Card Members only. T&Cs apply.
More Info
American Express Gold Rewards Card
22.95% p.a.
Receive $200 credit when you apply online, are approved and spend $1,500 on your card within the first 3 months of membership. Offer is available to new card members only. T&Cs apply. You will also earn 2 Membership Rewards points for every $1 spent on eligible purchases.
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