Using ANA Award Search Without Miles?

The ANA award search tool is one of the best places to search Star Alliance award space.

Not surprisingly, over the years they’ve added a few restrictions to using it, given that a lot of people that didn’t have any ANA miles were using it to search award space when trying to redeem miles through other airlines.

One restriction they technically added is that you need some miles in your ANA account in order to be able to search partner award space. Three years ago ANA offered 100 miles for completing a survey, which was a good way to get some account activity so you could easily search Star Alliance award space.

However, ANA miles expire 36 months after they’re earned, so if you earned miles through the survey, those have now expired, and you might find yourself no longer easily being able to search partner award space.

I received quite a few questions about this from readers, including this one from Todd:

Hi Ben,

It seems the few ANA Miles I had that allowed me access to use their award search tool, have expired.

What are the best/quickest ways nowadays to add enough miles back into my account so I can use their award search tool once again?

Thanks.

So I figured I’d clear up a couple of things:

You don’t need ANA miles to search Star Alliance award space

As I explained in my primer on using the the ANA award search tool, you don’t actually need ANA miles to search Star Alliance award space, as there’s a workaround:

If you don’t have any miles, the page will look like this, with the option to search Star Alliance and Single Airline award space greyed out:

ANA-Award-Tool-123

Worry not! Even if you don’t have miles in your account there’s an easy workaround: click on “ANA International Flight Awards:”

ANA-Award-Tool-124

Then enter any random route that ANA operates (like JFK-NRT, IAD-NRT, CDG-NRT, etc.), and click “Next.”

ANA-Award-Tool-125

When you get to the results page, scroll to the very bottom and you’ll see the button reading “Use Star Alliance Member Airlines” is no longer greyed out!

ANA-Award-Tool-126

Click it, and you’ve now “cracked” into the Star Alliance searched tool. On the next page you’ll be able to search award availability for any Star Alliance route.

It’s that easy!

Easy ways to top off an ANA account

Assuming you use the ANA tool enough so that going through the five second workaround every time is a pain, what are the easiest ways to top off an account?

ANA Mileage Club partners with both American Express Membership Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest.

With American Express Membership Rewards you can transfer as few as a 1,000 points.

AmEx-1

With Starwood you can transfer as few as 2,500 Starpoints if you’re a non-elite member. That limit is lowered to 1,500 Starpoints if you’re a Gold member.

Starwood-ANA-Miles-2

And if you are a Platinum member, you can transfer as little as one Starpoint. That being said, in order for an ANA account to qualify as having “activity,” it must have at least 100 Starpoints, so you’ll want to transfer at least that many points.

Starwood-ANA-Miles-1

Bottom line

Ultimately there’s not really a need for a workaround, but if you do want to be able to search space in a straightforward way, those are your best options.

Comments

  1. I transferred 1 Starpoint into my ANA account knowing those survey points would expire. As of September 1, now that my balance is only 1 point I have to use the workaround you mention (or Seth’s tool). It seems like the minimum points is 100 to have the full Star Alliance search unlocked, although maybe the actual number is somewhere between 1 and 100…

  2. I’ve seen the ANA tool pushed here elsewhere as an excellent search tool. I’ve always been mystified by this. When I book flight son ANA, I usually have to search elsewhere because they miss so many flights…even the basic United and Lufthansa flights, let alone SAS, Austrian, LOT, etc. I’ve had to find the award on United or Award Nexus, and then call in to ANA to book flights. This is always a challenge because of so-so English skills of their agents. Last time it took 3 calls to convince them LOT was in Star Alliance, and a ticket could indeed be booked. Check out ORD-VIE on 9/24-10/3. Then look at United. What am I missing? Why does everyone think the ANA tool is so awesome?

  3. I had the very same question because my miles expired. I had completely forgotten that there was a workaround except I find the ANA website very difficult to navigate to just find the award search. Thanks!

  4. @ nathan — Keep in mind it only searches nonstop award space. What are you seeing on United that you aren’t seeing on ANA?

  5. Such a great website. Here is another tip for this. After you click on “Use Star Alliance Member Airlines” make sure you do a “Flight Search” This allows you to build your trip by flight rather than city pair. For example, if you’re trying to go to BER from NYC, you can use this to find your transatlantic flight first then your intra-European connection or build other interesting routings to get you to your destination. Also, from my understanding they do not display ANY 380 F space on any airline, even if it is open to partner redemption.

  6. @Franklyn Miller

    I have certainly seen TG A380 F NRT-BKK available on ANA rearward… maybe they just don’t show LH A380 F?

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