Your Last Chance To Score An Amazing Deal On An ANA First Class Award Ticket

Since mid-April, the US Amex Membership Rewards program has been offering a 30% bonus on points transfers to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. This offer is available through Monday, May 22, 2017, meaning you have only a couple of days left to take advantage of this offer.

Points ordinarily transfer at a 1:1 ratio, meaning that during this promotion you’d receive 1,300 Virgin Atlantic miles per 1,000 Membership Rewards points.


In general this isn’t how I’d choose to use my Amex Membership Rewards points, given how valuable they are. Virgin Atlantic has hefty carrier imposed surcharges, so in many cases you won’t get exceptional value by redeeming that way. Redemptions in economy and premium economy can represent a good deal, though ultimately that’s not exactly the most aspirational use of points.

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class

However, as I wrote about in a previous post, probably the best “sweet spot” redemption of Virgin Atlantic miles is using them for travel in ANA premium cabins. Virgin Atlantic has a distance based award chart for travel on ANA, with the following redemption rates:

Distance Of Return JourneyEconomy ClassBusiness ClassFirst Class
0-600 miles15,00030,00040,000
601-1,600 miles18,00035,00050,000
1,601-2,000 miles21,00040,00055,000
2,001-4,000 miles23,00045,00060,000
4,001-7,000 miles40,00065,00080,000
7,001-9,000 miles45,00070,00090,000
9,001-11,000 miles60,00090,000110,000
11,001-14,000 miles65,00095,000120,000
14,001-18,000 miles70,000110,000140,000
18,001-20,000 miles80,000120,000160,000
20,001-22,000 miles90,000130,000180,000

A roundtrip ticket between several points in the US and Tokyo will cost you 95,000 miles in business class or 120,000 miles in first class, plus minimal taxes and fees. That’s without even factoring in the 30% transfer bonus, meaning that these awards really only cost 74,000 Membership Rewards points or 93,000 Membership Rewards points, respectively. While there are carrier imposed surcharges, they’re very mild — think under $200 roundtrip including all taxes and fees. That’s an insanely good deal.

ANA first class

However, be sure you do read the previous post for more details on how the booking process works, as it’s not totally straightforward, you have to book by phone, etc. However, if you know what you’re getting yourself into, this represents an exceptional deal, in my opinion.

So if you’ve been considering a trip to Japan and have Amex points, I’d seriously consider booking an ANA first or business class ticket in the next couple of days using this promotion. However, I highly recommend both transferring points and booking within the next few days, rather than transferring for the purposes of a redemption in the future. That’s because redemption rates aren’t even officially published, so they may change their redemption rates at some point in the future.

The best strategy is to hold your ticket, then transfer points, and then ticket the reservation.

Does anyone plan on redeeming Virgin Atlantic miles for travel on ANA?


  1. Thanks for the heads up on this. After reading your last post, I snagged two First Class tickets round trip from Houston to Tokyo right before New Year’s Eve. I wasn’t currently planning to do this trip but at that price for round trip first (especially nonstop) I couldn’t resist. Taxes/fees were only $170/pp.

  2. “There are no carrier imposed surcharges”

    There definitely are fuel surcharges on ANA redemptions.

  3. Thanks to your other post about this deal, I was able to book LAX-HND in early July.

    110,000 miles plus $169.

    However, I had to put my award on a 24 hour hold because new Virgin Atlantic accounts have to wait 24 hours before they can ticket.

  4. Yeah from the West Coast to Japan it’s 110,000 miles roundtrip in first, 90,000 in business. Thanks for the head start up. Going to see the cherry blossoms next year.

    With these great redemption values I can’t think of a better use of Amex points.

  5. Thanks Ben, for this valuable information. 185,000 AMEX points secured two first class ANA tix from NY to Tokyo (240,000 Flying Club points). $338 total taxes. What a deal!!

  6. Great redemptions if you can get them. Problem is you are required to book roundtrip, so if you don’t have both ends of your trip covered you can’t book this. I am flying ANA F back from SIN in July, but since I could only find a return flight and not a flight out on ANA I was forced to waste soo many points via a different program. Is extremely annoying they do not allow one way redemptions with virgin atlantic miles.

  7. Hi Lucky

    I just booked this for my wife and I but we then had the issue that we will need to bring our soon to be born child! I noticed on a previous post you noted that the policy usually follows that of the mileage program ticket issuer. In this case this is meaningful as VA charges 1500 miles for upper class redemptions while ANA charges 10% of the usual fare. That said the VA agent didnt seem to know what i was talking about and directed me to ANA. Is this a HUCA situation or am I outta luck?

    Thanks in advance!

  8. Lucky,

    Can you verify if it still is distance based. On the Virgin Atlantic website it notes: If a journey requires a connecting flight or stopover to reach the destination, miles are charged for each sector.”



  9. Wife and I snagged this deal out of IAH. This is our first time ever using points and I think it is an amazing value.

    FYI: My AMEX transfer to Virgin Atlantic was instant.

  10. @ Irene

    I ran into a similar issue when I called in. They priced a second award for intra-asia travel. Maybe try until you get someone who doesnt but it was the pricing desk that came back requiring multiple segments….


  11. just booked IAH-NRT two business class tickets in March 2018 for Cherry Blossom. total 147000 MR for two roundtrip business class seats, that’s an incredible value.

  12. Couple of questions, hope someone is still on this post.

    Will these deals still be available after the Virgin merger is complete with Alaska?

    I’m looking to book 2 first class from IAH to NRT for the last week in 2018. Should the 120,000 per person 1st class tickets still be available at that time?

    How far out does ANA/ Virgin Atlantic open up award bookings?

    Thank you in advance for the help.

  13. @Mark Birenbaum

    I’m currently in Tokyo after flying my LAX-HND segment in 1st class a day ago.

    Virgin Atlantic should be different than Virgin America, nothing should happen there.

    120,000 per person is available until they decide to change it with or without notice. It’s 110,000 from LAX.

    I searched the United website for First Class availability so not sure when Virgin Atlantic or ANA open up space but check the United website for ANA Saver space.

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