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Why ANA May Be the Best Amex Transfer Partner
What’s the very best value you can get from American Express Membership Rewards points? I discuss a lot of options in my Guide to American Express Membership Rewards.
But let’s talk about you. Would you prefer to redeem 125,000 Membership Rewards points for (at best) $1,250 in gift cards or does an Around the World flight in Business Class that would most likely cost more than $10,000 sound more appealing? Great – you’re in the right place!
Yes, you can see why the ANA “Round the World” award is my favorite redemption to talk about when people as something along the lines of “What can I use American Express Membership Rewards points for?”
This award is best for when you have several weeks available to truly go around the world…
While the award chart includes economy award rates, should you want to torture yourself, I must implore you to splurge for Business Class. The experience is night and day and we are talking about many dozens of hours in the air here! You’re a MilesTalker! You can always get more points!
Need more Amex points? These credit cards all earn Amex Membership Rewards points.
1-2 welcome bonuses would cover this trip in most cases!
ANA Round The World Award Rules
You can have up to 8 stopovers to maximize the use of your points and the cost in miles is based on the total distance that you fly. I’ve included the award chart below.
Now, for 80,000 American Express Membership Rewards points, you can fly up to 20,000 total miles in Economy Class. But really, why?
Business isn’t that much more, starting at 115,000 points (I think that most itineraries you’ll put together will fall in the 125,000 point band, though).
It’s hard to find any single international trip for these award rates with other mileage programs, never mind one that will take you literally around the world.
How to Search Star Alliance Space for your Around the World Trip With ANA Miles
There are a few rules and things to know when booking a Round the world flight with ANA miles:
- The required mileage is calculated according to the total basic sector mileage for the entire itinerary (Calculations exclude ground transportation sectors.). If you have mixed classes, the higher rate will apply for the entire trip.
- You must cross both the Atlantic and the Pacific once each.
- You must move in one direction, either east –> west or west –> east. There’s no backtracking allowed.
- You may have up to 8 stopovers between the departure and the final return destination. You’re allowed up to 3 stopovers within Europe and up to 4 stopovers within Japan.
- Your departure of your last international flight to your final destination must be at least 10 days after the first international flight.
- You can have up to 12 flight segments in total, as well as up to 4 ground transportation segments (trips between airports that don’t involve an airplane).
- First Class is possible, as you see below, but this would be hard to pull off as only ANA itself, Thai, and Lufthansa can be booked in 1st Class and Lufthansa can only be booked in First within 14 days of the flight. Singapore and SWISS have First, but not for partners. Still, if you could find some space, you could mix First and Business segments and just pay the First price.
- I recommend using MileCalc.com to keep track of the distance for each segment cumulatively.
- Membership Rewards points transfer 1:1 to ANA, but transfers are not instant! So you’ll want to plan on having some flexibility in case a segment becomes unavailable after you transfer. And note that if you move miles to ANA and don’t book your trip, you’ll have just 36 months to use the miles or they’ll expire.
To search, you’ll want to head over to the United Airlines site. If the flight you want is operated by United, you will need to find “Business Saver” space. The higher priced awards can’t be booked by ANA or any other partner. If you are looking for non-United, they only appear in that Saver column and state the other operating airline, so that’s easy enough!
When you find your segments, write down the airline, the flight number, the date, and the time.
The possibilities are pretty endless.
Here’s one example:
MileCalc tells me it’s 20,763 miles. (This is New York to Lisbon to Frankfurt to Mumbai to Tokyo and back to New York.)
The award chart below indicates I *just* slipped over into the 125,000 point band. If so inclined, I could try to adjust cities to get it down 763 total miles to save 10,000 ANA miles.
If we remove LAX and head straight from Tokyo to New York, we get down to 19,569 miles and the lower 115,000 mile award band.
Not a bad price for 5 different Business Class flights with 4 of them long haul premium cabins, right?
But you can also see that you could add in a ton more segments and not even exceed 145,000 miles in the next band – up to 25,000 flight miles!!
ANA Around the World Award Chart
Call ANA to Book the Round The World Award
Once you have everything planned out, the points transferred and you are ready to book, call ANA at 800-235-9262 and tell the agent you would like to book a Round the World award. You’ll then need to feed them each flight in order. You can also read the official ANA Round the World page here.
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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.