Air New Zealand to extend ‘Touch of Gold’ status match into 2022?

Successful applicants for AirNZ's Touch of Gold status match may get even longer to lock in Gold for a full year.

By David Flynn, September 21 2021
Air New Zealand to extend ‘Touch of Gold’ status match into 2022?

With the trans-Tasman bubble remaining closed until at least December, Air New Zealand may roll out a further extension to its Touch of Gold status match for Qantas and Virgin Australia frequent flyers – and this time, the new qualification period is likely to stretch into 2022.

The Kiwi carrier initially launched the status match to its Airpoints Gold tier ahead of the April 19 restart of trans-Tasman flying, with an offer of an instant four months of practical perks such as lounge access, complimentary seat selection, additional carry-on and checked luggage allowances plus priority check-in, boarding and baggage.

And by clocking up just 100 Status Points on Air New Zealand travel within those 16 weeks, that Gold status was set to stay fresh for the following eight months, delivering a full year of Gold-lined benefits.

100 Status Points is an easy earn with a return flight between Australia and New Zealand on a flexible economy, premium economy or business class fare.

Well, it would have been easy if that long-awaited travel bubble hadn't burst following a series of Covid-19 outbreaks in Australia and then New Zealand.

New Zealand's Covid-19 Minister Chris Hipkins announced last week that the travel bubble with Australia would be out of action until at least December, while the country's Deputy Prime Minister allowed that even the prospects of a Christmas travel bubble remained uncertain.

Air New Zealand has already pushed back the qualification period for its Touch of Gold status match to 8 December 2021 to allow applicants "extra time to earn the required 100 Status Points through Air New Zealand travel."

But that simply might not be long enough, which brings a second extension into early 2022 into the frame.

"Air New Zealand initially extended the qualification period for the Touch of Gold promotion to 8 December as a result of the trans-Tasman bubble closure," the airline's General Manager Loyalty, Kate O'Brien, tells Executive Traveller.

"We are continuing to monitor the situation and will review how our participants are progressing towards the end of November, if not before."

PREVIOUS [August 6, 2021] Air New Zealand is extending the qualification period for its status match against Qantas and Virgin Australia through to December due to the closure of the trans-Tasman bubble.

Launched in April 2021 as that bubble opened up, the Touch of Gold promotion was reportedly very successful in attracting Qantas and Virgin frequent flyers who gained instant Airpoints Gold status for four months, with the chance to lock that down for a full year by earning just 100 Status Points on Air New Zealand flights within that time.

However, those quick trips across the pond were soon thrown into disarray as a series of Covid-19 outbreaks in Australia saw New Zealand block travel from several states across June and July, before the bubble was completely suspended until at least late September.

Air New Zealand has now written to its temporarily gilded members to say they'll have until early December to make a flight with the Kiwi carrier and collect those 100 status points.

"Since the the start of the Touch of Gold promotion there have been a number of travel interruptions caused by Covid-19, which have resulted in some changes to the trans-Tasman bubble," the airline says.

"We'd like to acknowledge that this may have prevented you from earning the required Status Points to move to full Gold."

"We are therefore extending the qualification period to 8 December 2021, allowing you extra time to earn the required 100 Status Points through Air New Zealand travel."

If there's any good news here, it's that pocketing Airpoints Gold by December 2021 will mean you also have Star Alliance Gold through to December 2022 – handy for when international travel resumes next year, with Singapore likely to be an early cab off that rank.

As previously reported, those 100 Status Points can be won on a return flight between Australia and New Zealand in a higher-paid flexible economy or premium economy fare, and they're guaranteed if you're in business class.

PREVIOUS [April 2021] | Air New Zealand hopes to lure across Qantas and Virgin Australia frequent flyers with an instant status match – no flying required.

The Kiwi carrier's offer comes ahead of the April 19 restart of trans-Tasman flying, and follows Qantas' own 'fast-track' status deal.

And like that Qantas promotion, Air New Zealand is putting its own Airpoints Gold status up for grabs as what it calls Touch of Gold.

With practical perks such as lounge access, complimentary seat selection, additional carry-on and checked luggage allowances plus priority check-in, boarding and baggage, Gold is generally considered the sweet spot in most airline loyalty programs.

"We can’t wait to fly customers across the Tasman, so we’re encouraging Gold status or higher customers of qualifying airlines to try Air New Zealand with our Touch of Gold offer," says Air New Zealand General Manager Loyalty Kate O’Brien.

"We know there is pent up demand for trans-Tasman travel. and it’s the perfect time for customers to get a taste of our world-class customer experience and reap the benefits of our Airpoints programme."

AirNZ's Gold status match is nominally open to the following high flyers in both Australia and New Zealand

  • Qantas Frequent Flyer Gold, Platinum and Platinum One
  • Velocity Frequent Flyer Gold and Platinum

However, the airline's Touch of Gold terms and conditions page expands upon that, saying only that applicants "must hold current Gold or higher status (or equivalent) with another airline. Star Alliance airline or Cathay Pacific members are ineligible for the promotion."

A spokesperson for Air New Zealand confirmed to Executive Traveller that its Gold status match will indeed be offered to the middle- and top-tier frequent flyers of any airline, bar its Star Alliance siblings and Hong Kong partner Cathay Pacific.

Applications must be made by May 7, 2021 – and once your application is approved, Airpoints Gold status will be yours for four months.

If you earn 100 Status Points on Air New Zealand travel within that time, your Gold status will stay fresh for the following eight months, giving you a full year of Gold benefits.

This will also include two free 'recognition upgrades', such as from economy to premium economy, or premium economy to business.

It's also worth noting that Airpoints Gold is recognised as Star Alliance Gold, which could come in very handy for the likes of Singapore Airlines once travel resumes between Australia and Singapore.

Status Points, like Airpoints Dollars (the Kiwi carrier's points currency), are calculated based on how much you pay for your ticket – as a quick guideline, here are the earning rates for a one-way flight between Sydney and Auckland:

  • Economy Smart Saver, 7-46 Status Points
  • Economy Flexi, 33-104 Status Points
  • Premium Economy, 33-77 Status Points
  • Business, 60-107 Status Points

As you can see, it's quite do-able to pocket 100 Status Points and a year at the Airpoints Gold tier with a return flight on a flexible economy or premium economy fare, and it's guaranteed if you're in business class.

For more details and to apply, visit airnewzealand.com.au/touchofgold-benefits

Also read: Qantas 'fast track' status match returns, now includes NZ flyers

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

AV
AV

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

16 Apr 2013

Total posts 48

Great to see the competition heating up!

I'm assuming Air New Zealand will also want a slice of the Virgin pie once Bain list the company for sale, but I really don't know if it's worth having another shiny card in the electronic wallet. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2017

Total posts 303

Considering NZ got a loan from their government to survive COVID that has to be repaid eventually, NZ buying any VA stake will be unlikely for the foreseeable future.

Not to mention, after NZ's two fails (AN and VA), current and future management of NZ would want to learn from the mistakes of their predecessors.

The same applies for the current and future SQ management after the 3 'epic' failures of their predecessors (NZ including AN, Tiger Airways Australia and Virgin).

AJW
AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 599

Who said they were selling?

Have a look at the companies they own, they actually keep a lot of what they buy rather than strip company and run. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2017

Total posts 303

Boost Juice/Betty Burgers are examples of companies Bain has actually kept past the 5 year mark.

Saying that, Virgin has little to no encumbered assets to 'strip', and there's not much assets (if any) that Bain could borrow against.  Velocity would basically be the only 'asset' of any value to Bain.

As reported in the media the the entire fleet was either leased, and almost all of their owned aircraft (737s/777s) was 'mortgaged' by SQ/EY/Borghetti/Scurrah et al over the years.  The only non-mortgaged fleet was most of VARA's Fokkers and the legacy Skywest A320.

Not surprisingly Bain didn't want to touch the already 'asset-stripped' aircraft (777s and the older 737s) so they just stopped paying the mortgage on them and informed the Banks to possess those aircraft. 
The only mortgaged aircraft Bain kept during the administration period were the younger 737s.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Nov 2012

Total posts 93

Ansett. Virgin Mark 1. Maybe they’ve learnt their lesson?

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 954

With most int'l borders staying closed for the next 10 months or so, I can't say this is too exciting unless you are someone who regularly goes across the Tasman.

16 Apr 2021

Total posts 1

It's pretty exciting for me. I've just returned to NZ to live, and have Enrich Platinum/Oneworld Emerald. I plan to be taking a lot of domestic flights around NZ in the next few months, so just the lounge access is an awesome benefit. Couldn't have timed it better. Thanks Air NZ!

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 318

Obviously it's first and foremost for AU-NZ flyers but i would expect to see a travel bubble with Singapore sooner rather than later, almost certainly before broader international travel resumes, so having Star Alliance Gold would be useful for that if you travel with SQ, you could use the SQ or NZ lounges at SYD for example and then you'd have access to the new and much better KrisFlyer Gold lounge at SIN T3 when it opens end of this year.

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 318

I'm definitely going to sign up for this, will be making some trips to NZ anyway and it won't for me to have Gold before I go just through the instant status match component and then fly with Air New Zealand to get my 100 status credits and be Gold until around the middle of 2022. Always handy to have in your pocket.

Yes, nicely played Air NZ, I'm going to apply this weekend! Useful for a bit of extra variety if I need to fly to NZ with them instead of Qantas, now that Virgin has given up on NZ for the time being, and will be useful for SQ trips to Singapore too.

AJW
AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 599

I applied on Friday and got the nod yesterday. Interestingly it is showing a review date of May 2022 and 900 credits by May 2022 to retain. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Nov 2019

Total posts 72

Yes Same here. Mine also showing a year expiry. Let's hope it stays that way. 

DY
DY

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 May 2017

Total posts 14

I did the status match earlier in the year and achieved the 100 points by May. I received an email today stating that as I had already achieved it I was now extended not just for the extra 8 months (on top of the 4 month qualifying period) but for 12 months so up until 31 August 2022.

For those of you commenting about it showing a May 2022 expiry, that is (or was) the expiry date should you have achieved the 100 points within the qualifying period (being 4 or so months for the qualifying period + the additional 8 months or so), if you didn't achieve the 100 points within the 4 months your status would be removed. On the email you receive when the Gold status is applied to your account there are comments on it along the lines of "the points to extend status or the expiry date showing for your status may not be accurate"

ACM
ACM

05 Sep 2017

Total posts 10

Hope I'm wrong, but I can't see the Trans Tasman bubble opening from Sydney by the extended December date.

NZ

13 Aug 2016

Total posts 66

Same here got an email today saying that I had already meeting the 100SP, and would now get an extend 12months as full gold! 

Now we just need NZ to introduce domestic PE on some routes, so we can earn higher SP’s….

Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 623

I think NZ will need to extend this another 3 months in 2022 at least considering the borders have remained shut to date.


Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Air New Zealand to extend ‘Touch of Gold’ status match into 2022?