How to Make the Most of ANA’s First Class

ANA has a top-rated first class, so take advantage of the comfy configuration and airport lounge access, too.
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Written by Carissa Rawson
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Edited by Kevin Berry
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ANA’s first class is one of the best in the world — its passengers experience high-end service, private suites and fabulous food. Here’s what you need to know about the first class experience on ANA.

What to expect flying first class with ANA

ANA is one of the few airlines in the world to have achieved a perfect five-star rating from Skytrax, an airline rating company, which considers the flight experience as well as customer service, airport services and lounges.

ANA's amenities, seats, service and food stretch across all cabins, but nowhere is this more on display than ANA’s first class, especially on a plane with The Suite. In fact, the experience is so good that ANA’s first class was reviewed as one of the top in the world according to Skytrax’s annual awards, coming in No. 7 in 2019.

  • Baggage allowance. Passengers flying in first class can check up to three bags free. The weight limit for each bag is 70 pounds (32 kilograms).

  • Boarding. First class passengers have priority boarding, following those needing special assistance (during nonpandemic times).

  • Seats/Suites. ANA has three configurations of first class seats depending on the destination. The newest, dubbed The Suite, features a 1-2-1 configuration and a sliding door. The A380 seats are similar, but its first-class cabins contain The Square, which, while private, don't include a door.

  • Lounges. Passengers flying in first class have access to the ANA Suite Lounge at two airports in Tokyo, Kansai International Airport in Japan and Honolulu's international airport, as well as any Star Alliance partner lounges.

  • Suite check-in. ANA first class international and domestic passengers flying from Tokyo's Narita airport can check in at the Suite Lounge.

How to book a first class ticket with ANA

You can choose to pay with cash or award miles to book a first class ticket with ANA and both choices can be booked online. ANA doesn’t operate its first class suite on all airliners. You’ll want to make sure when you’re booking that your specific flight offers a first class cabin.

To book, head to ANA’s website. When paying for a flight, input your information in the search bar located on the landing page.

If you’re using miles, log in and click "Award Booking." From there, you’ll put in your details, such as flight date, route and fare class. ANA shows the results on a single page, so you can see the seats available in each cabin.

As a member of Star Alliance, the world’s largest airline alliance, you also have plenty of choices for choosing to book with a partner airline. These include United, Air Canada, Avianca and Lufthansa, though not every option will provide a great value when redeeming reward points. ANA also has a partnership with Virgin Atlantic that allows you to redeem Virgin points for a ANA first class seat.

Ways to get good value in ANA first class

Book via ANA

ANA can be stingy when it comes to releasing award space for first class seats, which makes sense given that the cash price for these tickets costs upward of $20,000.

However, when you find award space, 150,000 miles can be redeemed for a round-trip flight. Because ANA doesn’t pass on its own surcharges for award tickets, it’ll cost under $100 in taxes and fees. Bear in mind that ANA doesn’t allow you to book one-way tickets, only round-trip or open-jaw.

You can increase your ANA mileage balance by transferring points from American Express at a 1:1 ratio. You can also transfer Marriott Bonvoy points to ANA at a 3:1 ratio, with a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 points you transfer.

Book with Virgin Atlantic or Lifemiles

Virgin Atlantic is possibly the best deal for redeeming miles on first class ANA flights. A ticket will set you back 110,000 to 120,000 miles round trip, depending on the departure airport within the continental U.S. You’ll pay a little more in fees, but Virgin Atlantic allows you to transfer points from AmEx, Chase and Citi, which means building your balance could be easier.

All of these programs transfer over to Virgin Atlantic at a 1:1 ratio, though transfer can take up to 48 hours. Marriott Bonvoy points transfer to Virgin at a 3:1 ratio and include a 5,000 point bonus for every 60,000 Bonvoy points transferred. Virgin often allows you to put up to a 24-hour hold on a ticket while your miles post.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Unlike ANA, Virgin allows booking of both round-trip and one-way award flights, but you can’t book online. Instead, you’ll need to call customer service at 800-862-8621 and have them issue the ticket. Because you can’t find these flights on Virgin’s website, you’ll want to look elsewhere to find available seats. United’s website is a good option. If you find award availability on United’s website, you should be able to call Virgin and book that same ticket.

If you’re looking to fly one-way, Avianca Lifemiles is a good bet; it will cost 90,000 miles for a one-way ticket. (Based on our most recent analysis, NerdWallet values Avianca LifeMiles at 1.2 cents each.)

Fly from specific U.S. airports to experience United’s Polaris lounges

Since you’ll be flying in first class on a Star Alliance airline, you’ll have access to United’s flagship Polaris lounges. These high-end lounges offer restaurant-style dining and luxurious furnishings.

United currently operates locations in Chicago, Houston, Newark, Los Angeles and San Francisco, with plans to open lounges in Washington, D.C., Hong Kong, London and Tokyo.

Final thoughts on ANA first class

ANA’s first class is one of the best in the world, though flying it won’t come cheap. Cash tickets regularly cost over $20,000, but you can experience the luxury by using 110,000 miles with Virgin Atlantic or 150,000 miles on ANA.

Once onboard, you’ll enjoy high class amenities in your private seat. Be sure to arrive early at the airport to take full advantage of first class lounge access.

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