ANA Slashing Unlimited Premium Economy Upgrades, Adding Mileage Upgrades
Many US-based travels who frequently visit Asia have historically worked to maintain ANA status primarily because of the unlimited premium economy upgrades they receive on ANA flights. Premium economy provides a more spacious seat, more storage and oftentimes better service than economy. But, changes recently announced by ANA may encourage these travelers to change their loyalty.
ANA currently offers passengers the ability to place a bid to upgrade from economy to premium economy on international flights. The bidding process lasts from seven to three days before departure, with all upgrades confirmed at least one day before. Then, ANA Diamond Service, Platinum Service and Super Flyers members can be upgraded for free into any remaining seats at check-in.
ANA elites will continue to receive these complimentary upgrades from economy to premium economy until September 30, 2019. Then, from October 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020, ANA will begin its Premium Economy Complimentary Upgrade campaign. During this campaign, ANA will continue to offer these elites complimentary upgrades from economy to premium economy using a reservation system.
From April 1, 2020 onward, ANA will begin offering international upgrade awards. This means elites will need to use upgrade points or miles to upgrade. Upgrade points are special points earned by ANA elite members that can only be used for seat upgrades or lounge access. Previously, upgrade points were only used for upgrades to premium economy on domestic flights or to business class or first class on international flights.
Although the international upgrade award system will give elites more control over when they are upgraded — and non-elites the ability to upgrade using points — it is bad news for ANA elites that maintained ANA elite status primarily for international upgrades. These elites will now be limited in the number of upgrades they can receive with their upgrade points — and they'll almost certainly see a decrease in the percentage of flights they're able to fly in premium economy.