Membership Rewards points are best known for their transfer bonuses and wide range of transfer partners (see: 35% Transfer Bonus with British Airways, running through June 7th). Since many people have been accumulating Membership Rewards points through their random LTO offers (currently there’s a 50,000 offer after spending $5k in 3 months on The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN), we will continue our series on transfer options with Membership Rewards.
ANA (All Nippon Airways) is well known for their award search engine because you can search Star Alliance flights and you won’t see phantom First Class availability like United. It’s the search engine I use when I’m searching for Lufthansa First Class tickets. You do have to have some miles in your ANA account to search, though.
If you aren’t a member of ANA – you can join here.
I transferred over 1,000 Membership Rewards to ANA (lowest denomination possible) so I could search for Star Alliance flights on their site. This didn’t bother me because ANA has some good redemptions of their own, so I know I will eventually top off my ANA account for a booking. It does take up to 24 hours for Membership Rewards to be transferred.
Click the image below to transfer some Membership Rewards points over to ANA.
You do have to have enough miles in your account to see the taxes and fees for a specific booking. This is definitely not ideal. The Points Guy has an extensive 3 part series with many flight examples priced out for your reference.
Here’s a peek at the ANA Award chart.
ANA flights are distance based, so you can find some real value flying from the East Coast to Europe. I use gcmap to research the distance of my flights. But beware, there will definitely be some hefty fuel surcharges. However, Dans Deals reported in January that ANA has cut all fuel surcharges on United/US Airways flights. Balling. This means you can fly to Europe in business class for 63,000 or 68,000 miles *roundtrip* (depending on your destination) with little fees and taxes. Yeah, it’s United, but almost all of their transatlantic business class seats are lie-flat, and you can’t beat the no fuel surcharges.
A favorite of many people is to book Upper Class on Virgin Atlantic from New York to London for 63,000 miles + fuel surcharges. I’ve heard people rave about this product, but I’ve yet to fly it myself.
You can have up to 4 stopovers on an award ticket, but only two in Europe and none in the original country you’re traveling in. Open jaws are allowed but they will count as a stopover. Gotta love those options.
Membership Rewards points are definitely uber valuable and the more you learn how to use them, the more you will fall in love with them. You know I love my Ultimate Rewards points because of their transfer partners and how easy they are to use, but lately I’ve found myself lusting after American Express Membership Rewards points more and more. It’s all about diversity and options anyway when it comes to maximizing rewards miles for travel.
I hope this helps as you continue to accumulate Membership Rewards points and are looking for ways to use them. For now, I’m still hanging onto mine for another Singapore Suite class ticket, or to top off my Avios account, but ANA is definitely a great option and one that I would consider utilizing.
— Geoff Whitmore