Best Uses of ANA Miles: Amazing Premium Cabin Awards!

3
Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. Links in this post may provide us with a commission.

best uses of ana miles

All The Best Uses of ANA Miles

ANA Mileage Club, the loyalty program of Japanese airline All Nippon Airways, is one of the better transfer partners of American Express Membership Rewards. Redeeming ANA miles takes a bit more legwork than some other currencies, but it can be well worth it. Here are the five best uses of ANA miles where I would definitely consider burning my own points.

Best Ways To Acquire ANA Miles

Before getting into the best uses of ANA miles we should discuss the best way acquire them. Amex Membership Rewards is the best option for racking up ANA Miles. Here are a few of our favorite cards for doing so & their current welcome offers:
  • American Express Gold Card – Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards after spending $4,000 within 3 months.  The card earns an amazing 4X on grocery and restaurant purchases up to $25,000 per year.
  • American Express Platinum Card – Earn 60,000 MR points after spending $5,000 within the first 3 months.  Although it is possible to get a 100,000 point targeted offer (Check Here). The card earns 5X on airfare purchased directly with the airline and has a ton of other perks.
  • American Express Green Card – Newly refreshed card with 3X earning on travel and restaurants.  It is possible to get a higher offer via referral and some are targeted for a 45,000 point offer.
  • American Express Blue Business Plus – It is possible to get 15,000 Membership Rewards points via a referral offer.  The card earns 2X on everything up to $50,000 per year.
  • American Express Everyday Preferred – Earn up to 4.5X on groceries and 3X on gas when you make 30 purchases in a month.  Our referral offer is for 20,000 MR points after spending $1,000.

ANA Business or First Class to Japan

Awards in the airline’s own premium cabins are certainly one of the best uses of ANA miles. While economy is a reasonable deal at 40,000-55,000 miles round-trip between the U.S. and Japan, business and first class are where it’s at in terms of pricing. Business class will set you back just 75,000-90,000 miles round-trip in business class, while first class rings in at 150,000-165,000 ANA miles.

There really isn’t a cheaper way to fly ANA business class between the U.S. and Japan, but Virgin Altantic Flying Club offers better pricing for first class treks. If you have your eye on ANA’s excellent business class, this is certainly one of the best uses of ANA miles you can find.

Star Alliance Business Class Between the U.S. and Europe

ANA offers a very attractive price of 88,000 Mileage Club miles for business class between North America and Europe. You’ll almost certainly pay some fuel surcharges, but when many other carriers charge 60,000 miles or more each way between the two continents, ANA’s pricing is an excellent deal.

There is also a plethora of airlines to choose from. You can fly any of Star Alliance partner, including Air Canada, Austrian Airlines, LOT Polish, Lufthansa, SAS, SWISS, Turkish, or United, among others.

Economy Trips Within “South America”

Rather uniquely, ANA lumps both Central and South America into the same zone. This effectively makes ANA uncompetitive if you’re looking for an award to Central America (and even northern South America in many cases), but it opens up a unique opportunity for folks looking to plan a multi-ticket, multi-stop hopper around Latin America.

ANA’s routing rules make this a bit restrictive, but if you can get yourself to Central America (including the Caribbean) cheaply, flying within all of Central and South America on Star Alliance partners COPA and Avianca will set you back just 30,000 miles round-trip in economy. Given that you can add a stopover on your award ticket and potentially reach expensive destinations such as the Galapagos, this is an excellent deal.

Example:
  • Get yourself to San Jose, Costa Rica and enjoy this amazing country
  • Start your ANA ticket flying SJO-BOG-UIO-GPS to visit the Galapagos (stopover)
  • Fly GPS-UIO-LIM-EZE to visit Buenos Aires, the Paris of South America (destination)
  • Return EZE-BOG-SJO
  • Fly home

The intra-Central and South America economy award is just 30,000 ANA miles. That’s a lot of flying for the number of miles!

best uses of ana miles

ANA Business Class to Australia and New Zealand

Getting to Australia or New Zealand in a premium cabin can be a tough proposition. With fierce competition and limited award space on the routes directly between the U.S. and the land down under, it can be difficult to find awards that don’t transit Asia along the way.

But with business class prices that vary from 105,000-120,000 miles round-trip between North America and Oceania on ANA’s own metal, I’d be more than willing to make the trek via Japan. You really cannot find a cheaper business class price between these two continents. Plus, ANA is known for their very nice business class product.

First class prices start at 210,000 miles, which is far less of a deal, but still not bad given how the distance you’re flying.

ANA Business Class Between Japan and Hawaii

You may not know that ANA ordered three Airbus A380 super-jumbos for the sole purpose of serving Hawaii. Each is creatively and beautifully painted as well. At this point there are 1-2 ANA A380 flights between Tokyo and Honolulu every day.

Considering that the trek between Honolulu and Tokyo takes 8 hours nonstop, business class for 60,000-68,000 ANA miles round-trip is an excellent deal. This might just be the best way to get between the Hawaiian islands and Japan in a premium cabin. First class is nearly twice the cost at 120,000-129,000 miles round-trip. I’ll stick with business class.

Business Class to Southern South America

As I mentioned before, ANA lumps all of Central and South America together. While their pricing isn’t all that hot for flights to northern South America, flights to the (what everyone else classifies as) Southern South America are an excellent deal in business class. ANA charges just 88,000 miles round-trip, the same as tickets between the U.S. and Europe.

Considering that most other programs charge 50,000-60,000 miles each way between the American continents, the pricing ANA offers makes those long-haul flights on United between New York and Sao Paulo one of the best uses of ANA miles.

Business Class to Africa: Best Uses of ANA Miles

When I covered the best miles to fly to Africa in business class, ANA Mileage Club is solidly one of the top options. With a price of 104,000 miles for a round-trip ticket, they’re solidly the best deal in terms of sheer number of miles.

You can also transit Europe, adding a stopover if you wish. Or you can fly more directly on either of the African Star Alliance partners, Ethiopian and South African Airways. Or you could even score a business class seat on United’s new nonstop between Newark and Cape Town. That route in particular would be a steal at just 104,000 miles round-trip.

Around the World Trips

I’ve already covered the best miles for around the world trips, and ANA Mileage Club takes one of the top spots. Their award chart is completely different for these awards. Rather than using a region-based chart, it changes to distance-based. You can visit several destinations for very cheap if you plan things well.

I’m not going to belabor the around-the-world option here since I already gave examples. But focus on the premium cabin redemption opportunities with ANA around-the-world trips:

  • 14,001-18,000 flown miles for just 105,000 ANA miles in business
  • 14,001-18,000 flown miles for just 160,000 ANA miles in first
  • 18,001-20,000 flown miles for just 115,000 ANA miles in business
  • 22,000-25,000 flown miles for just 145,000 ANA miles in business

Most of the others are great value, but these give you enough flexibility to create an awesome trip and not break the bank. But really, any business or first class around-the-world trip is solidly one of the best uses of ANA miles!

Some Notes on Using ANA Miles

You will need to brave non-instant transfer times when you move your Membership Rewards to ANA miles. This is one of the big hurdles that has prevented me from using them in the past. Award availability can evaporate in the 2-3 days it takes for the miles to show up. You’ll also need to shell out some cash for fuel surcharges on many awards. But given ANA’s attractive award chart, this could be tolerable.

There are some nuances to routing that you need to be aware of. First, you may only book a round-trip ticket with ANA miles. They do not allow any one-way awards, which is a bummer. But the round-trip prices are generally excellent. ANA also has low-season/regular/high-season pricing for their own awards. Make sure you check out the dates on their award page to know how many miles you’ll need. Dates vary by award zone. Prices do not vary for Star Alliance carrier awards.

Finally, ANA is very strict regarding who can be ticketed using your miles. They have a handy dandy chart showing the allowed relationships. You can’t just book a ticket for anyone.

best uses of ana miles

Remember These Best Uses of ANA Miles!

If ANA Mileage Club hasn’t been on your radar, it should be. It’s not necessarily one of the easiest currencies to use, but if you’re willing to brave the restrictive ticketing requirements and the transfer times, any of these best uses of ANA miles would make for a fantastic award redemption.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by any advertiser or bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser. It is not any advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Can you please tell me what ANA”s availability in business class usually is booked at the schedule release ? I would like to book this for 2021, but need 3 seats. Is that possible ? Thanks!

  2. Quick question. I’m familiar with ANA but chose to use 65K Alaska Miles for my business redemption on JAL: HKG-TOK 3-day stopover then NRT-BOS. Think ANA redemption would have been a better bang for buck? I hate giving up Alaska Miles but thought it was worth it.

    • On ANA, I believe you could have gotten this for 80,000-95,000 ANA miles *round-trip*. If you are short of Membership Rewards, Alaska miles are a decent option for flying JAL. But for just 15,000-30,000 more miles (if using ANA), you’d be able to fly both ways in business, and add a stopover.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here