Air New Zealand Airpoints members to see new changes next year

A survey sent to some members gives a hint at what the new Airpoints updates could be. Photo / Supplied, NZ Herald

Air New Zealand Airpoints members could get more discounts, upgrades and other benefits from mid-2023 as the airline reviews its loyalty program.

In November 2020, Air New Zealand sent a survey about potential changes to a select group of its 3.6 million members.

According to Executive Traveler, who attained one of the emails, Elite members were asked for feedback on free parking, separate Elite member lounges and free flights for friends and family for frequent flyers.

Members were also asked about making discounted upgrades easier to redeem and a 30 per cent Airpoints bonus on flights.

A potential new tier

Most notable was the suggestion of adding another tier to their loyalty program called ‘Elite Plus’. This would sit higher than Elite but below the invitation-only Elite Priority One.

The survey suggested members must gain between 2800 and 3500 status points per year to qualify. Currently, you need 900 status points for Airpoints Gold and 1500 points for Airpoints Elite.

An ‘Elite Plus’ membership could involve free parking at your home port, same-day flight changes on domestic and trans-Tasman services and immediate upgrade confirmation, according to Executive Traveler.

Free preferred seating, complimentary Elite status for a nominated partner and 50 per cent Airpoints bonus on flights was also put forward in the survey.

However, the best-proposed perk is allowing a friend or family member of ‘Elite Plus’ travelers to join them for free on Air New Zealand flights.

According to Air New Zealand, the survey results are still being worked through but CEO Greg Foran said they looked forward to being able to share the final updates next year.

“Give us another 12 months and you’ll see them start to play out in a more meaningful way,” he told Executive Traveler.

How do Air New Zealand Status Points work?

Travelers earn Status Points by flying on eligible Air NZ flights and many Star Alliance partner flights as well as through purchases made with some Airpoints earning credit cards.

The number of Status Points you earn within a 12-month period will dictate what ‘tier’ you are in (Silver, Gold or Elite), and the benefits you can claim. Each tier has a certain number of Status Points you must accumulate within a 12-month period.