Great ANA Business/First Class Award Space To Japan From August Through End Of Schedule

Right now there’s great business and first class award availability on Star Alliance airline ANA from several US cities to Tokyo and back starting in August and running through the end of the current airline schedule (basically, October). That’s great for connecting onward to Asia.

Two passengers can fly from Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose or Seattle using miles from United (or Chase), Avianca LifeMiles, or even better Virgin Atlantic (which partners with several credit card transferable points programs).

International travel right now isn’t an option for most – especially to Asia – but come summer 2021 the world is likely to look a lot different than it does today. I’m betting that late summer and fall travel is going to be possible, and mileage trips are exactly what you want to be booking given the flexibility to cancel and redeposit miles.

This availability was flagged by Spencer Howard who has done a great job keeping up on frequent flyer award space as it becomes available while many people aren’t searching awards as much as we once were. Spencer runs a free email newsletter where he sends out award availability alerts, consider signing up.

I’m a huge fan of ANA first class, especially the food and service. The Seattle and San Jose flights do not offer first.

Here’s a search for 2 passengers in first class between San Francisco and Tokyo. It shows not just availability between these two cities, but also where there’s availability in first between Tokyo and another U.S. city – provided that there’s also saver award space on United for a connecting domestic flight to or from San Frnacisco.

The best way to book ANA first class awards is using Virgin Atlantic miles. This is one of the best deals in all of travel.

  • You can put the award on a 24 hour hold before transferring points
  • Points transfer from Citibank, American Express, and Chase
  • From the West Coast awards are just 110,000 miles roundtrip, and 120,000 from the Midwest and East Coast.

Other options:

  • ANA for 150,000 miles roundtrip, a Membership Rewards transfer partner but transfers aren’t instant
  • Lifemiles for 90,000 miles each way
  • United for 110,000 miles each way

As soon as I’m able I want to make a trip back to Tokyo for sushi and then onto Southeast Asia for laksa, prawn mee soup, and any number of other meals. And flying ANA first (or business) class is a good way to do it.

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. Gary, when would you feel comfortable scheduling an international trip again? I had a trip to London in August I had to cancel, and am starting to think about rescheduling.

  2. Gary, I’m not seeing any availability on Virgin Atlantic website, they’re all showing 165k from the east coast instead of 120k. I do see availability for the same date on Aeroplan, what am I missing?

  3. @Ron – Virgin Atlantic’s website doesn’t show ANA award space. Best to search with United, Aeroplan, or Expert Flyer then call Virgin Atlantic to book. The phone reps are great. Just need to tell them the dates and flights you want.

  4. I have noticed that ever since the NYC – TYO route was updated the awrds on that route have been slim pickings. Maybe a J or F seat here or there, but never two, even in in J. Anyone have ideas on when it may open up?

  5. @ Gary — Thanks. Booked with LifeMiles for late Oct 2021 LAX-HND. Trip sounds awesome in theory; cancelling and dealing with LM sounds like a PITA. Fingers crossed…

  6. No availability for 2 out of SFO. The only seats in business are with Air Canada. Nothing for ANA on the United site for ANA. Been looking for months nothing on ANA metal.

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