Air New Zealand is expanding its Airpoints programme in a deal with Spark that has a Rugby World Cup coverage lure, a month after the airline revealed a major phishing breach of its scheme and as the telco is ironing out streaming issues.
The companies say the partnership will help New Zealand ''win big'' in the digital world.
Spark will be the first telco to join the fast-growing Airpoints programme which now has around 3.2 million customers.
From today, Air New Zealand Airpoints members will be offered a sweetener of 50 Airpoints dollars when they join or upgrade online to a Spark unlimited mobile plan - its most expensive at just on $80 a month.
They can also get a free Rugby World Cup streaming pass when they buy a phone but it has to be worth $199 or over on 24 months interest and bought before September 12.
Joe Goddard, customer lead at Spark, said partnering with Air New Zealand was a natural fit.
"Our customers love the added value we provide through partnerships with companies like Netflix and Spotify. Air New Zealand is another great example of Spark partnering with a world-leading brand to bring our customers more value."
Spark has 2.5 million mobile connections — which could be multiple devices — but would not release details of those already on the eligible plan.
Air New Zealand regional general manager of loyalty and customer direct, Jeremy O'Brien, said Spark would join more than 65 other bank, retail and travel partners in its Airpoints scheme.
Airpoints customers will be able to buy Rugby World Cup coverage passes through the Airpoints store as well as Spark Sport subscriptions.
Spark and the airline are getting closer in other ways too.
The telco has been appointed a key strategic partner in the airline's mobility and ICT services, covering services such as staff mobiles and plans as well as ''top to bottom management'' of all networks.
The partnership comes as both companies wrestle with technical glitches.
Spark Sport streaming of some events has been lumpy and there is growing concern some fans will struggle with the technology for accessing the World Cup, which is just 16 days away.
Last month, Air New Zealand announced more than 3 per cent of Airpoints customers may have had their privacy breached in a phishing incident relating to two Air New Zealand staff accounts.
The airline notified more than 100,000 members of the problem. Airpoints accounts were not accessed but some of the information relating to Airpoints members' profiles may have been visible.
The airline said in August it was further strengthening its security processes to prevent similar incidents.