Cactus Kate dissembles tightarses

Cactus Kate takes apart any whinging, whining, troughing bludgers who are upset about Air New Zealand’s changes to airpoints. She makes a fine suggestion right at the end:

Air NZ I would hazard a guess is full of business from public sector workers and troughers with infinite amounts of points from flying short haul economy up and down the bus from Auckland to Wellington.

As a taxpayer owned and bailed out airline perhaps they’d be far better off financially to disallow point and status accumulation for all travel paid by the taxpayer. And cancel all public sector Koru membership to clear the lounge out for private sector paying customers.

Until then if you are relying on upgrades from economy from any airline because you fly on them a bit and pay economy fares I have just one word of advice for you.

Try actually paying for business class.

Until then suck it up and sit with the people who aren’t in business class because despite your protestations. You are one of them.

Personally I don’t think they go far enough. I reckon Air New Zealand should just cancel points accumulation for all domestic flights, forthwith. They can safely do this because people like David Farrar are now caught by their own outrage. He has blogged numerous times about never, ever flying Jetstar again.

Personally I will not fly Jetstar in NZ. If a group in Auckland wants to fly me up to speak to them, I now make it a condition that I not be booked on Jetstar.

So his only option is Air New Zealand. If they ditch the points for domestic the problem of these kinds of troughers goes away almost overnight.

I’m with Cactus Kate…if you don’t like economy then pay for business class like a proper customer.

  • Urban Redneck

    “I‚Äôm with Cactus Kate‚Ķif you don‚Äôt like economy then pay for business class like a proper customer.”

    Try getting a business seat on a flight from Auckland to Napier, Kate. Man that woman is an elitist snob.

    • Ronnie Chow

       She is referring to international upgrades using airpoints gained on domestic economy . There is nil reference to domestic business class in any context . What are you referring to ?

  • Budap

    CK makes a good point- all Govt funded flighst shoudl not accure air points.  Airline staff as a general rule dont accumulate miles when travelling on business ie not paying for tickets themselves.  The ocst of airmiles is built into teh rpice, so surely if the taxpayer flights were not eligible for miles, then the taxpayer woudl be saving money Рwhat a  crazy idea ! 

    • BJ

      I fail to understand the logic behind Airpoints being accrued by the person thats actually flying when the person who paid for it is someone else. 

      Having a small business and ‘paying through the nose’ for last minute domestic travel for employers – most never pay to travel in NZ privately themselves – I would think it logical that the points are accrued to the payer. Therefore logic has it that Public Servants flights should not accrue points for the individuals that fly at our expense. The airline rewards the wrong person.¬†

      ¬†I think business class you either pay for or earn by travelling economy class until enough points have accrued – this should include public servants. If they are ‘servants’ they should be a bit more slavelike and get back into economy. If the civil servants travelled in economy then the airline could afford to drop the prices of business class a bit as the rest of us paying for our flights might use it a bit more. Heres an idea – if all the civil servants fill up the economy section then the rest of us who always pay full price economy get instant upgrades anyway!

      • MrV

        Nothing is a better example of this than the cost of a flight from Sydney or Melbourne to Canberra. Sometimes the prices can be $500+, basically due to all the public service worker demand.
        Especially on the Syd-Canberra route they should be on buses for $30.

  • wally

    A few weeks ago in the Akld Koru lounge I ended up sitting next to a large group of Ministry of Health civil servants. All obese, eating and drinking themselves silly and discussing the disability awareness workshop they’d been to. Not only do we pay for them to waste their time attending such bullshit courses, we also pay for their Koru subscriptions. And they get the airpoints!

    • BJ

      That has got to stop!

    • Gazzaw

      Wally, the big rort in¬†corporate travel is the failure by staffers to book the cheapest fare options. They don’t want to book an $89 fare to Wellington the preferable option being a full fare at say $300. The excuse being that the $89 fare isn’t flexible and not easily changed, the real reason being that the $89 fare accrues no Airpoints for personal use. The $300 fare earns bucketloads.

      Likewise, corporate staff rarely look at booking accommodation via sites such as Wotif.
      No points available for the family holiday accommodation. Far better to book a ‘walk in’ rate direct with the hotel.

      Sensible corporates insist that Airpoints are retained for company travel and that a trusted dedicated staffer books all company travel & accommodation. The same applies for government departments who are some of the biggest spenders on domestic travel.

      Many years association with the airline industry allows me to make this observation.


      • wally

        “Kate is spot on about the bloated public servants clogging up the Koru in New Zealand domestic airports.¬† Loud, self important nobodies swilling the free food and booze.”¬†I completely agree, Grumpy. I usually catch the 1730 flight back to ChCh and breath a sigh of relief when all the bone pendant wearing civil servants get on the 1700 to Wellington (note they are never on later flights) and the lounge half empties.There should be a separate lounge for anyone not paying for themselves.And, if you can’t afford or won’t pay for business class then stop fucking whingeing if you don’t get an upgrade.

      • grumpy

        Thanks Wally for reminding me about the bone pendants.  All the wimmin are short fat and ugly with dyed blond or silver hair and Elvis Costello glasses.

  • ConwayCaptain

    Hasnt the Oz Govt done a deal andany air points accrue to the Aus Givt to be used for flights in future???

    • insider

      Friends in MFAT tell me that they are expected to use airpoints to fund work flights. Not sure how they can under things such as the Privacy Act or similar as the points accrue to an individual and they can’t access your personal accounts or demand you provide your airmiles number. Unless there is some special cost code for mfat,

      you can just claim airmiles after the event by keeping your boarding pass and putting the reference in online – but ANZ systems are so good that you are IDd as soon as you check in and your airpoints allocated automatically.

      • Hakim of phut

        They would  book under a business account name as is normal for large/frequent fliers. No privacy issues at all. Same with cell phones, if your employer pays then they can and do see all the calls you make.

      • Gazzaw

        Large corporates can negotiate for no Airpoints accrual at all in exchange for a better nett annual fare package.

      • insider

        The impression I got was that they accrued on personal accounts and were ‘donated’ by the staff. I could be wrong. There don’t seem to be many MFAT people commenting on here surprisingly…

        Hakim Рif I have claimed airpoints to my personal account after the event I doubt they will know

  • Mighty1

    I see her point but I have a different concern My Airpoints are all paid for by purchases through Visa etc.  My bank buys them off Air New Zealand, these guys devalue my purchases using these untaxed FBT perks. My cost is that I forgo credit terms and incurr other costs to attain these points.  Now they are worth less than ever before.

    • grumpy

      Good point.¬† It’s your money too, which makes it worse.¬† If Air NZ devalue their program, it is writing down a debt/liability. That should be taxable.¬† It would be interesting to see how that transaction is structured.

  • Butler

    I have a different concern. The new Airpoints card is a Mastercard – and appears to have an ongoing monthly cost if you activate it and don’t have enough credit in it.¬†

  • grumpy

    I tick all of Cactus Katye’s boxes. I only fly business class on international flights.¬† I own my company so the cost comes out of my pocket. I have been Air NZ Gold Elite for 15 years but recently have flown either Thai from Auckland or Emirates from Christchurch. My next chopice would be Singapore. I am currently Gold with both Emirates and Air NZ.
    I only use Air Dollars for free flights when I take my wife and/or grandkids on holiday from time to time.
    I went off Air NZ initially when they introduced Air Dollars.  I had enough points for a return 1st class trip to UK, overnight it became economy.  All airlines are trying to cut back their loyalty programs including Qantas, the only exception seems to be Emirates who also tend to give out one class upgrades where possible. Last year I was upgraded to First Class from Sydney To Bangkok.
    To me, air NZ is on the downhill slop as an international carrier.  They just cannot compete with the services and routes offerred by Emirates, Singapore and Thai.  For example, Emirates pick me up from home and drop me off at my destination Рinvaluable when visiting my son in London or Zurich.
    Kate is spot on about the bloated public servants clogging up the Koru in New Zealand domestic airports.¬† Loud, self important nobodies swilling the free food and booze. If you can’t afford it, you shouldn’t be there.
    Once reward points were regarded as FBT.  I would agree that all points accrued on flights should go to who pays the ticket РEmirates have that facility (probably very useful if you have 10 wives).

    • Gazzaw

      Totally agree grumpy. Add ‘treaty troughers’ to the Koru domestic lounge yobs list.

      • Hakim of phut

        You mean Maori flying … in a plane…. wonders never cease. You rabid racist

      • Mr_Blobby

        I think some Government departments are better than others at controlling these things. But anything Maori they will be in the trough head first up to there ankles. Just the way it is. It’s all about entitlement.

      • In Vino Veritas

        No Hakim, he means Treaty troughers. Exactly that. If you are going to accuse someone of being racist, at least have something to back it up with.
        Not wanting to be rude, and if you don’t mind a question or two, do any of the following apply to you:

        1. you are a vegan
        2. you wear roman sandals
        3. your ex wife started smoking a pipe, got a buzz cut, a tattoo, a pair of doc martins, a pair of khaki overalls and then left you.
        4. you are a teacher
        5. you prefer short sleeve business shirts in the summer
        6. you have your hair in a tidy pony tail
        7. to you, “eat what you kill” means stripping the vege patch bare
        8. you believe that the plants in the vege patch “scream” when they are cut, pulled out etc
        9. you drive an electrichybrid car
        10. You wear a hemp tie(s)

      • grumpy

        If they pay their own way I have no problems.  At least they only drink the Tui and leave decent booze for people who appreciate it!

        Seen the guy who had to leave the trolley at the door that was carrying his bone carving :-)

      • Gazzaw

        I said treaty troughers HoP…………..not Maori. There’s a big difference.

        Don’t¬†call me a racist you ignorant fucker.

  • Mighty1

    Butler РTell me more about the monthly cost on the airpoints debit card?  I just got mine and activated it.  Are they going to hit me a few airpoints $$ each month now..?

    • politically unstable

       I read the terms briefly and cut the card up on principle Рit seemed to be a debit card and had a monthly transaction fee once activated. As soon as I saw the monthly fee I stopped reading. I would imagine that it will deduct your airpoints by way of this fee. It could very well be that no fee is payable if there is a minimum amount of activity??

  • parorchestia

    Air points paid for by an organisation should belong to that organisation, not the individual. 

  • Mighty1

    Agree. Air points paid for by an organization should belong to that organization, not the individual. It is a conflict of interest otherwise.

  • Mighty1

    Butler – It appears that If you don’t load the card with cash, load more than $500 or load $500 and spend it all befor the end of the month there are no fees.¬†

  • Dph

    Happy to see AIRNZ jettison excess baggage like David Farrar, perhaps it leaves more room for others, and less people bidding for upgrades.

  • Dave

    Grumpy. ¬† You make a very interesting point. ¬† Commuting between Auck – Wgtn last year, Koru was filled with “bloated public servants”. ¬†I also became aware, chatting to a few of them, their flights were mostly booked just prior to flying at full fare. ¬† Yet, in the public / private arena, we had to pay for any extras personally, (including Koru) ¬† And then book at least 2 weeks out and seek a cheap fare. ¬†If we wanted to fly a specific airline, we were invited to pay the difference ourselves.

    About time, the Public service started cutting back travel perks of everyone, including the politicians themselves. ¬† Leadership starts at the top…… lead and they will follow.

    • grumpy

      They don’t give a fuck “budget” is there to be spent.¬† Using other peoples money to feel like real “business persons”

  • jonno1

    Had to make an urgent business trip AKL-WGN last year during the volcanic ash saga. Was about to book Jetstar (cheaper for the client) but had a bit of doubt, so booked AirNZ. As it happened the Jetstar flight was cancelled, but AirNZ charged $805 for WGN return! What the?

    On airpoints generally: I had¬†accumulated a lot of United points which were about to expire, the problem was¬†I could only use them from Australia – apparently while I could earn points on partners I couldn’t redeem them. So out of spite (mainly!) SWMBO¬†and I flew to Oz (also last year), then took a round trip to London for a couple of weeks. Yes, it cost a lot more than foregoing the points, but there was principle at stake.

    Don’t get me started on Qantas.¬†Anyway, I now have no airpoints with any airline, and intend to keep it that way.

    • Gazzaw

      Jonno I have almost 200,000 Qantas points which expire this month. I won’t use them for travel because the service charges are an absolute rort. Those points convert into $1800 of Farmers vouchers so thats the way I’ll go. Have always found merchandise a better option than air travel.

  • whiskeymike

    I fly fairly regularly for work and am a public servant.

    The department I work for we pay for our own Koru Club if we want it (which I do) and we are forbidden from claiming airpoints for work travel due to FBT issues.

    It’s certainly not all govt slots troughing it up.

    • grumpy

      Good man!

  • AnonWgtn

    It’s the Air Points contingent financial liability in their balance sheet which is Air NZ’s problem.
    Has been for many years, but is getting worse I understand.
    You do not know when it will be taken up.

    • insider

      I thought the points expired after 3 years unless gold

    • Cactus Kate

      1.2m customers and $228 million worth of air points on the books at end of 2011 according to TV3 report tonight.
      These air points can never appreciate in value can they?

      • Dave

        No, they stay at $228 Mill until expiry.   One of the important factors is how many are being redeemed, and how many are accruing  If they are incurring more than are expiring or being redeemed, then they have a growing contingent liability, and a problem.

        I use mine almost every year, upgrades, and a free flight or hotel here and there.  

        NB ¬†average $190 points per member. ¬†That means almost every AirNZ Airpoints member could get a free domestic flight……. ¬† if they did that over 3 months, Air NZ would not be looking very healthy. ¬† The scheme needs to change.¬†

        see also

  • politically unstable

    I think Cactus has some fair and valid points. However….Air NZ reduced the points balances a few years ago when they converted points to $$$. They look to be doing the same thing again. Its the fact that they keep moving the goal posts that pisses people off. Yes their T&C’s state that they can change the rules at will so we don’t have a leg to stand on.

    But I guess if they see value in a loyalty programme and want to be seen as disloyal, they may lose a few customers – not many I would guess.

  • Butler

    One Smart Account Fees – re monthly charge!
    If the balance in $NZ is nil and no activity for 3 months, 1.95 deducted monthly from any future funds loaded!
    So they took my card that just had points on it, and replaced it with a Mastercard that I don’t need, and if I continue to use as I used the old card, it will cost me 1.95 month. Hmmm ….

    • Adybombs

      Not quite correct.  You only get charged the fees on the Master Card if you activate it. And really worst case scenario is $23.40 a year, big deal, in fact cheaper than most credit cards on terms of account fees.