10 ways to redeem ANA Mileage Club miles for maximum value
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ANA Mileage Club is one of my favorite American Express Membership Rewards transfer partners. It has awesome redemption rates on premium tickets, like 75,000-mile round-trip business class tickets to Japan and 88,000 business class tickets to Europe. That said, the program has flown under the radar for quite some time because of its clunky interface and inability to redeem miles for one-way awards.
We’ve written extensively about ANA Mileage Club in the past, including publishing a complete guide to the program. Today, however, we’ll give you a look at the best ANA Mileage Club sweet spots so you can maximize your miles and fly in comfort.
Let’s get started!
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Take advantage of stopovers and open-jaws
Before diving into sweet spot redemptions, let’s discuss some of the perks of booking tickets with ANA. Despite not offering one-way redemptions, the airline does offer surprisingly relaxed routing rules for stopovers and open-jaws.
You can add a stopover on either the outbound or inbound leg of your ticket. For example, on a trip to Japan, you could book New York-JFK to Tokyo-Haneda (HND) and add a flight to Osaka (KIX) for free. Then return home from there to complete your round-trip.
Open-jaws are fine on both ends of an itinerary too, meaning that you can return to a different city within the region you departed from. Likewise, your return ticket can be from any city in the region you’re flying to.
For example, you could fly from Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) to Frankfurt (FRA) and stay for a few days. Then, you could add a free connecting ticket from Frankfurt to Oslo (OSL) and take the bus from Oslo to Stockholm at your own expense. You could then return from Stockholm (ARN) to Newark (EWR) without redeeming additional miles.
As you’ve probably already noticed, you can mix partners on partner-operated tickets. However, you cannot add partners to tickets priced using the ANA International Award Chart — we’ll discuss this later in the article.
Don’t worry if this sounds a little confusing now. I will walk you through some of the best ways to maximize these routing rules when we dig into the sweet spots.
Avoid high fuel surcharges
One major downside to booking with ANA Mileage Club is that the program adds fuel surcharges to award tickets operated by a handful of partners. On carriers like SWISS, you’ll pay over $1,000 for a round-trip business class ticket from the U.S. to Europe.
Thankfully, it’s possible to avoid these surcharges on a number of partner carriers — here’s a list of airlines that don’t add fuel surcharges on ANA award tickets:
- Air Canada
- Copa Airlines
- Ethiopian Airlines
- LOT Polish Airlines (low fuel surcharges)
- TAP Portugal
- United Airlines
Better yet, ANA recently removed fuel surcharges on its own flights too. You’ll rarely pay more than $75 when redeeming miles for a flight on ANA metal. This is especially useful when you consider how reasonably priced ANA business class award tickets are.
With that in mind, stick to booking with ANA or the partners listed above if you want to avoid fuel surcharges. Paying fuel surcharges will still save you money over booking a paid business or first-class ticket, but it’s always best to save more when you can.
Book round-trip business class tickets to Japan for 75,000 miles
One of the best ways to use your ANA Mileage Club miles is for business class flights to Japan. ANA prices its own tickets based on the region you’re flying to and from, as well as the season in which you’re flying. Currently, the airline has three different seasons: high, low and regular.
To price an award, start by finding out which season your preferred dates fall under.
Then, scroll down the page and find the region your flight is departing from and arriving at. Once you’ve found that, locate the proper award chart for your zone pair at the button of the page.
As you can see here, there are excellent deals to be found. For example, a business class award ticket from the U.S. to Japan during the low season is just 75,000 miles round-trip, which includes a free stopover and open-jaw.
In turn, this means that you could book an itinerary that goes from San Francisco (SFO) to Tokyo-Haneda (HND) with a connecting ticket from Tokyo-Haneda to Osaka (ITM). Then, you could return from Nagoya (NGO) to Los Angeles (LAX) for 75,000 miles and $58.49. Note that your transportation between Osaka and Nagoya would be at your own expense.
Fly to Asia via Honolulu (HNL) or Guam (GUM)
Alternatively, you can fly to Japan (or another city in Asia) on a partner airline and stop in Hawaii or Guam on the way. This award would be priced under ANA’s partner award chart. Here’s a look at the award chart for flights departing from North America:
A ticket with this routing would cost 95,000 or 136,000 miles, depending on your destination in Asia. Most East Asian cities — like Hong Kong, Taipei and Tokyo — fall into the lower pricing. On the other hand, cities like Bangkok, Singapore and even Dehli fall into the “Asia 2” award pricing.
An example of this would be a flight that goes from Newark (EWR) to Honolulu (HNL) and continues to Tokyo-Narita (NRT) after a stopover. Then, you could return from Tokyo-Narita to Newark, all on United metal. This would cost 95,000 miles in business class with minimal taxes and fees.
Fly Round-trip to Europe for less than 100,000 miles
Another great way to use ANA Mileage Club miles is by redeeming them for flights to Europe. You’ll pay just 88,000 miles round trip from anywhere in North America to anywhere in Europe, and still get a free stopover.
Unfortunately, most Star Alliance members in Europe do add fuel surcharges, so your best bet is to fly with United Airlines or LOT Polish Airlines to avoid these. A good sample itinerary is Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) to Warsaw (WAW), with a continuing flight to Prague (PRG) on LOT. Then, you could return from Munich (MUC) to Newark and pay less than $250 in taxes and fees.
It’s worth noting that there’s no limit to the number of partner airlines you can add to a single itinerary. You can fly with different airlines on each leg and pay the same number of miles, giving you opportunities to try new airlines and find extra award space.
First-class tickets to Europe are also very reasonably priced. If you can find award space, you’ll pay just 165,000 miles for a round-trip ticket in Lufthansa First Class, which is almost 10,000 miles cheaper than paying with Avianca LifeMiles. Unfortunately, you will be subject to paying fuel surcharges on the ticket.
Visit the Middle East or Africa with a stop in Europe for 104,000 miles
If the Middle East or Africa is on your list, you can use just 104,000 miles to fly to either region. Better yet, you can stopover in Europe on the way to your destination, effectively giving you two trips for the points cost of one.
A good example of this is flying from Chicago to Frankfurt (FRA) on United Airlines. After a stopover, you can continue to Addis Ababa (ADD) and return to New York-JFK on Ethiopian Airlines. Neither of these airlines passes on fuel surcharges, so you’d pay just under $201 in taxes and fees.
Fly Business class to Australia (via Asia) for 120,000 miles round-trip
Another great deal is flying from the U.S. to Australia. These tickets cost just 120,000 miles in business class, and you’re free to route through Asia as well. These itineraries let you see some of the world’s best business class products and — again — see two regions for the price of one.
Take a tour of South and Central America
ANA groups South and Central America into the same region. So you can maximize your redemptions by adding a stop in either region to your next trip to South America. Many Star Alliance partners in these regions do not pass on fuel surcharges, making it an easy way to redeem miles on the cheap.
A good example of this is flying from Los Angeles to Panama City (PTY) on Copa Airlines. Then, you can take a flight to Buenos Aires (EZE) and find alternate transportation to Sao Paulo (GRU) and return on an Avianca flight. This costs 88,000 miles and just under $101 in business class.
Save your connecting leg for another trip
Need to book a simple round-trip ticket? Don’t forget about your stopover. You can always place your stopover at the end of your ticket, giving yourself a free flight within North America after your trip.
Take this Chicago to Frankfurt round trip ticket for example. We added a Chicago to Los Angeles leg departing a month after the round-trip itinerary. No additional miles were charged.
Book first and business class round-the-world tickets on the cheap
Finally, we have one of ANA’s best redemptions: round-the-world tickets. The airline has long offered one of the best redemption rates for these itineraries. I recently booked a 28,668-mile round-the-world ticket in business class for just 170,000 ANA Mileage Club miles, saving me tens of thousands of dollars in the process.
ANA prices its round-the-world tickets based on the actual miles flown and the class of service you’re flying. Here’s a quick look at pricing:
There are a few rules you need to follow when booking these tickets, though. These are mostly in regards to routing — let’s take a look:
- Must cross the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans once
- No backtracking is permitted
- Book a maximum of twelve flight segments and four ground transfer segments on the same ticket
- Up to eight stopovers are permitted between the departure point and the final return point
- Up to three stopovers can be in Europe and up to four stopovers can be in Japan
- Return date must be 10 or more days out from your first international flight departure
- Transfers between airports in the same city also count as ground transfer segments. This means that a transfer from London-Heathrow (LHR) to London-Gatwick (LGW) counts as one of your four ground transfers
- Mixed cabin bookings are allowed but you’ll be charged at the rate of the highest booking class, regardless of the class of service of your other flight
This gives you a ton of flexibility in how you book your award ticket. With up to eight stopovers, you can tour multiple regions on a single trip or take an in-depth tour of a single region with a quick stop in another on the way out. Plus, you can maximize your ground transfers to take the train or fly intra-region on low-cost carriers to your next destination.
Even cooler, these tickets are valid for trips lasting up to a year. If you’re planning two international trips over the course of 365 days, simply plan a long stop in one city and fly home on another ticket. Then, resume your trip later in the year to maximize your miles and vacation time.
How to book an ANA round-the-world ticket
To actually book one of these tickets, use a tool like GCMap to map out your itinerary and ensure that it follows all the above rules. Then, use your favorite Star Alliance search tool to find award space and call ANA Mileage Club to book. Check out our full guide to ANA round-the-world tickets for more info.
How to earn ANA Mileage Club miles
Options for earning ANA Mileage Club miles are limited here in the U.S., but it’s not too hard if you know where to look. The easiest way to earn is by transferring miles from American Express Membership Rewards at a 1:1 ratio — here’s a look at the best cards for earning:
- The Platinum Card® from American Express: Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases within the first 6 months of account opening. Earn 5x points per dollar spent on flights booked directly or on American Express Travel (starting Jan. 1, 2021, earn 5x points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year); 5x points on prepaid hotel bookings with American Express Travel; 1x point per dollar elsewhere. ($695 annual fee; see rates and fees)
- American Express® Gold Card: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards Points after you use your new Card to make $4,000 in purchases in your first six months of account opening. Earn 4x points per dollar on restaurant, 4x points (up to $25,000 per calendar year; then 1x) at U.S. grocery stores, 3x points on flights booked directly with the airline or on AmexTravel.com and 1x point per dollar elsewhere. ($250 annual fee; see rates and fees)
- American Express® Green Card: Earn 45,000 Membership Rewards Points after you spend $2,000 in purchases in your first three months of card membership. Earn 3x points per dollar spent on travel, transit and restaurant purchases and 1x points elsewhere. ($150 annual fee; see rates and fees)
The information for the Amex Green Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
You can also earn miles by adding your ANA Mileage Club number to flights operated by Star Alliance partners, including United Airlines. You can see the earning rate for each fare class on ANA’s website.
ANA Mileage Club may not be the most well-known loyalty program, but it’s certainly one of the best. We highly recommend considering ANA for your next international trip — compared to other Star Alliance transfer partners, you’ll spend fewer miles and see more of the world at the same time.
If you’re new to ANA Mileage Club, make sure to check out our full guide to the program. This article discusses the ins-and-outs of earning and redeeming ANA Mileage Club miles, including an in-depth look at round-the-world routing rules.
For rates and fees of the Platinum card from American Express, please click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express Gold card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express Green Card, please click here.
Featured photo by Christopher Jue/Getty Images
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