Tips on booking ANA Business & First Class using Credit Card Points

After using United miles to fly ANA First Class twice now, I was determined to understand how to do it with AMEX points. On April 24, United doubled the cost of miles needed to redeem for ANA Business & First Class. Business Class went from 88,000 miles one-way to 110,000 miles one-way and First Class went from 121,000 miles one-way to 242,000 miles one-way. Insane! You can use as low as 150,000 AMEX points to fly ANA First Class roundtrip.

The 2 best ways to book ANA Business or First Class award tickets is directly with ANA or with Virgin Atlantic. The main differentiator is how far out can you plan, either 355 days in advance or less than 14 days prior to the flight. Anything in between those two time frames will be an anomaly. An anomaly can happen when someone cancels their booking or there is an equipment swap. The most recent equipment swap happened on April 7th, 2024 when they moved SFO <-> TYO (NRT/HND) routes from 787 to 777 for Winter 2025 introducing First Class.


Booking Directly with ANA by transferring AMEX Membership Rewards points to ANA miles

  • ANA releases seats 355 Days prior @ 9AM JST
  • Use the Japan localized site, but in English to see the availability without the need for a VPN:
  • Use the “Multiple cities/Mixed classes” search instead of the “Round trip” search
  • Use SAS on to find availability (this method will end August 31st, 2024 when SAS leaves Star Alliance)
  • Routes
    • HNL & JFK is gone in seconds
    • ORD is easy especially for First Class
    • SEA, SFO & LAX is hit and miss
  • Transfer from AMEX in advance
    • Transfer 3,000 miles extra in case of changes as ANA charges 3,000 miles to make changes
  • Seasonal pricing for awards on ANA
  • Calling requires calls to make changes whereas if you book online you can make changes online
    • If you are trying for either JFK or HNL I’d recommend calling in just prior to the release time
    • Beware, hold times can exceed 2 hours
  • Throw away the following segment HNL <-> TYO (NRT/HND) in Economy if you need just a one-way flight


Booking with Virgin Atlantic by transferring Credit Card points to Virgin points

The following credit card points transfer to Virgin Atlantic points: American Express Membership Rewards (1:1), Bilt Rewards (1:1), Capital One (1:1), Chase Ultimate Rewards (1:1), Citi ThankYou Rewards (1:1)

I was able to help a friend book a last minute booking within 14 days of departure for 45,000 Virgin Atlantic points for Business Class one-way on ANA LAX-NRT.

ANA Award Chart for Virgin Atlantic:



  • You must have your Virgin account open for >24hrs to redeem for an award (likely fraud prevention) so setup your account now. It’s free!
  • They allow 48 hour hold for itineraries, but transfer it live while on the phone as points post instantly from the credit card transfer partners.



Want to learn more? Take a listen this podcast:


Any other tips based on your experience? Comment below…

View from Seat 2A

View from Seat 2A

You may also like...

1 Response

  1. May 13, 2024

    […] The crew was top notch and I can’t wait to fly it again next year. Blog post coming soon on how to secure ANA First Class using ANA miles (via AMEX points transfer) 1 year in advance… It’s worth planning […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.