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Mileage Club, the loyalty program of Japan-based All Nippon Airways, offers excellent value when you redeem miles for economy class flights. ANA is a member of the Star Alliance, which means you can also use Mileage Club miles to book flights on Star Alliance partner airlines like United, as well as with some non-Star Alliance airline partners, like Virgin Atlantic.
You don’t have to fly to Japan to earn ANA Mileage Club miles. For instance, if you have an American Express card that pays Membership Rewards points, you can transfer them to ANA.
No matter whether you pay with miles or cash, you’ll find the lowest rates when you book your ANA seat in economy class. Here's what you need to know before booking your ticket.
» Learn more: The best AmEx transfer partners — and ones to avoid
What to expect flying economy with ANA
This ANA economy review should help you know what to expect on your next flight.
Baggage. Economy passengers are allowed up to two checked bags weighing no more than 50 pounds each. Checked bags can’t exceed a linear measurement (length plus width plus height) of 62 inches, including the wheels and handle. If you need to check additional bags, you can use ANA miles to pay the bag fees or you can pay cash. If you’re traveling with a child under 2 years old who doesn't have their own seat, you can check one additional bag.
Boarding. If you’re flying economy, expect to be in one of the last boarding groups. ANA international flights have boarding Groups 1 through 6, and you can find your group number on your boarding pass.
Seats. If you’re flying ANA from the U.S. to Japan, you’ll probably be on a large aircraft like a 787. The legroom is decent — usually about 34 inches in pitch, which is the distance from the back of your seat to the back of the seat in front of you. Wi-Fi is available for a fee, but free in-flight entertainment (movies, music, TV, etc.) is available. Amenities for ANA economy passengers include a pillow and blanket.
Upgraded economy tickets. ANA also offers a premium economy ticket in addition to ANA economy. Premium economy passengers receive priority baggage, ANA lounge access at select airports, wider seat pitch and width than economy, additional dining and drink options, and additional amenities, like slippers.
Food and drinks. A typical meal in ANA economy might consist of a regional curry dish plus natural yeast bread. Snacks, wine, Japanese sake and soft drinks are offered to ANA economy passengers, too. Prior to departure from Japan, economy passengers can also request paid in-flight meal service. Details on paid meal service options can be found here.
Service. ANA has a good reputation for customer service, including in-flight service.
Ways to get good value
Book an ANA award flight
Using ANA miles to book an economy class flight can offer good value when compared to other airline loyalty programs. As an example, 40,000 ANA miles books you a round-trip economy flight from the U.S. to Japan during low season. Alternatively, Avianca LifeMiles and United Airlines MileagePlus require 70,000 miles round-trip for the same destinations.
Note that ANA requires you to book round-trip award flights whether you’re flying on its own planes or its partner airline flights.
Consider paying cash — even if you have miles
Sometimes paying for your ANA economy flight with miles is not as good as paying with cash. The reason? Those miles could be more valuable if you saved them for a spacious business class seat on a partner airline.
For example, TAP Air Portugal is also a member of the Star Alliance. If you wanted to go to Europe from the U.S., you could use 88,000 ANA miles to book a round-trip business class TAP flight. That’s a very competitive rate for a luxurious business class flight. It might, in some cases, justify paying a relatively low cash fare for your ANA economy flight now so you can redeem miles for a business class seat on a partner airline later.
Relax in an airport lounge before your economy flight
A ticket in ANA economy class doesn’t get you into an airport lounge. But if you have the right credit card, you can take advantage of its benefits to relax in a lounge before your ANA economy class flight. The The Platinum Card® from American Express offers access to AmEx Centurion lounges and Priority Pass lounges — even when you’re flying economy. Enrollment required. Terms apply.
If you fly ANA economy
ANA Mileage Club continues to offer one of the most competitive airline programs when it comes to using its miles to book award flights. ANA economy tickets don't offer as many perks and amenities, like lounge access, that you’ll find when flying ANA premium economy, business and first class flights. However, with ANA’s reputation for top-notch service, you're bound to have an enjoyable experience, even in ANA economy.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card