Or, consider other cards for 50,000 or more miles or points that transfer into United miles with additional flexibility for your everyday spending.
$750 for air / hotel / car bookings. Or transfer points to United, Southwest, Hyatt, and more.
No annual fee.
Last year ANA, an American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner, announced a change in its award chart from one that is based on how far you fly, to one that is based on regions, which acts more like the award charts you’re used to from U.S. carriers like United, Delta, and American.
ANA lets you use its miles to fly any Star Alliance carrier, including United, Air Canada, Lufthansa, Singapore, Swiss, Asiana, Scandanavian, and more. Like most international mileage programs, it forces you to pay any fuel surcharges assessed by the airline you’re flying, which can mean an extra $100 – $900 out of your pocket.
So ANA is only really useful if it charges much less in miles for awards compared to U.S. options like United MileagePlus that don’t force you to pay fuel surcharges.
The new chart was supposed to take effect April 12th, and there were some really good deals on the chart, like roundtrip to Europe in Business Class on any Star Alliance carrier for 72,000 miles.
That’s about half what United MileagePlus charges for many of the same flights.
Well, apparently some of them were too good, and Lazy Travelers reports ANA has once again updated the charts for April 17th.
That 72,000 mile Business Class award to Europe is now 88,000 miles. Still a decent price, but not nearly as outstanding. And worse than the 68,000 miles roundtrip you could get under the old chart which was based on how far you fly.
Here’s a rundown of the rest to and from North America. We’ve bolded awards that can still be considered good bargains compared to other options:
Within North America
Africa / Middle East
China / Taiwan / Hong Kong / Philippines
Oceania (Australia, New Zealand, etc)
Basically, awards to Asia in Business Class are a good deal compared to the 140,000 – 160,000 miles United MileagePlus and Delta SkyMiles charge for similar awards, even when you factor fuel surcharges.
Paying $300 or so in fuel surcharges is not a bad deal to save 50,000 miles. And it’s a really good deal if you’re flying in a market with really low surcharges, like Japan, where they are typically closer to $200 roundtrip.
Africa is still a great deal at 104,000 miles in Business Class.
Europe can be a decent deal in Business Class for 88,000 miles if you fly United with no surcharges, or LOT, Singapore, and Turkish, with surcharges closer to $300. In those cases you’re saving about 20-50,000 miles versus a typical 115,000 – 140,000 mile award for a modest copayment. But that deal breaks down if you fly just about any other Star Alliance carrier, with surcharges closer to $900.
Transferring to ANA is a pain – it can take a few days, and ANA will not hold awards for you, so in the time it takes to transfer the award you want can dry up. But if you are flexible, it’s a good way to save on award travel to Asia.
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