If you’ve ever tried to redeem for a reward flight on Star Alliance, you probably already have an ANA Mileage Club account. If not, you really ought to open one for the simple reason that ANA Mileage Club has the most reliable online tool for finding award availability on Star Alliance airlines. It also has a few interesting non Star Alliance partners, such as:
- Etihad Airways
- Garuda Indonesia (Sky Team)
- Germanwings (low cost subsidiary of Lufthansa, but not a full earn and burn partner of many Star Alliance programmes)
- Virgin Atlantic
- TAM (now Oneworld)
- Jet Airways
- Philippine Airlines
ANA Mileage Club also accepts transfer from hotel partners. In most cases, the only one to consider is Starwood Preferred Guest, which gives you 25,000 miles for 20,000 Starpoints.
Unfortunately, ANA Mileage Club has a strict mileage expiry policy. Miles will expire at the end of the 36th month following their accrual. (i.e. miles earned on 4 March 2014 will expire on 31 March 2017) I’m not aware of any way to extend their lives, so you have to use them or lose them.
In April 2015, ANA Mileage Club changed their award chart. Before, awards were priced on the basis of total miles flown on the itinerary, and this opened some opportunities to play tricks and combine quite a few short flights into one cheap award.
Now, the programme has moved to a standard region-based formula with only return itineraries allowed. There is still some flexibility. Open jaws are allowed, such as flying out of one city and back to another in the same country, or flying to one city and returning from a different one in the same region.
What keeps ANA Mileage Club interesting is that the number of miles required for certain itineraries is much lower than the number of miles required using Avios, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club or the Star Alliance programmes such as Life Miles, United, Lufthansa Miles & More, etc. So, if you have a few ANA miles and a stash of Starwood points, it might make a lot of sense to look at ANA Mileage Club for your next award booking.
Awards on All Nippon Airways
For awards on All Nippon Airways itself, the number of miles varies depending on low, regular or high season. Thankfully, only a handful of peak dates fall into high season. And if you happen to be visiting Japan in early April for cherry blossom season, that helpfully falls into low season!
Some of the highlights (low/regular/high season – these amounts are for a return itinerary) are:
- Europe to Japan – 80,000 / 90,000 / 95,000 miles in Business Class
- North America to Japan – 75,000 / 85,000 / 90,000 miles in Business Class
- Europe to Asia 1 (connecting in Japan on ANA remember) – 85k / 95k / 100k in Business Class
Don’t forget that British Airways Executive Club will charge 75,000 Avios off-peak / 90,000 peak for a ONE WAY from London to Tokyo in Business Class. With ANA Mileage Club you get a return in Business Class for those 90,000 miles. (unfortunately you can’t move your Avios directly to ANA Mileage Club, but obviously you should think hard about whether to move any hotel points to Avios instead of other programmes such as ANA)
Awards on Partners (Star Alliance and Others)
There are no seasons with partner awards. If you want to book on a partner airline such as Virgin Atlantic or Etihad, that is allowed, but you aren’t allowed to mix and match partners (i.e. you have to fly to Abu Dhabi and back on Etihad only)
Some of the highlights are:
- Europe to Asia 2 – 58,000 in Economy, 93,000 in Business
- Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, Garuda Indonesia, Etihad connecting in Abu Dhabi, etc.
- Europe to North America – 55,000 in Economy, 88,000 in Business
- United Airlines to avoid fuel surcharges, Air Canada, Virgin Atlantic
- North America to South America – 50,000 in Economy, 80,000 in Business
- United Airlines, Air Canada, Avianca connecting in Bogota, etc.
- Europe to Africa – 40,000 in Economy, 68,000 in Business
- South African Airways, Lufthansa, Ethiopian, Virgin Atlantic
- Europe to South America – 65,000 in Economy, 104,000 in Business
- Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines, Singapore (BCN-GRU), Avianca
- Europe to Oceania – 136,000 in Business, 240,000 in First
- Singapore Airlines, Etihad, etc.
With 4,000+ mile flights now costing 75,000 Avios with British Airways Executive Club for a Business Class one way, who wouldn’t rather spend 68,000 miles (for South Africa) or 88,000 miles (for western North America) and get a return itinerary.
Awards on All Nippon Airways
Don’t know how to acquire enough ANA miles? Starwood Preferred Guest is possibly the answer. Hopefully you already stay at Starwood hotels once in awhile and know how to use the Best Rate Guarantee system to your advantage, earning 2,000 bonus points per stay.
Apart from that, you should wait for the twice-yearly promotional sale of Starwood Preferred Guest points. With an account in your name and an account in the name of your partner or whoever shares the same address (you can combine points for free), you should buy the 20,000 point per person maximum for $525 apiece. With the points combined in one account, you have 40,000 Starpoints, which will convert to 50,000 ANA miles – the transfer usually takes a couple of days. Hang on to those Starpoints until you need them, since ANA miles expire, but you are most of the way to a return in Business to South Africa for $1000…