Flying to New Zealand tomorrow Qantas $238 round trip SFO-AKL via Sydney

Back in April 2016 there was an incredible fare sale for a few hours with tickets from Los Angeles and San Francisco to Auckland, New Zealand priced as low as $225 round trip. I purchased a round trip ticket for $238 for SFO-SYD-AKL-SYD-SFO. The time for my trip has come around. As an AAdvantage Executive Platinum member, I’ll be sampling some First Class lounges in San Francisco, Sydney and Auckland.

The difference with this trip is the long haul is economy class cabin. My previous trips down under were First Class award flights with British Airways to Australia and First Class ticket with Air New Zealand to Auckland.

Originally I wanted to go to South Island to Queenstown, but I could not find hotel deals there. My plan is hang around Auckland a couple days and kick back in Napier, New Zealand for most of the week. Temperature is forecast to be in the 80s. Sounds like beach weather to me. Best of all is I will skip the Daylight Savings change Sunday with sunset moving to around 5pm in California for New Zealand with sunset after 8pm.

I expect much of my writing and photo focus for articles over the next week will be impressions of New Zealand. I visited Auckland and Bay of Islands in 2005. New Zealand impressed me as one of the world’s most beautiful places.

I won’t be staying in any fancy hotels. I am using the week to re-qualify for Choice Privileges Platinum elite at 20 nights in 2016.


The only 2005 photo from our previous trip to New Zealand I found on Loyalty Traveler has my mug shot intruding on the beautiful scenery of Bay of Islands.



Loyalty Traveler Travels – November 2016

New Zealand – North Island Auckland and Napier


Flying to New Zealand tomorrow Qantas $238 round trip SFO-AKL

Qantas Economy San Francisco-Sydney-Auckland hurtling through space and time

Qantas First Class Lounge Sydney Airport

Photo walk around Parnell Auckland

Hotel Review Quality Hotel Auckland Parnell

Hotel Review Econolodge Auckland City Central 6,000 points reward stay

Econolodge Napier, New Zealand – coolest Econolodge anywhere

Sunrise-sunset Westshore Beach, Napier, New Zealand

Napier, New Zealand earthquake history created Art Deco city

Over 1,000 tourists stuck in Kaikoura, New Zealand after 7.8 earthquake

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined in 2008.

More articles by Ric Garrido »


  1. I bought one of these fares also, scheduled to fly next week. I’m not going though- too many other things coming up and need to stay in town. I tried to figure out a way to cancel, get a credit or refund, but to no avail, so I’m just eating the ticket cost

  2. I’m really thankful you’re on BoardingArea. You and a few others are the last bastions of hope against “How I booked a $40,000 shower in the air” trip reports.

  3. @AnonCHI – several years of global flying in Business and First Class was fun when I had millions of miles and the experience was new. I spent a lot more miles than necessary to fly up front.and visit places like New Zealand and Australia and six trips to Europe each year.

    These days I am happy enough to sit in economy and watch movies and listen to music, even on long flights. I am not trying to squeeze in an ultimate experience every 7 day vacation away from the grind of being a classroom teacher. A bed on a plane is a wonderful comfort, but there are many other meaningful things to spend money on besides upscale travel.

    Unless I am with my wife, a fancy hotel is kind of a waste since I spend most of my solo travel hotel room time writing on the computer at the desk. My three room suite in Slovakia in September for $100 was lovely to photograph. I could have moved around to 15 different seats, but my time inside the room was only spent in bed, at the desk and in the bathroom. The bathroom open floor space was large enough for a double bed.

    The destination is more my focus these days rather than the ultimate comfort of travel to get there. Minimizing my spend each trip allows me to travel more throughout the year.

  4. How long is that flight? 14+ hours? That’s a loooong time in a coach seat.

    I think I wore out my butt about 100,000 miles ago. 🙂

  5. I’ll be doing the same trip (well LAX-AKL/AKL-SYD-LAX) on the same fare in a few weeks.
    I’m quite excited .. most of the trip will be on south island.
    I was surprised by the lack of variety of chain hotels (vs. australia) …
    I have a ton of choice points, but redemption versus cost of a hotel night just didn’t make it worth it. Can’t wait to read about your impressions of NZ.

  6. @Patrick – In 2001 I did two United Airlines SFO-SIN mileage run round trips back to back with only six hours in Singapore on $279 fares. My butt ached for a couple weeks after those trips.

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