On Straight To The Points, I share great opportunities to book business and first class flights with miles and points via my private Award Alerts newsletter. Today, I wanted to share a recent alert for two first class (and business class) seats on ANA with readers of God Save The Points. Since this was sent last week, I’ve heard from a number of readers who have booked so some of these dates will be taken, however, more have opened up in April.

To receive alerts about premium cabin award flights for 2, 4 or even more people that you can book with miles, make sure you sign up for Award Alerts. Right now, these alerts are focused on awards to/from the U.S. and Canada.

Now, let’s get into it!

ANA First Class And Business Class For 2

First, a big thank you to everyone who has joined the newsletter. We crossed the 5,000 subscriber mark the other day and continue to grow. I’ve had a blast writing and developing the newsletter since I launched it 9 months ago. I have especially enjoyed hearing about the trips you’ve booked.

As always, please let me know if there’s anything you’d like to see from the Straight To The Points newsletter. I’m always looking for ways to make it more useful. Don’t worry, the site revamp is in progress and should be up this month!

Now, in the last couple of weeks, I’ve received a ton of requests for Japan in early 2020. Considering that Amex is running a 30% transfer bonus to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club right now, this seemed like the perfect time to find award space for ANA first class.

Check out our full review of ANA First Class for all the fun details of the experience.

Straight to the points:

Routes: IAD/IAH/LAX/ORD-NRT/HND
Operating airline: All Nippon Airways (ANA)
Class of service: First and business class
Dates: January – April 2020
Seats available: 2 (sometimes more)
Cabin layout: 1-2-1
Book with (first/business – per person, one-way):

    • Air Canada Aeroplan – 105k/75k miles
    • ANA Mileage Club – 150k/75-85k miles (round-trip only)
    • Asiana Club – 80k/60k miles
    • Avianca LifeMiles – 90k/75k miles
    • Etihad Guest – 63k or 78k (biz only, first not worth it)
    • EVA Infinity MileageLands – 105k/87.5k miles
    • Miles & More – 105k/67.5k miles
    • Singapore KrisFlyer – 140k/115k miles (yikes!)
    • Turkish Miles&Smiles: 100k/67.5k miles
    • United MileagePlus – 110k/80k miles
    • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club – 110k/90k (round-trip, west coast), 120k/95k (round-trip, east coast)

Taxes/fees incl surcharges (per person):

    • One-way: ~$115
    • Round-trip: ~$270

Bank transfer partners:

Details

ANA first class is absolutely wonderful. While the seat itself isn’t a suite with doors and it’s kind of an odd cube, the food, the Krug champagne and the service are fantastic. If you’re looking for a couples trip or want to grab a buddy and jet off to Japan, this is a fantastic way to fly.

Alternatively, while I’m not seeing space for 4 in business class, I’m seeing lots of dates for 2 as well. If you want to take a group of 4, you’ll notice that there is overlap on the dates in which you can fly from Chicago (ORD) to Tokyo Narita (NRT) and Tokyo Haneda (HND). So, all you have to do is split into two groups of 2 and you’ll arrive the same day. Put yourself on the flight to HND if you want a quick ride into Tokyo.

Also, there are multiple flights between LAX and NRT. I have indicated how many flights have space for two on a dive date with a number in parentheses. For example, January 22 (2) means there are 3 flights with space for 2. Again, another great way to get groups to Tokyo on the same day.

Surprisingly, more dates had first class space.

Below, you’ll find dates out of Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston and Washington, DC. Some dates will have 3 or 4 seats in biz class — plus the occasional 3 in first — but I’m focusing on space for 2. Two final notes before we get to the award space.

First, I searched some of this last night so things could have shifted a bit since then. Second, while I didn’t include SFO and JFK — a quick glance didn’t show as much space — or SJU and SEA as these routes don’t have first class cabins.

Now, let’s check out the dates (there’s a lot). We’ll start with first class award space:

ORD-NRT First NRT-ORD First
January 13, 15, 18, 20-22, 25, 28 January 15, 21, 22, 28, 30, 31
February 1, 3, 4, 10-12, 17-20, 24-26 February 4, 7, 8, 13, 15, 19, 22, 25
March 2-4, 9-11, 23, 24, 30, 31 March 3-6, 10-13, 21, 31
April 1 April 1, 3, 4
ORD-HND First HND-ORD First
January 6, 12-15, 19-21, 27, 28 January 15, 17, 18, 21, 22, 25, 28, 30
February 3-5, 10, 11, 16-20, 23-26 February 4-8, 11, 13, 15, 18-21, 25-27
March 1, 3, 4, 8-10, 16, 17, 24, 25, 31 March 4-7, 12, 18, 20
April 1, 2 April 1, 2
LAX-NRT First NRT-LAX First
January 13, 19, 20, 21 (2), 22, 23 (2), 26, 27 (2), 28 (2), 29 January 21, 22 (2), 23 (2), 24
February 4-6, 19, 20, 26, 27 (2) February 6, 7 (2), 11, 12 (2), 13 (2), 14 (2), 18 (2), 19 (2), 25 (2), 27
March 30 March 3, 4, 5, 7, 11-13, 17, 19, 20, 26, 27, 31
April 1 (2) April 1, 2
IAH-NRT First NRT-IAH First
January 8-10, 15, 16, 18, 20, 21, 24, 25, 28-30 January 16, 23-25, 29
February 5, 6, 11, 17-19, 22, 24-27 February 6, 8, 12, 13, 15, 26-28
March 2-4, 9, 10, 17, 25, 28, 30, 31 March 4, 6, 7, 10-13, 17, 20
April 1-3 April 3
IAD-NRT First NRT-IAD First
January 8, 9, 16, 17, 29, 30 January 21, 23, 28, 30, 31
February 5, 6, 21, 25-27 February 6, 11, 19, 26-29
March 10, 24, 25, 31, 1, 2 March 3-5, 10
April 2

If you can’t find first class space on your dates or you want to save some points, perhaps business class will work for you. You’re certainly more likely to find dates with award space for 3 people or perhaps even 4 people.

ORD-NRT Business NRT-ORD Business
January 13, 14, 21, 22, 26, 28, 29 Return space is garbage.
February 3, 4, 10-12, 17-20, 24, 26
March 1,3, 4, 8-11, 16-18, 23, 24, 29
ORD-HND Business HND-ORD Business
January 12-15, 19-22, 26, 29 January 25, 28, 30
February 2-5, 10-12, 16-20, 25, 26 February 5, 11, 13, 14, 18, 26, 28
March 1-4, 8-10, 18, 23, 24, 30, 31 March 4, 5, 12, 13, 21
April 1 April 1
LAX-NRT Business NRT-LAX Business
January 20 (3), 21, 22 (2), 23, 26 (2), 27, 28, 29 (2) January 21, 22 (2), 23, 24, 28 (2), 30
February 3-5, 11, 12, 17  (2), 18 (2), 19, 20 (2), 24 (3), 25 (2), 26 (2), 27 February 11 (3), 12 (3), 13, 18 (2), 19, 21, 25, 27
March 3 (2), 3 (2), 4 (2), 9, 10 (2), 11, 16 (3), 17, 18, 23-25, 30 March 4, 5-7, 10 (2), 11 (2), 12, 17, 27, 28 (2), 31
April 1
IAH-NRT Business NRT-IAH Business
January 21, 22, 27-29 February 6, 12, 27
February 5, 18, 24 March 5, 17, 25, 31
March 2, 4, 9, 17, 18 April 1
IAD-NRT Business NRT-IAD Business
January 23, 29, 30 January 25, 31
February 6, 11, 25, 26 February 4
March 3, 9-11, 22, 24

Best Ways To Book ANA First Class

If you can book a non-stop round-trip ticket, your best is Virgin Atlantic miles — especially with the 30% transfer bonus from Amex. From the west coast, you can book for 110,000 Virgin miles which means you only need 85,000 Membership Rewards points during the promo. From the east coast, it’s 120,000 Virgin miles (93,000 Amex points).

You can also transfer Chase and Citi points. You’ll need to call to book but you can put tickets on hold for 48 hours while you transfer. The only tough parts are that you need to book round-trip and award space is only accessible 331 days prior to departure.

If you need to book a one-way first class ticket on ANA, 90k Avianca LifeMile is great when you factor in the lack of surcharges and ability to transfer from Amex, Capital One and Citi.

ANA Mileage Club is a bit steeper than Virgin when booking round-trip first class, but you sometimes get access to an extra award seat. 150,000 ANA miles might make sense in that case. You can transfer Amex points but remember that ANA won’t hold tickets and transfers can take a couple of days.

Best Ways To Book Business Class

ANA’s own program will be your best bet for round-trip business class. Whether its low or regular season, 75,000 and 85,000 miles round-trip is your best bet. Check the seasonality charts if you want to know how many miles to expect on your preferred dates.

For a one-way ticket, 75,000 LifeMiles is again a great one-way way option, though 80,000 United miles isn’t a bad way to go for those with Chase points. United won’t pass on surcharges either.

Things To Remember

If you book with Virgin miles, remember that you’ll have to book a positioning flight if you don’t live near an airport where ANA flies. Additionally, ANA has different rates if you include connections on partner airlines such as United so you might want to book a separate positioning flight.

Aeroplan, Etihad and Turkish provide some decent rates for one-way but you’ll be on the hook for surcharges. Additionally, Etihad and Turkish will require phone calls to book.

Booking Process

If you don’t know the exact dates you want to fly, keep things simple and use United’s calendar search option.

    1. Run a flexible date search for your ideal month of travel on United
    2. If booking with another Star Alliance partner, confirm space by searching with the respective program
      • LifeMiles often has issues so don’t be surprised if it doesn’t show space — if you’re brave, you can try talking with one of their phone agents
    3. Transfer points (if necessary)
    4. Log into your account
    5. Run the search again
    6. Complete the booking

If you know the exact dates you want to travel, go ahead and search with the program you plan to use. With Miles & More (Lufthansa), you need at least 7,000 miles in your account to run a search online.

Booking with Virgin Atlantic and Etihad is slightly different.

    1. Search with United
    2. Call to hold award space (Virgin-only) or call Etihad to confirm space
    3. Transfer points
    4. Call back
    5. Complete the booking

Final Thoughts

Tokyo is full of amazing things to do and things to eat — plenty with Michelin stars. Personally, I thought go-karting around the city dressed up as Mario was a silly and fun way to explore. If you have time, there are plenty of other places to explore and a ride on a bullet train just makes it even more fun.

Happy booking!

Let me know in the comments if you book ANA first/business class or if there are any destinations you’d like me to include in a future Award Alerts newsletter!

Spencer Howard

Spencer Howard is a credit card rewards and award travel expert. He’s living proof that points and miles can unlock many of the greatest travel experiences and uses his skills to tick off new bucket...

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11 Comments

  1. If you don’t know your return date yet, any issues around booking and flying your outbound and then adjusting the return date later (even after flying the outbound)?

    1. Hey Andrew – Virgin’s terms state that you can change your travel date “prior to travel” which makes me think you’d need to make the change before you start the trip.

  2. I live in Tokyo and the locals despise the Mario Cart thing. Don’t do it. Actually Tokyo is starting to turn on stupid tourist in it’s own Japanese way. When you are in Japan act respectfully please. The worst are the 20 and 30 somethings who think Japan is one big anime theme park. I am from the US and have lived in Tokyo for 15 years.

    1. Interesting to hear about MariCar. I enjoyed karting around as a way to explore the city — the Mario aspect wasn’t as important to me. What is the concern with it? I was mostly there to visit my brother who works in Kyoto, take in a baseball game and try some great food. Have you found many tourists think of Japan as a big theme park?

  3. Thanks so much for the great post. One thing that was particularly appreciated was the dates with actual availability. Any insight on patterns of availability closer in?

    1. Hey Christian – Glad you liked it. I haven’t noticed enough of a pattern to feel confident in waiting to book people if they need to travel during a specific time frame. I’ve definitely seen space open up closer to departure, just not blocks of award space like you’ll find right now for early 2020.

      Make sure you sign up for the STTP Award Alerts Newsletter so you can get these alerts first. I sent this one last Friday and there was even more first class space. 🙂

  4. Hi Spencer,

    I’m seeing almost non-existent availability for two people to travel from London – Tokyo at any point through March, April and May 2020. Hoping to either transfer to ANA or use the Virgin partner award to make use of the residual miles we have. All the direct flights are gone or waitlisted in every award class, despite a whole heap of non-award seats being available (9+ in business). On very odd days with Expert Flyer I have found a single award seat in Business or First, but never a pair. Any tips? Or is this just one of those routes with practically no award availability?

    Cheers

    1. Hey Lawrence – That’s a great question. I haven’t tracked award space from London as closely as airports in the U.S so I’m not sure if seeing only one seat is the norm. It could just be the time of the year as you’re looking at cherry blossom season as you get into April. As a workaround, you might consider flight on consecutive days. Not ideal, but you’d both be able to fly biz or first. Alternatively, you might try finding one biz seat and one first seat on the same date.

      1. Hi Spencer, that might be an option for us actually, good suggestion. As much as that is a popular time to travel (luckily I have been and seen it first-hand!), I checked LAX to Tokyo and that had plentiful availability on all classes across a number of days. There are also 3 flights per day where London only has one, so perhaps it’s just a case of supply and demand.

        As a follow-up question, do you happen to know if ANA availability is rolled out day-by-day or in blocks? I’m thinking of trying to set up some alerts for 355+ days from now, to try and figure out whether there are ever pairs of seats available or if it’s just singles.

  5. I’ve seen award space become available as the schedule opens up — if they decide to open award space at all. Would love to hear what you learn.

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