Best Ways to Book ANA Business and First Class Awards to Japan

To book ANA's luxurious premium classes for fewer miles, target partner airlines with distance-based award charts.

JT GenterApr 19, 2021
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It's easy to assume that flying in business or first class is going to break your miles or points bank — especially when flying overseas. But that’s not necessarily the case when it comes to flying ANA business and first class to Japan.

By taking advantage of sweet spots, you can book amazing first and business class awards on ANA to Tokyo for surprisingly reasonable rates. And thanks to a solid on-board experience, flying ANA to Japan is an excellent way to cross the Pacific.

What's more, it recently got cheaper to book ANA's award flights. In June 2020, the airline reduced carrier-imposed surcharges for these flights, which means out-of-pocket costs for travelers are even less.

Here are the best ways to book ANA business and first class using points and miles.

ANA routes between the U.S. and Japan

The best ANA sweet spots are priced based on the flight distance and require a nonstop flight to get the cheapest award rate. So it’s important to know which routes ANA operates between the U.S. and Japan.

Here are the routes in operation for summer 2021, along with distances:

U.S. airport

Tokyo airport

Distance

Honolulu

Narita

3,819 miles

Honolulu

Haneda

3,854 miles

Seattle

Haneda

4,803 miles

San Francisco

Narita

5,124 miles

San Francisco

Haneda

5,160 miles

San Jose

Haneda

5,190 miles

Los Angeles

Narita

5,451 miles

Los Angeles

Haneda

5,487 miles

Chicago

Narita

6,274 miles

Chicago

Haneda

6,305 miles

Houston-Bush

Haneda

6,677 miles

New York-JFK

Narita

6,745 miles

New York-JFK

Haneda

6,772 miles

Washington-Dulles

Haneda

6,782 miles

These routes are subject to change and ANA could add or drop routes, so be sure to double-check that the one you want is still available.

Best rewards programs for booking ANA business and first class with points and miles

ANA is a member of Star Alliance, so you can redeem miles from any Star Alliance partner for ANA award flights. However, it's ANA’s other partners — such as Virgin Atlantic and Etihad Airways — that provide some of the best award pricing.

For example, United charges 121,000 MileagePlus miles each way for an ANA first class award between the U.S. and Japan:

Meanwhile, Virgin Atlantic charges 90,000 to 120,000 Virgin points round trip for ANA first class awards between the U.S. and Japan. This is one of the best ways to book ANA first class using points and miles, as you can pay less than half the miles other programs charge.

Let’s start by diving into the best option:

Virgin Atlantic Virgin Points

Virgin points are the best way to book ANA award flights between the U.S. and Japan — with one condition. You need to book a nonstop flight since Virgin charges extra miles if you book a connecting flight.

As long as you meet that condition, the award pricing is great (just cut the amount of miles in half if you're looking for a one-way award flight):

Route

ANA Business Class

ANA First Class

Japan - Hawaii

70,000 (round trip)

90,000 (round trip)

Japan - Western U.S.

90,000 (round trip)

110,000 (round trip)

Japan - Central and Eastern U.S.

95,000 (round trip)

120,000 (round trip)

Even if you don’t have Virgin points, you can still take advantage of this sweet spot. Virgin Atlantic is a transfer partner of:

ANA awards can’t be searched or booked on Virgin Atlantic’s website, so before you transfer points, call Virgin Atlantic or search for award availability through United’s website or ExpertFlyer.

Nerdy tip: Virgin Atlantic will generally let you hold ANA awards for 24 hours to give you time to allow points to transfer.

Etihad Guest Miles

Etihad Guest uses a distance-based redemption chart for ANA flights and charges just 43,000 Etihad Guest miles each way for flight distances from 3,001 to 4,000 miles. That’s far enough to cover ANA’s routes between Honolulu and both Tokyo airports.

Flights from 4,001 to 5,000 miles cost 54,000 Etihad Guest miles in ANA business class. You can fly from Seattle and Tokyo-Haneda for a very reasonable 54,000 miles each way.

Awards in ANA first class cost around double the business class rates, so Etihad Guest isn't an ideal way to book ANA first-class tickets using points.

Flight distance

U.S. airports

ANA Business Class

ANA First Class

3,001 to 4,000

Honolulu

43,000 (one way)

86,000 (one way)

4,001 to 5,000

Seattle

54,000 (one way)

107,000 (one way)

5,001 to 6,000

San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles

63,000 (one way)

133,000 (one way)

6,001 to 7,000

Chicago-ORD, Houston-Bush, New York-JFK, Washington DC-Dulles

78,000 (one way)

156,000 (one way)

Etihad Guest is a transfer partner of:

  • American Express Membership Rewards (1:1 transfer rate).

  • Citi ThankYou Points (1:1).

  • Capital One Miles (4:3).

  • Marriott Bonvoy (3:1 with a 5,000-mile bonus for transferring 60,000 points).

Air Canada Aeroplan Points

Aeroplan uses a combination of a zone- and distance-based program, with the U.S. in its North America zone and Japan in its Pacific zone. Between these two zones, one-way award flights up to 5,000 miles in distance cost 55,000 points in business class and 90,000 points in first class. This covers ANA’s routes from Honolulu and Seattle.

Award rates for flights from 5,001 to 7,500 miles in distance cost 75,000 points each way in business class or 110,000 points each way in business class.

Distance (total including connections)

ANA Business Class

ANA First Class

0 to 5,000 miles

55,000 (one way)

90,000 (one way)

5,001 to 7,500 miles

75,000 (one way)

110,000 (one way)

One of the major advantages of using the Aeroplan program is that you can book connecting itineraries without any extra cost. As long as the total distance of your flights is within the established zone range, you’ll get this pricing. That makes Aeroplan the go-to program for those on the East Coast who need to book a connecting itinerary. You can maximize this by originating as far southeast as Miami:

Aeroplan is a transfer partner of three major transferable point programs:

  • American Express Membership Rewards (1:1 transfer rate).

  • Capital One Miles (4:3).

  • Marriott Bonvoy (3:1 with a 5,000-mile bonus for transferring 60,000 Bonvoy points).

Avianca LifeMiles

The fourth way to book first and business class awards on ANA to Tokyo is through LifeMiles. Compared with other programs, the LifeMiles award chart is straightforward:

Region

ANA Business Class

ANA First Class

Hawaii

48,000 (one way)

66,000 (one way)

U.S.

75,000 (one way)

90,000 (one way)

As with Aeroplan, LifeMiles is a great option to consider when you’re booking a connecting flight. Since it’s a region-based award program, you can originate anywhere in the U.S. as long as you find Star Alliance flights with award availability.

While you can book awards online, the LifeMiles search engine can be incredibly frustrating. So don’t count on finding award availability through LifeMiles, even if there is award availability on the ANA flights, you'll likely be better off booking award flights on other partner airlines.

LifeMiles is a transfer partner of four major transferable points programs:

  • American Express Membership Rewards (1:1 transfer rate).

  • Capital One Miles (4:3).

  • Citi ThankYou Points (1:1).

  • Marriott Bonvoy (3:1 with a 5,000-mile bonus for transferring 60,000 Bonvoy points).

Comparing your options

As you can see, there’s a lot to factor in. To simplify it, here's which airline rewards program is best for certain situations and routes to Japan.

Nonstop flights: Virgin Atlantic is the best if you can book nonstop flights. You’ll pay 35,000 to 47,500 points one-way in business class or 45,000 to 60,000 points each way in first class. Etihad Guest is another good option for nonstop business class awards from Hawaii (43,000 miles), Seattle (54,000 miles), and the rest of the West Coast (63,000 miles)

Connecting first class awards: If you need to book a connecting flight, LifeMiles may be a better option for first class flights. You’ll pay 66,000 LifeMiles each way for first class flights from Hawaii to Japan or 90,000 LifeMiles each way from the U.S. mainland to Japan.

Connecting business class awards: For connecting business class awards, consider LifeMiles (75,000 miles) or Aeroplan (75,000 miles for itineraries up to 7,500 miles).

The bottom line

ANA offers many flights between North America and Asia, and through both the airline's Star Alliance and other partners, you can find affordable ways to book business and first-class tickets with points and miles. However, the best loyalty program depends on your situation.


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