There've been quite a few complaints recently at the way Air New Zealand hits customers with surcharges when they pay for flights by credit card. Recently I found an easy way to avoid copping these fees when booking flights to Canada. And – bonus! You could even save more money.

We wanted to spend every possible day of our 4 weeks leave in Canada, which meant flying out of New Zealand on a Saturday. On the Air NZ site it looked good – it was offering a special deal that day.

Some deal – it was discounted business class seats! And there were no economy seats available. At $11,829 for two, this holiday was not going to fly! Not even by throwing in a dollop of hard-earned Airpoints Dollars. But we could fly economy the next day for $6169, including $70 for credit card surcharges.

I thought maybe another airline could get us away on the Saturday, so I logged on to Expedia and sure enough one could. And for up to $654 cheaper! But a longer flight time via Sydney didn't really appeal. Then I noticed down the list the very Air NZ flights we wanted – direct from Auckland, leaving on the Saturday, and for $396 less than Air NZ wanted on the Sunday. Best of all, no credit card surcharges. Out with the plastic ...

As I booked, Expedia asked for my Airpoints number, so the booking showed up in my Air NZ account and can be managed from there. From then, it's just like we booked direct – we'll get all our Airpoints, we've selected our seats and so on. And Expedia found the fares faster than Air NZ on the slow dial up connection I was using at the time.

So – if you don't like paying these surcharges – the answer is simple. Expedia! Or Webjet, House of Travel, Flight Centre ...

As we've been saying for years – shop around. You could save a bundle.

About the author:

Hamish Wilson has been working for Consumer forever. Well, at least longer than most of our staff can remember! He's tested old technology such as video recorders along with a steady stream of the latest washing machines, dishwashers, fridges, TVs and DVD recorders.

It's the variety that keeps him here. There's always new technology to explore, or even to go exploring with. It can be entertaining following directions from car navigation systems through dead end streets.