For years—and I mean years—I’ve been trying to score award availability on the elusive London-Los Angeles (NZ 1/2) route on Air New Zealand and failed every time.
Tonight, my luck changed.
I’m planning out a trip to China using my UA miles and wanted to route through Europe to squeeze a couple extra First Class flights out of my miles (key word: wanted). I spent the evening combing through award availability on the ANA tool, with the MPM limit in mind, and was hitting a concrete wall in terms of finding First Class availability for the final longhaul flight from Europe to the United States.
I noticed the NZ space right away, but did not give it a second thought since UA has historically blocked this flight beyond even StarNet blocking. One reservation agent told me that UA and NZ have a gentlemen’s agreement on the route, barring UA miles from being used to book NZ award space and vice-versa.
I eventually found space from FRA-DTW in Lufthansa First, but when I called reservations tonight (connected to lovely Dearborn), I decided to ask about the NZ flight for the heck of it. To my great surprise, the agent said the flight was available and I quickly pounced on it.
I’ll blog about the rest of my flights in the coming days, but am now faced with a conundrum: Lufthasna First (including the First Class Terminal at FRA) or Air New Zealand Business Class? Lufty offers a solid product and I am tempted to change my itinerary for the FCT alone, but I’ve never had the chance to try out NZ Business Class and I really, really want to. I’ve waited so long for the chance to do so and would hate to let this opportunity slip from my fingers.
Perhaps the bigger news than my success in booking the NZ flight is that there appears to be a thaw in StarNet blocking right now. Thai Airways is notoriously blocked, but the agent was able to see space on each of the TG flights I asked him about.
Now might be a good time to book that trip you’ve been thinking about.