Italy and New Zealand have a number of services that connect in one-stop through Asia or the Middle East, operated by a range of airlines that are relatively easy to redeem frequent flyer points with. The key points currencies we’ll be looking at are Qantas Points, KrisFlyer Miles and Asia Miles.
This guide covers your options for redeeming your points for one-stop flights to Milan and Rome primarily, and Venice and Bologna as alternatives.
- Summary – which program to aim for ↓
- Using Qantas Points for Emirates ↓
- Using Qantas Points or Asia Miles for Cathay Pacific and Qatar ↓
- Using Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Miles for Singapore Airlines ↓
Summary – Which frequent flyer program / currency to aim for
New Zealand to Italy with only one-stop can be achieved via Christchurch on Singapore Airlines, and via Auckland on Emirates, Singapore Arlines, Cathay Pacific and Qatar. Cathay Pacific will also be an option from Christchurch come December 2017, when they commence direct flights to Hong Kong.
|Auckland / Christchurch to Milan (one way)||Points Currency||Business Class||First Class||Airline / Route|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer||KrisFlyer Miles||105,000*||148,000*||Singapore Airlines via Singapore|
|Asia Miles||Asia Miles||110,000||160,000||Cathay / Qatar via HK or Doha|
|Emirates / Qantas Partner Award||Qantas Points||128,000||192,000||Emirates via Dubai|
|Qantas oneworld Classic Award||Qantas Points||139,000||203,000||Cathay / Qatar via HK or Doha|
* These figures have been updated with Krisflyer’s new award pricing effective 23 March 2017.
Note that if you want to fly First Class for the entire route to Milan, Emirates is your only option from New Zealand.
In a point-per-point comparison, KrisFlyer has the battle won in terms of pricing.
In a perfect world where everyone has lots of points/miles to redeem, you’re not going to go too far wrong targeting either Asia Miles or KrisFlyer for your redemptions.
KrisFlyer also generally has good redemption availability in Business and First Class, making it easier to score those Business or First Class seats in the first place.
If you are planning on earning points in volume from your credit card spend, doing so in a flexible program like American Express Membership Rewards that can transfer to Asia Miles, KrisFlyer or Qantas would be key – if you can plan ahead.
If you have a pile of Qantas Points that you’re already sitting on, then you’ll clearly want to aim for a redemption with Emirates.
Emirates also has the widest route network of flights into Italy compared in this guide, servicing Venice, Bologna, Rome and Milan.
Using Qantas Points to get to Italy with Emirates
Qantas Points are best used with Emirates for flights to Europe to achieve most value – redeeming for oneworld partner airlines is more expensive.
Emirates fly direct from Auckland to Dubai daily on their flagship A380.
They then fly on to Milan, Venice, Bologna, and Rome from their Dubai hub. A short drive or train journey from Italy is another Emirates destination – Geneva, in Switzerland.
While Emirates also fly from Christchurch, you still need to connect through Sydney first – though you may be happier to do this from the South Island rather than to connect through Auckland and change between terminals.
Here’s how the Qantas Points pricing comes out:
|Origin||Destination||Class||Points Needed (one way)|
|Auckland||All Italian cities||Business Class||128,000|
|Christchurch via Sydney||All Italian cities||Business Class||128,000|
|Auckland||All Italian cities||First Class||192,000|
|Christchurch via Sydney||All Italian cities||First Class||192,000|
|Dubai Stopover Options|
|Christchurch via Sydney||Dubai||Business Class||112,000|
|Dubai||All Italian cities||Business Class||50,000|
|Christchurch via Sydney||Dubai||First Class||168,000|
|Dubai||All Italian cities||First Class||75,000|
So as you can see, whether you’re flying from South Island via Sydney, or direct from Auckland, the number of points will be the same.
If you do a stopover in Dubai, then the cost in Qantas Points becomes the cost of the flight to Dubai, plus the flight to Italy.
Qantas’ pricing is not particularly competitive compared to the other redemption options, but it has Emirates Italian route network going for it, along with generally good points redemption availability on Emirates’ flights between Dubai and New Zealand.
Finally, also expect to pay upwards of $600 in taxes and fees along with the points.
Using Qantas Points or Asia Miles to get to Italy with Qatar Airways and Cathay Pacific
Qantas Points can also be used for oneworld partner airlines, and when using frequent flyer points for flights to Italy, this would be Qatar Airways and Cathay Pacific as the primary one stop options.
The same is true for Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles program, which has cheaper pricing than when redeeming Qantas Points, for the same routes.
As American Express Membership Rewards is the only flexible earning program in New Zealand, and they let you earn Qantas Points and Asia Miles at the same rate, you should only be opting to use Qantas Points where you already have a decent stash in your account (e.g. from travel, or from the now discontinued ANZ Qantas Points cards), and Asia Miles if you’re starting from scratch. More on flexible points programs here.
Here are the route options when travelling with Qatar:
With Cathay Pacific:
Remember, Cathay Pacific will start flying from Christchurch in December 2017.
Here’s how pricing for Qantas Points and Asia Miles for flights to Italy comes out:
|Origin||Destination||Premium Economy||Business Class||First Class||Premium Economy||Business Class||First Class|
|With Cathay Pacific:||Qantas Points||Asia Miles (return miles in brackets)|
|Auckland||Hong Kong||63,000||78,000||114,000||48,000 (72,000)||70,000 (120,000)||105,000 (180,000)|
|Christchurch*||Hong Kong||75,000||92,000||134,000||48,000 (72,000)||70,000 (120,000)||105,000 (180,000)|
|Hong Kong||Rome||63,000||78,000||114,000||48,000 (72,000)||70,000 (120,000)||105,000 (180,000)|
|Hong Kong||Milan||75,000||92,000||134,000||48,000 (72,000)||70,000 (120,000)||105,000 (180,000)|
|With Qatar Airways:|
|Auckland||Doha||97,500||121,000||177,000||66,000 (108,000)||85,000 (145,000)||130,000 (220,000)|
|Doha||Milan, Rome, Venice||42,000||53,000||78,000||30,000 (54,000)||45,000 (80,000)||70,000 (180,000)|
*Starting in December 2017
Note that neither Cathay Pacific or Qatar currently fly planes to New Zealand containing a First Class cabin, so you should be redeeming points for a Business Class seat.
To get the total cost for your preferred (or more likely, available) city pair just add the New Zealand – Hong Kong / Doha and the Hong Kong / Doha to Italy flights together.
For example, Auckland to Venice in Business Class with Qatar Airways via Doha comes in at 174,000 Qantas Points one way, or 130,000 Asia Miles one way / 225,000 Asia Miles return.
Both Asia Miles and Qantas Frequent Flyer will charge you for the sum of both flights (in points) regardless of whether you have a stopover, so adding a stopover in Doha or Hong Kong would effectively be free.
The other key point to note is that Asia Miles charges significantly fewer points for a return trip than for two one ways. Worth bearing in mind if you have enough points to make a return booking with them.
Using Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles to get to Italy with Singapore Airlines
KrisFlyer, Singapore Airlines frequent flyer program, is a partner of American Express Membership Rewards, as well as being hooked up with Velocity Frequent Flyer as a transfer partner.
Singapore Airlines fly to Rome and Milan from, funnily enough, Singapore. KrisFlyer offers great value redemptions on Singapore Airlines flights.
It’s 105,000 KrisFlyer Miles for a redemption to Rome or Milan (with no stopover in Singapore) from Auckland and Christchurch (noting that Business Class is your only option from New Zealand).
Aim for Premium Economy, Business or First Class flights
As usual you should aim for Premium Economy or higher cabin redemptions to get most value from your points.
All of the mainstream frequent flyer programs in New Zealand pass on fuel surcharges and taxes on points redemption bookings, which wipes out most of the value of using points if booked in Economy – the $$ copayment that comes with a points redemption is just too high to get good value from the points you use as well.
Sidenote – Skiing in the Dolomites
One of my ‘things’ is skiing… I’ve skied since I was a kid, took a trip to ski in Japan a few years back, and have spent time skiing in California, New Zealand, France – and an extended stint as a ski guide in Italy. I’m hoping to go back soon.
Dolomites Ski Tours are an Australian ski business who have been operating in the Italian Dolomites for the last 30 years and who I’ve spent many weeks ski guiding with.
The Dolomites has a vast range of connected towns and resorts, with spectacular skiing, scenery and food. I’d thoroughly recommend the skiing and Dolomites Ski Tours if this is your thing too. Tell them I sent you!
This post first appeared on Point Hacks NZ - The Best Frequent Flyer Deals & O, please read the originial post: here