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By: Bryce Conway, Founder of 10xTravel.com
Hi Travel Junkies,
I just booked two round-trip flights for my wife and I to fly to Tokyo this October on ANA First Class!
After a couple weeks of searching, much of it with the help of 10xT Editor-in-Chief Spencer Howard, I was able to secure two first class tickets from Houston to Tokyo, then home via Washington D.C. for just 120,000 Virgin Atlantic miles (transferred from Amex Membership Rewards) and $256.51 per ticket.
This is arguably one of the best redemptions in all of points/miles, as these first class tickets typically go for ~$20,000 each. And for good reason, each passenger has their own little “cubicle” type seat complete with a 23″ TV to make the 15+ hour flight a little less painful.
ANA First Class seat, image courtesy of ANA.com
Oh, and they serve Krug Champagne and Hibiki 21 Whisky on board, which retails for ~$500 a bottle if you can find it. So bank on a boozy flight review from me this coming October.
ANA serves Hibki 21 Whisky in First Class, which retails for ~$500 a bottle
Anyway, booking ANA First Class with Virgin Atlantic miles is nothing new in the world of points/miles. But my process of securing this tickets was a bit unique.
Here’s how it went down.
The Initial Search
My wife and I had a couple million points/miles to burn and our sights set on taking another trip to Asia this coming fall for ~7-10 days. To be honest, the flights themselves were just about as important as the destination. We were open to going just about anywhere if we could score First or Business Class flights at saver level with convenient itineraries.
So Spencer and I started running through all the options and comparing notes.
ANA First Class was easily the top choice because it is one of the best products in the sky and you can book it for just 120,000 miles round-trip via Virgin Atlantic. But there were a few problems with this strategy:
- ANA generally only releases 2 first class saver-level seats per flight
- You have to book a round-trip flight to get the 120k price, meaning you have to find saver space both to and from Tokyo
- ANA only flies to Tokyo from a handful of US airports (and my hometown of Columbus, OH is definitely not one of them)
- Most folks in the points/miles world are aware of how to use just 120k miles to book ANA F round-trip and…
- Those folks had a 6+ month head start on me in booking these tickets
Naturally, I was not very optimistic that I would find availability.
And I was right. After days of searching Spencer and I were only able to find one single option that worked for the rest of the year. Which of course fell on the few dates that I was not able to travel for the remainder of 2018. I had to pass on it.
But having spent a few days reading about ANA First Class I was determined to book via any other available method. Even if it was going to cost a substantial amount of points/miles.
Booking ANA First Class (The First Time)
So I found saver space on United from Houston to Tokyo for 110,000 miles and $5.60 per ticket, transferred 220,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United, and booked two one-way flights.