Award Success: ANA First Class Award FRA-HND For Just 60k Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Miles

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This week I had another Award Success as I was able to find a First Class seat on ANA between Frankfurt and Tokyo which was available through Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.

It was a great bargain since American Express currently has the 30% Bonus promotion for Membership Rewards transfers to Virgin Atlantic.

I was on the lookout for a flight from Frankfurt to Tokyo in between the holidays and honestly prefer ANA or JAL over the Lufthansa flight.

After searching for a bit I indeed found availability on the ANA flight Frankfurt to Haneda in First Class when checking availability with United Mileage Plus search engine.

United charges 118,500 miles for this one way plus the official airport tax of US$94.20, however I find that a bit high and wasn’t really willing to spend that much.

ANA Mileage Club has great redemption opportunities but it’s impossible to book one way awards with the program. I could have booked a return flight in Business Class at 87,500 Miles though which is phenomenal value as well.

Lastly I thought about looking at the ANA Partner Chart of Virgin Atlantic Flying Club:

Mind you, all these values about are for round trip awards and even though the description of ANA awards in fact says that one way awards are no possible this is no longer the case – you can book one ways without any problem.

I’ve written about the great value of ANA award via Flying Club before and once again their chart excels in this case. Frankfurt (Europe Region) to Tokyo costs 60,000 miles one way in First Class and 42,500 miles in Business Class.

You can not check on availability or book award tickets for ANA online, you have to call the Flying Club hotline (+44-3444122414) and have an agent check on it, so that’s what I did.

The agent informed me that there was availability and that he could reserve the flight for me even though I haven’t transferred any miles over to my account yet. The balance was zero at that point. Hold period was a maximum of 24 hours.

I then logged into my U.S. based Amex Membership Rewards account and then utilized the 30% Bonus Transfer Promotion to Virgin Atlantic. I transferred 47,000 MR points to 61,100 Virgin Miles:

I was surprised that the points posted to Virgin Atlantic almost instantly after initiating the transfer.

As soon as the miles showed up in my Flying Club account I called back to ticket the reservation:

As expected the final price was 60,000 miles plus 127,10 GBP tax and fees. I assume there were some extra carrier surcharges as United charged a lot less in extras.

The ticket was issued immediately and I was given the ANA reservation code to access the reservation on the website and select a seat. Unfortunately I don’t think that the new First Class cabin will already be available this December on the Frankfurt route. Rumor has it that it’ll come in January.

Instead it’ll likely be the First Square which is also a very nice product.

I’m definitely looking forward to this flight as so far I always had excellent service on ANA, especially in First Class.

Conclusion

This redemption was truly incredible value. 47,000 American Express points for an 11:30h long ANA First Class flight can’t be beat. The surcharges are also extremely reasonable.

Sometimes it’s worthwhile to shop around a bit and keep your points as universal currency until a good opportunity arises to transfer them out and book something. The Virgin Atlantic transfer bonus will go until December 28th and I think I’ll transfer another lot over to be prepared for my trip in April.

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