When you are thinking about booking award travel, ANA Mileage Club, the frequent-flyer program of All Nippon Airways, one of Japan’s largest airlines, is probably not your first thought. However, ANA is one of the most valuable Membership Rewards partners, especially if you are interested in booking premium cabins. And if you think that you might never be able to book business class for more than one person because of how many miles such an award will require, we’ve got great news for you.

ANA has a few fantastic sweet spots that make traveling in business class an affordable proposition, even for families. And even if Japan isn’t on your bucket list (and it should be), you can still take advantage of ANA’s great award rates to fly almost anywhere! In fact, you can go all the way around the world or travel to Europe or Australia using award tickets booked with ANA miles.

ANA has a few fantastic sweet spots that make traveling in business class an affordable proposition, even for families. And even if Japan isn’t on your bucket list (and it should be), you can still take advantage of ANA’s great award rates to fly almost anywhere! In fact, you can go all the way around the world or travel to Europe or Australia using award tickets booked with ANA miles.

ANA Mileage Club

ANA Mileage Club is a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards points and that’s the easiest way to earn ANA miles without flying. Membership Rewards transfer to ANA 1:1, and the transfer can take anywhere from 24 to 48 hours.

Marriott Bonvoy points also transfer to ANA at a 3:1 rate, and you’ll earn a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 Bonvoy points that you transfer. So you’ll get 25,000 ANA miles for every 60,000 Bonvoy points.

ANA is a Star Alliance partner, which means you can fly anywhere in the world with ANA miles. ANA also has eight non-alliance partners, but they don’t really feature in any of the sweet spots we’ll be discussing here.

ANA maintains two separate award charts: one for its own flights and another for partner flights. Both charts are zone-based, and ANA’s chart for its own flights has three seasons: low, regular and high. You’ll get the best value traveling during the low season, but even the regular season rates could be quite competitive.

ANA chart

There are a couple of major limitations when using ANA miles. Make sure to note the following:

  • Award tickets can only be booked for specific family members, so you can’t book it for a friend or a cousin.
using ANA awards
  • ANA only allows round-trip awards, so it might be of limited use to some, and there needs to be award space on both the outbound and the inbound flights.
  • You can’t combine a non-alliance partner with awards on Star Alliance airlines.
  • ANA has eliminated fuel surcharges on its own flights, but you’ll have to pay the surcharges when flying on its Star Alliance partners.
  • There are no fuel surcharges on the following airlines:
    1. Air Canada
    2. Scandinavian Airlines (SAS)
    3. Air China
    4. Air New Zealand
    5. Avianca
    6. Copa Airlines
    7. United Airlines

ANA has low fuel surcharges on Asiana Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines and Turkish Airlines.
The surcharges could be hundreds of dollars, especially on certain carriers, such as Swiss International Air Lines, SAS, Austrian Airlines and Lufthansa. To minimize the out-of-pocket costs, look for award space on airlines with low or no surcharges.

  • ANA Mileage Club miles expire at the end of the 36th month after they are earned, and there’s absolutely no way to extend their lifespan. You’ll need to use the miles within three years or you’ll lose them.

Now that we’ve covered the program’s limitations, let’s talk about what’s really great about the program.

First, ANA miles are easy to earn because ANA is a transfer partner of both American Express and Marriott Bonvoy.

ANA allows a free stopover on round-trip awards, and double open-jaw bookings are allowed. Let’s illustrate with an example.

An open-jaw ticket is a round-trip ticket where the destination and/or the origin are not the same in both directions. An example of a single open-jaw ticket would be flying from Chicago to London on the outbound and returning on a Vienna to Chicago flight. A double open-jaw itinerary would be flying from Chicago to London but returning from Vienna to New York.

If you want to include a stopover, in this example it would be London, which means you can fly for free between London and Vienna.

ANA still publishes an award chart. There’s one for its own flights, and one for the partner flights. Therefore we know exactly how many miles we’ll need to book our award tickets. This used to be a given in the not-so-distant past, but with so many airlines switching to dynamic (and often completely unpredictable) pricing, we especially appreciate having an award chart.

And, of course, the best thing about the ANA program is the good number of sweet spot awards.

ANA Around the World

If you’ve ever dreamed about taking a few weeks, or possibly even a few months, to take a trip around the world, ANA has created its around the world award chart just for this kind of traveler. With the help of this absolutely best deal in the points and miles world, you can hop countries and continents, stopping in eight places, in business class for just a little bit more than a round-trip ticket between the U.S. and Europe.

This is ANA’s around-the-world chart. As you can see, you can go on a really long trip that would include flying on some of the world’s best airlines, for about the same price as other programs charge for a round-trip ticket.

ANA Around the World chart

You’ll need to find award space first on all the legs of your trip and then call ANA to book. United MileagePlus and Air Canada Aeroplan have easy-to-use award search engines, so you can start there and then call ANA’s excellent customer service to book your around the world ticket.

Round-Trip from U.S to Europe

Round-trip award tickets to Europe cost just 55,000 miles in economy and 88,000 miles in business class. Be aware of the surcharges, as these could be quite high. However, there are a few carriers that don’t pass on surcharges, so you’ll just have to play with different itineraries to find the most economical option.

Don’t forget that you can utilize a free stopover with your round-trip booking.

Round-Trip from U.S. to Africa

A round-trip award ticket will set you back 65,000 miles in economy and 104,000 miles in business class. Fuel surcharges could be high, but can be minimized with the right
partners.

Round-Trip from U.S. to Asia

If Asia is on your travel agenda, definitely check out ANA’s award availability. Because there are no surcharges on ANA’s own flights, and it’s one of the largest carriers in Asia, you can get pretty much anywhere in that region and beyond with ANA.

Round-trip travel on ANA-operated flights could be extremely cheap, especially during the low season. Seventy-five thousand ANA miles for a round-trip flight in business class is an incredible value, especially if you live near one of ANA’s U.S. gateway cities.

Round-Trip from U.S. to Asia

Round-Trip from U.S. to Oceania

ANA’s rates for both economy and business class between North America and Oceania are also competitive. You can get to this region with a number of Star Alliance partners, including Air New Zealand, Thai Airways or ANA.

Low-season rates on ANA-operated flights drop as low as 60,000 miles for a round-trip flight in economy.

Round-Trip from U.S. to Oceania

If you can find award space on partner airlines, 120,000 miles for a round-trip business-class flight between North America and Oceania is also a great deal.

Round-Trip from U.S. to Oceania

Round-Trip from U.S. to South America

Unlike other frequent-flyer programs, ANA doesn’t divide Central America and South America into multiple regions. So if you are flying to southern South America, a round-trip award will set you back just 88,000 miles. This a great deal, considering the huge distance flown.

Round-Trip from U.S. to South America

How to Search for Award Space on ANA

ANA’s award search tool is fairly straightforward, if not the most modern-looking. You’ll first need to create an account to search for award space, then navigate to Award Booking.

How to Search for Award Space on ANA

Enter your flight information and choose whether you want a simple round-trip award or a more complex ticket. If booking an open-jaw itinerary, click on the multi-city tab.

How to Search for Award Space on ANA

Cards to Help You Earn ANA Miles

American Express has a huge lineup of excellent cards that earn valuable Membership Rewards points. One of our favorite cards is the American Express® Gold Card. We love this card because it earns 4X points at restaurants, including takeout and delivery, and 4X at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year), so it’s easy to accumulate a good stash of points quickly. The annual fee is $250 (Rates & Fees).

If you are a business owner, then consider the Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express. The card has a $0 annual fee (Rates & Fees) and earns 2X points on everything (on up to $50,000 a year in purchases).

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express comes with a fantastic welcome bonus, and its hefty annual fee of $595 (Rates & Fees) can be offset by a number of valuable annual credits and benefits, such as Priority Pass Select membership and The Centurion Lounge access.

Final Thoughts

ANA Mileage Club isn’t the first program that comes to mind when it comes to award bookings to Europe or Africa. Thanks to its reasonable award rates and a number of sweet spots, it’s definitely worth a deeper dive.

One of the biggest drawbacks is the need to book round-trip tickets. However, the positives, such as the ability to book a free stopover or an open-jaw ticket and excellent pricing for premium cabin award travel, far outweigh the negatives. All of the positive aspects of ANA’s program make it compelling and certainly worth evaluating for your next journey abroad.

Travel well,
Anna