Japan's ANA is one of the best airlines in the world. Its first class seat is one of the best ways to fly, especially if you can find a flight on one of the airlines' overhauled Boeing 777s. And booking ANA first class using Virgin Atlantic points is the best way to do it – in fact, it's one of the best deals in points and miles, period.
While other airlines like United will charge you 120,000 miles or more for a one-way flight in ANA first class, you can book for less than half that cost through Virgin Atlantic: starting at just 110,000 points from the U.S. to Japan … roundtrip. But for years, there's been a major hangup: You could only book roundtrip flights. Want a one-way award? You'd need to use a different (and more expensive) airline program.
Until now. Virgin Atlantic has updated its award chart for ANA redemptions to show that you can now book one-way award tickets using Virgin points. One Mile at a Time first reported the change.
That's a big change, and a great one. It will make it much easier to book ANA awards through this lucrative workaround – particularly flying up front – as you'll no longer need to find both outgoing and returning segments. Even booking through ANA Mileage Club itself requires a roundtrip award. You'll still need to call Virgin Atlantic to actually book these tickets.
Read our guide to booking ANA flights via Virgin Atlantic!
Best of all, Virgin Atlantic makes clear that one-way awards cost half the roundtrip price. That means:
- Flying economy to Tokyo costs 30,000 points from the western U.S., and 32,500 points from central or eastern U.S.
- ANA business class to Tokyo will run you 45,000 points from the western U.S. or 47,500 points from the central or eastern U.S.
- ANA first class to Tokyo is just 55,000 points from the western cities like San Francisco (SFO) or Los Angeles (LAX), or 60,000 points from departure points like Chicago-O'Hare (ORD) or New York City (JFK).
Read our full review of ANA first class from Chicago to Tokyo!
Booking a first class flight from the U.S. to Tokyo for just 55,000 or 60,000 miles is an absurdly good deal. For reference, United charges 121,000 miles for a one-way in ANA first class. Even Aeroplan, one of the best programs to book Star Alliance airlines, charges 110,000 for the same flights.
It's so good, in fact, that we're worried this amazing sweet spot won't last much longer. The fact that Virgin Atlantic and ANA are looking at their partnership is worrisome. And we've already seen Virgin Atlantic is willing to gut some of these amazing redemptions, as they did by destroying most Delta redemptions to kick off 2021.
This is no small change. Booking ANA with Virgin Atlantic points is one of the best deals in points and miles, and this makes it much more flexible – making it even better.
But don't wait to book if you've been eyeing this sweet spot. This workaround cannot last forever.
When using United’s site to search, can you see First Saver fares with one-way searches or do I need to search for round-trip then just book one leg when calling VA?
You can absolutely search for a one-way via the United site and then call Virgin Atlantic to book when you find the right saver award space.
I’m only seeing availability of The Room/The Suite seat types from JFK to Tokyo–are there any other routes from the US to Japan currently flying the new seats at the moment?
It’s only available via JFK for now, though we expect to see it expand over time. Watch LAX and SFO as likely candidates.