How to make the most of Air New Zealand's Gold status match

Your gratis Gold card provides everything from priority check-in and lounge access to extra-legroom seating and more.

By Chris C., April 23 2021
How to make the most of Air New Zealand's Gold status match

With Air New Zealand’s recent status match offer gifting gratis Gold to frequent flyers of other airlines, there’s a lot to be gained by travellers heading across the Tasman.

That starts with priority check-in and boarding, complimentary airport lounge access and bonus checked and cabin baggage for NZ’s Gold members, along with free selection of extra legroom seats – and for those who qualify, even free upgrades to premium economy or business class.

Here’s how you can maximise the benefits of Air New Zealand’s Touch of Gold, whether you’ve been meaning to apply, or have already ascended to Gold.

Get your Air New Zealand status match

If you haven’t already requested your Air New Zealand status match via the carrier’s recent Touch of Gold promotion, don’t delay!

Applications are currently open until May 7, although AirNZ warns that “Touch of Gold four-month trial membership is offered in limited numbers and may be withdrawn at any time without notification.”

So, get your skates on and request that match!

All you’ll need is a photo or screenshot of your current frequent flyer card – or a copy of your frequent flyer activity statement – and an Airpoints account. If you’re not already an Airpoints member, you can join for free before submitting your status match request.

AirNZ is currently accepting applications from those with Gold-equivalent status or higher in any competing frequent flyer program, except for those of the carrier’s Star Alliance partners, or Cathay Pacific (another close companion of Air New Zealand).

This opens the match to Qantas Frequent Flyer Gold, Platinum and Platinum One members; Virgin Australia Velocity Gold and Platinum cardholders; and travellers with other equivalent status, such as Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald members, SkyTeam Elite Plus frequent flyers, and Gold-grade or above members of unallied airlines (such as Emirates Skywards and Etihad Guest).

Air New Zealand has been processing these status match requests rather promptly, and you may find your newly-matched status appear via the AirNZ mobile app and website within a few days of applying: even before you receive a ‘welcome to Gold’ email.

Once your status has been upgraded to Gold, be sure to list your Air New Zealand frequent flyer number on your upcoming Air New Zealand flights.

This can easily be done during the reservation process for new bookings, or via AirNZ’s ‘manage my booking’ system for existing tickets.

Occasionally, if you’ve booked your Air New Zealand flights via another airline – such as using miles from a different Star Alliance program, like Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer – you may need to contact AirNZ customer care to swap that frequent flyer number over, but it’s certainly doable.

Enjoy the benefits of your new Gold status

With Airpoints Gold status under your belt, it’s time to enjoy the privileges.

Extra legroom seating

For those travelling in economy, Gold status with Air New Zealand allows you to select a spot in the ‘frequent flyer zone’ on most flights, right from the time you’ve made your booking.

While the space isn’t on-par with exit row, these seats here are still spaced further apart than elsewhere – and on Airbus A321neo flights between Australia and New Zealand, that gives you an extra 7cm of space in front of your knees, with a seat pitch of 83cm versus 76cm in a standard seat.

Closer to departure or at the airport, you may also be able to swap your frequent flyer seat for an exit row seat with even more legroom at no charge, if there are still exit row seats available.

Priority airport service

When travelling with Air New Zealand (and other Star Alliance airlines), you’ll be able to use priority check-in counters and priority boarding queues regardless of your class of travel.

When checking-in a bag, your luggage will also be tagged as priority: and if placing an upgrade bid, you’ll have a higher chance of success as your bid value is “upweighted” by 30% before being considered, meaning a lower bid by a Gold member could trump a higher bid from a lower-tiered traveller.

Extra checked and cabin baggage

On Air New Zealand domestic and international flights, your Gold status allows you to check-in one additional 23kg bag over and above your ticketed entitlement, where you don’t already have an allowance of three checked bags, being the maximum permitted per passenger.

This doesn’t apply on ‘Seat’ fares, however, so if you plan to travel with baggage – and don’t want to be stung at the airport with excess baggage charges – you’ll still need to buy a fare inclusive of checked baggage: and when you do, that’s when you’ll get that extra bag at no charge.

But not only do Gold members get benefits when checking-in a bag: they’re also entitled to an additional allowance within the cabin, which is handy when flying economy.

Even on those Seat-only fares, Gold members can bring up to 14kg of cabin baggage split across two cabin bags, provided the heaviest item doesn’t exceed 10kg.

Airport lounge access

Once your check-in is sorted, you can relax at airport lounges across Australia and New Zealand prior to your Air New Zealand domestic and international flights.

If you’re connecting to or from an Air New Zealand flight aboard Qantas, and that Qantas flight is booked on an NZ codeshare flight number, you’ll also receive access to domestic Qantas Club lounges prior to those Qantas operated, NZ-coded flights, courtesy of your AirNZ Gold membership.

If you travel beyond the Australia-NZ bubble, as a Star Alliance Gold member, you’d also enjoy entry into airport lounges across the globe prior to AirNZ and Star Alliance flights.

In Singapore, for instance, you could visit Singapore Airlines’ new KrisFlyer Gold Lounge courtesy of that Star Alliance Gold membership, regardless of which Star Alliance airline you choose to travel on.

Read: Here is Singapore Airlines’ new Changi T3 KrisFlyer Gold lounge

No expiry of Airpoints Dollars

For as long as you remain an Airpoints Gold member, your Airpoints Dollars will not expire.

Should your status later drop below Gold, any miles that were due to expire during your Gold tenure will remain valid for one year, giving you ample time to spend them.

Don’t forget, many Australian credit cards allow you to top-up your Airpoints Dollars balance by transferring reward points.

While this may not be as favourable as transferring points to other frequent flyer programs if booking from scratch, having that ability to transfer and top-up is a great way to make use of the Airpoints Dollars you’ve already earned, if you’re aiming for a higher-value reward and would rather fly on AirNZ’s Dollars rather than your own cash.

Read: This month's best Air New Zealand Airpoints credit card sign-up offers in Australia

Extend your Gold status to a full year

Once granted your Touch of Gold status match, you’ll have four months to accrue 100 Status Points on Air New Zealand flights. Complete this goal, and you’ll have AirNZ Gold for a further eight months, giving you a full year of elite benefits in total.

100 Status Points is a relatively easy goal to reach, given Gold status normally requires 900 Status Points to earn or 810 Status Points to retain.

The number of Status Points you’ll earn differs on each flight depending on the type of fare you book and its price, but here’s a sample of what can be earned on a one-way flight from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane to Auckland, when fare prices are as below.

Fare type

Example fare price

Status Points earned



18 Status Points

Seat + Bag


20 Status Points

The Works


23 Status Points

Works Deluxe


24 Status Points

Premium economy


34 Status Points

Business class


93 Status Points

So while the number of Status Points earned varies by route and price, you could expect to reach your goal of 100 Status Points with one trans-Tasman return voyage in business class.

When booking flights on the Air New Zealand website, you can see how many Status Points your ticket would earn towards the top of the page: alongside how many Airpoints Dollars you’d also take home.

Unlock ‘recognition upgrades’

While not a perk offered during the four-month Touch of Gold trial, members who earn those 100 Status Points and push their Gold to a full year will gain an additional perk of Gold, being two ‘recognition upgrades’.

Think of these as upgrade certificates, similar to the complimentary upgrades rival Virgin Australia offers to Velocity Platinum frequent flyers.

Each recognition upgrade is valid for a free bump to the next-best cabin class, subject to availability. This could be from economy to premium economy, premium economy to business – or on flights with only economy and business class, for an upgrade straight to business.

Air New Zealand allows travellers to ‘stack’ these upgrades, so rather than upgrading to the next-best class on two different flights, travellers can opt to burn both credits for a double upgrade on one single flight.

For instance, using one recognition upgrade to move from economy to premium economy, and then the second recognition upgrade to shift again from premium economy to business class.

Once you’ve completed your first year as Gold, you’d then need the usual 810 Status Points to retain that Gold card for the next year.

Earn up to $1,000 Airpoints Dollars from a single Australian credit card application, through this month's top sign-up offers.

Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 407

Love those 'recognition upgrades’, it's something Qantas could do well to implement, with annual upgrade e-vouchers for Gold, Platinum and Platinum One members.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Aug 2011

Total posts 166

In fact on short-haul Trans Tasman flights (SYD, MEL, BNE, ADL) a single recognition upgrade can be used from economy to business even if premium economy is available, but two is needed for PER (as it is deemed to be a long haul flight).

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