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5 Flights to Book ASAP with ANA Miles Before Rates Go Up

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It's the final countdown … before some of the best ways to book business class to Europe, Asia, Australia, and beyond will cost you more points.

As countless airline programs at home and abroad have raised award rates and nuked sweet spots over the years, the tremendous value of booking flights through All Nippon Airways (ANA) Mileage Club has remained untouched. But that's set to change soon: Come April 18, ANA is set to hike how many miles it'll cost you to book many business and first class by up to 33% – whether you're booking a flight on ANA itself or a partner carrier like United or Turkish Airlines. Focused on flying economy? Most of those rates aren't going anywhere.

While you can easily get all the ANA miles you need by transferring Amex points from cards like the *amex gold* or *amex platinum*, the longer times it takes for those transfers to clear mean you'd be wise to start planning soon … like, now. And since ANA is a Japanese airline, you might as well safely consider your deadline to be April 17 to account for the time difference.

Wait too long and you may wind up forking over even more miles to book. Here's where to start to get the best bang for your buck (or points) before it's too late.



Biz Class to Japan from 75K Roundtrip

When flying 10-plus hours to Tokyo, a lie-flat seat is a game changer. And ANA miles can put you in business seats for the same number of miles you'd typically pay to fly economy on other airlines.

Forget paying 70,000 miles or more each way – and quadruple that if you're trying to redeem Delta SkyMiles for business class. Book soon, and you can get to Tokyo and back in ANA business class for as low as just 75,000 miles. Yes, that's the roundtrip rate. 

But that's taking a hit on April 18 – and a pretty big one. Exactly how much it costs, now and in a few weeks, depends on when you go: 

  • Trips during the low (L) season currently cost 75,000 miles roundtrip, but that will increase to 100,000 miles – a 33% increase
  • Regular (R) season redemptions are 85,000 miles total, though that's also increasing to 105,000 miles roundtrip
  • Today, you can book a roundtrip to Japan in the high (H) season for 95,000 miles. Soon, that'll cost 110,000 miles roundtrip

Here's the full chart spelling out exactly what it costs depending on when you fly between the U.S. and Japan. Book before the April 18 deadline, and you'll pay the lower rates. 


seasonality chart ana


Of all the reasons to love using ANA Mileage Club miles, this one is near the top. Sure, the airline currently tacks on about $500 in taxes and surcharges. But isn't that worth it when you can fly in the new ANA business class suites dubbed “The Room”?


ana business class seat


Read our full review of flying ANA's “The Room” business class from Chicago to Tokyo!

The trick is finding the award availability to book lie-flat seats at these dirt-cheap rates, and that's no small feat. ANA has gotten incredibly stingy with releasing these seats: Lately, your best bet is booking within a week of departure – maybe two, if you're lucky.

And ANA throws an extra wrench into the works by blocking award tickets from being booked within 96 hours (four days) of departure. So yeah … this is a tough one to pull off. But if you can do it, it's one of the best deals in the world of points and miles.


ana business class


And every once in a while, it's much easier to book. A while back, we alerted our Thrifty Traveler Premium members to wide-open seats for a last-minute trip this winter from seven different cities in the U.S. and Canada – and we're constantly on the lookout for more opportunities.


ANA Business class Virgin


These fares are gone now – get the next deal in your inbox with Thrifty Traveler Premium!

The airline is also raising award rates to book ANA first class – except, oddly, during the low season. A roundtrip during the regular season will go from the current 150,000-mile rate to 170,000 miles. In peak season, you'll soon need 200,000 miles for a roundtrip – an increase from 165,000 miles. In either case, you're almost always better off booking ANA first class via Virgin Atlantic instead.

Alright, two final caveats. First, you need to find roundtrip fares: ANA does not allow one-way bookings when redeeming miles. ANA also has restrictions on who you can actually book award tickets for: Just family, no friends.


88K to Europe & Back in Biz Class

The single best way to redeem ANA miles doesn't involve heading to Japan – or even stepping on an ANA jet, for that matter. 

Whether you fly United Polaris business class, Turkish Airlines business class, SWISS business class, or lie-flat seats with practically any Star Alliance airline, ANA cuts you a serious bargain: Just 88,000 miles roundtrip to almost anywhere in Europe!


best united miles deals


But not for much longer. Soon, this exact redemption will cost you 100,000 miles. Book before April 18 to save an easy 12,000 ANA Mileage Club miles (or 12,000 Amex points).

Luckily, the list of airlines you can book at this price is long: A whopping 11 Star Alliance airlines fly between North America and Europe. But on many like Lufthansa and SWISS, ANA will pass on some nasty cash fees and surcharges. That means your best bets are United Airlines, Air Canada, LOT Polish, and SAS – and, to a lesser extent, Turkish Airlines.

For example, you can book this United business class ticket from Newark (EWR) to Geneva (GVA) and back this spring for just 88,000 miles and about $58 total.


europe united ana redemption

This is easily one of the best (and easiest) ways to get to Europe in business class. Even after award rates go up, 100,000 miles roundtrip for lie-flat seats isn't bad … but why not save a few thousand points soon?

Remember: You have to book roundtrip to get these rates. ANA does not allow one-way award bookings. 

Read our full walkthrough on how to book business class to Europe for 88,000 miles!


Africa in Business Class for 104K Miles RT

Trying to book a lie-flat seat to almost anywhere in Africa can be a challenge. Trying to get on the United nonstops to Cape Town (CPT) from Newark (EWR) or Washington, D.C.-Dulles (IAD)? Pfft, good luck. 

But just in case you stumble upon the unicorn fare to end all impossible deals, ANA miles are the way to book. Between the U.S. and almost anywhere on the continent – and the Middle East, too – you can book business class seats for 104,000 ANA miles roundtrip. In a few weeks, those same flights will cost you 130,000 miles instead.

Flying economy to Africa, however, is much easier to book with miles. And ultra-long-haul flights on Star Alliance carriers between North America and Africa or the Middle East is a rare instance where even economy award rates are taking a hit – even if it's small. 

Today, you can book economy flights on United or Ethiopian Airlines to practically anywhere in Africa for 65,000 miles roundtrip. Soon, these exact same flights will cost you 70,000 miles instead.


iad to cape town redemption


Biz Class to French Polynesia for 120K Miles RT

United flies directly to paradise, with six flights between San Francisco (SFO) and Tahiti (PPT) every week. Using ANA miles is one of the best ways to get there in style. 

Currently, you can book lie-flat United seats to Tahiti and back for 120,000 ANA miles and about $450 in taxes and fees. By April 18, that'll increase to 145,000 miles. 


ana tahiti redemption


You can also book these same flights for slightly less via Air Canada Aeroplan: 55,000 miles each way and significantly less in cash, too. But if you've got French Polynesia on the brain and ANA miles to burn (from speculatively transferring some Amex points, maybe?), this is a good one to book before it's too late.

Just keep in mind that United doesn't typically release award space to book these seats to Tahiti until about a month or so before departure.


Australia from 105K Miles RT in Business Class

A lie-flat seat for the 14-hour flights to and from Australia or New Zealand is practically essential. Finding the availability to book those seats is typically a real chore – though that has been changing lately. But if you do, you've got two options to book them for less right now:

  • Flying ANA itself with a stop in Japan, you can make the whole trip in business class from 105,000 miles … until April 18, when that increases to at least 130,000 miles
  • Booking with United or Air New Zealand business class, the cost goes from its current 120,000-mile rate up to 145,000 miles soon

Award space to actually book at these rates can come and go in a flash. But back when we sent Thrifty Traveler Premium members an alert for wide-open United business class to Auckland (AKL) and several Australian airports a few months ago, booking for just 120,000 miles roundtrip was a cinch. 


australia nz premium deal ana mileage club

How to Earn ANA Miles

With a devaluation on the horizon, it's too late to open a credit card, earn a big bonus, and turn them into ANA miles. But maybe you've already got a way to get them without realizing it …

Of course, you can earn ANA miles by either flying ANA or crediting flights flown on Star Alliance carriers, such as United or Air Canada, to your ANA Mileage Club account … but you don't need to fly to earn these miles.

The easiest way to earn ANA Mileage Club miles is through credit cards that earn Amex Membership Rewards points. Get enough, and you can transfer them on a 1:1 basis straight to your ANA Mileage Club account.

One of the best ways to earn a ton of these points is *amex platinum card* – especially if you're sitting on a bonus of 80,000 points, 150,000 points after getting referred by a friend, or even more after you spend $8,000 in the first six months of card membership. 

Plus, there are plenty of other Amex Platinum benefits like extensive lounge access, up to $400 in credits split between airline fees and Uber rides, credits that completely cover the cost of CLEAR and either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, and more.


*amex platinum*


Learn more about *amex platinum*.


The *amex gold card* is a fan favorite among many travelers and a go-to when buying groceries or out to dinner, thanks largely to an unbeatable 4x return on an unlimited amount of spending at restaurants and 4x points on up to $25,000 a year spent at U.S. supermarkets – and 1x points after that.


*amex gold card*


Learn more about the *amex gold*


Just remember: Unlike virtually every other Amex transfer partner, sending Amex points to ANA typically takes 24 to 48 hours. That means the great flights you find today could be gone by the time your points actually hit your ANA account. 

You can also transfer Marriott Bonvoy Points to ANA miles at a 3:1 ratio, with a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 points transferred. But that's probably only useful as a last resort to top off your account for the final few thousand miles you need.



Bottom Line

With rates this low, ANA Mileage Club is easily one of the best under-the-radar frequent flyer programs on the planet. Even after these looming increases kick in, that won't change. 

But why not book using those ANA miles (or transferrable Amex points) now, before that same trip to Tokyo, Europe, or elsewhere costs you more of them? 


Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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