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Because you can use any type of Star Alliance miles to book any Star Alliance flight, I’ve put the eight best Star Alliance award charts into one spreadsheet. Check out why I chose these eight award charts and how Americans can get these miles here. Check out the cheapest awards within the mainland USA, to Canada, to Hawaii, and to Alaska, the cheapest awards to Latin America and the Caribbean, the cheapest awards to Europe, and the cheapest awards to Africa and the Middle East.

Today let’s look at the cheapest Star Alliance Awards to North Asia. The award charts I’ll be comparing define North Asia very differently and sometimes split the area into more than one region, so if an award price intrigues you, search for its award chart to find its definition of North Asia.

Remember, the spread sheets in this post only capture one part of an award: its mileage price. The routing rules and fuel surcharges matter too. Where relevant, I will note those as we go through the regions, but here are a two big things that apply to all charts:

  • United, Copa, and LifeMiles never collect fuel surcharges. All the others collect fuel surcharges on most awards.
  • All programs allow one way redemptions for the prices listed on the charts except ANA. It only allows roundtrip redemptions for double the price on the chart. I used its fictitious “one way price” that you can’t actually book just to more easily compare to the programs that do allow one way bookings.

Cheapest Awards to North Asia

For awards starting in the mainland United States and flying to the Middle East, these are the prices:

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Let me explain a few things:

  • United has two award charts. The cheaper one for flying United (or mostly United if you follow these rules) and the more expensive one is to fly its partners.
  • The left of the slashes within United’s and Copa’s columns are prices to Japan. The right of the slashes are the prices to the rest of North Asia.
  • ANA has two separate prices for awards to Japan depending on your routing. Those are the first two numbers in each cell. The most expensive price in each cell is its price to Korea, China, Taiwan, and Philippines.
Fuel Surcharges

United, Copa, and LifeMiles don’t collect fuel surcharges on award tickets.

Asiana, ANA, and Singapore don’t collect fuel surcharges on awards on United-operated flights. They do collect fuel surcharges on all other flights that have fuel surcharges as part of a normal cash ticket.

Lufthansa collects fuel surcharges on all flights that have fuel surcharges as part of a normal cash ticket.

Aeroplan collects fuel surcharges on Air Canada, ANA, and Asiana flights. Aeroplan does not collect fuel surcharges on Air China, Singapore, and United flights.

You can figure out the fuel surcharges by calling the airline whose miles you want to use or just looking on ITA Matrix. Take fuel surcharges into account when determining which miles to use.

Best Deals

ANA has by far the cheapest awards (remember that ANA awards must be roundtrip), but you will pay fuel surcharges unless you fly United. United Business Class for 85,000 miles roundtrip from the United States to Japan is a steal. ANA’s prices are so low, fuel surcharges may even be worth paying. You can go to China for 95,000 miles roundtrip in Business Class, when the cheapest fuel-surcharge-free award is 150,000 LifeMiles.

If you want to avoid fuel surcharges on all airlines, United’s 80,000 mile price for partner Business Class is fair. If you want to fly partner First Class, like Asiana’s awesome First Class on its A380 (trip report), book with LifeMiles. You can pay 90,000 LifeMiles one way in First Class instead of 120,000 United miles.

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Searching and Booking the Awards

A truism of miles is that–with few exceptions–award space is equally available to all partners. One corollary is that you can search any award search engine that displays an airline’s award space, and if space is there, you can book it with any partner.

All Star Alliance partner award space is searchable on Here’s how to search for award space on All the award space you find there is bookable with all the miles discussed in this post. Ignore the price quoted on You will pay the price on the award chart of the miles you’re using.

To book, call the airline whose miles you’re using (or go to their website to book online if you can.) Feed the agent the award space you found on

Getting the Miles

ANA miles, United miles, and LifeMiles are the best to North Asia.

ANA miles are a 1:1 transfer partner of SPG Starpoints (or 20k Starpoints to 25k ANA miles), and a 1:1 transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards.

United miles can be earned on the personal, business, and Club cards from Chase. United is also a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards.

LifeMiles can be purchased. Right now, they are on sale for a very cheap 1.4 cents each.

Bottom Line

ANA offers really cheap awards to North Asia that are all the more attractive if you can avoid fuel surcharges by flying United. Otherwise, United’s chart to the region in partner Business Class is fair, and there are no fuel surcharges on any United awards. If you want to fly ANA or Asiana First Class, I’d book with LifeMiles.

For the most part, all Star Alliance partners have access to the same award space on all airlines. There are differences in routing rules and fuel surcharges, so pay attention to more than just the mileage price when deciding which miles to use to book your award.


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