ANA business class awards to Japan [Sweet-spot spotlight]

ANA Mileage Club is an Amex transfer partner and offers some of the hands-down best deals on premium-cabin travel to Japan (and other parts of Asia). Depending on the time of year, a round trip business class flight from North America to Japan on ANA will cost between 75,000-90,000 miles (total) plus about $265 in taxes & fees. For reference, most programs charge between 60-90K each way. If you have Membership Rewards points to transfer, this can be a great way to fly up front to Japan (and beyond).

Sweet spot spotlight:

  • The short story: ANA Mileage Club offers round trip business class awards from North America to Japan for just 75K to 90K miles round trip (depending on season).
  • Miles required: 75K round trip during “low” season, 85K RT during “regular” season, or 90K RT during “high” season (all for business class)
  • How to find awards: Search for available space at https://www.ana.co.jp/en/us/ (you’ll need to create a free “Mileage Club” frequent flyer account and then click link to “Award Booking” above the main airfare search boxes to search for available award space.
  • How to book awards: Book online at https://www.ana.co.jp/en/us/.

Quick Notes

ANA has fantastic rates for round trip travel to Japan. Here is the chart for travel between Japan and Hawaii, North America, and Europe (L = low season, R = regular season, H = high season).

Note that seasonal prices only apply to itineraries entirely flown on ANA. If you include partner segments, you’ll pay the “high” price regardless of when you fly. Interestingly, low season includes April, which is the time of year when cherry blossoms are usually bursting at the seams across much of Japan. I was just there from April 4-14th this year and it was a great time of year to visit Japan.

Even during high season, paying 45K miles each way is still an absolute steal for business class to Japan, especially given ANA’s stellar service (See this post where I compared ANA’s business class to Delta One Suites for pictures and details about what it’s like to fly ANA business class). Keep in mind that ANA requires round trip travel on awards (they do not allow one-way award bookings).

Searching for availability is pretty simple. Log in to your ANA Mileage Club account and then click “Award Booking”. From there, you input the cities and you can check the box below return date to compare sear availability +/- 3 days.

If you do opt for a flexible date search, the tool will show you which dates have available itineraries.

However, the one thing to absolutely watch out for with ANA award bookings is waitlisted seats. Unfortunately, the dates showing “Seats available” above do not all have available seats. ANA shows seats available whether those seats are available for booking or are waitlist-only. It is therefore annoyingly easy to think there are seats available when there really aren’t. Reports I’ve read indicate that ANA waitlisted seats clear when someone cancels — but that you can not reliably count on waitlists to clear. Personally, I probably wouldn’t move miles to ANA just to hope to get a waitlisted award.

The following screen shot shows both available and waitlisted options. The flights that are waitlist-only say “Waitlisted” highlighted in a tan color. The flights selected in this screen shot are available for booking. This 2020 itinerary from New York to Tokyo mixes an outbound flight during “regular” season with a return flight in “low” season, so you’ll see that it prices out in between at 80,000 miles round trip plus $265.78 for one passenger.

Note that you can also include a connection within Japan for the same price and that taxes / fees may be lower from other parts of North America. For instance, here is Vancouver to Okinawa for 75K round trip plus $195 during low season (but watch out — that flight to Tokyo is waitlisted and I didn’t even notice it when I took the screen shot, evidence of how easy it is to get duped here!).

You can even build in a stopover and/or change airports between Haneda and NRT. These are the same departure and return dates as New York to Tokyo in the first example above, but this time continuing on to Okinawa after a stop in Tokyo. It prices out at the same 80K + $265 round trip. Note that flights within Japan will be economy class only.

Bottom line

ANA offers terrific value in terms of its awards — whether on ANA or partners — for flights between the US and Japan. Awards to the rest of Asia and Australia present similarly awesome value and ANA often offers good business class availability when you book far enough in advance. I had no trouble finding availability for the screen shots in this post (and I also ran additional searches from other gateways with pretty good results). As a 1:1 transfer partner from Membership Rewards, ANA presents an excellent value for your points. Other Amex Transfer partners charge nearly the ANA round trip price for one-way travel — and keep in mind that you could include partner segments for the high season price, which can also make sense in some scenarios.

Regarding comments: Comments posted at the bottom of Frequent Miler pages and posts are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

About Nick Reyes

Nick Reyes is a (fairly) regular guy with an animalistic passion for maximizing the value of miles and money to travel the world in comfort and style. There is little in life that he loves more than finding a fantastic deal and helping you shop smarter & harder to achieve your travel dreams.

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HoKo
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HoKo

I feel like it was a bit odd not to discuss the award pricing/options to the rest of Asia

askmrlee
Guest
askmrlee

This is great in March or April, but just try a SFO or SJC – TYO booking in June, July or August. Forget about it…

Signed, The Public
Guest
Signed, The Public

A freaking infant in first. Smh people are so inconsiderate.

Matty tailwinds
Guest
Matty tailwinds

What does “smh” attempt to convey?

Matty tailwinds
Guest
Matty tailwinds

This article concerns first class?

brteacher
Guest
brteacher

Hmm. I didn’t know that ANA had raised their YQ charges last year. I just googled it and see that bloggers wrote about it, but I missed it somehow.

ReconScott
Guest
ReconScott

75K points for business class and DOUBLE that for first class! Nick, you need to experience ANA first class so you can write up a report on the difference between ANA business and first class. See if Greg will front you some points for this valuable research.

Toys Samurai
Guest
Toys Samurai

I flied with ANA frequently and I got to say that if you don’t like to pay anything in real money, you don’t really need to redeem their flight thru ANA directly. Take LifeMiles as an example. If you value your mile at around 1 cent, the additional miles that LifeMiles charge you are usually the same as converting ANA’s fee to miles. LifeMiles usually charges 70,000 miles for an ANA ticket from NYC to TYO with low double digit fees. That’s just 15,000 miles more than ANA would charge you during high season, but ANA’s fee are over $350. If you value your mile at 1 cent, ANA is basically charging you ~15k miles more than LifeMiles. Even if you value them at 2 cent each, they are just about the same.

Mehul
Guest
Mehul

Life miles charge 70,000 one way to Japan in business in ANA so round trip is 140,000 it means extra 65,000 per round trip in peak season

Toys Samurai
Guest
Toys Samurai

That is true, but if you go one class up, LifeMiles charges 90,000 one way (180,000 round trip) for First Class while ANA would charge 150,000 for round trip. The difference goes back down to 30,000 mile.

[NOTE]: ANA seems to drop the surcharge and fee a little bit. I am now seeing a fee of about $265 from NYC to TYO. But still, for economy and first class, the extra miles charged by LifeMiles aren’t significantly more (at a rate of about 0.8 to 1 cent per mile). Given that LifeMiles often put its currency on sale, one can easily buy enough miles with cash to pay for the differences.

Rich
Guest
Rich

So these require you to book at least a year out.

Fathiss
Guest
Fathiss

I was just in Japan also during Cherry Blossoms. The first week of April in and around Tokyo was incredible. They must have peaked then. Stayed at the Hyatt Regency in Shinjuku.

Shawn
Guest
Shawn

What did you think of Hyatt Regency in Shinjuku? I’m staying there in 4 days

Fathiss
Guest
Fathiss

Nice location but the rooms can be a bit small (not unlike most Tokyo hotels) unless you get an upgrade.
Ask for park view over the city view.
Good size club lounge if you have privileges.
Public transportation very near. Shinjuku station just 8 minute walk and subway only a couple minutes.

William
Guest
William

For convenience this hotel can’t be beat. It’s walking distance to shinjuku station and all the shops and restaurants around it. Shibuya is within 10 minutes by train. There’s a 7–11 below the hotel which is good for interesting Japanese snacks and quick meals but if you exit the hotel after 1 am through their exit toward the 7-11 you have to walk all the way back around the hotel to get in. I learned the hard way lol. Also if this is your first stop in japan or you plan to stay there for a week or more I’d recommend getting a WiFi hotspot from one of the many companies that let you rent them. Really cheap and they had it sent to the hotel and handed it to me when I checked in. Faster than the hotel internet.

And my best tip which I messed up myself,

Across the street from the hotel is the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. It’s enormous. Like 98 stories tall or something. Anyways it has to two giant towers and both have observation floors that you can visit for FREE. Only problem is the rotate having one closed on tuesdays I think it is and when I was there one of the towers viewing areas was closed so I was out of luck. There was a beautiful sunset toward Mt Fuji I sort of saw from my 12th floor room but seeing Tokyo at sunset from another 75 floors up would have been amazing. DO IT!

Shawn
Guest
Shawn

Thanks for the amazing suggestions! Do you know what time the Tokyo Metropolitan building closes? It looks like it says 6:30pm online, but that would be surprising that it’s open that late. Probably better to go towards closing for sunset. Are there any issues at the front desk? Just tell them we want to go to the top floor?

William
Guest
William

https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3011_tocho.html

Looks like its open 9:30am to 11pm. Great for daytime shots and those classic Tokyo night time shots.

Also as I noted its closed the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of every month.

I hope you have a great time there, I fell in love with Japan. Oh, two more tips. try Tokyo fluffy pancakes which are souffle like. Theres a place above Shinjuku station called “Original Pancake House”. And vending machines are huge in Japan. You can get cold or warm drinks from them and I recommend you try, theres tones of options.

William
Guest
William

Oh and sorry, no there shouldnt be issues at the front desk. In fact I dont think you have to speak to anyone at a front desk. When you walk in this building I’m telling you its huge. They have guests always visiting the observation decks as theres clear signage to both of the elevators that take you up.

trackback

[…] ANA Mileage Club is an Amex transfer partner and offers some of the hands-down best deals on premium-cabin travel to Japan (and other parts of Asia). Depending on the time of year, a round trip business class flight from North America to Japan on ANA will cost between 75,000-90,000 miles (total) plus about $265 in taxes & fees. For reference, most programs charge between 60-90K each way. If you have Membership Rewards points to transfer, this can be a great way to fly up front to Japan (and beyond). LEARN MORE! […]

rick b
Guest
rick b

I’m not sure this is such a great deal. I mean, I can book same business flights via United for 80k, get free connections to the rest of Asia, and from middle of USA, AND zero fuel surcharges. Or even better use Virgin Atlantic to book the first class.

Webazoic
Guest
Webazoic

Do u have to book round trip or can u book one way with Ana using miles?

Dave
Guest
Dave

Hey Nick,
Do you feel like that ANA search engine is a little complicated? It is showing seats available but when you click it you are under waiting list. is there anyways to search it more straightforward?

also, Big fan of you and shawn. which FTU do you usually go? are you going to give a talk in Chicago in June? I am looking forward listening to your talk. Thanks.