The Ultimate Guide To United Miles: Part 7 – Using The ANA Website to Find Star Alliance Award Seats

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ANA Award Search

The ANA website is one of the best ways to find Star Alliance award seats. This includes United and Star Alliance airlines such as Lufthansa which you can also book with your United miles.

The ANA (ANA is a Japanese airline) website doesn’t show you “phantom availability” (i.e award seats which can’t be booked) for Lufthansa flights.

You often see “phantom availability” when you search for awards on United.com, more often with Lufthansa, so you can double-check on the ANA website to see if award seats are really available or not.

ANA Award Search

The Best Way To Find Star Alliance Award Seats Is With The ANA Website

Let’s go over how to use the ANA website to find Star Alliance awards!

In general, the United.com award booking page will display routes to and from the Caribbean, Central America, and South America, but it can be good to know all possible ways to search for award seats which you can book with United miles.

The Ultimate Guide To United Miles Index

Using The ANA Website

Link:   ANA Mileage Club Member Enrollment

Link:   ANA Award Search Tool

Step 1 – Create An ANA Mileage Account

Sign-up for an ANA mileage account by enrolling via this sign-up page.

ANA Award Search

Step 1 – Sign-Up for an ANA Frequent Flyer Account

Step 2 – Perform A Dummy Search

Once you have your ANA Mileage Club Number and PIN, go to the ANA award search tool page.

ANA Award Search

Step 2 – Login to Your ANA Account

You have to have at least 100 miles in your ANA account to perform partner airline searches.  You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points and Starwood hotel points to your ANA account.  If you have miles in your ANA account, skip to Step 3 below.

There is a secret way around the 100 mile requirement as well!

You will see 3 options when you go to the Award Reservation page:

  • “ANA International Flights” (available to everyone)
  • “Use Star Alliance Member Airlines” (greyed out and only available to those with miles in their ANA account)
  • “Use the Single Airline” (greyed out and only available to those with miles in their ANA account).

A.   Click “ANA International Flight Awards”

If you have 0 miles in your account, click the “ANA International Flight Awards” button.

ANA Award Search

Step 2A – Click on “ANA International Flight Awards”

B.   Search For An ANA Flight

Next, do a dummy search for an ANA flight.  You have to do this first to get access to the Star Alliance airline award search feature.

ANA is a Japanese airline, so I searched for a flight from Tokyo to Bangkok.

Select “Tokyo” in the drop down “From” box.  And “Bangkok” from the drop down “To” box.

Then click “Next

ANA Award Search

Step 2B – Search For An ANA Flight From Tokyo To Bangkok & Click Next (If you Have 0 Miles in Your ANA Account)

Step 3 – Click On “Use Star Alliance Member Airlines”

You will see a list of ANA flights for the search you performed.

Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the “Use Star Alliance Member Airlines” blue button.

You can now access Flight Awards for ANY Star Alliance airline!

ANA Award Search

Step 3 – Click On “Use Star Alliance Member Airlines” to Search for Accurate Award Seats on Star Alliance Airlines

TIP:  If you have miles in your ANA account, you can skip the above steps and click the “Use Star Alliance Member Airlines” blue button without having to do a dummy search for a flight using ANA only.

From the Partner Flight Awards page, you can search for award seats segment-by-segments.

When searching for award availability, it’s best to find the toughest flights first.  i.e. search for your flights segment by segment.

For example, If you are looking for an award seat from Austin to Europe, first find a flight that flies across the Atlantic!  Then look to connect to your destination and departure city.

Step 4 – Click on “Flight Search”

In this case, I first search for flights from the US departure cities to European hubs.  The next series of posts in this series will list lots of specific routes to help search for awards.

I searched from Chicago to Frankfurt and then hit “Flight Search

Note that the ANA tool will not show you all the possible options from Chicago to Frankfurt, but usually all the non-stop options and a few options with connections.

ANA Award Search

Step 4 – Enter Your Route and Hit “Next”

Step 5 – Enter More Routes

I then get a page which asks me to enter more routes.  I enter in routes from Chicago, Newark, Houston, and Washington- Dulles to Frankfurt and hit “Next

ANA Award Search

Step 5 – Enter More Award Routes

I see availability for different flights flying on those routes.  A yellow box with “OK” below it means that there are award seats available.

ANA Award Search

Step 5 – A Yellow Box Means That Award Seats Are Available

Once I’ve found award seats on the flight over the Atlantic from the US to Europe, I work on finding flights from my departure city to Europe.

Searching For “Real” Lufthansa Award Seat Availability

Lufthansa’s policy is to only release First Class award seats to partner airlines, like United, within 14 days of departure.

Many folks book Business Class seats or First Class seats on other flights, then wait 2 weeks before their departure date to see if Lufthansa has opened First Class availability.

Often, the United.com website will show Lufthansa First Class availability that does not really exist.  You may see people refer to this as “phantom award seats.”  

This happens mostly with First Class award seats, but I’ve seen it happen with Business Class and coach award seats as well.

It is frustrating to search find phantom award availability on the United website.  But ANA does not give phantom award search results.

Let’s look for Lufthansa award seats within 2 weeks using the ANA website!

Note that you can use these search to find award seats on ANY specific flight you want – it doesn’t have to be a Lufthansa flight.

A.  Click  On “7-Day Availability (direct flights only)”

From the ANA Partner Flight Awards search page, click the “7-Day Availability (direct flights only)” button.  Since we are looking for particular Lufthansa segments, it’s okay that only direct flights will be displayed.

ANA Award Search

Step 4A – Click On “7-Day Availability (direct flights only)”

B.  Search for Partner Flight Awards

When searching for segments, select your “Depart” day.  Choose a “Return” date far out in the future.  This allows you to search multiple weeks of availability.

Select your “From” and “To” cities.  Remember that your “From” and “To” cities have to be ones that Lufthansa flies because the ANA tool will only show direct flights!

For my example, I am searching Seattle to Frankfurt.  Although you may want to find multiple award seats, it’s a good idea to start with 1 seat at a time.  And then increase your search to 2 seats and higher.

ANA Award Search

Start Searching 1 Seat At A Time

If you want to find more than 1 seat, you can repeat your search for 2 seats on the dates that showed availability for 1 seat.

ANA Award Search

After Finding 1 Seat, Search Again For 2 Seats

Search again, to find days that have availability for 2 passengers.

ANA Award Search

2 First Class Lufthansa Seats From Seattle To Frankfurt

You can copy down the flight information and book it on the United website, or by calling United at 800-864-8331.

Bottom Line

You can use the ANA website to find award seats on Star Alliance partners.

After you’ve found award seat availability, you can book the same flights using your United miles on the United website or call United.  Just write down the flight number, departure and arrival cities, and times and call United to book the award.  Give the agent the flight information segment-by-segment.

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37 Responses to The Ultimate Guide To United Miles: Part 7 – Using The ANA Website to Find Star Alliance Award Seats

  1. Other than Lufthansa first class awards, are there any reasons to search the Ana website vs the united site? Thanks!

  2. @Larry – The ANA website is less buggy and usually has more accurate results for Lufthansa (all classes).

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  4. If you have the option to fly business class in both ANA or Lufthansa from US to India which one will you prefer and why?

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  6. Thanks for this handy post – I’m trying to plan a trip to Europe next year and want to go on Lufthansa first class from SFO and was thinking I’d have to pay the crazy fuel surcharges to do so (although I’m really disliking that United devaluation)! Questions:

    1) Do you add different cities in order to see all routes from Chicago to Frankfurt (since you mentioned you won’t get all routes just searching by Chicago only)?
    2) When you mentioned that most people book first or business on another flight and then switch to Lufthansa, are people booking these flights on United in advance and then waiting until 2 weeks before their flight to check for Lufthansa availability? Also, if you’re switching, can you upgrade from business to first class?
    3) Once you find a route (using your example, from Chicago to Frankfurt) and you’re actually going to somewhere like Rome, do you then find a segment on the ANA website from Frankfurt to Rome and piece your segments together when calling United to book?

    Thanks in advance!

  7. @Shaan – Whichever one has the shortest duration and gets me there the quickest. I know that’s not the answer you wanted!

    @Gabe – I check from different airports to see what flights are available, b/c if the flight isn’t available from Chicago, I could find it from somewhere else. #2 – Yes, they are calling back to switch, but not you’ll pay higher miles if you switch after the new award chart goes into effect. You can pay the change fee and more miles and go from business to first class. #3 – Exactly!

  8. The ANA site also has a “hard block” on some things like certain SQ aircraft types so it isn’t perfect. But it is a very good option.

    Also, to get around the no points in your ANA account issue there’s an easier way. That script will make the button show up on the main page without jumping through the hoops.

  9. @Wandering Aramean – Thanks for the tips!

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  22. i used ANA to search for a US domestic flight.
    -the results show “OK”, but the box above “OK” is gray. what does this mean please?

    -does ANA allow 1-way rewards?

    -does ANA charge YQ on SQ please?
    thanks

  23. @ Mr. Cool – ANA does not allow 1-way awards and does charge fuel surcharges on Singapore Airlines.

  24. Hi Darius, I’m totally new to loyalty points & miles, so I need lots of help! I have United miles and I’m trying to find any reward availability on ANA to Tokyo in May for an upgrade to Business, but when I look on United, there is no upgrade availability, just economy class. I do not have an ANA account yet but I can sign up and transfer some points from SPG. Before I do, does ANA show upgrade availability through ANA only that I cannot see through United? If so, can I still get the information, call United and ask for that availability even if it does not show up on United or is it restricted to ANA members only? Thanks a lot

  25. Oh I think I found the answer. It does show up on the United website if it’s available. I changed the return date and the Business upgrade option did appear. It’s just not available flying to Japan.

  26. @rel – Welcome to the blog! Note that you can’t upgrade an ANA flight with United miles, but you can book an award in business class on ANA using United miles.

  27. Thanks for this excellent post!. My question is that I have 90k United miles but zero ANA miles. I am able to search United flight on ANA by using the above trick. I wanted to use ANA website to buy a ticket from New York(EWR) to London(LHR) in economy using my united miles as they require only 38,000 miles VS 60,000 through United website. Is this a possibility? if yes, how? If there’s any other better way of doing this please let me know.
    Thanks once again and God bless you.
    Sheriey

  28. @Sheriey – If you want to buy a ticket using the ANA price level, you need ANA miles! Also note, that you will pay fuel surcharges for that flight, so it may not be as cheap as it appears. You could book the same flight using United miles for 30K at the low level.

  29. Thanks Darius for your prompt response. It make sense.
    You are awesome by the way. I am very new to this and one of my dear friend recommended me to visit your website. I learned so much from you that I cantt explain. I recently had a vacation from Hawaii with one way Houston free using your awesome “Open Jaws” tricks.
    I am always on your site now!
    Thanks a lot once again and God bless you
    Sheriey

  30. @Sheriey – Thanks for your kind words and safe travels!

  31. I want to book an award seat using my United miles on Lufthansa’s 780-800 LH572 from Frankfurt to Johannesburg in First Class, but can never find one. I travel this route quite often and only once in a great while will one open up for an award seat, even though the Lufthansa website shows 2 or 3 open seats. Any idea how to grab one of these, or the best way to book to get a first class seat?

  32. I apologize, I meant the Lufthansa A380-800.

  33. @Michael – It will be very hard to book with United miles. You could consider Lufthansa miles, but will have to pay high fuel surcharges.

  34. I am getting ready to transfer a bunch of AmEx membership rewards points to ANA so that I can use them for United flights to the UK. I was able to follow your excellent guide to determine availability, but ANA couldn’t tell me the fees and taxes. If I book a United flight through ANA, will I be charged the same taxes and fees as if I had booked the flights directly with United? Thanks in advance!

  35. @Joyce – ANA charges higher fuel surcharges, so you will likely pay more in taxes and fees if you book through United. That said, they don’t charge them for domestic US flights booked on United.

  36. Does ANA allow you to make a one-way Star Alliance award, or does it have to be round trip?

  37. @Jennifer – ANA is distance based, so one-way awards should be possible.

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