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All Nippon Airways is the largest airline in Japan, and one of the choicest airlines to cross the Pacific. They’ve got unbelievable first and business class cabins (some of the best in the world) — their coach seats are even ranked among the most enjoyable. ANA is a top three airline in just about any category you can think of.
To boot, their award flights are priced extremely reasonably, and their miles are easy to earn by transferring points from American Express credit cards. However, there’s always been one thorn in the side of ANA award flights: Fuel surcharges were just costly enough to make ANA off-putting.
Not anymore! ANA has significantly reduced its surcharges on first and business class flights, meaning ANA miles (and other miles and points currencies) are more enticing than ever. I’ll explain.
What are airline fuel surcharges?
I remember the first time I reserved an international award flight. Excitedly clicking through to checkout, only to have my joy tempered by a $50+ bill tacked onto my “free” flight. Could I achieve free travel with airline miles or not??
The fact is, no matter which airline currency you collect, you’ll have to pay some taxes and fees. When you’re redeeming domestically, you can expect to pay $5.60 each way. When flying internationally, you may pay more. Surly airlines have a term called “fuel surcharges,” which they love to tack onto award flights to make you pay a lot of money and miles.
Depending on which airline and cabin, you could even pay $1,000 in “fuel surcharges!” That’s unacceptable. If an airline is charging hundreds of dollars for your award flight, it may not be a good use of your miles.
ANA eliminates prohibitive fuel surcharges
Historically, ANA has charged $250+ for a transpacific round-trip flight in their premium cabins — which is actually not that bad. Considering the jaw-dropping experience you receive aboard ANA, as well as the low number of miles necessary, that figure is usually worth paying.
However, ANA appears to have sharply dropped the fees attached to first and business class flights. For example, fees for flights between the Midwest and Tokyo now cost less than $60 round-trip, whether you’re booking business class or first class! This policy change provides you an instant $200+ savings.
So what exactly does this mean for you? A couple of things.
Amex Membership Rewards points are more valuable
ANA is an Amex transfer partner and you can transfer Amex Membership Rewards points to ANA at a 1:1 ratio (though the transfer time could take a few days). In fact, we list ANA awards as one of the best ways to book award flights to Japan.
Here are a few amazing trips you can book with ANA:
- Fly to Japan in business class for just 75,000 miles round-trip during low season
- Fly to Japan in first class for 150,000 miles round-trip
- Fly to Japan in coach for 50,000 miles round-trip
These prices are so low that you could easily earn a round-trip flight by opening a single travel credit card, such as:
- The Platinum Card® from American Express – 60,000 points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, which comes with 75,000 points after you spend $15,000 on qualifying purchases within the first three months of account opening
Virgin Atlantic miles are more valuable
Virgin Atlantic and ANA are partners, so you can fly with ANA by redeeming Virgin Atlantic miles. On many routes, they offer a significantly better deal than the already super cheap ANA award prices:
- West Coast to Japan in first class for 110,000 Virgin Atlantic miles round-trip
- East Coast to Japan in business class for 95,000 Virgin Atlantic miles round-trip
However, Virgin Atlantic passed along ANA’s fuel surcharges forcing you to pay hundreds of dollars for the privilege of booking a free flight. Still, it was a good deal for one of the best seats in the sky.
As you may have guessed, the fuel surcharges you’ll now pay for booking an ANA flight through Virgin Atlantic are significantly lower (again, below $60 round-trip), so this sweet spot (one of the best in existence) has increased in value.
Virgin Atlantic miles are exceptionally easy to earn. Besides the fact that Virgin Atlantic has its own credit card, you can also transfer the following currencies to Virgin Atlantic at a 1:1 ratio:
You can book ANA flights for cheaper than ever thanks to their sudden decrease in award flight fuel surcharges. Extremely few ways to reach Asia are a better deal than this — ANA has it all:
- Great onboard service
- Industry-leading seats (in every cabin)
- Low award prices
- Low fuel surcharges
- Easy to earn the miles you need