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Quick Points: Book mixed-cabin awards with ANA Mileage Club to stretch your miles

Nov. 18, 2022
6 min read
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ANA, one of the biggest airlines in Japan, is home to some of the best airline award chart sweet spots in existence. Thanks to its membership in Star Alliance, you can use ANA miles to book tons of popular airlines, such as United Airlines, Air Canada and others.

Here are a couple of examples of some extra-sweet deals:

That’s an incredible deal, considering other airlines routinely charge between 120,000 and 150,000 miles for the same itinerary.

Still, if you’re new to collecting points and miles (or you just aren’t in the mood to blow that many miles in a single trip), you can use ANA’s “mixed classes” award booking tool to discount your trip while still experiencing a new business-class seat.

ANA’s mixed-class award tool is (usually) a great deal

SAS business class on an Airbus A350. ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

Before we get into this trick, here’s an obligatory reminder: When booking travel via ANA’s website, you can only reserve round-trip tickets or multicity itineraries. There isn’t an option for one-way flights.

By flying one way in business class and the other way in economy, you can save tens of thousands of miles on a single ticket. And because ANA’s prices are already rock-bottom, you could find yourself paying for a mixed-cabin round-trip flight for less than other airlines charge for a one-way business-class seat.

Related: 10 ways to redeem ANA Mileage Club miles for maximum value

Here’s an example: A round-trip business-class seat on ANA from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport (ORD) to Copenhagen Airport (CPH) costs 88,000 miles. But booking one direction in economy lowers the price to 71,500 miles.

ANA.CO.JP

But a one-way business-class seat on the same flight costs 74,000 miles via United Airlines. In other words, booking through ANA will get you an extra one-way economy flight between the U.S. and Europe over booking through United.

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UNITED.COM

Similarly, you’ll pay 104,000 ANA miles to fly round-trip to Africa in business class — but you’ll pay just 84,500 miles if you book one direction in economy. That’s 19,500 miles cheaper, and you can still look back on your vacation and remember a swanky business-class seat.

How to book mixed-cabin flights with ANA

A United Polaris business-class seat. ZACH HONIG/THE POINTS GUY

In case you’re unfamiliar with ANA’s award search tool, here’s a crash course.

After you sign in to your ANA account (and you will have to sign in to search for award seats), you’ll need to click on the “Multiple cities/Mixed classes” tab. You can enter your origin and destination here, along with your desired travel dates.

Related: The best websites for searching Star Alliance award availability

ANA.CO.JP

On the next screen, you can choose among economy, premium economy, business-class and first-class seats. If a class isn’t available, its column will be blank.

ANA.CO.JP

It can sometimes be difficult to find business-class seats on certain airlines. Strictly for the purpose of helping you find business-class availability, you can use ANA’s “Round trip” search tool. This allows you to view flights in one-week increments, which you can’t do with the “Mixed classes” tool.

Just enter your origin and destination, dates and class of service. Then make sure the “Compare seat availability +/- 3 days” box is ticked.

ANA.CO.JP

The easiest way to earn ANA Mileage Club miles

RYAN PATTERSON/THE POINTS GUY

The easiest way to earn ANA miles is by transferring points from American Express Membership Rewards. Points transfer from Amex to ANA at a 1:1 ratio, with transfers taking roughly 48 hours based on our testing. With that in mind, have a backup redemption plan in place if the award space you're hoping to book is gone by the time the miles make it to your account.

Here are a few of the best Amex cards that earn Membership Rewards points:

You can also transfer Marriott Bonvoy points to ANA Mileage Club at a 3:1 ratio. Plus, you'll get a 5,000-mile bonus when you transfer 60,000 points to ANA. This means 60,000 Marriott points are worth 25,000 ANA Mileage Club miles.

Related: How to redeem American Express Membership Rewards for maximum value

Bottom line

You can save tens of thousands of ANA miles by forfeiting business class for the whole trip and instead booking a mixed-class award. If you fly economy in one direction, you can stretch your miles considerably.

This is a great strategy if you’re booking flights for friends or family and don’t have sufficient rewards for premium cabins the entire way. Depending on your route, you and a travel buddy could save nearly 40,000 miles in a single trip.

Featured image by ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees