When business class isn’t good enough, there’s only one way to go. A few months back, January to be exact, I wrote about five luxurious ways to spend the sign up bonus from the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card. In that nugget of information, I included a clever way to fly ANA, one of the best first class offerings, where you can drink all the $140 a bottle champagne you like, using Virgin Atlantic miles to Japan. I didn’t think too much of it, left it be. That is, until I saw Gary Leff, my very favorite travel blogger get excited this week about actually booking it himself. It made me realize, wow, this is actually a great deal, so we’ll show you how to do it yourself…

a red building with a tall tower with Sensō-ji in the background

To Do This, You’re Using Virgin Atlantic Miles, Which You Can Create Instantly Using Many Different Types Of Points…

Virgin Atlantic is a transfer partner of Amex, Citi and Chase credit cards. This means that even if you’ve never flown Virgin Atlantic (even better if you have), you can create the points needed for this first class foray, instantly. So before you ask, YES, if you have an Amex card that earns Membership Rewards points, a Chase card that earns Ultimate Rewards Points or a Citi card that earns ThankYou points, you can transfer those points to Virgin Atlantic and take full advantage of this amazing deal. All in, taxes will be less than $160USD round trip!

an airplane cabin with a television

ANA First Class Is Truly Impressive, You’ll Love It…

There’s no door, but you have a totally private, seriously large suite. On top of a private suite you have all the Krug you can (semi responsibly) drink, some of the most delicious food in the sky and precise, attentive crews. When we’re talking food, we’re talking like 9 course Japanese tasting menus and refined dining. It’s food you’d love to eat on the ground, only it’s free and it’s in the air. And yes, you get PJ’s an amazing amenity kit, and in true Japanese fashion, slippers too…

a plane flying in the sky

And Yes, You’re Booking A Flight On ANA, Using Those Virgin Atlantic Miles. You Can Do That.

Virgin Atlantic has some unique partnerships. You care because you can use your Virgin miles, for flights with far less taxes than Virgin would charge, on their partners. For 110,000 miles from the West Coast USA, 120,000 from East Coast USA or 120,000 from UK, you can fly in a private first class suite on a stellar ANA plane direct to Tokyo (my favorite city in the world). We said 93,000 points though, and we’re sticking to that…

a pagoda with a mountain in the background

Amex Is Offering A 30% Transfer Bonus To Virgin Atlantic, So You Only Need 93,000 Points Round Trip…

If you have American Express Membership Rewards Points, you can do this for just 93,000 points, or even less for flights from the West Coast USA. 93,000 Amex Points converts to over 120,000 Virgin Atlantic miles. For West Coast USA flights you’d only need to redeem 85,000 Amex Points for a transfer to Virgin.

a tv and a table in an airplane

So Again, We’re Using Virgin Atlantic Miles, Which We Can Make Using Credit Card Points, To Fly On ANA.

Yes, it’s that simple. You don’t “transfer” your Virgin Atlantic miles to ANA, you just create Virgin Atlantic miles, either by flying with them or by redeeming credit card points. Once you have miles with Virgin, you can call them to book your flights on their partner. We’ll tell you exactly how…

a living room with a view of a city

You Need To Find First Class Space On ANA Before You Call Virgin Atlantic…

If you don’t already have Virgin Atlantic points, don’t transfer your points to Virgin Atlantic until you successfully find space on their partner ANA. To find space on ANA, you want to search the United Airlines website for “award travel”. Enter your starting city (one that has a direct flight on ANA) and enter Tokyo (all airports) as the destination. If you find “saver” first class space on an ANA flight, you can call Virgin Atlantic to book it. Once you find the space, call Virgin Atlantic, say you want to book “a partner award”. Give them the cities, the dates and the airline and voila! You’re going to Tokyo in super, duper style.

a city with a mountain in the background

This Whole Finding Space Thing Seems Hard. Any Tips?

I thought you’d never ask! Finding space is what separates amateurs from pros. You can also use the Aeroplan site to search for ANA space, which some may find easier to use. One tip, the prices in miles that United or Aeroplan quote for these flights are irrelevant. They charge a different (much higher) rate using miles than Virgin Atlantic for the same flights. You’re just using their search tools to find something you can book. If you want someone to find the space for you, there are people who can do that, and you can also set alerts, if you have set dates, using ExpertFlyer.com.

a chair and a pillow in a room

And We Even Have Tokyo Tips For You Too!

Tokyo is my favorite city. It’s an amazing combination of zen, excitement, beauty and culture. People are polite to each other, the streets are clean, the parks are other worldly, the food is to die for, and you really have a sense of place. We have a guide for spending a few incredible days in Tokyo, so give it a look. Minus the Krug champagne, you’ll be so rested from your private suite that you’ll be full of energy….

a restaurant with tables and chairs

To Summarize, First Class, Amazing Experience, Not Too Many Points…

This is a ridiculously low amount of points for First Class. It’s a ridiculously low amount of points, even for business class as well. This is an example of using smart arbitrage opportunities offered through airline partners. There’s no telling how long it will last, most of the great ones do expire at some point, so if this is something you’re interested in, you should get on it ASAP.

Lastly: Must be round trip, one way is not allowed. Can be mixed cabin, but at same price (you’ll pay the higher price).

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 Comment

  1. Hi i am looking at this offer and a little confused is it 93,000 miles(120,000) round trip? or one way?

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