If you've ever wanted to travel to Japan, whether or not you actually made those dreams a reality, you know that Japan is EXPENSIVE. It is expensive to fly there and it is expensive once you arrive. Despite the costs, Japan is a very unique destination and a place that most travelers wish to visit. Today's post discusses one of the best sweet spots in all of travel, and easily the best sweet spot to Asia: flying All Nippon Airways (ANA) to Tokyo via Virgin Atlantic miles.
ALL NIPPON AIRWAYS (ANA)
ANA is the largest airline in Japan. It has a 5 star rating (the highest possible) with Skytrax and has nearly perfect scores in all grading criteria. ANA has one of the best first class products in the world and has recently launched a new business class product that is also among the best in the world. Not only are you flying to Japan on a sweet spot redemption, but you are doing so in world-class luxury.
ANA flies from Narita and Haneda airports in Tokyo. The non-stop flights to the USA from either Narita or Haneda include: Chicago, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. Most of these destinations are daily flights and several (including Chicago and NYC) have multiple daily flights. Almost all these routes are operated by a Boeing 777-300.
Virgin Atlantic Sweet Spot
Virgin Atlantic, which is a transfer partner of all major transferable currencies (UR, MR, TYP, and Bilt Rewards), has an incredible sweet spot redemption chart with ANA. Japan to the west coast of the USA is 60,000 in economy, 90,000 in business, and 110,000 in first class. Japan to the east cost of the USA is only slightly higher: 65,000 in economy, 95,000 in business, and 120,000 in first class. Simply put, there is no better deal available anywhere to fly from North American (the rates above also include Canada and Mexico) to Asia.
Only 47,500 each way in business for up to 14 hours in the air is insane value, especially when you consider it is among the business class seats in the world! You can compare this to United (also a partner of ANA) that charges round-trip prices of around 70,000 economy, 140,000 business, and 220,000 first class! Also, you can now book ANA via Virgin Atlantic for one-way flights at half the above-mentioned cost.
ANA is notorious for only releasing 2 business and 2 first class seats per flight, so these seats disappear quickly when the schedule is released (330 days in advance) to partners, usually to never reappear.
The combination of this awesome sweet spot and Virgin Atlantic partnering with most transferrable currencies means you can fly ANA roundtrip to Japan in economy or one way in business or first by opening any of below listed cards and earning the welcome bonus. The sheer size of this list should emphasize what a great sweet spot this is!
- Chase Sapphire Preferred
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase Ink Business Preferred
- Chase Ink Business Cash
- Chase Ink Business Unlimited
- Citi Premier
- Platinum Card from American Express
- Business Platinum Card from American Express
- American Express Gold Card
- American Express Business Gold Card
Beware of Fuel Surcharges
The one downside to this sweet spot is the fact that Virgin Atlantic passes on fuel surcharges costs. And ANA's fuel surcharges are quite high. This means that you'll end up spending some cash along with your points. Recently, ANA has increased its fuel surcharges by quite a lot. A recent search for a one-way flight to Tokyo from New York showed fuel surcharges at around $439 per person. This is quite a lot.
The high fuel surcharges make using this sweet spot for economy flights unviable. Redeeming 35,000 points to fly economy one-way from the East Coast to Japan is no longer a good deal when you have to also pay over $400. We can all debate whether the high surcharges are worth it to fly some of the best first and business class seats in the world, but just about anyone will agree that $400 in fees for an economy flight usually isn't worth it.
Thankfully, fuel surcharges are not set in stone. Airlines typically raise them when the price of oil spikes. On occasion, airlines do lower those surcharges when the price of oil drops. So let's keep our fingers crossed for ANA's fuel surcharges to go back down in a not so distant future.
As award travelers, we're always looking for the best deal possible. When traveling to Japan in premium cabin, the best deal is usually booking ANA with Virgin Atlantic. While all classes of service are great deals, first class is truly where VS shines. 60,000 Virgin Atlantic miles to fly first class to/from the East Cost or only 55,000 to/from the West Coast. These prices are magical! If you want to experience world-class first class, book ANA first class with Virgin Atlantic!
Have you flown ANA? Have you booked it with Virgin Atlantic? Come over to our Facebook group to ask any questions!