Best Airpoints credit cards
We take you through the best Air New Zealand Airpoints earning credit cards and compare them with the competition to help you make the right choice.
- Airpoints credit cards let you earn Airpoints Dollars on your credit card spend and even earn twice at some retailers.
- With limited-time special promotions you can get as many as 300 bonus Airpoints Dollars when you sign up.
- Airpoints credit cards are best for those who spend a lot on their credit card and repay it off in full every month.
How Airpoints credit cards work
Airpoints credit cards let you earn Airpoints Dollars when you spend using the card. All Airpoints Dollars you earn are stored in your Air New Zealand Airpoints account, separate from your card.
You can earn Airpoints on all purchases you make, but you won’t earn them on transitions like cash advances, balance transfers and gambling chips.
The amount of Airpoints you’ll earn depends on the credit card you choose. For example, with the American Express Airpoints Platinum card you’ll earn 1 Airpoints Dollar on every $59 you spend, while Kiwibank’s Air New Zealand Airpoints Low Fee Visa, you’ll have to spend $200 to earn 1 Airpoints Dollar.
American Express credit cards currently have the best deals when it comes to earning Airpoints, but they are not accepted quite as widely as Visa or Mastercard. Our Head of Publishing recently found out how widely his AMEX Airpoints Platinum was accepted and whether the card is worth it.
The top 3 best Airpoints credit cards
So which is the best Airpoints credit card in NZ? We give your our top 3 in order, taking into account earn rate, bonus Airpoints, annual fees, and more.
No.1 The American Express Airpoints Platinum card
When it comes to sheer Airpoints earning potential, nothing comes close to the American Express Airpoints Platinum.
Every $59 spent on the AMEX Airpoints Platinum will earn you 1 Airpoints Dollar, which is significantly stronger than its closest competitor, the Westpac Airpoints World Mastercard (which requires a significantly higher $95 spend to earn 1 Airpoints Dollar). The Westpac card also has a much higher annual fee ($310 vs $195 for the AMEX).
The Airpoints Platinum card also comes with 300 bonus Airpoints on sign-up, making it only one of two credit cards that offer bonus Airpoints. Note that you must spend at least $1,500 on the card in the first three months to be eligible for the bonus.
Our Head of Publishing switched from an ANZ Airpoints Visa Platinum to the AMEX Airpoints Platinum and found he earned more Airpoints on his spend with the AMEX card.
Read our full review of the American Express Airpoints Platinum card or see our it compares to other platinum credit cards.
Other pros of the AMEX Airpoints Platinum
- Travel insurance (domestic and international): As long as you pay the full fare for your trip on either your credit card or with Airpoints, your travel will be insured — both aboard and within New Zealand. This is a plus because some credit card travel insurance schemes (such as that offered on the ANZ Airpoints Visa Platinum) only cover international travel).
- Free Priority Pass airport lounge access: Get free access to two VIP airport lounges per year. Access is available to over 1,200 airport lounges around the world, including the Strata Lounge at Auckland Airport.
- Smartphone screen cover: Repairs to fix your phone’s screen will be covered automatically. As long as you bought the phone outright with your card, or you use it to pay for your phone plan, you’ll be covered up to $500.
- Earn Status Points: For every $250 spent on the card, you’ll earn 1 Status Point. Status points can be used for travel benefits including lounge access, priority service, seat upgrades, and more.
Cons of the AMEX Airpoints Platinum
- High annual fee: At $195, the card has one of the higher annual fees out there. Therefore it’s not a suitable choice for people who won’t take advantage of its benefits or won’t use it regularly.
Key card details
- Annual fee: $195
- Purchase interest rate: 22.95%
- Interest-free period: 55 days
No.2: The American Express Airpoints card
The American Express Airpoints credit card is a close second to its big brother (the Airpoints Platinum). While its Airpoints earn rate is much lower at $100 spend required to earn 1 Airpoints Dollar, that still means it has the third best earn rate of any Airpoints card.
But better still, the more basic AMEX Airpoints card comes with no annual fee. This not only makes it one of the best Airpoints credit cards, but a great card all round.
Plus don’t forget that the AMEX Airpoints card also comes with a bonus 50 Airpoints on sign-up (when you spend a minimum of $750 in the first three months of having it).
So, as the only rewards credit card in New Zealand with no annual fee, along with one of the best for earning Airpoints, the AMEX Airpoints card will be an easy choice for some.
Read our full review of the AMEX Airpoints credit card.
Other pros of the AMEX Airpoints card
- 6 months interest-free purchases: Take out the card and your purchases will be interest free for six months from the date the account is opened. If you have an outstanding balance on your account after that time, the regular interest rate will apply.
Cons of the AMEX Airpoints card
- Lower Airpoints earning potential: We’re quibbling a little as 1 Airpoints Dollar per $100 spent is still the third-best earn rate for a credit card and there is no annual fee. However, the earn rate is still significantly lower than that of the AMEX Airpoints Platinum card (which requires just $59 spend to earn 1 Airpoints Dollar).
Key card details
- Annual fee: $0
- Purchase interest rate: 22.95%
- Interest-free period: 55 days
No.3: The ANZ Airpoints Visa Platinum
A bit of a distant third, but the ANZ Airpoints Platinum does have some advantages.
Its earn rate isn’t as competitive as the AMEX cards at a $110 spend required to earn 1 Airpoints Dollar. It also doesn’t have any bonus Airpoints on sign up.
However, at 19.95%, it does have a lower interest rate (but bear in mind that any rewards card only has value if you pay the full amount off each month, in which case no interest is charged).
It also has a lower annual fee than the AMEX Airpoints Platinum ($150 vs $195).
Other pros of the ANZ Airpoints Platinum
- Overseas travel insurance: If you pay for at least half of your pre-paid travel expenses on your card, you’ll be covered while you’re travelling abroad.
- Bonus Status Points: Earn 50% extra bonus Status Points on top of those you earn on qualifying flights with Air New Zealand.
Cons of the ANZ Airpoints Platinum
- Weaker Airpoints earning potential: The ANZ doesn’t have the earn rate or the bonus Airpoints of the AMEX cards.
- Fewer extra features: Compared to the range of extra benefits the AMEX Airpoints Platinum offers, the ANZ card looks a little spartan in comparison.
Key card details
- Annual fee: $150
- Purchase interest rate: 19.95%
- Interest-free period: 45 days
|Credit card||Airpoints earn rate||Bonus Airpoints||Interest rate (p.a.)||Annual fee||Promotions||Learn more|
|American Express Airpoints Platinum||1 Airpoints Dollar per $59||300||22.95%||$195||
Read the review
|American Express Airpoints||1 Airpoints Dollar per $100||50||22.95%||$0||
Read the review
|ANZ Airpoints Visa||1 Airpoints Dollar per $170||0||19.95%||$65||None currently|
|ANZ Airpoints Visa Platinum||1 Airpoints Dollar per $110||0||19.95%||$150||
|Westpac Airpoints Mastercard||1 Airpoints Dollar per $150||0||20.95%||$70||None currently|
|Westpac Airpoints Platinum Mastercard||1 Airpoints Dollar per $110||0||20.95%||$125||
|Westpac Airpoints World Mastercard||1 Airpoints Dollar per $95||0||16.95%||$310||
|Kiwibank Air New Zealand Airpoints Low Fee Visa||1 Airpoints Dollar per $200||0||16.90%||$50||None currently|
|Kiwibank Air New Zealand Airpoints Platinum Visa||1 Airpoints Dollar per $115||0||20.95%||$180||
5 tips to the best deal on an Airpoints credit card
We break down the key things you need to know when choosing the best Airpoints credit card for you.
1. Take advantage of bonus Airpoints offers
Bonus Airpoints Dollars when you sign up for a credit card can be a great way to earn a lot of Airpoints in one go.
Airpoints credit cards with bonus Airpoints Dollars are common and can range from 50 to 300. If you’re considering an Airpoints credit card, check if it comes with bonus points when you sign on the bottom line.
2. Check the Airpoints earn rate
Not all Airpoints credit cards were created equally. Some earn Airpoints Dollars at a much faster rate than others.
Depending on the card, earning 1 Airpoints Dollar can cost you from as little as $59 to a much higher $200.
If maximising your Airpoints earning potential is important to you, look for a credit card with a higher earn rate, but watch out for the annual fee.
3. Make sure your credit card spend merits the annual fee
There is a general rule for Airpoints credit cards: the better the Airpoints earn rate, the higher the annual fee.
This means you have to think about your credit card spending habits before choosing the right card for you.
The example below shows how much you would need to spend on 2 different Airpoints credit cards to break even over 1 year.
|Earn rate||Annual fee||Spend needed to break even|
|Card 1||1 Airpoints Dollar per $160 spend||$25||$4,000|
|Card 2||1 Airpoints Dollar per $59 spend||$195||$11,505|
This example does not account for bonus Airpoints on sign up, which you would only receive in the first year.
So what type of Airpoints credit card is right for you?
- If you don’t frequently use your credit card, but you still want to earn Airpoints: go for an Airpoints credit card with a low or no annual fee.
- If you spend a lot on your credit card: a card with one with a higher Airpoints earn rate and annual fee could be a good choice for you.
4. Don’t forget about other card benefits
When considering Airpoints credit cards, look beyond earn rates and bonus Airpoints to other card features.
Some Airpoints credit cards available in New Zealand also have these benefits:
- Earn Air New Zealand Status Points: Earning Status Points lets you access lounge access, seat upgrades, and other benefits on Air New Zealand and Star Alliance partner flights. Learn more on the Air New Zealand website.
- Earn American Express Membership Rewards Points: Earn Membership Rewards points on your spending and redeem them for gift cards, entertainment, or airline rewards. Learn more on the American Express website.
- Complimentary travel insurance: Some platinum Airpoints travel cards also offer free travel insurance when your travel booking on the card. Check out our guide to credit cards with complimentary travel insurance for more.
- Priority Pass lounge access: Get access to more than 1,300 Priority Pass airport lounges around the world. Learn more on the Priority Pass website.
If you’ve narrowed down your choice of cards, check what else they have to offer and make a more informed choice.
5. Pay off your card in full each month
If you don’t pay off an Airpoints credit card each month, you will have to pay interest on the outstanding balance. Each time you do this you’re losing out on the value of earning Airpoints.
With no low-rate Airpoints credit cards currently on the market, the interest rate you will be charged will be as low as it could be.
To maximise your earnings, try to pay off your credit card in full each month. If you don’t think you can do this, consider a low rate credit card instead.
How to maximise your Airpoints earnings
Our tips will help you to earn the most Airpoints with your credit card spend.
- Earn twice when you shop at some retailers: A number of retailers already let you earn Airpoints on your spend there, even if you don’t have an Airpoints credit card. These include New World, Mitre 10, Macpac, and a bunch more. If you use an Airpoints credit card at these retailers, you’ll earn twice.
- Fly with Air New Zealand or Star Alliance partner airlines: You can also earn twice when you pay for a flight with Air New Zealand or one of the Star Alliance partners. To see how many Airpoints Dollars you could earn on a particular flight, try Air New Zealand’s Airpoints calculator.
- Shop through the Airpoints Mall: Air New Zealand has partnered with over 120 brands to offer special Airpoints-earning promotions. See the Airpoints Mall website for a full list of brands, and don’t forget to pay using your Airpoints credit card.
Are Airpoints credit cards worth it?
According to an Air New Zealand survey, those with an Airpoints credit card earn on average 9 times more Airpoints than those without. But they are not right for everyone.
Airpoints credit cards reward those who spend quite a lot on their credit card and who pay it off in full each month.
If this doesn’t sound like you, the benefit you get from having an Airpoints credit card will likely be outweighed by the annual fee, the interest you’ll accumulate, or both.
Overall, it’s best to see an Airpoints credit card as a way to earn rewards for something you’ll do anyway.
Don’t choose to shop at a more expensive retailer, or fly with a more expensive airline, just because you can earn extra more Airpoints. The number of Airpoints you’ll earn will likely pale in comparison to the extra expense.
Frequently asked questions
What are Airpoints?
Airpoints is a popular rewards programme created and managed by Air New Zealand.
The programme lets members earn Airpoints by buying flights, shopping, or by using an Airpoints credit card.
These points can then be redeemed with Air New Zealand and its Star Alliance partners and a number of participating retailers.
How much are Airpoints worth?
The value of Airpoints is simple to understand — 1 Airpoints Dollar equals 1 New Zealand Dollar.
For example, if you had 500 Airpoints Dollars earned, you could pay entirely for an Air New Zealand flight that cost $500.
What’s the difference between Airpoints and Flybuys?
Both Airpoints and Flybuys are reward schemes, but they are unrelated and operated by different companies.
You cannot convert Flybuys into Airpoints, or vice versa. You also cannot use Flybuys to buy Air New Zealand flights or make purchases from retails in the Airpoints rewards programme.
Which banks offer Airpoints credit cards?
There are 4 companies in New Zealand that have Airpoints credit cards. They are:
- American Express
Last year, Air New Zealand announced it would be launching its own Airpoints credit card in 2022, but it has not done so yet. We’ll update this guide as soon as it does, so watch this space.
What is OneSmart?
OneSmart is a prepaid, multi-currency travel card from Air New Zealand.
Like an Airpoints credit card, the OneSmart card lets you earn Airpoints Dollars on your spend. The earn rate for the card is 1 Airpoints Dollar per $100 spent.
Learn more on the OneSmart website.
How can I see how many Airpoints I’ve earned?
You can see your Airpoints balance any time by logging into the Air New Zealand Airpoints website.
When you’ve logged in you can also update your details, claim missing Airpoints, and access see the latest Airpoints member deals.