The most common travel reward programme that Kiwis have access to is Air New Zealand Airpoints, but you don’t need to be a frequent flyer to reap the rewards. Apply for an Airpoints credit card and earn Airpoints Dollars as you spend.
Airpoints is Air New Zealand’s frequent flyer programme. Airpoints Dollars can be accumulated through various means and spent on rewards such as flights and upgrades, food and products. 1 Airpoints Dollar is equal to 1 New Zealand Dollar when it comes time to redeem.
When you sign up to the Airpoints programme, you receive a card and membership number for you to start accumulating Airpoints Dollars. You can earn Airpoints Dollars when:
- You book flights with Air New Zealand and other Star Alliance and partner airlines.
- You use your Airpoints card at retail partners throughout the country such as Liquorland, Caltex, Harvey Norman and Spark.
- You link your New World Club Card to your Airpoints account to earn while you shop for groceries each week.
Airpoints Dollars can be redeemed for a number of different rewards including upgrades, flights, merchandise, shopping and more. You don’t need to fly on Air New Zealand as there are still plenty of other ways to redeem.
If you use your credit card frequently for everyday purchases then you can choose a credit card that allows you to earn Airpoints Dollars as a reward. You will need to have an Air New Zealand Airpoints membership number, otherwise you can sign up before you apply for your credit card.
- All Airpoints cards allow you to earn Airpoints Dollars for all eligible purchases. You don’t need a separate Airpoints card as your Airpoints Dollars will accrue automatically as you spend.
- The amount that you earn depends on the card – it’s typical for there to be a higher earning potential with cards that have a higher account fee such as a platinum card. This amount, for example, might be 1 Airpoints Dollar for every $59 you spend or for every $100 you spend. Choosing a card that requires you to spend less to earn will mean being eligible for rewards faster.
- As a signup offer, you may get a free allocation of Airpoints Dollars to start you off.
- Airpoints Dollars normally have a 4-year expiry, but some cards state that they will never expire as long as you have a valid credit card.
- On some cards, you can earn Status Points, which allow you to access more travel benefits when you fly with Air NZ, Star Alliance and other partner airlines. The more Status Points you earn, you can move up to Silver, Gold or Elite status with Air NZ and get even more benefits.
Find out how to earn even more Airpoints Dollar in this guide.
When looking for the best Airpoints credit cards in New Zealand, the answer will be different to different people based on needs. If you already have a credit card with KiwiBank, ANZ, American Express or Westpac, you may be able to switch over to an Airpoints reward card without too much hassle.
If you don’t already have a relationship with one of these banks or are wanting to change, you can compare the different cards on offer in the table above and work out which one suits your lifestyle and spending habits.
These are some of our favourites based on different criteria, but bear in mind that they may not be appropriate for your circumstances.
The American Express Airpoints Card is the only card with no annual account fee. There is also no fee for additional cardholders.
- Pay 0.0% p.a. interest for the first 6 months (revert rate 19.95% p.a.)
- Get 50 bonus Airpoints Dollars if you spend $750 in the first month
- Earn 1 Airpoints Dollar for every $100 you spend on eligible purchases
- Get up to 55 days interest free on purchases when you pay your balance off in full
To apply, you’ll need to have a gross annual income of no less than $35,000 and no history of payment defaults.
If you’re looking for a card that gives you the fastest way to earn Airpoints Dollars as a personal customer, the American Express Airpoints Platinum Card is the one to go for. For every $59 you spend, you’ll earn 1 Airpoints Dollar. The only card that offers an even better earning potential with 1 Airpoints Dollar for every $50 spent is the ANZ Visa Business Airpoints Card, available to business customers only.
This card does have a higher annual fee of $195, but comes with the following benefits:
- 400 bonus Airpoints Dollars for new customers that spend $1,500 on their card in the first 3 months
- Earn 1 Status Point for every $250 you spend
- Complimentary lounge access
- Domestic and international travel insurance
- Smartphone screen insurance
- Discounted Koru membership
- Airpoints Dollars never expire as long as you have a valid card
To be eligible for this card, you must be earning a gross annual income of $65,000 and have a good credit history.
Airpoints credit cards don’t tend to come with low interest rates, and this card is the lowest you will currently find with a purchase rate of 16.90% p.a. Issued by Kiwibank, this card has the second lowest annual account fee of $25 per year and an additional cardholder fee of $5.
- Earn 1 Airpoints Dollar for every $160 you spend on general purchases, or $140 on Air New Zealand products
- Get up to 44 days interest free
- Transfer an existing balance and pay 1.99% p.a. for 6 months
- Airpoints Dollars never expire as long as you hold a valid card
The Westpac Airpoints World Mastercard has the second-highest Airpoints Dollars earning potential out of all the personal Airpoints cards. While it does have a high annual account fee and a minimum credit limit of $18,000, it is packed with features for people that travel internationally.
- Earn 1 Airpoints Dollar for every $65 you spend
- Earn 1 Status Point for every $225 you spend
- No joining fee and a discount on the annual membership rate for the Koru programme
- Complimentary valet parking vouchers
- Airpoints never expire as long as you hold a valid card
- Travel insurance for up to 120 days at a time
- Priority Pass lounge access to use over 900 lounges in airports around the world
- Get up to 200 Airpoints Dollars advanced when you want to get a reward
- No international transaction fee for overseas ATM withdrawals
- Unforgettable experiences with Mastercard Priceless Cities
- Extended warranty insurance
- Purchase protection insurance
Some things to consider when comparing your options include:
- Sign up deals – Sometimes banks will offer an introductory reward when you sign up for their Airpoints credit card. This may mean getting as many as 400 bonus Airpoints Dollars when you spend a minimum amount on your card within the first few months or as little as 50 just for signing up. Some platinum and business cards will waive your joining fee and give a discount on the membership rate.
- Interest rate – The best rewards cards often come with a higher interest rate compared to low interest rate cards that don’t have any rewards. If you’re not planning on paying your credit card off each month then you will need to factor in interest charges.
- Fees – Most cards have an annual account fee which may not seem much at first but can add up over a few years. However, the American Express Airpoints Card offers no account fee and the Kiwibank Air New Zealand Airpoints Low Fee Visa only charges a $25 annual fee. Some cards may also have a one-off joining fee.
- Airpoints Dollars earning potential – The amount of Airpoints you can earn depends on your card for everyday spend. In some cases you may need to spend as much as $160 to get 1 Airpoints Dollar. With platinum and business cards, this can be as low as $50-$75, but you will need to be able to meet the eligibility requirements for these cards.
- Additional benefits – Standard Airpoints credit cards don’t usually come with many additional benefits such as travel insurance, PriorityPass membership and valet parking vouchers, but it’s more common to see these on platinum and business cards. If you travel a lot, these perks will be more useful and could save you some extra cash.
If you don’t want to apply for a credit card, you can still earn Airpoints Dollars with a prepaid OneSmart Card. This is a multi-currency card that you can load with up to eight foreign currencies and use anywhere in the world where Mastercard is accepted.
Once you have accumulated Airpoints Dollars, you have a range of options when it comes to spending including:
- Flights, upgrades, baggage allowances, onboard food and drink, car rental, travel insurance and Koru programme membership through Air New Zealand.
- Choose a product from the Airpoints Store. There are food, wine, beauty, homewares, electronics, clothing and accessory items up for grabs.
- DIY materials from Mitre 10.
- You can gift a ticket to another person using your gifting register.
- You can donate Airpoints to the Airpoints for Schools programme.
Airpoints usually have a four-year expiry, so you will need to use them before they expire. You will be able to check how many you have and when they are going to expire on your statement. However, some cards including the ANZ Airpoints Visa, Air New Zealand Airpoints Standard Visa, American Express Airpoints Platinum and the Westpac Airpoints World Mastercard do not have an expiry on Airpoints Dollars accrued.
Just because you can get accepted for a high limit on your Airpoints credit card doesn’t mean it’s always a good idea. Having less temptation when it comes to spending will help with overall budgeting and finance control.
Kiwibank, ANZ, Westpac and American Express each have one standard or classic Airpoints card suitable for anyone that is eligible. The other cards are platinum or business cards which have certain criteria to be able to apply, usually a higher income.
While earning Airpoints Dollars is appealing, carefully consider if an Airpoints card is a right option for you. You don’t have to travel a lot since you can redeem what you’ve earned on entertainment, hospitality or retail items. But, rewards cards typically come with higher interest rates and fees, so make sure that you will gain some benefit or if another type of card is better suited to your financial situation and lifestyle.