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As award travelers, we're always looking for the best deal possible. When traveling to Japan, the best deal is usually booking ANA with Virgin Atlantic.

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As award travelers, we're always looking for the best deal possible. When traveling to Japan, the best deal is usually booking ANA with Virgin Atlantic.
Travel on Point(s) is an independent, advertising-supported website. This site is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites like Cardratings.com. This compensation does not impact how or where products appear on this site. Travel on Point(s) has not reviewed all available credit card offers on this site. Reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any partner entities.

Book ANA With Virgin Atlantic

Traveling to Japan is expensive, whether it's the airfare, hotels, or any expenses on the ground. Despite higher costs, Japan is a unique destination that most travelers want to visit. In this post, we discuss one of the best sweet spots in all of travel, and easily the best sweet spot to Japan. We'll show you how to book ANA with Virgin Atlantic.

When Virgin Atlantic joined SkyTeam in March 2023, many feared that it would drop its partnership with ANA. Thankfully, this did not happen. But Virgin did increase the cost of first class redemptions shortly thereafter and then increased business class redemptions in May 2024. Despite the increase, this is still a good deal, as we show below.

UPDATED 5/22/24: Virgin Atlantic increased the cost of business class redemptions on ANA with no notice (HT: TravelMugPoints)

ALL NIPPON AIRWAYS (ANA)

ANA is the largest airline in Japan and has a 5-star rating with Skytrax (the highest possible). The airline has nearly perfect scores in all grading criteria. ANA has one of the best first class products in the world and has 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 US from either Narita or Haneda include Chicago, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. Most of these destinations have daily flights and several (including Chicago and New York) have multiple daily flights.

Book ANA With Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic Sweet Spot

Virgin Atlantic, which is a transfer partner of nearly all major transferable currencies (UR, MR, TYP, and Bilt Rewards), has an incredible sweet spot redemption chart with ANA.

Flights from Japan to the West Coast are
  • 60,000 in economy, 105,000 in business, and 145,000 in first class.
    • Pre May 2024 the prices were 90,000 in business
Japan to the East Coast is only slightly higher:
  • 65,000 in economy, 120,000 in business, and 170,000 in first class.
    • Pre May 2024 the prices were 95,000 in business

Simply put, there is still no better deal available anywhere to fly from North America (the rates above also include Canada and Mexico) to Asia. One-ways cost half of the respective amounts above.

Booking ANA With Virgin Atlantic Is Still A Good Deal After Devaluations

After joining SkyTeam, Virgin Atlantic increased the cost of first class redemptions on ANA. In May 2024, Virgin Atlantic also increased the cost of business class redemptions. Despite these increases, there is still no better deal out there on first class flights to Japan from the US. By comparison, United charges 220,000 miles for these same first class round-trip flights on ANA. And the cost of business class is still an excellent deal as well.

Only 60,000 each way in business for up to 14 hours in the air is still great value, especially since ANA offers one of 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! It should be noted that Virgin Atlantic charges by segments so only non stop flights make sense.

Book ANA With Virgin Atlantic
You can fly ANA First Class by transferring Citi ThankYou Points to Virgin Atlantic.

How To Earn Virgin Atlantic Miles

The combination of this awesome sweet spot and Virgin Atlantic partnering with most transferrable currencies (check our ToP Transfer Partner Tool) means you can fly ANA round-trip to Japan in economy or one-way in business or first by opening any of the below-listed cards and earning the welcome bonus. The sheer size of this list–which is not exhaustive–should emphasize what a great sweet spot this is! Don't forget the frequent transfer bonuses to Virgin Atlantic too.

Searching for Availability and Booking the Flight

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 to partners (330 days in advance), usually to never reappear.

To search for availability, we recommend using both ANA's and United's websites depending on when you're looking. During a recent call with Virgin Atlantic to book this award, a knowledgeable rep shared that United's search engine matches what the Virgin Atlantic reps see most closely. I asked whether ANA's website also matches what they see. He said it does not, and that if we see ANA award availability on United, the Virgin Atlantic agents will almost always see it too.

The downside to United's website is that it only searches out to 331 days in advance. Meanwhile, ANA opens their calendar about 355 days out. This means there are about 24 days or so where ANA can release award availability but you have no way of searching it with United. For this timeframe, we recommend sticking with ANA's website.

ANA requires you to log in to your Mileage Club account, so if you do not have one, you'll have to create one for free. Unfortunately, ANA only allows you to book round-trip awards, which means you have to search for round-trip or multi-city awards.

Once you find availability for the flights you want, write down the flight information (dates, number of seats, flight numbers, etc.) and call Virgin Atlantic at 1 (800) 862-8621. Virgin Atlantic's phone agents are the best in the business, so there's no reason to dread making the call. Feed the agent the flight information you wrote down and they'll search it and book the flight for you. Unlike ANA, Virgin Atlantic does let you book one-way flights.

Book ANA with Virgin Atlantic

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 can be quite high. This means that you'll end up spending some cash along with your points redemption. ANA has gone back and forth increasing and lowering its fuel surcharges by quite a lot. Recently, we helped a member of our Facebook group book a one-way flight in first class from Chicago to Tokyo and the taxes/fees were $250. This is the lowest I have seen this in years.†

When fuel surcharges are high, 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 in cash. But if the cash portion is lower, say under $200, then this is still a good deal even in economy.

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.

How to Book ANA with Virgin Atlantic: ToP Thoughts

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 the Virgin Atlantic award chart shines. At 85,000 Virgin Atlantic points to fly first class to/from the East Cost or only 72,500 to/from the West Coast, these prices are fantastic. If you want to experience world-class first class, book ANA first class with Virgin Atlantic! Hopefully you found this how to book ANA with Virgin Atlantic guide useful.

Have you flown ANA? Did you book it with Virgin Atlantic? Come over to our Facebook group to ask any questions!

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