a seat in a plane

And then there was one…

Collecting points is the easy part. You just swipe, tap, type and spend away, and slowly but surely your points balances begin to stack up. That’s particularly true when Amex upgrades its welcome bonuses, such as the 100,000 point offers were seeing today.

But once the points start to stack, the big question is: what’s the best way to get great value for your Amex Points, and do something really special?

If you’ve got U.S. Amex points, there’s one highly underrated option, which has managed to avoid the “D” word, and yes, by “D” world – we mean D-E-V-A-L-U-A-T-I-O-N. That program: All Nippon (ANA) Mileage Club. It’s a magical loyalty program which has managed to buck the trend of virtually all others.

Why? Partly because it’s not a transfer partner of many credit card programs. Amex is basically the only way to create these points effectively without flying, so the program has been able to keep its best values away from aggressive mileage hunters. Here’s why it might be just the ticket for your points…

Distance Based Brilliance

Distance based charts offer some of the greatest flexibility for travelers who might not want to just go from point A to point B. If you’d like to add in a C, D, E or more, distance based charts allow you to fly pretty much wherever, just paying by the total amount of distance you actually cover.

So, rather than Boston to Tokyo, you could add stops in Seoul, Los Angeles, Vancouver or any other areas you’d like to see as part of the trip. Many, or few. Think: around the world trip.

ANA offers around the world business class for just 125,000 Amex Points, which is nothing short of incredible. You can fly a variety of Star alliance airlines like United, ANA, EVA, Air Canada, Swiss and many more, globetrotting with lengthy stopovers in any city you like. Stay for hours, days, weeks, or even months!

a building with a red roof

Best Option To Japan? Probably!

Interested in travel to Japan, whenever it reopens? Using your Amex Points, you could pay a minimum of 100,000 points each way for business class from North America using Delta, or as little as 75,000 points round trip using the ANA Mileage Club program. Yes, round trip!

Economy flights start at 35,000 points round trip for low season, and business is just 75,000. Standard season is 50,000 and 85,000 round trip for economy and business respectively, which is a total bargain for more than 24 hours in the air! And from Japan you can pay just 65,000 points for round trip business to Australia!

Oh, and short flights within Japan cost just 5,000 points.

a close-up of a plane

Business Class Gems

Business class between the US and Europe or South America is just 88,000 points round trip. By flying on top airlines like Air Canada, which have stepped their game up significantly in recent years, you’re able to avoid high surcharges charged by some European airlines, while paying a mere fraction of the miles charged by most other programs.

88,000 round trip to Southern South America, like Argentina is an absolute steal for more than 20 hours of business class. 120,000 points round trip from the U.S. to Australia, or 136,000 from Europe to Australia also represents tremendous value.

Sydney Harbour Bridge over water with buildings in the background

Generous Stopover Rules

ANA allows a stopover either on your outbound or return, which can help to unlock even further value from their great points rates.

Basically, even on point to point flights, you’re charged by region and not by segment, so on a trip to Sydney, you’d be allowed a free stopover in Auckland for no additional mileage. Mind you, it might be years before Australia opens again, but you get the gist. It’s basically a free side flight to a nearby destination.

Worth A Look: Definitely

The ANA Mileage Club is a funky program with a mix of total gems and odd quirks. It’s not always the easiest to use, but when you do the research, the values are superb. If any of these lucrative opportunities sound worth exploring, be sure to take advantage of GSTP’s ultimate guide to ANA around the world trips, and also navigating booking quirks with ANA. It’s magic, if you have patience!

Have you used ANA Mileage Club before?

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. please don’t post this. its depressing for UK readers. I have enough points to go to Oz in first class for 2 pax by ANA but as you know amex is not a transfer partner with ANA in the UK. what a shame. I am still collecting points like a beggar to figure out an alternative route – likely CX or SQ i na mix of J and F.

    1. Get yourself a US P.O. Box and have everything forwarded to the UK!!! Brilliant!

  2. I know round trip is required but, does ANA allow mixed cabins? And is there a total segment limit for a basic round trip (not RTW)? United makes it really hard to find domestic awards to the US gateway cities , especially in business class.

  3. Of course you dont mention when you transfer your AMEX Rewards to ANA then ANA or there partners Cancel their flights. Along comes COVID so no flights for at least 2 years and even the possibility of NO ANA Partners returning or offering Reward Seats on many Routes . As you cant return them to AMEX or extend their Validity, the ANA Rewards are STOLEN under ANA’s Unique Reward Miles Policy

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