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Update: On March 7, 2023, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club increased the rates for ANA first class awards. The award prices in this post have been updated to reflect the new rates.
One of the sweetest sweet spots just got even sweeter! Virgin Atlantic Flying Club quietly updated its partnership with All Nippon Airways, one of the flagship carriers of Japan. From now on, Virgin Flying Club members can now book one-way awards on ANA in any class of service — including its incredible first class product!
Let's go over why this is such an exciting development and take a look at some of the potential implications.
The Virgin Atlantic / ANA Sweet Spot
For several years now, Virgin Atlantic has offered perhaps the greatest award travel sweet spot there is. Even after a March 2023 devaluation, Flying Club members can book ANA First Class from the mainland U.S. to Japan for as few as 145,000 points round-trip! Or, if you're starting in Hawaii, it costs just 115,000 points round-trip.
The same ANA first-class award tickets cost 121,000 United MileagePlus miles one-way. And cash fares regularly sell for over $20k round-trip. So, being able to book a round-trip for just 145,000 points represents an unbelievable value.
The kicker has been, of course, that you need to find round-trip availability. Considering first-class availability is often best towards the end of the schedule, this translates into a stressful waiting game. You may find availability for your outbound flight, and then have to wait for the inbound availability to show up. And during that wait, the outbound availability could disappear.
But not anymore. For unknown reasons, Virgin Atlantic and ANA have updated the terms of their partnership as reflected on Virgin's partner webpage. Flying Club members can now book one-way awards for half the round-trip mileage price.
Virgin Atlantic's Amazing Award Chart for ANA Flights
The reason for our excitement stems from the incredibly lucrative ANA award chart available to Virgin loyalists:
Where the chart really stands out is with long-haul itineraries, especially in premium cabins. Specifically, I'm talking about round-trip itineraries like:
- Japan <–> Western U.S. or Australia — 90,000 points in business class or 145,000 points in first class
- Japan <–> Eastern U.S. or Europe — 95,000 points in business class or 170,000 points in first class
Now, Flying Club members have more flexibility to find just one flight in the same regions and book for half the price. That means one-way itineraries like:
- Japan <–> Western U.S. or Australia — 45,000 points in business class or 72,500 points in first class
- Japan <–> Eastern U.S. or Europe — 47,500 points in business class or 85,000 points in first class
Beyond the fact that those numbers simply look better, the added flexibility makes it much more realistic to book.
How to Book ANA Awards With Virgin Atlantic Points
The great award price is one thing — actually booking these awards is another.
Unfortunately, the process for booking ANA awards with Virgin Atlantic isn't necessarily easy. ANA availability isn't searchable on Virgin's site, so you have to find them elsewhere. But even if you could see them online, you'd still need to call Virgin to book. In any case, these are the steps to follow:
- Search another Star Alliance airline's website for ANA award availability. Since all partners should have access to the same flights, this should be a good indicator of what Virgin Atlantic can see. I prefer to search via United, Aeroplan, or Avianca LifeMiles.
- Once you've found availability, call Virgin Atlantic at (800) 862-8621. Virgin phone agents are some of the best in the business. Confirm with the agent that they see the same availability before transferring any points.
- If you already have enough Flying Club points in your account, you can simply confirm the award. If not, you can either hold the reservation for up to 24 hours or transfer points from Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points with the agent still on the line. Transfers from these partners are typically instant.
Now that Virgin Atlantic has updated its policy regarding ANA awards, what does that mean for the future of their partnership?
It's always been a bit strange that ANA only allowed one-way awards with Flying Club points. However, whenever anything changes with such a beloved award sweet spot (even for good), everybody tends to get jumpy. More specifically, people start fearing that it's a sign of an impending devaluation.
While I don't have any answers about what's to come with this partnership, I think there's a good award travel lesson here. That is, you shouldn't expect an amazing deal to stick around forever.
If we've learned one thing over the last year, it's that airlines carry no emotions when it comes to adjusting award travel policies. We've seen several major devaluations this year alone — including with Virgin Atlantic! So, if this deal appeals to you, make plans to use it now while you can. And, don't be surprised if it's gone soon.
Virgin Atlantic has quietly updated its policy regarding ANA partner awards. Now, Flying Club members can redeem Virgin points for round-trip OR one-way awards in any class of service. Combined with this partnership's industry-leading award pricing, we're left with an incredible opportunity for flights to/from Japan.
If you have any desire to fly to or from Japan anytime soon, this is an incredible offer. ANA first class is one of the best premium cabin experiences in commercial travel. Moreover, at only 72.5k to 85k points each way — which can be earned via four major transferable currencies — it's cheaper than what many programs charge for a business class ticket to Asia.
Do you plan to book a one-way ANA award with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points?
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