A LoyaltyLobby reader sent us a report about an epic flying around Japan on ANA to reach Platinum status and eligible for ANA Super Flyer Club (SFC) credit card.
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Here’s the Reader’s ANA Mileage Run Experience:
Take advantage of ANA’s Double Premium Double Campaign which has been extended until September 30, 2021. There is still time to take advantage of this deal. It is a serious disadvantage to non-Japanese reading ANA members that information about the current double Premium Point campaign is only available in Japanese. We can assume that because the deal applies only to domestic fares, ANA just did not bother appealing to small population of English-speaking foreign residents in Japan.
I booked my flights in May for June dates because the original campaign was to end on June 30th. You receive the regular PPs when your flights are completed, and your bonus points are posted one month later.
ANA’s Premium Points are the points counted towards garnering status and not the mileage you can redeem for rewards. The airline’s method of calculating mileage and PPs is so convoluted that there is a simulator that figures it out for you.
When I enter the Super Value rate for the Haneda to Naha route which is Fare 5, it calculates my mileage points based on the 75% of the distance plus the 10% bonus miles I get from paying with my regular ANA Visa card.
The Premium Points are the miles flown times the fare rate. The route rate refers to how domestic flights and flights within Asia and Australia receive double points. (The main reason is because there are competing low-cost carriers on these routes and not on North America and Europe routes.)
The boarding points is also based on your class. The most important condition of this deal to be aware of is that Super Value Sale Fare 8 category is excluded. All other booking classes are eligible. Haneda – Naha one-way is easily available for about 10,000 yen so it’s the most popular route to earn PPs for the lowest cost. Triangle routes such as: Naha – Haneda – Sapporo earn extra boarding points. Because only 25,000 points were required during a time where tickets were easy to book and prices were low, my total expense was under 280,000 yen. Getting ANA Platinum status typically costs 600,000 yen but I completed it with less than half the cost.
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Although I found out about the campaign in March, I did not know whether my schedule would allow for extensive travelling until May. So I only really had June to take advantage of double point campaign. For this mileage run, I took three separate trips.
The first trip was intense – no wonder the Japanese call these Mileage Boot Camps — 13 flights over four days! Obviously, I did it solo because nobody will do this crazy trip with me!! Many Japanese do “touchdown trips” where they will book a return flight 90 mins. after landing at an airport to gain PPs in the shortest time possible. I managed to do something touristy every day.
Since I typically had an entire row to myself and each flight was under two hours, flying so much was not actually that painful. I went shopping, ate local cuisines, and soaked at three different hot spring baths. I spent a night in Otaru, a scenic town near Sapporo and indulged in their famous cheesecakes and other street foods. I also found out Sapporo’s New Chitose Airport is arguably one of the best food and entertainment airports in the world.
- Day 1: Haneda (Premium class) – Sapporo – Itami – Naha
- Day 2: Naha -Haneda – Sapporo – Haneda – Naha
- Day 3: Naha – Haneda – Sapporo
- Day4: Sapporo – Haneda – Naha — Haneda
The second trip was a very pleasant one including overnight in Sapporo alone, then joining my husband in Haneda to fly to Naha together the next day. We went snorkeling and island hopping before returning to Tokyo.
- Day 1: Haneda – Sapporo
- Day 2: Sapporo – Haneda – Naha
- Day 3: No flights
- Day 4: Naha – Haneda
The third trip was in Premium Class to Hakodate and was a really fun trip that included the most amazing food, scenic strolls to the waterfront, a cable car ride for the night view, streetcars and visiting a historical fort/park.
- Day 1: Haneda to Hakodate (Premium class)
- Day 2: Hakodate to Haneda (Premium class)
I had forgotten about the 3,000 points bonus you get on your first flight of the year, so I actually ended up with more points than I needed. Also, if I had known in May that ANA would extend the double point campaign until the end of September, I may have planned my first trip differently. Taking four flights in one day did feel like work more than pleasure. But the truth is, it is also nice to get it over within one month and secure the status for all my international travels in 2022.
While there are cheaper ways to gain Star Alliance Gold status for one year, getting ANA Platinum for Japan residents is extra lucrative because it means qualification to apply for the ANA Super Flyer Club (SFC) credit card.
Essentially, this credit card gives you the benefits of Star Alliance Gold for a 11,275 yen annual fee. Family members have almost the same privileges for supplementary cards of 5,610 yen annually. Getting the SFC credit card is primarily why Japanese people will invest in time and money to earn Platinum status once. Up until April 1, 2020, Platinum and Super Flyer status also came with automatic upgrades to Premium Economy whenever available. This was the benefit I was willing to pay for. But now using upgrade points requires booking in expensive classes so I gave up on trying to get the SFC credit card. But with double points, becoming Platinum was a lot of fun.
Are other airlines doing special campaigns to encourage domestic travel? Are they as lucrative as Japan’s? Do other airline credit cards in other countries offer Star Alliance Gold for $100 USD after earning mid-tier status for one year? Please let me know in the comments.
My head was spinning when looking at the reader’s trips, but then I remembered how efficient Japan is. Usually, everything runs on time unless there is a typhoon (I had to leave a day early last year because most flights were canceled the following day).
ANA’s mileage program is quite well known due to the easy and cheap around-the-world business class tickets that Sebastian recently wrote about (read more here).
They are, however, quite difficult to “understand” because there is a mileage program and a club (at least with JAL), and it appears that there is something similar with ANA with a credit card.
It is interesting that in Japan, you can essentially keep the Star Alliance Gold status indefinitely by carrying this specific credit card that comes with a very modest fee.
It is probably the cheapest way to continuously keep the status unless you happen to have a lifetime one, as I do with United, but it was quite expensive to get there (million flown miles).