Virgin Atlantic Flying Club has made an important, very positive change to their redemption option for partner ANA All Nippon Airways where it’s now possible to officially book one way awards.
Some Virgin Flying Club members including myself have manages in the past to book one way awards on ANA but that was never official policy until the change was made and published this week.
It has always been a curiosity why ANA awards were required as a round trip option, just as ANA Mileage Club (AMC) itself only permits round trip awards.
You can read my Award Success article for the ANA First Class flight from Frankfurt to Tokyo which I managed to redeem in late 2019 and for whatever reason (oversight?) the agent allowed me to book as a one way:
The amount of mileage required as well as the tax amount was extremely reasonable and in fact the award chart is still very generous when it comes to ANA flights:
But the most important part I want to outline today is the message right above the award chart:
The table below shows round-trip mileage, not including applicable taxes and surcharges. If a journey requires a connecting flight or stopover to reach the destination, points are charged for each sector.
One-way trips are permitted at half of the round-trip mileage shown below.
Previously the message was that one way awards aren’t available. Now it actively advertises the opposite:
John also had a fantastic ANA First Class Award redemption via Flying Club last year and was lucky enough to get the new cabin:
Champagne is always flowing in ANA First:
I’ve written about the great value of ANA award via Flying Club before and once again their chart excels especially in premium cabins. Frankfurt (Europe Region) to Tokyo costs 60,000 miles one way in First Class and 42,500 miles in Business Class, this is unparalleled.
You can not check on availability or book award tickets for ANA online via Virgin, you have to call the Flying Club hotline (+44-3444122414) and have an agent check on it, so that’s what I did. I did however first check with United Mileage Plus for availability and found that it matches the pool that Virgin Atlantic has at their disposal.
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 transferred some Amex Membership Rewards points to VS which credited instantly in a matter of less than a minute.
One issue remains with ANA awards booked through Virgin: You can’t book any connection flights and have Virgin charge you for example USA to Thailand. You would need two awards, USA-Japan ; Japan-Thailand. This would cost 87,500 miles in a First/Business combination (there is no F-Cl to Thailand). Still a very good value, I haven’t tried that yet, maybe Virgin could even put that into one ticket and then charge you for two awards.
ANA awards through Virgin Flying Club still represent exceptional value and I’m really happy about this change considering one way awards are so much more flexible than round trips.
I wonder what prompted this change. Maybe some changes within the agreement between Virgin and ANA were able to be amended after ANA loosened it’s policy. I don’t see any reason why Virgin would force members to book round trip flights when all other partners are available as one way as well. Perhaps some changes in this direction could also come to ANA Mileage Club?