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Air New Zealand---Companion Ticket?

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I am trying to scheme a way to fly business class to New Zealand---that long flight over the Pacific is just too much without a little help. I have read that award tickets in business class on flights to Oz and NZ are impossible to get, so I am looking at other ways.

One thought I have is to break up the flight into two shorter segments, flying Seattle to Honolulu (5.5 hours) and then Honolulu to Auckland (9 hours) instead of Seattle to LAX (2 hours) and then LAX to Auckland (13 hours). Does that make sense? We wouldn't need BC on the Hawaii flight segment, just between there and NZ. We wouldn't even mind a short stopover in Hawaii.

In looking at the New Zealand FF program, it seems that they give you a companion ticket with your membership. I am thinking we could buy one ticket in business (around $4000) and then get the companion ticket (which requires some air miles but not many).

Does anyone know how available these companion tickets are in reality? The website says to call and check on availability before buying the paid ticket, and I am hoping if we are flexible on dates we can get something. (I am planning way ahead on this).

The wrinkle is that miles in the New Zealand program are hard to get without actually flying, and we are One World people, not Star Alliance. The website makes a reference to credit card, hotel and car rental as other ways to earn miles, but there are no links or details at all.

The other option would be to fly on Qantas using our Alaska miles, of which we have plenty, but again I have heard those tickets are impossible to get. But somebody must be able to get them. Maybe only elite status members of Qantas' own program?

Anyway, I would appreciate advice from anyone familiar with Air New Zealand. Thanks.

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