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All Nippon Airlines (ANA), Japan’s second-biggest carrier, is a member of the world's largest airline alliance, Star Alliance, and also has partnerships with several non-alliance airlines including Etihad, Hawaiian, and Virgin Atlantic.
ANA has a complex set of award charts which we detail in a separate post, so to keep this post as clear as possible, we'll focus on the award booking process, which awards you can book online, and touch on award rules and fees. After that, check out some ANA Mileage Club Award Sweet Spots.
How to Earn ANA Mileage Club Miles
One of the most common questions when dealing with foreign frequent flyer programs is “how do I get the required miles for an award?” This is straightforward for ANA.
Mileage Club is a transfer partner of both Membership Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy, and also offers a US-based co-brand credit card through First National Bank of Omaha.
The ANA Card U.S.A. offers a 5,000-mile signup bonus after your first purchase and earns 1 mile per dollar spent on all purchases, with a 25% bonus on ANA spending.
Would we recommend it? The short of it is, no. When compared to any of the Amex cards below or the Marriott co-brand cards, it doesn’t have near the perks or flexibility of these cards, nor does it offer any bonus categories.
That said, the card is advertised as “… an opportunity to build credit history in America…” and could work as an entry level card for those looking to build their credit profile. The card also offers free FICO® scores which is a bonus.
Transfer Points to ANA from Membership Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy
As a transfer partner of Membership Rewards, you can transfer points from any MR earning card including some of our favorites. Plus, as one of Marriott Bonvoy’s 40+ airline transfer partners, Marriott members can transfer points to ANA at a 3:1 ratio with a bonus 5,000 ANA miles when you transfer in blocks of 60,000 Bonvoy points.
- The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
- American Express® Business Gold Card
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
- Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express® Card
- Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card
- The Platinum Card® from American Express
Rules, Fees, and Charges for ANA Mileage Club Awards
Before we get too deep into the how-to side of booking, we’ll touch on the award fees and charges passed on by ANA, and a few of the rules around changes and cancellations.
- Fuel surcharges. ANA passes on carrier-imposed surcharges for (most) partner airlines that collect them, some of the exceptions being Air Canada, Air New Zealand, Etihad, Hawaiian, and United (although they do collect United flying US-Asia).
- Airport fees. ANA passes on the standard airport/government fees and taxes charged for all award tickets.
- 3,000 p/p to cancel awards. ANA charges a 3,000-mile fee per person when refunding miles for unused awards. The 3,000 miles will be deducted from the refund and is subtracted from the oldest accrued miles.
- Cannot book awards within 96 hours of departure. ANA doesn’t allow you to book close-in award fares within 96 hours of departure which is offest by the fact they don’t charge a close-in ticketing fee.
- $25 phone booking fee. ANA charges a $25 phone reservation fee for award tickets issued in the US (the fee is roughly the same in other ticketing countries but charged in your local currency—see the fees and charges page for details.
- No change fees. There are no change fees; however, the deadline for changes is 96 hours prior to your award flight departure.
- Stopovers, layovers, and open jaws. By far one of the hardest parts of booking ANA awards to understand, we cover this in more detail in our post on ANA charts. Essentially, you can plan up to 1 stopover and 1 open jaw per round-trip award, which brings us to the last point.
- No one-way awards. All ANA international awards are round-trip. And just for added confusion, you cannot mix alliance and non-alliance partner awards. So, for example, if you want to fly Etihad, you need to fly them the entire itinerary, whereas you can mix and match Star Alliance carriers to build award trips if you stick within the alliance.
How to Book ANA Mileage Club Award Flights
You can book ANA awards for up to 10 family members within 2-degrees of the primary account holder with the caveat being; all members must register to become part of the family account before booking an award. And be sure to get the details correct, as you’ll cop a 5,000-mile fee to change or delete account details once registered.
Before you search for award availability, remember to check both the ANA region definitions (which differ slightly from other carriers), and the seasonal award rates to determine if you need to look for awards solely on ANA, or if ANA and partner awards are the same price.
- The first step is signing into your Mileage Club account.
- Select ‘ANA Mileage Club—International—Award Reservation.’
- Select either ‘Round-trip‘ or ‘Multiple cities/Mixed classes‘ and enter your departure/destination and dates. Be sure to check the box to ‘Compare seat availability +/- 3 days.‘
- Select the available date.
- Select your award type and flights, in this case, they are the same rate.
- And lastly, you receive a breakdown of the flights, required mileage, and fees & taxes (in this case JPY19,280 which = roughly $170).
If you’re happy with the award, you can then proceed to the passenger details and payment page.
Searching economy awards is straightforward, and you’ll see availability for the week, plus results will typically also show available Star Alliance partners. Searching for business class awards, and any itinerary that involves more than two segments is often an entirely different beast.
If there is no award availability on the day you search, 50% of the time the search returns ‘invalid credentials, ’ and you need to search again. Often, you will find ‘award available’ displaying on the date selection screen, only to find a ‘waitlisted' ANA award on the next screen.
We recommend first searching via another Star Alliance carrier like Aeroplan or United to find availability, and then confirm it on the ANA website. It will save you a bunch of time.
Likewise, we ran into troubles trying to book complex open jaws and stopovers, even sticking well within the region definitions supplied on ANA’s website. The online booking engine often returned a ‘no results’ error code although we’d checked the individual segments prior to attempting the booking.
If you can’t get the booking to work online, you'll need to wear a $25 fee and book over the phone with one of ANA’s reservation agents.
Can You Book All ANA Partner Awards Online?
Unfortunately, no. You can only book ANA and Star Alliance awards online. For ANA’s remaining partners, listed below, you’ll need to search for the available award space elsewhere and book over the phone.
- Air Dolomiti
- Air Macau
- Etihad Airways
- Garuda Indonesia
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Jet Airways
- Philippine Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
- Vietnam Airlines
The ANA Award Reservations line is open 24 hours daily on 1-800-235-9262. The reservations agents, on the whole, speak excellent English and understand the award booking process well, more than can be said for some airlines we’ve explored this year!
Does ANA Hold Awards?
On the website, this is a flat-out no, and when we asked this question, the first agent told us it couldn't be done. But the second agent mentioned that they would hold the award for up to 48 hours.
This could work for those members transferring miles in from another currency (MR transfers typically take 2 days), but if we can't hold the award until the transfer is complete, it can be a little off-putting as transfers are final and non-refundable, and ANA miles have a hard expiry date.
It can feel a little daunting to book awards with a foreign carrier. But with some instruction and a little practice, the process becomes more familiar. One of the best features of the ANA website is that it lets you search award availability without the required miles in your account so you can play around with routing and different destinations, and get a feel for the site before transferring miles across.
If you have any questions regarding ANA award reservations, please reach out in the comments. And if you find it completely overwhelming, get in touch with the AwardWallet Award Booking Service and let us do the hard work for you!
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