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If you were to make a list of the top redemptions for miles and points enthusiasts, one that would certainly be in the Top Three would be using Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points to book First and Business Class to Japan on renowned carrier ANA (All Nippon Airways).
That’s because the award partner award chart is fantastic.
As you can see, you need just 90,000 – 95,000 miles for a round trip in Business Class or 110,000 – 120,000 miles for a round trip in First Class.
That works out to as little as 45,000 miles one way to Japan in world class Business Class and as little as 55,000 miles one way to Japan in world class First Class. And they are even introducing new hard product, called The Room (Business Class) and The Suite (First Class). Currently this new cabin operates on some New York to Tokyo flights, though it will be expanded.
Booking with Virgin is easy. You can call and have the flight put on hold for a day while you transfer in the points from any US transferable credit card point program (except Capital One).
The only difficulty historically has been that you were required to book all ANA awards using Virgin points as a round trip. You could mix and match class of service, but you needed to fly both ways on one ticket.
This could be problematic when you can only find award availability in one direction, but not the other. Maybe you found JAL going to Japan and ANA coming back…. no dice booking with Virgin. In fact, just before the pandemic hit, I had found a one way to Tokyo using ANA in The Room, but I couldn’t find a flight back. I ended up skipping the trip.
One-way trips are permitted at half of the round-trip mileage shown below.
So now, you can piece together awards one leg at a time as you find them. Since Virgin releases award space 331 days out, you can book at the window in one direction and then wait for it to be 331 days to your return. That should greatly increase your odds. Likewise, you could book ANA only one way, and then JAL or any other carrier back.
So now, you can book one way flights for 45,000 – 47,500 miles in Business Class or 55,000 – 60,000 miles for First Class.
Keep in mind, though, given how great of a deal this is and how widely blogged it has been, it’s bound to have an expiration date at some point. We just don’t know when. So enjoy it while it lasts.
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You can find credit cards that best match your spending habits and bonus categories at Your Best Credit Cards.
New to all of this? My “introduction to miles and points” book, MilesTalk: Live Your Wildest Travel Dreams Using Miles and Points is available on Amazon and at major booksellers.