ANA Has A New Award Search Tool, And It’s Not Great

As of this weekend, Japanese airline ANA has a new award chart. Along with that, they’ve apparently refreshed their website and heretofore fabulous Star Alliance award search tool.

And goodness gracious it’s terrible.

ANA-New-Award-Search-01
“A New” is a great way to describe it, honestly.

For starters, actually getting to the award search tool is problematic. Not like it was easy before, but I highly recommend you bookmark the link to the new ANA tool, as even getting that far is a challenge.

Once you’ve logged in, the best way I’ve found is to click under “Login” and then”Flight Awards” and then scroll to the bottom and select “Award Reservation.”

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If you’ve already logged in, you can also get to the award search tool from the home page:

ANA Home Page

This takes you to the search tool, which is dramatically different:

ANA-New-Award-Tool-23

On the surface the design is certainly more attractive. You can also search for more than four passengers, and for more complex partner awards.

However, the overall functionality seems (at first glance) to be much worse. For example, the old ANA tool used to allow you to search a full seven days of Star Alliance inventory. Now you can search +/- three days for economy only:

ANA-New-Award-Tool-09

Whereas if you’re looking for premium cabin inventory, you can only look at a single day of results at one time:

ANA-New-Award-Tool-14

On the plus side, the site now shows estimated taxes, and will recommend two and three stop routings.

That’s theoretically helpful, but I’m a little concerned about the accuracy. I haven’t had a chance to really dig in and discern specific trends, but there are many discrepancies between what is actually available in Starnet versus what is displaying on the ANA site. At this point it seems rather random. That’s a real blow, as the ANA tool has consistently been the most accurate of any Star Alliance search tool.

Beyond that, the site is really fussy, and I am receiving error messages about every three searches.

View From The Wing posits the decreased functionality is a side effect of the transition, and I sincerely hope that’s true. The current iteration is superbly irritating.

How to search Star Alliance award space in the meantime

Ultimately, there are many ways to search award space, though you’ll need to use a “trust but verify” approach.

You can use the United site to search award space, for example, though keep in mind it’s not uncommon for United to obfuscate partner inventory, or even display phantom inventory. So regardless of which tool you use for your initial search, you’ll want to double-check inventory with another site.

For example, entering New York to Frankfurt for Tuesday will return the following results on United.com:

ANA-New-Award-Search-21

Replicating the search on the Aeroplan site will confirm the same seats are available:

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As does the new ANA tool:

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Each site has different strengths and weaknesses in terms of constructing itineraries, but your best bet, as always, is to search for the individual segments separately.

It’s rare for all three sites to show award space unless it’s bookable by other Star Alliance carriers as well, so if you’ve found inventory using these tools, it should also be available if you call whichever program you have miles with.

Bottom line

Hopefully we’ll see improved accuracy with the ANA tool in the coming days. For many of us this has been the “go to” for finding accurate Star Alliance award space, and in the meantime it will take more effort to verify award inventory.

Has anyone else tried using the new ANA tool? What are your thoughts?

Comments

  1. Thanks for the summary, and the link.

    When I tried the link, this was the message I received:

    “This page cannot be displayed.

    Please try again from the top page. We apologize for the inconvenience.”

    Not encouraging.

  2. @ TravelinWilly — I warned you it was bad!

    In all seriousness though, let me try and find a consistently functioning link. Sorry about that.

  3. @tiffany – are you doing the trip report from your Emirates flight with your mom? Was looking forward to that!!

  4. @ Tom — Nope, ExpertFlyer and the publicly available sites have generally been sufficient for me.

  5. @ Patrick — I intend to, but it’s been a very busy couple of weeks! No idea how Ben cranks these things out so consistently.

  6. Looks like there may be some bugs with the program that need to be sort out. This is interesting as it seems that the reservation tool has the option to search +/- 3 days.

  7. It seems you cannot book one-ways… I thought the new program allowed one ways. Can anyone confirm?

  8. I am getting following error when i tried to book business class flight from jfk-del.
    i choose date 04/14/2015- 04/16/2015.
    “The application deadline has passed for requesting ANA International flight awards (no later than 96 hours before boarding). Please amend your dates and try again. ”

    any idea what I did wrong?

  9. I get to the page, but it’s in Japanese. I can’t figure out how to change to English. Do you know how?

  10. @Flyer You can only book awards on ANA 4 days out. Close-in awards (sooner departure date than 4 days) are not allowed.

  11. @ Flyer — What Matt S NYC said. You used to be able to trick the system by searching in reverse, but the current setup doesn’t allow that.

  12. @Tiffany – Both links work but still shows the page in Japanese. I’ll give it a few days or so and I’ll try again. I use UA site primarily anyway and just use ANA to verify the availability.

  13. >I warned you it was bad!

    @Tiffany: This is the link you should be posting:
    https://aswbe-i.ana.co.jp/rei11b/international_asw/pages/award/search/roundtrip/award_search_roundtrip_input.xhtml

    The reason the link you posted (“but I highly recommend you bookmark…”) doesn’t work is because it’s got a per-session (specifically *your* session, so it’s a GOOD thing it expired) ID tagged onto it.
    Either way, it’s Japanese-only, so unless people are using Chrome (for the auto-translation) or can read Japanese, it’s not going to be very useful until ANA sorts out language support.

    The simplest explanation for all the errors is that the changeover to the new design isn’t ready for people living in not-Japan, and some codemonkey screwed up by flipping the switch for everyone. That’s why *everything* is in Japanese-only, as folks like John have been figuring out.

    Which reminds me: the “Web site of the ANA has a new!” stuff is because you’re using Chrome (again, auto-translation). It’s a bit unfair of you to screenshot it as if it was ANA’s fault. They have enough wonky English as it is without you trying to make them look worse.

  14. @Matt & @Tiffany: Does it mean I can not book a return trip longer than 4 days using ANA miles? It wouldn’t let me select a return date 4 days later than the current date.

  15. any idea what will happen to existing reservation whose routing is the same but dates need to be changed?

  16. Hope they restore old functionality soon as 7-day searches were very useful. It’d not have been as terrible if they put Previous/Next Day buttons to quickly switch dates (like SQ has on their site) but on the new site you have to select a new date from the calendar.

    P.S. ANA seems really stingy with First award space out of Houston now. But I suppose I’d take NH J over UA. Just flew UA BusinessFirst IAH-NRT and it wasn’t very pleasant (terrible seats for sleeping).

  17. i can’t figure out how to redeem my united miles on the new ana award travel site for non ana flights…. any ideas?
    thanks!

  18. @ jake — Have you been able to search for non-ANA flights in general? Once you’ve found space, you can contact United to book, though given how glitchy the site is I’d recommend searching with United.com and just using ANA to confirm availability, personally.

  19. Late to the show here but had a question I can’t find any info on:
    I am looking to book a trip between SDF (Louisville) and LHR (London) with ANA. I have an ANA Mileage Club account, with no miles currently (am in the process of earning credit card bonus with Amex to transfer). After I log-in the ANA website is reporting a cost of 55,000 miles and $200 in taxes/fees/charges. Given what I have read about their high fees I am wondering if this amount is not all inclusive and fuel charges or some other fee will get tacked on at a later point in the booking process? Does anyone know? Thank you so much for the help. As best I can tell the flights are with United.

  20. @ Daniel — That should be the price. ANA doesn’t levy fuel surcharges on United if booked online.

  21. @ Tiffany — Great, thank you. I was nervous after reading about their high fuel surcharges that I was going to get a surprise when I transfer my points to book.

  22. For those wondering, it works well now: make sure you read the footnotes showing you how to use the buttons!

  23. I am struggling to use the ANA website to see if there is award space on a South African Airlines flight. I’ve hit all the problems described above: some pages in Japanese only, weird error messages, buttons that don’t respond to a click, etc. When I finally was able to do a search, it comes back with no flights meet my criteria, no matter what dates I try. Could this be because I have no miles in the account?

    Just wondering what the latest functionality is now and where else to go to search for award space on South African Airlines, specifically for:

    South African Airways flt 8870 operated by Airlink
    on Mon, February 8, 2016
    Depart MQP 11:35 AM – Arrive LVI 1:10 PM

    Thanks for any help you can offer!

  24. Question – Can I use United miles for award space found on ANA’s website? For example I found an itinerary that costs 57,500 miles for a round trip from LAX to TYO on ANA. How can I use United miles for this?

    Thank you!

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