All Nippon Airways (ANA) has reduced fuel surcharges drastically on awards that travel to or from Japan. Now you can fly to Tokyo from the United States for 75,000 miles in flat bed Business Class roundtrip plus low taxes plus a $4–yes four dollar–fuel surcharge. That’s tens of thousands of miles fewer than competitors charge.

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 2.33.42 PM

The above screenshot is of a roundtrip Business Class award flying ANA between Los Angeles and Tokyo in February 2017.

Routing Rules

ANA has two award charts. A cheaper one for flying only ANA flights, and a more expensive one for flying partner flights.

ANA flies between Tokyo and Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York (JFK), San Francisco, San Jose, and Washington D.C.

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 12.25.37 PMIf you don’t live in one of those cities, you can add Saver United award space to get to one of those cities (the United hubs of Washington-Dulles, Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco would be easiest), but that puts you onto the more expensive partner award chart.

When redeeming ANA miles on ANA-operated flights, you can have one stopover if your flight originates outside of Japan. You can also have one open jaw.

 

US to Japan Roundtrip

ANA awards are roundtrip only– no one ways allowed. Hence all prices mentioned in this post are roundtrip.

The price of redeeming ANA miles on ANA-operated flights depends on the time of year. If you fly to Japan during any of the dates listed in the blue section of the chart (basically January, February, or April 2017), you will pay the lowest rates of 40,000 miles roundtrip in economy, 75,000 roundtrip in Business, or 150,000 roundtrip in First Class.
Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 12.28.07 PMHere are the current prices for all cabins (taxes and fuel surcharges for all are roughly $85):

Low Season (January, February, April)

  • North America to Japan in economy: 40,000 ANA miles
  • North America to Japan in Business Class: 75,000 ANA miles
  • North America to Japan in First Class: 150,000 ANA miles

Regular Season (Most of the rest of the year, including most of summer)

  • North America to Japan in economy: 50,000 ANA miles
  • North America to Japan in Business Class: 85,000 ANA miles
  • North America to Japan in First Class: 150,000 ANA miles

High Season (Christmas, New Years, late April to early May, and late July to mid-August)

  • North America to Japan in economy: 55,000 ANA miles
  • North America to Japan in Business Class: 90,000 ANA miles
  • North America to Japan in First Class: 165,000 ANA miles

Any time of year if you include a United flight (same prices as High Season)

  • North America to Japan in economy: 55,000 ANA miles
  • North America to Japan in Business Class: 90,000 ANA miles
  • North America to Japan in First Class: 165,000 ANA miles

For comparison, redeeming American Airlines miles to Japan would cost 70k/120k/160k miles roundtrip in economy/Business/First. Redeeming United miles to Japan would cost 70k/150k/220k miles roundtrip in economy/Business/First on partners.

Flights From the US to Other Countries ANA Flies To

While ANA’s award redemption rates are some of the lowest out of all of the Star Alliance options to a number of regions, their fuel surcharges can be prohibitive. Unfortunately–apart from Japan–fuel surcharges on those awards have remained intact and exorbitant. It appears that ANA has only cut fuel surcharges on awards that touch Japan.

Out of pocket costs to get to Bangkok are over $500, to Delhi are nearly $700, and to Sydney are nearly $900.

Good News from Another Angle

ANA axing fuel surcharges on awards to or from Japan is also beneficial for those of you with any type of Star Alliance miles that collect fuel surcharges when the carrier does (pretty much all of them do except United, Copa, and Avianca). You can now redeem your miles on roundtrip flights between the US and Tokyo (almost) fuel surcharge free!

However, the easiest way for Americans to collect foreign programs’ miles are through cards that earn transferrable points, so it’s most of you reading this have points that can transfer to a variety of programs rather than, say, Lufthansa or Asiana miles outright. In that case, don’t bother transferring to a different Star Alliance partner to redeem on ANA flights since ANA’s mileage prices on their own flights are by far the cheapest to Japan.

How to Search for and Book Award Space

You can search for and book award space right on ANA’s website. Read this post to learn how to use the ANA search tool.

How to Get ANA Miles

ANA is a 1:1 transfer partner of SPG points as well as Membership Rewards.

Until June 22, 2016, the Platinum Card from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz comes with 75,000 Membership Rewards after spending $3,000 in the first three months. Membership Rewards transfer to around 20 hotel and airline programs including Delta, Singapore, and British Airways.

The card has a $475 annual fee in the first year. But it comes with huge benefits like airline fee reimbursement, airport lounge access, and hotel status.

Premium Cabin Award Space to Japan During the Low Season

I checked the Los Angeles to Tokyo route’s award space in both directions for the first portion of the low season in 2017 (January 5 to February 28) to see how much space is available in Business and First Class. It appears to be completely, totally wide open in Business and First Class.

Los Angeles to Tokyo

Pretty much every week has six seats available in Business Class every day. The screenshot below is for six passengers in Business Class:

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 5.12.07 PMSix to seven days each week have four seats available in First Class. The screenshot below is for four passengers in First Class:

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 5.29.06 PM

Tokyo to Los Angeles

Beginning January 11, there are six seats available in Business Class every day. The screenshot below is for six passengers in Business Class:

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 5.15.33 PM

Also beginning January 11, there are four seats available in First Class five to seven days a week. The screenshot below is for four passengers in First Class:Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 5.35.37 PM

Bottom Line

ANA is now only charging $4 fuel surcharges on awards between the United States and Japan that used to be rendered much less attractive by expensive fuel surcharges. Depending on what time of year you travel, it will cost you 40-50,000 miles roundtrip in Economy, 75-90,000 miles roundtrip in Business, and 150-165,000 miles roundtrip in First Class. These prices are well below what competitors charge for the same routes.

Award space during the low season, which costs the least amount miles, is wide open in Business and First Class.

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