This week our Fabulous Friday will feature one of the most coveted awards still out there, the ANA All Nippon Airways Mileage Club Round The World award ticket.
ANA Mileage Club (AMC) isn’t much in the focus of many travelers and a rather underappreciated program but has huge potential if one is able to accumulate ANA Miles easily.
Over the years awards have become more and more restrictive especially in regards to stopovers which have always been a favorite feature of mine when putting award tickets together for one of my trips. Very few frequent flyer programs still allow stopovers these days but one option to put complex routings together is a Round the World ticket and ANA Mileage Club has the cheapest rate for them.
You can access ANA MC here to learn about their conditions of the Round The World award.
This is the award chart that is structured by the total distance flown:
I figured for myself that I could make the 20,000 miles award work that would cost me 115,000 miles in Business Class which is a steal. Even the 180,000 miles for First Class would have been very good but two of my segments don’t even offer First Class so that would have been a waste.
Here is what I booked:
The routing I chose was based on the destinations I wanted to hit but also due to the times we live in those where I can actually get off the plane and enter the country. I would have loved to include a few more stops along the way such as Taiwan and Korea as well as a long stopover in Japan but that wasn’t meant to be for now.
Here is the complete routing:
All in all I ended up (according to the agent) with 19,992 miles which is a small discrepancy from my own calculation (19,837) based on GCM. Not really sure what ANA uses to calculate the distance but I had to change the LAX-SFO segment I planned to fly to LAX-LAS and will just buy a domestic ticket to SF when I need it. It also keeps me a bit more flexible.
Keep in mind that these surface sectors won’t be counted towards the mileage total. You could for example just fly from Los Angeles to New York and by that way save 2xxx miles, bringing down the required miles for the ticket.
Talking about flexibility, you can change this ticket free of charge but no changes are allowed to airline or routing. I hope this isn’t going to haunt me during the trip in case I need to make a date change.
As far as taxes and fees are concerned, ANA MC is expensive but not as brutal as for example Lufthansa Miles&More.
The entire ticket cost me $771 plus a $25 call center fee (I still have to research if they are supposed to charge this for tickets that can’t be booked online).
A whopping $556 of this total are fuel surcharges, mostly from Thai Airways and Lufthansa. I tried my best to avoid them but that’s impossible for my routing at the moment. Singapore Airlines isn’t releasing any partner award space right now and United Polaris wasn’t available either for SFO-FRA. Too bad because neither SIA or United have fuel surcharges on these tickets.
Here are some FAQs from the ANA website I referenced above:
- For Round the World itineraries, the required mileage is calculated according to the total basic sector mileage for the entire itinerary. (Calculations exclude ground transportation sectors.)
- Flights must be used to cross both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans once.
- The flight direction of the itinerary must be east-to-west or west-to-east. Backtracking is not permitted.
- Up to 8 stopovers are permitted between the departure point and the final return point. (Up to 3 stopovers are permitted within Europe and up to 4 stopovers are permitted within Japan.)
- The departure date of the final international flight to return to the country of departure must be at least 10 days after the departure of the first international flight on the itinerary.
Example: When departing Japan on October 1, it will be October 1 + 10 days = October 11. So the return flight to Japan has to be after October 11.
- In addition to a maximum of 12 flight sectors, the itinerary may also include a maximum of 4 ground transport sectors (including travel between different airports in the same city).
The experience booking this ticket was rather pleasant, obviously contributed to by the fact that this ticket had only 5 segments and 1 surface sector and that I had checked availability for these flights ahead of time.
RTW tickets can’t be booked online, you have to call and book it. I called the U.S. reservation hotline of ANA and the call was routed over to a Japanese call center. Following the reservation ANA required a couple of hours to calculate the taxes and fees. They never called me back as they promised but I rang them back to learn of the taxes and paid with my Amex, happy to finally have an airline charge again to put on the Platinum card since that’s really the only charge that makes sense due to the 5x earning.
I’m looking forward to finally get on the road again next week, aside from a few domestic trips in Thailand I haven’t been going anywhere internationally since March 1, 2020. Can’t wait to finally have a long haul flight again.
Ana Mileage Club still has a variety of interesting award sweet spots in their system (for now) and the Round The World Award is definitely one of the most lucrative options. The round trips in First and Business Class are excellent as well, unfortunately they don’t allow international one way flights.
This was the first time I booked a RTW award with ANA and the experience was rather pleasant, taxes were on the higher side but not outrageous. Let’s see how the trip will go after all.