Insights > The Best Way to Book ANA Flights With Points

The Best Way to Book ANA Flights With Points

21 minute read 25 June 2024
ANA plane on the ground
Written by: Sarah Cash

All Nippon Airways is a major airline in Japan, and it’s kind of a big deal, thanks to its above-and-beyond approach to both customer service and fancy business- and first-class seats. It even touts a business-class seat named “The Room” — and it is what it sounds like. If you’ve ever wanted to visit Japan (or Asia, for that matter) but don’t want to leave your recliner to do so, ANA is the single most comfortable ride you can hitch.

Let’s take a look at how to find and book ANA international flight awards, both with ANA miles and with partner airline miles.

Table of contents

About All Nippon Airways’ Mileage Club

Joining the ANA Mileage Club is free, and incredibly rewarding from the get-go. Thanks to a whole ecosystem of activities, from dining and shopping to other partner services, earning miles is a piece of cake.

But where it gets really interesting is in the award flights. ANA’s award chart is region-based, which means the number of miles required for a flight depends on the regions you’re traveling between, rather than being tied strictly to distance. This can lead to some sweet deals, especially on long-haul flights. For instance, you can book a round-trip ticket from the U.S. to Japan in business class, in some cases for less than half the miles than many other airlines.

ANA has some screaming deals, but you don’t have to use ANA miles to fly on an ANA plane. Plenty of its Star Alliance partners offer competitive — even, at times, ridiculously low — prices for ANA fares. We’ll examine those in a minute.

How to Earn ANA Mileage Club Points

Earning rewards with ANA Mileage Club isn’t difficult, thanks to a few key partnerships. Let’s break down the easiest ways to increase the stash of your ANA Mileage Club miles.

Flying

The most straightforward way to earn ANA miles is, of course, flying with ANA. Every flight you purchase with ANA adds to your mileage balance — the number of miles earned based on the distance flown and the fare class of your ticket.

You’ll also earn airline miles when purchasing airfare with ANA’s partners and crediting your rewards earnings to ANA. ANA’s Star Alliance partners include United Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Singapore Airlines and many more. Its other partners include Virgin Atlantic, Etihad, and Philippine Airlines.

Transfer partners

ANA partners with American Express, allowing you to convert American Express Membership Rewards points to ANA at a 1:1 ratio. There are several travel cards that earn American Express Membership Rewards, including the Platinum Card from American Express, American Express Gold Card, and Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card.

You can also transfer Marriott Bonvoy points to ANA at a 3:1 ratio (3 Marriott points equaling 1 ANA mile). Plus you’ll receive an extra 5,000 ANA miles when transferring in 60,000-point increments, meaning that 60,000 Marriott points equals 25,000 ANA miles. This typically isn’t a great way to redeem Marriott points, but it’s an option if you aren’t Amex points–rich. If you’re short just a few thousand miles for an award flight, Marriott may be your best bet.

Other travel

ANA partners with rental car companies, such as Avis, National, and SIXT, to award miles for your reservation. Some companies will provide a flat amount for each rental, while others award by the day.

Several popular hotel chains also offer the ability to earn ANA miles instead of hotel points during your stay. These include Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, and many more.

The fare types available on ANA

As a large international airline, ANA offers about what you’d expect when it comes to cabin types. But as a Japanese carrier, it brings a seriously good experience no matter where you’re sitting — a rarity among airlines.

ANA offers four fare types, each with varying flexibility.

Super Value

Super Value fare is the most economical option, best for those who are absolutely sure about their travel dates. It’s typically the lowest priced, but flexibility is limited. Changes to the flight date and/or cancellations after booking are generally not allowed.

Special

The Special fare is a step up from the Super Value, offering slightly more flexibility. It allows for date changes but isn’t refundable. The price point even remains competitive, making it a good middle ground if you want a balance between cost and the ability to modify your itinerary.

Basic

A Basic fare gives you even more flexibility than Super Value, as it allows you to make changes or cancel for a refund (minus fees).

Full Flex

The Full Flex fare usually allows changes and cancellations at no extra cost. It’s the most expensive of the fare options, but it’s ideal if you can’t commit to a specific travel date.

How to book ANA flights using rewards points

Booking award flights on ANA can be a bit of a pain, depending on the award currency you’re using. In general, expect one of the following:

  • You can find and book a seat on ANA without issue. This is the case with many of ANA’s partners.
  • You can only book round-trip awards. This happens when using ANA miles.
  • You can’t find availability or book online. This happens with select partners, such as Virgin Atlantic.

Here’s how to book awards with ANA using points and miles, round-trip flights and one-way awards alike.

Using ANA miles

To book a round-trip award flight with ANA miles, start by logging into your ANA Mileage Club account. Click the “Flight Awards” tab near the top of the page, and select “Award Reservation.”

ANA

You’ll then be taken to a page where you can enter your travel information, including your origin and destination, desired dates, class of seat, etc. It’s also wise to also select the “Compare seat availability +/- 3 days” box, just in case your dates aren’t eligible for award flights.

You’ll notice that one-way trips aren’t an option when booking through the ANA website.

ANA

From there, you’ll see a calendar week for your departure date and your return date. You can move your dates around to best suit your travel plans.

ANA

The next screen lets you select the specific flights for your dates. You’ll see ANA flights, as well as any Star Alliance partner-airline flights that are bookable with miles.

ANA is notoriously fickle with its fuel surcharges. At the time of publication, they’re sky-high. Take a look at our sample itinerary from Washington DC (IAD) to Tokyo Haneda (HND). You’ll pay an incredibly reasonable 40,000 miles — but $537.40 in fees. That’s unacceptable for most.

ANA

Using partner airline miles

If you collect miles with one of ANA’s airline partners, you can also book ANA flights through that partner’s rewards program. For an example transfer partner, let’s look at United Airlines.

On the United website, you’ll choose your origin and destination, travel dates, etc. And when using United’s website, you can book one-way flights on ANA.

United

You’ll see a monthly calendar with all available award flights — ANA and otherwise. If you’re flying ANA, you can filter your search results by “Nonstop.” This should weed out all other airlines besides United and ANA.

United

Beside each option, you’ll see which airline operates the flight. Choose All Nippon Airways, and you can (typically) book the same seat that you found through ANA. You’ll notice that United charges considerably more miles than ANA — but because United doesn’t pass along fuel surcharges, you’ll pay just $5.60 in fees.

United

Using online travel portals

For those with credit card points rather than airline miles, using travel portals — like Chase Travel, Capital One Travel, and Amex Travel — is an effective way to “buy” flights with points. These portals allow you to pay for flights with points at a rate of 1 cent per point or better, depending on the type of card you have. For instance, holders of the American Express Business Platinum card can enjoy a 35% points rebate on business-class flights booked through Amex Travel.

Granted, you often won’t get a value nearly as high for your points when you use them through a travel portal instead of transferring to partners. But this straightforward approach doesn’t require hunting for award space, and you can often book any seat on the plane.

How to redeem points and miles to get the best deal on ANA

Among the array of award options for All Nippon Airways flights, two loyalty programs tend to provide the best value for the price.

When it comes to the most popular avenues for booking ANA flights, though, there’s one enormous caveat: Fuel surcharges tend to be annoyingly high. The actual prices ebb and flow, but at the time of writing, you’ll be paying more than $200 each way (you can check the current rates here). 

That’s pretty miserable if you’re booking a coach flight that might cost just $600 each way. But for those booking a business or first-class seat that may cost many thousands, it’s not a bad deal.

ANA Mileage Club

ANA has fantastic prices for its own flights, far lower than most other options. You can also book your travel online — which doesn’t sound like a massive benefit, until you realize that multiple partners require that you call ANA to make a reservation. Some partners won’t even show ANA flights through their search engines.

Here’s a sample itinerary from New York (JFK) to Tokyo (HND) to illustrate how incredibly low the points price is and how high the fuel surcharges can be. You’ll pay 50,000 ANA miles and $537 to visit in mid-September 2024.

This same itinerary costs around $1,200 in cash, meaning your miles are only saving $663 after fuel surcharges. But because you’re paying just 25,000 miles each way (to travel over 6,700 miles!), you’re still getting a reasonable 1.32 cents in value per mile.

Business- and first-class seats are where ANA miles really shine. For example, you could book a round-trip business-class flight between Los Angeles (LAX) and Tokyo (HND) during the same dates for 105,000 miles and the same $537 fuel surcharge. This trip otherwise costs more than $8,000, a value of 7.1 cents per mile.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Using Virgin Atlantic points is the single best way to reserve ANA premium seats on the cheap. Virgin Atlantic prices are competitive with (or even better than) ANA prices in most cases. But the best part is that you can choose to book one-way flights — instead of mandatory round-trips, as enforced by ANA.

Here’s a look at Virgin Atlantic’s award chart for ANA flights. These are round-trip prices, so just halve the number to learn what you’ll pay for one way.

The Virgin Atlantic site doesn’t show ANA award flights. You’ll have to search other sites to find available seats (don’t search ANA itself, as not all the seats you’ll find can be booked with partners). Once you find what you want, call Virgin Atlantic to complete your booking.

Flying business class using ANA Mileage Club points

ANA business class is sort of legendary — and its first class isn’t too shabby either. As we mentioned up top, “The Room” business-class seat is an especially cushy uber-popular ride.

The number of miles needed for business-class awards with ANA varies by both route and award currency. ANA may seem like the most straightforward and best option, and while it’s far from terrible, the undisputed best way to book ANA business class is with Virgin Atlantic miles. Virgin’s award prices are cheaper, and you can book one-way flights.

With Virgin Atlantic, you’ll pay 45,000 points each way for a business-class flight to Japan from the Western U.S. — or 47,500 from the Eastern U.S. Those are fire-sale prices, especially considering that ANA business-class flights can cost upwards of $3,000 one-way.

Redeeming ANA Mileage Club points with transfer partners

You can transfer both American Express Membership Rewards points and Marriott points to ANA. The transfer could take days, so it’s always something of a gamble when transferring to ANA.

However: Because you can book ANA flights with partner airline currencies, it’s possible to book ANA flights with any transferable currency. For example:

  • Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer to Virgin Atlantic and United Airlines.
  • Capital One miles transfer to Air Canada Aeroplan and Avianca.
  • Citi ThankYou points transfer to Singapore Airlines and Turkish Airlines.
  • Bilt Rewards transfer to United Airlines and Virgin Atlantic.
  • Wells Fargo Rewards transfer to Avianca.

With any of these currencies, you can secure an ANA flight. To transfer points and book, you’ll first need to log into your credit card account. We’ll use American Express for this example. There should be a dedicated corner of the website specifically for rewards. For Amex, you’ll click “Explore Rewards.”

American Express

From this page, you’ll see a plethora of redemption options. Find a tab called “Transfer Points” and click on it.

American Express

You’ll now see the full list of Amex transfer partners. Find the one you want, be it Air Canada, Avianca, Virgin Atlantic, or ANA itself, and link your airline loyalty account if you haven’t done so already.

American Express

You’ll then enter how many points you’d like to transfer, and bam — you’ve turned your points into airline miles.

Booking a ANA partner flight with rewards points

ANA has an extensive route network, thanks to its gaggle of Star Alliance partners. Below is a table of all the airlines you can book flights with using ANA miles.

Aegean Airlines (Europe)Air India (Asia)LOT Polish Airlines (Europe)
Air Canada (North America)Air New Zealand (Oceania)Lufthansa (Europe)
Air China (Asia)Asiana Airlines (Asia)Scandinavian Airlines (Europe)
Austrian Airlines (Europe)Avianca (South America)Shenzhen Airlines (Asia)
Brussels Airlines (Europe)Copa Airlines (Central America)Singapore Airlines (Asia/Oceania)
Croatia Airlines (Europe)EgyptAir (Africa)South African Airways (Africa)
Ethiopian Airlines (Africa)EVA Air (Asia)Swiss International (Europe)
TAP Air Portugal (Europe)Thai Airways (Asia)Turkish Airlines (Europe/Asia)
United Airlines (North America)

The process for booking an award flight on a partner airline is nearly identical to the process for booking an ANA flight covered above — you simply choose the partner flight instead of ANA on the results page. It’s worth noting that many carriers will tack on eye-popping fuel surcharges, while others will not. Typically, airlines like United, Air Canada, and Avianca will have the lowest taxes and fees at checkout.

More ways to redeem ANA Mileage Club points

Yes, booking award flights is the most common way to redeem ANA Mileage Club miles, but there are more travel-related options too. If you’ve got so many miles you don’t know what to do with them, here are some alternatives.

  • Upgrade awards: Use your miles to upgrade from economy to premium economy or business class on eligible ANA flights. This is a great way to bedazzle your travel experience without the full cost of a premium ticket.
  • Hotel bookings: Redeem your miles for hotel stays. ANA partners with lots of hotels, allowing you to offset your out-of-pocket with miles.
  • Car rentals: Your miles can also be used to cover car rental expenses. Partnering with major rental agencies, ANA lets you turn miles into rental-car vouchers, making road trips or business travel more convenient.
  • ANA chopping and gift cards: ANA’s mileage can be exchanged for a variety of goods and services, including electronics, fashion items, and other lifestyle products through the ANA Shopping portal. Additionally, you can redeem miles for gift cards usable at select retailers.
  • ANA Sky Coins: You can convert your miles to ANA Sky Coins, which can be used as currency to pay for flights, upgrades, and other travel-related expenses directly with ANA.
  • Partner services: Miles can be redeemed for services provided by ANA’s non-flight partners, including dining, wellness, and entertainment options.

The worst ways to redeem ANA Mileage Club points

You should use your travel rewards in whatever way makes you happy. That said, some redemption options are a terrible idea, so it’s good to know which to avoid.

Here are some of the least effective ways to use your ANA Mileage Club points.

Merchandise redemptions

Redeeming miles for merchandise through the ANA shopping portal often results in poor value per mile. Products like electronics, apparel, and other goods typically have a much lower value per point compared to flight-related redemptions.

Magazine subscriptions

While it might be tempting to use a small number of expiring miles for magazine subscriptions, this is generally a low-value option. The cost of the subscription often far exceeds the value you’d get if the same miles were applied toward travel-related expenses.

Excess baggage charges

Using miles to pay for excess baggage charges provides a low return on value compared to other redemption options.

Minor points-to-cash conversions

You’ll usually get a poor exchange rate when you convert miles to a small amount of cash or ANA Sky Coins.

Gift-card purchases

Similar to merchandise redemptions, converting miles to gift cards typically results in a lower value per mile compared to flight redemptions. The conversion rate often does not justify the loss of potential travel value.

Tips for finding ANA award seats

Securing award seats on All Nippon Airways can sometimes be challenging, especially for popular routes during peak travel seasons. Here are some strategies to improve your chances of finding available ANA award seats.

Book early — or really late

ANA typically opens its award booking 355 days in advance. Booking as soon as the window opens gives you the best chance to snag an award seat, particularly in high-demand classes, like first and business. Alternatively, if you have the luxury of booking last-minute, you may find a seat or two magically appear.

Be flexible

Having flexible travel dates can significantly increase your likelihood of finding available award seats. Try searching for flights a few days before and after your ideal departure date to see a wider range of availability.

Consider off-peak travel

Traveling during off-peak times can increase your chances of finding available seats. High season often coincides with major holidays and summer months, so plan your travel during the shoulder-season months.

Check back regularly

Award availability can change as new seats are released or other travelers cancel their plans. Regularly checking the ANA website can sometimes yield unexpected availability.

Waitlist for flights

ANA allows you to join the waitlist for award seats on certain flights. This feature can be useful if your preferred flight is full. You’ll be notified if a seat becomes available.

Leverage stopovers and open jaws

Making use of ANA’s generous routing rules, such as allowing stopovers and open jaws on award tickets, can sometimes help you find award space, not only to your final destination but also to intermediate stops.

Let point.me help you book ANA awards

Pricing ANA award flights can be a bit of a nightmare, with each airline program charging a unique number of miles and fuel surcharges. point.me makes quick work of this.

First, enter your origin and destination, as well as your travel dates. Then select “Only” ANA from the airlines filter.

You’re then left with only flights operated by ANA. Click “View Booking Options” to see all the various programs that you can use to book this specific flight.

You’ll now see a laundry list of transferable rewards and airline partners you can use to book award flights. If you’ve got any of these currencies, you’re good to go. If not, point.me can recommend credit cards to open. You can quickly boost your balances by earning a welcome bonus or two, plus additional points after you spend a certain amount of money within a certain amount of time.

If being virtually hands-off sounds like a better use of your time, you can also opt to have point.me handle the award-availability search and report back with the options that best meet your needs. We’ll help you travel in a way that no travel agent can — and for a fraction of the fee.

Frequently asked questions about booking ANA flights with points

What are ANA’s airline partners?

ANA is a member of the Star Alliance network, which includes United, Lufthansa, and Singapore Airlines. Additionally, ANA has partnerships with non-Star Alliance airlines, like Virgin Atlantic and Philippine Airlines.

What are ANA’s transfer partners?

ANA Mileage Club’s primary transfer partners are American Express Membership Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy.

What are ANA’s tier status levels?

ANA Mileage Club has several tier-status levels: Bronze, Platinum, and Diamond. Each level offers increasing benefits, such as bonus mileage on flights, priority boarding, and lounge access.

How do I earn points with ANA?

You can earn ANA Mileage Club points by flying on ANA or its partner airlines, transferring American Express Membership Rewards points to ANA, staying at partner hotels, renting cars from partner services, and making eligible purchases through various shopping and dining programs.

How do I redeem points with ANA?

Points can be redeemed for flight tickets on ANA and its partner airlines. You can also choose to use them for flight upgrades, hotel stays, car rentals, and merchandise — but that won’t always give you good value for your rewards.

How much are ANA Mileage Club points worth?

The value of ANA Mileage Club points can vary, but typically they’re worth around 1.4 to 1.6 cents each when redeemed for airfare. An international business- or first-class award tends to offer the best value.

How many ANA Mileage Club points do I need for a free flight?

The number of points needed for a free flight depends on the destination, travel class, and the time of year. For example, a round-trip flight from the US to Japan starts at around 40,000 miles in economy class during the low season.

Do ANA Mileage Club points expire?

Yes, ANA Mileage Club points expire 36 months from the date they are earned, regardless of account activity.

Can I transfer or gift my ANA Mileage Club points to someone else?

No, you cannot transfer points from your ANA Mileage Club account to another person’s account directly. However, you can redeem points for award tickets in someone else’s name.

Can I book a flight for someone else with my ANA Mileage Club points?

Yes, you can use your ANA Mileage Club points to book flights for other people. This can be done directly through the booking process on ANA’s website.

Can I book an ANA flight using a combination of points and cash?

ANA does not offer a points-plus-cash option for booking flights. Flights must either be booked entirely with points or with cash.

How much does it cost to buy ANA Mileage Club points?

ANA does not generally sell Mileage Club points directly. Instead, you can buy points through partner programs, like Marriott Bonvoy, and then transfer those points to your ANA Mileage Club account. This is normally a bad idea, though.

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