Last night I wrote a post of breaking news with ANA’s award chart changing. It was cool because I was certainly the first of the blogs to post anything about the program changes, and the first to post any of the English translations for the regions (although FT eventual came up with some English names for the zone (but no definitions)). Basically, I had to use a program to get the Japanese texts from the images, and then translate that using google.
My findings were some huge redemptions. The cheapest business class flights to Europe, the cheapest econ and biz flights to Africa, and also I found a way to do the Middle East and Africa for 45,000 miles. But I guess I didn’t do a proper job drumming up excitement for just how good this program will be, so I want to show exactly how good it is compared to other programs.
I mean, roundtrip to Europe for 72,000 miles in Business Class is incredible and the cheapest possible Business class flight using region based miles… and yet, there’s not much talk about it yet. So I’ll do a little more talking. Although, I’ll have to wait to do too much more until it’s actually bookable (after April 12th, 2015), and then a more interesting dissection can begin.
1) ANA will be the cheapest business class to Europe 72,000 miles
I don’t think I properly emphasized just how good this award chart is. Let’s take the ANA prices and compare them to Cheapest Miles to Get To Europe.
The cheapest region based award chart from US to Europe in economy is AA and US Airways off-peak price for 40,000 miles roundtrip. Otherwise the best alternatives are 50,000 miles with Alitalia, Korean and Flying Blue. But most seem to be about 60,000 miles.
ANA is always 45,000 miles roundtrip. Which is cheaper than most, and almost all if it’s a summer ticket.
But the real incredible thing is Business class is 72,000 miles roundtrip. Examples of the cheapest business class otherwise are:
- 80,000 miles with Korean Air and Alitalia
- 100,000 with AA, and US Air
- 115,000 with United
Given that AA, US Air, and United are the main programs and are 100,000 miles or more, ANA is significantly cheaper than the most popular programs. And cheaper than the cheapest smaller program, like Korean Air and Alitalia.
What’s funny is that under the current program, for a flight from NYC to London, ANA charges 38,000 for economy and 63,000 for business class. Now JAL will remain a distance based program and will be the only program better than the new program for these specific short routes from east coast US to west coast Europe. But for most US cities to most destinations in Europe, the prices will be better under ANA’s new program starting in April.
2) The Cheapest miles to Africa will be ANA 60/90/140
ANA’s new program will be 60,000 miles in Economy to Africa. Let’s compare that to the other programs.
For economy US to Africa would be:
- 70,000 miles with US Air
- 75,000 miles with AA
- 80,000 miles with United
- 80,000 miles with Flying Blue
- 80,000 – 100,000 miles with Lufthansa
By far, ANA will be the cheapest program with 60,000 miles.
Now let’s look at business class. ANA would be 90,000 miles in business class for a roundtrip to Africa. So again, let’s compare to other programs. RT business class to Africa would be:
- 110,000 miles with US Air
- 140,000 miles with United
- 150,000 miles with AA
- 135,000 – 185,000 miles with Lufthansa
- 200,000 with Flying Blue
Again, this is by far cheaper than any other program and sometimes half of some other popular programs.
The Middle East
Now ANA considers Africa and the Middle East one region… which is fine with me, but it means that ANA will remain the cheapest and other programs will be even more expenseive.
I’ll give economy and business this time for a roundtrip to the Middle East:
- 75k-185k with AA miles
- 80k/120k with US Airways
- 85k/140k with United miles
- 80k-100k/135k-185k with Lufthansa miles
- 80k/200k with Flying Blue
Compare that to 60k/90k with ANA… and again it’s no comparison.
The advantage would be with AA, US Airways and United have no fuel surcharges. Of course, a lot of Africa with OneWorld is only reachable with British Airways, which always passes on fuel surcharges anyways. So likely it won’t make a difference there. But for some, an extra $300 for a flight on EgyptAir will likely be worth the possible 30,000-110,000 miles saved for a business class ticket.
An even cheaper Middle East/Africa
The other thing, which I shared in last night’s post, is that for whatever reason, flights from Central and South America to the Middle East and Africa are 45,000 miles (45k/72k/110k for econ/biz/first). This is incredible.
Take an 8,000 point flight to somewhere in the Caribbean on Southwest (for two with the Southwest Companion Pass), like we did to Puerto Rico and start from there. You’ll be flying to Africa for less and seeing another destination!
This is probably the deal of the century. Basically, US to Europe prices but to Africa and the Middle East.
3) 40,000 miles to Southern South America
This could go on and on as nearly all their prices are the best prices, so I’ll try to fly through this a bit more.
Most programs charge 50,000 – 60,000 miles for roundtrips to Southern South America. But ANA charges 40,000 as they consider Central and South America one region.
The downside is that Central America is generally more expensive. However, flights to Mexico are considered North America and would only be 25,000 miles.
4) Japan for 50,000 miles
Flights with ANA on partners to Japan are 50k/85k/150k.
Let’s compare ANA’s 50,000 mile price to other programs:
- 60,000 miles with US Air
- 65,000 miles with AA (or 50,000 miles in off-peak)
- 70,000 miles with United
- 80,000 miles with Flying Blue
- 80,000 miles with Lufthansa
Again, ANA has the cheapest award chart for Japan, big savings over other programs. But let’s do the same for business class. With ANA miles it would be 85,000 miles.
- 100,000 miles with AA
- 110,000 miles with US Air
- 130,000 miles with United
- 135,000 miles with Lufthansa
- 200,000 miles with Flying Blue
5) Everything Is Better
Of course there are so many more options. I believe 65,000 miles is the cheapest route to Oceania (65k/105k/160k). So if the sky parts and you find Air New Zealand award availability across the Pacific, take it! No fuel surcharges and an awesome airline. But likely you’ll have to route through Asia and then hopefully connect to Air New Zealand.
Similarly, 70,000 miles is the cheapest flight to India that I’m aware of.
Basically, all flights with ANA are cheaper than any other program, with the exception of Central America and the Caribbean, as well as a few cheaper miles flights to Hawaii.
But I want to point out a couple of other really interesting options…
6) Non US Based deals
Central/South America to Africa/Middle East
I’ve already pointed this out, but I want to emphasize two things. First, this is really an amazing deal. Almost too good to be true. Sometimes I see cool routes and I think, “this is cool for someone who has a lot of [fill in the blank] points”. In this case, for someone with a lot of Amex points. But this one makes me think, “I need to stock up on Amex MR points”.
Second, these two regions make up half the earth. I’m not sure by how much I’m exaggerating but it’s got to be close. Central America, probably the Caribbean and all of South America, to Africa and the Middle East. Which is funny that this is one region because the Middle East is part of the biggest continent, Asia, and Africa is the second biggest continent.
Anyways, flights from one to the other for 45,000 miles is a joke. And 72,000 for business class isn’t that much more.
Hawaii to Europe for 45,000 miles
Note that both the US and Hawaii have the same award charts for flights to Europe. If you live in Hawaii, unbelievably, you can fly to Europe for 45,000 miles roundtrip. I can’t possibly imagine a combination of flights that could get you there for less miles.
Central America to SE Asia, and India for 60,000 miles
This award price is almost too good to be true in that it makes no sense. I pointed this out as well in the last post, that you could have to go through the US to get to Asia, most likely. Or via Europe… which also doesn’t make any sense, because it’s the same price from Europe to Asia.
For the same price you can start in South America and go through US or Europe, and it’s the same as if you started in the US or Europe. Makes no sense. But it’s a good deal for 60k/90k/140k.
Africa to Asia for 40,000 miles roundtrip
Yet another incredible pricing that happens when award regions are so big. 40,000 miles to go from South Africa all the way to Vietnam, probably via the Middle East.
It’s 40k/68k/100k. To go between the two biggest continents in the world. Wowza.
Central/South America to Oceania
Yet again, flights from South America to a region that likely needs transit in the US is the same price as the US. 65k/105k/160k.
Intra Africa/Middle East for 25k
Despite being probably the largest region, Africa and the Middle East is only 25,000 miles for flights within the region. Given that there are three African airlines in Star Alliance, South Africa, Egypt Air, and Ethiopian… there may be some great possibilities. 25k/48k.
Two posts in a row is a lot for an award chart that was just published yesterday… but I think it’s possibly the best award chart out. Period. The only problem is the fuel surcharges. So I’ll keep using other programs more, but I will likely find some great uses for this. And for those who like to fly premium cabin and don’t mind YQ, this should be their go to award chart. As I’ve shown, it is by far better than many other programs.
Although it was good to begin with. So who it suits will change drastically. Before it would have had the best prices from New York to London, and while it still will, it will have the best prices for San Fran to Istanbul as well.
Once again, the big loss is losing the 4 stopovers. But you’ll still get one stopover, which isn’t the same. But what we gain is probably better for the majority of people.