How to Use the ANA Search Tool for Awards with United Miles

Yesterday I warned about the drawbacks of searching United.com for Star Alliance award availability  Sometimes, United.com will display phantom award space. Seats will show as available but in reality they simply aren’t there.

The best way to confirm Star Alliance award space is using the All Nippon Airways (ANA) search tool. ANA’s tool is trickier to use, but it’s the most reliable.

Unfortunately, ANA restricts members from searching Star Alliance availability unless they have miles in their account. This is presumably to curb the usage of the search engine by people who have United or US Airways miles but want to search ANA. ANA wants their site to be used by loyal ANA frequent flyers.

Fortunately, there is a trick to using the ANA search tool without any miles in your account! If you haven’t already, the first thing you need to do is sign up for a ANA Mileage Club account here. Though this page looks like a credit card application (no annual fee!) simply click “Apply Here” at the bottom of the screen.

After filling in your pertinent information, you will be assigned a Mileage Club frequent flyer number and a password. You can now click on the “Mileage Club” button at the top of the screen.

You will then be taken to the main ANA frequent flyer page. Click “For Details” on the Using Miles tab.

Once on the Using Miles page, you should click “Partner Flight Awards.”

You will be taken to page with the handy ANA distance-based mileage chart and their routing rules. From here, click the small tab “Application & Ticketing” near the top of the screen.

You are given the option of phoning the ANA call center to book your award or simply searching using their online tool. We want to search online, so click the “members-only function” to reach the search query page.

You will be asked to log in to your account before continuing. Enter your ANA number and your password before hitting continue.

We have finally reached the award search page! To skip the previous steps, it might be handy to bookmark the search page for future queries.

Though we arrived at the award search page, notice that the Star Alliance Partner search is grayed out. I don’t have any miles in my account. Luckily there is a work around. Click “ANA International Flight Awards” to search for award seats on ANA-metal only.

You have to start with a dummy search because you can only search ANA operated flights.

The route you enter doesn’t matter just as long as it’s served by ANA. I always enter Los Angeles <-> Tokyo-Haneda (feel free to choose a different ANA route) and select the number of seats I want. The dates don’t matter either as you can change them later. After entering the airport codes and number of passengers, I then hit “Next” to look for award space.

You will see plenty of options on the next screen. After all, ANA serves Los Angeles to Tokyo with several nonstops. They are immaterial, though. You need to scroll down to the bottom of the screen and click “Use Star Alliance Member Airlines.”

Congratulations, as you have gone through the backdoor and can now search all Star Alliance partners. The search screen is nearly identical to the ANA-only screen. You should delete the “LAX” and “HND” airport codes before beginning your real search. Also change the third drop down (below “Select Region” and “Select Country”) back to “Select Airport.” If you don’t, your new search will likely yield an error message.

Can I plug in my city pairs and expect ANA to come up with good itineraries?

No. Searching Kansas City <-> Mumbai likely won’t yield anything usable. You should search segment by segment.

How do I search multiple segments?

Click the blue button “Flight Search” to add segments to your query.

This seems tedious. Any shortcuts?

Searching united.com is faster but can sometimes display false positives as we detailed yesterday. United’s site is a great place to get ideas while confirming them using ANA’s tool.

I never fly ANA, what’s the best way to deposit miles in my account to lift the Star Alliance search restriction?

American Express Membership Rewards transfer to ANA at a 1:1 ratio. Note that the minimum transfer amount is 1,000, and it usually takes around 48 hours for the miles to post to your Mileage Club account.

ANA is also a transfer partner of Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) points. Regular SPG members with no status must transfer a minimum of 2,500 points. Gold members  have a 1,500 point transfer minimum, and Platinum members have no restrictions. They can transfer 1 mile.

I value my Membership Rewards highly, do ANA miles have any value?

Absolutely! Scott detailed ANA’s great distance-based award chart in his post, How to Save Thousands of Miles Booking United Flights: Use Membership Rewards on ANA.

Though ANA assesses fuel surcharges on all Star Alliance partner flights except United and US Airways, their chart has some great sweet spots that allow for low mileage redemptions.

Recap

ANA’s search tool is the final word on Star Alliance availability. If united.com displays the space but you don’t see it on ANA’s site, the award isn’t bookable.

ANA restricts Star Alliance partner award searches to its own frequent flyers with a mileage balance. Luckily there is a work around that lets you bypass this requirement, though it takes a few extra steps.

If you don’t have the patience, simply utilize ANA’s two primary transfer partners American Express Membership Rewards and SPG Starpoints. Having a balance will ensure the Star Alliance search restriction is lifted.

24 Responses to How to Use the ANA Search Tool for Awards with United Miles

  1. Brilliant Scott!

  2. Good article. Does awardnexus work with ANA?

  3. It’s absolutely worth the nominal value of a few MR to have an ANA balance and have access to their tool without doing the workaround every time you log in–not to mention access to the 7-day tool (which is probably the most useful aspect of their site) and the “search the single airline” tool which is nice too if you’re looking exclusively for LH F.

  4. I can’t remember when or what it is that I did, but I seem to have 100 miles in my account?!
    WooHoo! So the Star Alliance Partner search is not grayed out for me.

    Awesome.

  5. it doesnt have a oneway tab, do you have to input the return date if you just want oneway , segment by segment ?

  6. Would Aeroplan also be a good way to double check United.com? Why is ANA the best over other star alliance search engines such as Aeroplan’s?

  7. I used to search through ANA website for star alliance award, but it seems like it’s not showing everything. For example, I had to book my brother’s ticket to LAX-ICN-LAX, I couldn’t find any business class seat, so i check again with united.com and it was showing Thai business class for the date I want so I was able to book it using us airways miles.
    Anyone had same problem?

  8. Why does ANA charge relatively huge fees? E.g., round trip EWR to NCE, ANA charges 43,000 miles and $485 per person; United 60,000 miles and $100 per person?

  9. I understand that Amex MR points can be transferred to ANA. Do you know if the names on both sides have to match? In contrast, Chase’s UR points can be transferred to UA account without the names matching (i.e., I can transfer my UR points to anyone’s UA account).

    Thanks for the great article

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  11. Martin Williams

    Many thanks for your great article on using the ANA Award Tool. I had heard about it for years, but it’s definitely not easy to use without some help!

    Thanks to you, I have already booked two Business Class award trips:

    First, for 100,000 UA miles, for July in Amsterdam, etc. and a Second, for 120,000 US miles to SGN, TPE, and PEK in August. The timing was perfect to also take advantage of the IHG Pointsbreaks award for 5,000 point/night at the IC Asiana Saigon Residences.

  12. Couldn’t you next time you send flowers just use:

    http://www.ftd.com/anamileageclub/

    to get points to get access?

  13. I had a 1 day car rental with an ANA partner car agency in California, and provided them with my ANA account number and they posted the miles. You need to first create an account with ANA, then try to figure out their car rental partners in the USA. I got 300 ANA miles for that one day and now I never have to do work-arounds to use their valuable award search engine.

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  15. i used ANA to search for a US domestic flight.
    -the results show “OK”, but the box above “OK” is gray. what does this mean please?

    -does ANA allow 1-way rewards?

    -does ANA charge YQ on SQ please?
    thanks

    • I don’t know. But any saver space that united.com shows on US Airways flights, ANA has access to.

      No.

      Yes. The only partners without YQ are United and US Airways.

  16. Thanks for this excellent post!. My question is that I have good amount of United miles but zero ANA miles. I am able to search United flight on ANA by using the above trick. I wanted to uses ANA website to buy a ticket from New York(EWR) to London(LHR) in economy using my united miles as they require only 38,000 miles VS 60,000 through United website. Is this a possibility? if yes, how? If there’s any other better way of doing this please let me know.
    Thanks once again and God bless you.
    Sheriey

    • Using United miles, you pay the United chart’s price, so what you’re hoping to do is not possible unfortunately.

  17. Thanks Scott for your prompt response. I understand now!

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