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 GenterOct 18, 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 ANA's mileage program or partner 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 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 either priced based on the flight distance or require a nonstop flight on ANA 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 spring 2022, along with the 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-O'Hare.

Narita.

6,274 miles.

Chicago-O'Hare.

Haneda.

6,305 miles.

Houston-Intercontinental.

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, ANA’s own mileage program and its nonalliance partners — such as Virgin Atlantic and Etihad Airways — provide 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 just 55,000 Virgin Points for the same award flight. 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. However, if you are able to find round-trip award availability, ANA's Mileage Club generally provides the best award rates.

Best for round-trip awards: ANA Mileage Club

For round-trip awards, it's best to book through ANA's own Mileage Club program. During low-season dates, you can pay as few as 75,000 ANA miles for a round-trip business class award between North America and Japan. Even during high-season dates, you won't pay more than 90,000 ANA miles round trip for business class to Japan — as long as you can find award availability.

First class awards are roughly double business class rates. Awards between North America and Japan start at 150,000 miles round trip during low season and increase to 165,000 miles round trip during high season. Still, this is solid award pricing considering United charges 121,000 miles each way for flights in ANA first class.

Flights from Hawaii to Japan are even cheaper. You'll have to pay just 60,000 ANA miles round trip for business class awards or 120,000 ANA miles round trip for first class. Aviation nerds will especially love flying on this route, as it's operated using ANA's unique Flying Honu Airbus A380 aircraft.

ANA is also a great option for continuing on to destinations beyond Japan. Depending on the season, you can fly to parts of Asia for as few as 80,000 miles round trip in business class. Or, fly all the way to Australia for as few as 105,000 miles round trip in ANA business class.

Between North America and ...

ANA business class

ANA first class

South Korea, Russia 1, Asia 1 (e.g., Seoul, China, Hong Kong, Manila)

Between 80,000 and 95,000 (round trip).

Between 165,000 and 180,000 (round trip).

Asia 2 (e.g., Singapore, Bangkok, Delhi, Kuala Lumpur)

Between 100,000 and 115,000 (round trip).

Between 195,000 and 210,000 (round trip).

Oceania (e.g., Sydney, Perth)

Between 105,000 and 120,000 (round trip).

Between 210,000 and 225,000 (round trip).

To get ANA Mileage Club miles, you can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points at a 1:1 transfer ratio. Or you can transfer Marriott Bonvoy points to ANA at a 3:1 ratio, plus a 5,000-mile bonus for transferring 60,000 points.

Best for nonstop one-way flights: Virgin Atlantic Virgin Points

Virgin Points are the best way to book one-way 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:

Route

ANA business class

ANA first class

Japan - Hawaii

35,000 (one way).

45,000 (one way).

Japan - Western U.S.

45,000 (one way).

55,000 (one way).

Japan - Central and Eastern U.S.

47,500 (one way).

60,000 (one way).

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-O'Hare, Houston-Intercontinental, New York-JFK, Washington-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 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 fifth option for booking 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 you can find award availability on 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 the programs

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.

Round-trip flights only on ANA: If you're departing from one of ANA's U.S. destinations and can find round-trip award availability, your best bet is ANA Mileage Club. Depending on the season, business class awards between the U.S. and Japan start at just 75,000 miles round trip. Plus, you have the option to fly onward to parts of Asia for as few as 80,000 miles round trip or to Australia for as few as 105,000 miles round trip.

One-way nonstop flights: If you're only booking one-way — or can find award availability in only one direction — Virgin Atlantic is your best option for 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).

If you're considering flying ANA business or first class

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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