JR/Duty Free have duty free stores in New Zealand, Tahiti, Australia and Israel.
I often pass through Auckland Airport where they have a duty free pick up service (for either departure or arrival). I haven't used it yet, but I thought I better check out whether JR/Duty Free have any kind of membership programme, in case I find a good deal online that I want to purchase and then collect when travelling. And they do - JR/Vantage.
If you are a New Zealand Resident, or frequent traveller to New Zealand, you can sign up here to get a hold of your Red membership card at no cost. I will cover the Australian programme in a separate article - though the benefits are similar, the points earn/redeem rates differ, and points earning/redeeming is not Trans-Tasman.
Member Status and Points Earn/Redeem
There are three tiers of membership - Red, Gold and Diamond. You can earn points on all purchases except tobacco. The number of points you earn will increase once you become a Gold or Diamond member.
You need to spend $1,500 - $2,999 to become a Gold member, and $3,000 or more to become a Diamond member. The website says that you will retain this status for as long as you are a regular shopper. What they consider to be 'regular' is answered in their FAQ under 'Tiers' - at least one spend of any value every 12 months.
Points will only expire if you do not make a purchase transaction or points redemption within a 12 month period.
For every 4,500 points you earn, you can redeem points to the value of $20 in-store or online. This would require a general spend of between $320 - $450, depending on your membership level. This is a return of $0.04 - $0.06 cents per $1 spent.
This earn rate is much better than the Australian version of the programme - on the other side of the Tasman, you need to earn 10,000 points to redeem for the same $20 value, and the base earn rate for Red members is also lower at AU$1 = 5 PTS.
Air New Zealand Airpoints Dollars (APD)
One good benefit of the programme is that you can double dip and earn 1 APD for every $50 you spend (excluding tobacco) in addition to your points earn with JR/Vantage. This results in an overall return of $0.06 - $0.08 cents per $1 spent, an effective 6-8% discount on your duty free purchases.
Being a member with JR/Vantage gives you access to a range of other offers, regardless of how much you spend with them on duty free:
Cover More Travel Insurance - New Zealand Resident
Each time you purchase Cover-More travel insurance you'll receive a 20% discount. Call 0800 500 225 (NZ) to activate the discount, quoting the code 'JR2057'. While this offer cannot be redeemed online, you may like to check the Cover-More website for the insurance price and PDS information before calling (to avoid any sales pressure!)
Cover More Travel Insurance - Australian Resident
Same offer as above, but available to book online. Use this link when purchasing your Cover-More Travel Insurance to activate the discount.
You will receive a 15% discount with Europcar when renting a passenger vehicle in Australia or New Zealand. The discount applies to the basic rental charge on the 'best rate of the day', available all year round. To take advantage of this saving, quote promotional code '51221504' when making your reservation by either calling 1300 13 13 90 (AU) or 0800 800 115 (NZ) or visiting the Europcar website at europcar.com.au or europcar.co.nz.
Millennium Hotels & Resorts
You will receive a 15% discount on daily rates at Millennium, Copthorne and Kingsgate Hotels across New Zealand. Use this link to book, and enter promotional code 'DUTYFREE' to login to the website. Don't be put off by the website - 'BestHotelDeals.co.nz' is owned and run by Millennium Hotels and Resorts New Zealand. The only difference is that the rates booked on this website won't be eligible for frequent flyer point earn. You can see from the examples below how much the discount could be:
While I personally prefer to withdraw cash from an ATM when travelling overseas, due to bank exchange rates always beating the currency exchange companies, you may prefer to enjoy the security of having some foreign currency before you arrive.
JR/Vantage members may be eligible for a 50% reduction in the commission charged by Travelex, when they exchange foreign currency banknotes at an Australian or New Zealand airport. This one requires you to present your JR/Vantage card, so make sure you sign up here at least a month before travel to make sure you get your card in time.
Free Valet Parking Wellington Airport
This one is an amazing offer - but it is only available to those who have spent $3000+ on duty free purchases and become a Diamond member. Charges for Wellington Airport Valet Parking start from $55 per day, and the JR/Vantage offer gives you up to 14 days of valet parking for free - this offer equates to a maximum $770 value at a time. You would only need to be away for a cumulative 54 days over the course of the year before you completely recoup the value of your duty free purchases!
If you find yourself being eligible for this benefit, follow these instructions to redeem:
- On arrival at the Airport - pull ticket at the main entrance barrier.
- Drive to Valet.
- Hand ticket to Concierge and present your Diamond Card.
- On return to pick up your car - go to the Valet Kiosk.
- You will be given an exit ticket.
The offer is available to the named card holder only, so you can't pass it to your friends and family to use. Offer does not include car grooming.
The JR/Vantage programme is free to join and gives you access to a range of partner benefits, regardless of how much you spend. This means you could get value out of it without spending anything at all. If you do find yourself picking up some spirits on the way home from Aussie, or buying a new camera before you head off to Thailand, it's worth having the card in your pocket, just in case.
Remember to always do a price comparison though - JR/Duty Free have an online store, so there is no excuse to not do a bit of online research and price comparison before you head to the airport.
Images courtesy of JR/Advantage New Zealand