Collect American Express Points? Here’s Why Transferring Them to This Lesser-Known Airline Can Be an Incredible Deal

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INSIDER SECRET: Transferring your Amex Points to ANA is a great way to travel to Europe cheaply.

If you have an American Express card that earns Membership Rewards points, you are probably aware of the option to transfer your points to different travel partners. But you may not be aware of the excellent points redemption opportunities available through All Nippon Airways (ANA).

In this post, I’ll show you how you can transfer your Amex points to ANA for some incredible flight deals.

With a tremendous list of partner airlines, ANA miles (transferred from your American Express points!) are useful for travel anywhere in the world. (Photo By NextNewMedia/Shutterstock)

Using American Express Points Through ANA

ANA is a Japanese-based airline, but thanks to an impressive list of partners, ANA miles can be used to travel just about anywhere in the world. As a member of the Star Alliance, ANA allows you to redeem miles for flights on any other Star Alliance airline.

You can use ANA miles to book flights on any Star Alliance airline.

And if the Star Alliance isn’t enough, ANA has an additional 12 partner airlines where you can also use your ANA miles.

ANA has an additional 12 partner airlines outside of the Star Alliance!

By transferring your American Express points to ANA, you can book flights on any of the airlines pictured above. There are a few restrictions for partner redemption, though:

  • Miles can only be redeemed for round-trip fares, not one-way flights
  • Stopovers are not allowed unless you begin your journey in Japan

ANA also has an option to book a round-the-world trip if you are looking to do some extended travel.

ANA Partner Sweet Spots

With ANA’s huge list of partners, you can travel nearly anywhere. But the following trips from the US stand out as a great use of your points:

1. Travel to Europe

Round-trips to Europe cost just 55,000 miles per ticket in economy and 88,000 miles in business class. This is a great deal, especially in business class, where you won’t often find a better redemption, at least on a regular basis. For a similar itinerary in business class, you would pay 140,000 miles per ticket on United and 115,000 miles on American Airlines.

Looking to book a trip to Europe? A round-trip in business class costs only 88,000 ANA miles. (Photo By Andrey Yurlov/Shutterstock)

2. Travel to Africa

Round-trips to Africa cost just 65,000 miles per ticket in economy and 104,000 miles in coach. This appears to be the best fixed-award cost of any airline, though you may occasionally be able to find a cheaper price on Alitalia, where award prices vary depending on the time of year.

An award redemption on ANA is probably the cheapest way to fly to Africa on miles. (Photo By Picture.Perfect/Shutterstock)

3. Travel to Japan

ANA also has the cheapest fixed-award flights to Japan. ANA breaks Japan into two regions. Economy flights are either 50,000 or 55,000 miles round-trip and business class flights are either 85,000 or 90,000 miles round-trip.

Want to experience Japanese culture in Kyoto? ANA is a great way to get there. (Photo by Guitar photographer/Shutterstock)

Avoiding Fuel Surcharges

An important factor in any award flight redemption is fuel surcharges. These extra fees, which some airlines charge on award flights, can add substantial costs to your travels. In some cases, fuel surcharges may be so high that it’s not worth it to use your miles for a flight. If you are using ANA miles, try to pick flights on these airlines, which do not add fuel surcharges:

  • Air Canada
  • Air China
  • Air New Zealand
  • Avianca
  • Copa
  • Etihad
  • United (except to Asia)

Bottom Line

You can transfer your Amex Membership Rewards points to ANA and take advantage of some incredible deals on award tickets. And since ANA has a ton of partner airlines, you can redeem miles for travel almost anywhere in the world. There are many ways to redeem your ANA miles, but you can find excellent value on award trips between the US and Europe, Africa and Japan compared to other airlines.

Some airlines add fuel surcharges to ANA redemption but others don’t. Be sure to check for any extra charges before completing your booking.

Also, remember to subscribe to our newsletter for more tips on how to be smart with your miles and points!

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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