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Shh…68,000 miles for business class to Europe on United, US Airways, more…

by on Fri September 30, 2011 • No Comment

Want to know one of the best pro tips in miles today? It costs only 68,000 miles to fly business class from the East Coast to Europe on United, Lufthansa, US Airways, Virgin Atlantic, and more using ANA miles, a Japanese airline’s mileage program.

This typically costs 90-100,000 miles in other programs. So how can a U.S. traveler take advantage of a Japanese frequent flyer program? Simple — point transfer from credit card programs.

  1. American Express Membership Rewards points convert 1:1 to ANA miles, while Starwood Points convert at 1 : 1.2.
  2. ANA offers ‘distance based’ rewards — that is the cost in miles is related to the distance in miles your trip covers
  3. The East Coast to Europe is typically about 8,000 miles roundtrip
  4. ANA charges 68,000 miles in business class for trips that are 7,001 – 9,000 miles roundtrip versus 100,000 miles typical for international trips of that length on other airlines
  5. ANA miles can be used on its Star Alliance partners, like United, US Airways, Lufthansa, and Swiss — all of whom fly to Europe.

This chart lists ANA’s mile requirements for award tickets which are based on the distance your reward trip covers. Next to them are typical mileage requirements from other major mileage programs like Delta or United, that don’t use a distance based formula. In blue, you’ll see some of the levels where ANA offers a better bargain than a regular mileage award.

ANA Mileage Chart Comparison

You’ll find the best bargains are from the U.S. and Midwest to Europe, and the West Coast to Asia. To get a sense of how far your trip is, consider New York to Paris is about 3,800 miles (7,400 roundtrip), New York to Los Angeles is about 2,500 miles (5,000 roundtrip), Chicago to Rome is about 5,000 miles with a connection (10,000 roundtrip), and Chicago to Hong Kong is about 9,000 miles (18,000 roundtrip).

How to take advantage of this?

Get one of the credit cards that transfers miles to ANA:

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express. Points convert 1:1 but you get a 5,000 mile bonus for every 20,000 points you transfer, up to 79,999 per day. So, transferring 60,000 points gets you 75,000 ANA miles. However these can take 1-2 weeks to post.

American Express® Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express. Points convert 1:1, though with no bonus. The transfer usually takes about 48 hours to post.

Be flexible…

Unfortunately ANA doesn’t let you hold an award ticket while you wait for miles to transfer into your account. So you’ll need to transfer miles from your American Express points without knowing whether the precise flight you’re looking for will be available when they reach your ANA account. Star Alliance has pretty good overall availability, but if you’re set on a particular date this may not be the avenue for you.

After all, there is some tradeoff to getting a business class ticket to Europe for 33% fewer points than usual. Also note you’ll probably face taxes and fuel charges of about $300 roundtrip for an international business class reward but this is typical for most airlines today.

But, this can be a great bargain for your next holiday. Let us know your success in using this great, long standing deal.

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Miles dont expireas long as card is open
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Partner Offer

50,000 bonus points

Intro Offer

$0 introductory annual fee, then $95

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Foreign Transaction Fee Waived


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