Intro: Building A New Zealand Adventure Around A One Way Qantas Flight
Part 1: Getting To New Zealand Via Asia
Part 2: Spending A Couple Recovery Days In Kuala Lumpur
Part 3: Exploring New Zealand’s Beautiful North Island
Part 4: Exploring New Zealand’s Beautiful South Island
Part 5: A Short Stopover In Sydney And The Ride Home
Few people would ever think of building a vacation around a specific flight. Flying premium airlines in the front of the plane, and on their newest fleet additions is something that is a big part of the travel experience for me. So when award space opens up, that’s often what I do.
When Qantas released an unusual amount of first class award space earlier in the year, I jumped. I had been wanting to fly in first on the new a380 and this was the perfect opportunity. I had previously spent time in Australia, but wasn’t able to fit New Zealand into the itinerary, so I decided to build a trip there, around this one specific flight.
The flight I booked was SYD – LAX, the return, leaving at 1pm. And even though I could have also booked the outbound, I’m not fond of red eyes while flying in first on premium airlines, so I passed on the QF LAX – SYD leg, which leaves close to midnight. I would get the full premium experience, with lots of lounge time in the top notch Qantas International First lounge in Sydney. I secured the flight with 72.5k American miles, and set about planning the rest of the trip.
Eager to fly again up front with Cathay Pacific – this time on the Boeing 777- I located award availability on the outbound, 9:40am LAX – HKG route, and since I would need to redeem two separate awards to get the AKL, decided to route through and stopover in Kuala Lumpur for a couple of days. The Hilton Doubletree KL is one of the few remaining stellar points redemptions in the Hilton Honors program, and I always enjoy spending time in Kuala Lumpur. The final leg would get me to Auckland via Sydney, with a direct business class flight on Malaysian, then short hop to Auckland on LAN. I was set.