Fantastic First Class Award Availability to Asia on One of the World’s Best Airlines

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ANA first class availability, booked far in advance, is outstanding right now. And it’s accessible using miles from a variety of programs — in the Star Alliance and through other airline partnerships as well. They offer one of the best and most consistent first class products in the world. It’s not as flashy as Emirates or Etihad, but the service and food are fantastic.

I recently wrote about availability on the Washington Dulles – Tokyo route. Right now there’s great availability between Houston and Tokyo Narita for two passengers between July and December. Dotted lines generally show dates where this is available.

Availability isn’t as great in the other direction, but there are still flights were two passenger first class awards are on offer.

Here are the flights.

Booking ANA first class awards:

  • Roundtrip first class between the US and Japan on ANA for 110,000 – 120,000 Virgin Atlantic miles From the West Coast it’s just 110,000 miles for first class (90,000 in business class). I’ve booked a Houston – Tokyo Narita first class roundtrip for 120,000 miles and $169.26 in taxes (no fuel surcharges).

    You can put the award on hold for 24 hours. Points transfer from partners instantly. Roundtrip travel is required, Virgin Atlantic awards have a $50 per passenger change fee, and a cancel/redeposit fee of $50 as well. No changes are permitted within 24 hours of travel.

  • United on the other hand charges 110,000 miles each way.

  • Aeroplan charges 105,000 miles each way.

  • Avianca LifeMiles charges 90,000 miles each way.

With United, Aeroplan, or LifeMiles you can easily add ANA connecting flights beyond Japan to destinations throughout much of Asia albeit for additional miles if your destination is in South Asia.

Notably Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer to United — or to Virgin Atlantic. There are three Chase cards you can apply for whose points transfer to airline miles and hotel points.

  • Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card has the best signup bonus — 80,000 point signup bonus after $5000 spend within 3 months. That can even be enough for a roundtrip business class award ticket between the US and Europe.

    It earns 3 points per dollar on travel — that’s airlines, hotels, rental cars, tolls, even Uber — and 3 points per dollar on shipping and advertising on social media and search engines, so great for anyone who advertises on Facebook or Twitter, or who spends money advertising with Google. It also comes with $600 protection against theft or damage when you use it to pay your cell phone.

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred Card lets you earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

    The card earns two points on travel and dining at restaurants and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide. The card has an introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95. I suggest it as the number on card to get started with in miles and points. Get Sapphire Reserve later, perhaps, the card’s annual fee makes this the one to get first.

American Express points transfer to Aeroplan or to Virgin Atlantic. And Citibank points transfer to Virgin Atlantic as well.

I consider ANA first class to be a top 10 product, notably it’s not Singapore, Etihad or Emirates first but it’s a great way to get between the US and Asia.

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About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Avianca seems to error out before payment and be unable to book the space- while removing it from inventory 🙁

  2. I literally searched NYC-TYO and came up with nothing yesterday for the next entire year.

    Perks of NYC 🙁

    There’s no way to make this work from/to NYC without a positioning ticket?

  3. I thought youd been on top of the mini-scandal involving top EPA guy taking first class flights. Why? Well, he flew emirates between Milan and the US, rather than one of the many US based airlines that fly between Europe and the US.

  4. @JJJ

    I don’t know for sure, but the way these things go, I wouldn’t be surprised if JetBlue (operated by Emirates) holds that government contract 😉

    I’m loath to defend any official from this administration, but those reports calling Emirates J “one of the most exclusive in the world” are a bit uninformed. Someone’s buying the marketing hype…

  5. Great post! 2 quick questions:
    1. How is it there are no fuel surcharges using Virgin Atlantic miles? Is that only on VS flights?
    2. As a fellow Austinite, would we need to get to IAH on our own or is it possible to incorporate that into an ANA itinerary?


  6. The EPA political staff is clearly not following the spirit of the rules, even if they got ethics opinions that might cover them as to the letter of the rules (the “security” exception). I think the IG investigation will go poorly for them.

    “I don’t know for sure, but the way these things go, I wouldn’t be surprised if JetBlue (operated by Emirates) holds that government contract”

    The FY 18 contract for WAS-Milan is held by DL, for connecting service at $428 each way in Y. There is no J contract fare; those are rare, typically between WAS and cities that have a lot of potentially allowable gov J travel (eg. LON, which is AA this FY).

    The rules about gov-paid business class are at FTR 301-10.123. The most legitimate one IMHO is the 14 hours in transit exception, and that is only allowable if you start working when your feet hit the ground. If you fly in Y for that long, you get a rest day either in transit (ie. a stopover city) or on arrival with per diem if you turn down the J flight, which is _always_ less expensive to the taxpayer. Eg. if you are going to GUM, you can take a day at TYO or HNL, or at GUM. WAS-MXP is not > 14 hours.

  7. So what am I missing, why is it so much lower for VS instead of UA?

    Are there fuel charges on VS awards?

    Heard also that you can transfer points to ANA and redeem TATL awards with far fewer miles than you could on UA as well.

  8. Just back from Bangkok on Ana in business on saver award. Even in business the food and service were fantastic. Hope I can score another cheap award ticket again!

  9. @Tom you would need to get to IAH on your own. Fuel surcharges on an award are based on what the fuel surcharges would be on a paid ticket and it happens they don’t apply on these Japan flights

  10. Can I book or redeem ANA business class via ANA site using United Points?

    Still unclear about this even if they are partners.

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