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Changes to frequent flyer programs are typically never good. And they’re even worse when they happen with no notice to members. Well, unfortunately, ANA did just that last night with its Mileage Club program.
As of August 1, award tickets on ANA metal incur higher carrier-imposed surcharges. The reason? Increasing fuel costs.
Up until July 31, awards from North American to Japan incurred $86 in fuel charges each way.
Now, they’ll run you $129 each way. And awards between North America and Japan aren’t the only ones seeing a jump in surcharges — they increased across ANA’s network.
This definitely hurts, especially because ANA’s carrier-imposed surcharges were already hefty before these changes. That said, ANA still charges fewer miles than its partners for awards to Japan. For instance, while a round-trip ANA ticket between the US and Japan in economy will set you back 70,000 United miles, it’ll only cost you 50,000 ANA miles.
On the flip side, ANA charges about $340 in taxes and fees, while United only charges about $45 for the same award, so it’s up to you to decide whether you’d rather spend fewer miles or pay less out of pocket.
There is a way to lower the fuel surcharges when booking through ANA, though. One stopover, other than your destination, may be made on flights departing from overseas, and by doing so, you’ll often pay less in surcharges. Although it varies based on the destination, when adding a stopover in Singapore (SIN), we were able to wipe out the fuel surcharges completely (the $132 is for taxes and other fees).
Although this change came without any notice, this isn’t the first time ANA’s adjusted its fuel surcharges based on fluctuating oil prices. For instance, the carrier reduced the charges in 2016 based on the declining price of oil. As of now, ANA’s website says that the prices are in effect through September 30, 2018, but it’s unclear what will happen after that date. After all, American Airlines CEO Doug Parker has hinted several times that consumers should prepare for higher airfare as airlines deal with increasing fuel costs.
As a reminder, ANA’s program is a 1:1 transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards. For a limited time, Amex cardholders can also score incredible ANA redemptions by maximizing the 30% transfer bonus to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, though the higher fuel surcharges will still apply.
Featured image by Zach Honig / The Points Guy.
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