an airplane seat with a screen and seats
ANA's new first class.

Japan is still planning to host the 2020 Olympics, albeit in 2021, and is planning to welcome its first major international visitors from April, 2021.

With news of vaccines hitting high risk groups imminently, and wider roll out in the first half the year, many people are returning to travel planning, and when you return – it’s really hard to beat flying to Japan with ANA. Ok, more specifically, it’s really hard to beat flying First Class, or Business Class with ANA, though all cabins are lovely.

To unlock that dream goal for Tokyo Olympics, or just a visit to Japan in general any time, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club’s Virgin Points can be one of the greatest ways to do so in style, on the cheap(er). Virgin charges just 95,000 points round trip for business class from the USA or UK to Tokyo, and 120,000 points for first class. Most airlines charge double.

Right now, Virgin Atlantic is having a big sale on Virgin Points, with a 50% bonus that makes round trip first class or business class a pretty undeniable bargain, and much cheaper than we ever see even for paid business class fares. It’s not for everyone, but for some, this is magic.

a seat in an airplane
ANA business class. Yes, it looks like First Class, and feels like it too…

Virgin Atlantic 50% Boost On Points

Pricing for Virgin Points is typically best in GBP, where current pricing basically allows you to buy points for 1 cent a piece. You can buy up to 150,000 points for £1500. You need fewer for either a business or first class flight though. Virgin Points are also on sale in other countries like the USA, but pricing may be different.

a screenshot of a credit card

With the sale, you can obviously top up points towards an upgrade or reward flight on Virgin Atlantic, but redeeming Virgin Points on Virgin’s flying partner ANA remains an incredible sweet spot.

Taxes on these flights from London to Tokyo are £390 round trip, and if you bought the exact number of miles necessary, that gives you two truly amazing prices to Tokyo. Assuming you have zero Virgin Points (obviously will cost less if you have some), here’s what you’d pay for a round trip from the USA or UK to Tokyo.

  • Business Class: £1365 (£975 for the points + £390 in taxes).
  • First Class: £1605 (£1215 for the points + £390 in taxes)

Now, most importantly, you gotta understand that this isn’t available to use for Tokyo any day.

an airplane seat with seats and a screen
ANA’s new first class.

It’s all subject to award space on ANA using your Virgin Points, and that requires a bit of learning about booking with partners, and patience. With few exceptions, ANA only releases 1 or 2 seats in business class at a time, and virtually never more than 1 at a time in first class, though a second seat often pops up eventually. To search, you’ll need to…

  1. Create a United MileagePlus account.
  2. Search for award space on ANA operated flights on
  3. Ignore the prices charged by United, just look for seats available at “Saver”.
  4. Once found, call Virgin Atlantic Flying Club to reserve your seats.
  5. Enjoy Japan.
a woman walking under a wooden arch

Because of this, it’s a bit of a gamble, unless your dates are either very flexible, or you see seats on dates you’d love to enjoy right now, and know you can phone up, place the flights on hold and buy the miles before the hold expires.

Knowing those things, this is a fabulous opportunity.

You NEVER, and I repeat never see business class from London, New York, Los Angeles, or San Francsico to Tokyo at these prices with any major airline, let alone direct flights in arguably the world’s best business class, or impressive first class offerings. Also, you can do some pretty cool routing with these. There’s truly no finer way to get to Tokyo, and at these prices, those 10 or 11 hours on the plane will soar by.

You can buy Virgin Points here.

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. I’ve seen in one of your other articles that Virgin are offering 50% off points redemptions…can these offers be combined? (E,g, Buy points with a 50% bonus and then redeem them at half price on a Virgin flight)? P.s. loving the Black Friday coverage, thank you! 🙂

    1. Hey Chris, sadly partner awards on ANA cannot, but you CAN use them as you say to buy at 50% bonus and then redeem at 50% bonus, provided you get in under the booking windows.

  2. … and more importantly, Virgin points can’t be currently used on any partner redemptions – that’s been blocked since a few months ago

  3. Hi … your post about the Virgin sale suggests Hawaii is included at the £999 for business class price but can’t see it offered pn Virgin’s website when I go to book flights. Is there a booking portal we need to use instead please? Cheers.

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