Booking ANA with Virgin miles: One of the best values in award travel gets even better

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Do you know anything about Virgin Atlantic’s award sweet spots? There are several goodies in its award chart, but number one (by far) is the ability to fly to Japan in premium lie-flat seats for as little as 90,000 miles round-trip.

As a reference point, many airlines charge 140,000 miles to fly to Japan in business class. Virgin Atlantic charges 50,000 fewer miles! This is one of the best deals in miles and points — possibly the best deal, actually. It’s surprisingly easy to book with just a single bonus from one of the best travel credit cards. And it just became even better. Here’s why.

(Photo by Kristine T Pham Photography/Getty Images)

Virgin Atlantic’s best sweet spot just got better

Virgin Atlantic prices its award flights differently depending on which airline partner you’re flying. Some award charts are jaw-droppers, and some are total crap. Virgin’s award chart for ANA (Japans’ biggest airline) is one of the good ones. Take a look at the award prices you’ll pay when booking an ANA flight through Virgin Atlantic.

Note: These are round-trip prices.

Wow! Business class flights starting at just 90,000 points round-trip, and first class flights starting at 110,000 points round-trip! Expect to pay 160,000 miles minimum with just about any other airline. Not only is this a great deal for business and first class, but ANA has a great premium-cabin product. You’ll get some of the best seats in the sky when you redeem your miles this way.

As wonderful as this award chart sweet spot is, there has always been one minor problem: You had to book a round-trip flight — and if you wanted to hop around Asia and return from a different destination, or if you simply wanted to use a different points currency to return home, you’d have to book a round-trip flight and forfeit your return flight. Heck, if you could only find award availability on one leg of the trip but not the other, you were out of luck.

But no more!

Above Virgin Atlantic’s ANA award chart, the site now expressly states that “[o]ne-way trips are permitted at half of the round-trip mileage shown…”

ANA first class suites. (Image couretsy of ANA)

What are the implications?

Mix business and first class one-way flights!

This development means for the first time you can book one-way flights to Japan for:

  • 45,000/47,500 Virgin Atlantic miles in business class
  • 55,000/60,000 Virgin Atlantic miles in first class

That is unspeakably cheap for tickets that can easily cost $10,000+. Here’s another quick comparison: Most U.S. carriers tend to charge 40,000 miles to fly to the Middle East one-way in coach. So it’s just a few thousand miles more expensive to fly in a lie-flat seat to Japan than a coach seat to Jordan. And both flights are comparable in distance.

You can fly business class to Japan and first class home to maximize your experiences.

Better for travel buddies

On a related note, one-way capability makes it easier to experience premium ANA seats for couples or travel buddies! Previously, a couple would need at least 180,000 points to take advantage of this sweet spot (for two round-trips). But now, you can book two one-ways for as little as 90,000 miles. Then you can book your way home with another rewards currency if you like.

Easier to find award availability?

As awards are now eligible for one-way flights, this could make it easier to find award seats, as you won’t have to struggle with finding availability on two different routes at once. The only issue is that we may see more travelers than usual hop aboard this sweet spot, making it more difficult to find availability in general.

ANA business class. (Image courtesy of ANA)

Avoid ANA’s strict Asia policies with Virgin Atlantic miles

ANA’s policy is that only round-trip travel is permitted when redeeming ANA miles when flying on ANA. That’s a shame, because ANA is stacked with sweet spots.

Both ANA and Virgin Atlantic are Amex Membership Rewards transfer partners. So if you’re traveling to Asia one-way, there’s now a clear winner as to which airline you should transfer your points — Virgin Atlantic. Before this change, ANA was still the potentially better option for business class, with round-trip flights as low as 75,000 miles (though first class is much cheaper through Virgin Atlantic).

You can read our guide to ANA’s award chart for all your questions answered.

You can transfer American Express Membership RewardsChase Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou points to Virgin Atlantic at a 1:1 ratio. You can also transfer Marriott points to Virgin at a 3:1 ratio.

Bottom line

You can now book one-way awards on ANA with Virgin Atlantic miles. And because this is one of the best sweet spots in the entire miles and points game, the added flexibility is a huge win. You can read our post about Virgin Atlantic sweet spots here. It’s too irresistible to pass up.

Let us know what you think of this new development — and subscribe to our newsletter for more useful travel news delivered to your inbox once per day!

Joseph Hostetler is a full-time writer for Million Mile Secrets, covering miles and points tips and tricks, as well as helpful travel-related news and deals. He has also authored and edited for The Points Guy.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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