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TravelLast minute ANA business-class award availability to Japan for just 35,000 Amex...

Last minute ANA business-class award availability to Japan for just 35,000 Amex points

Looking to book a last-minute trip to Japan? Well, if so, you’re in luck. There is decent award availability in business class, but you’ll need to act fast.

Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways consistently releases award seats in premium cabins to partner airlines, and the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club option is one of the best sweet spots in the industry.

As first reported by Upgraded Points, you can use the award search tool Seats.aero to find business-class availability. To search, click “Explore,” then click “United MileagePlus,” as this program shows ANA availability online. There are various dates between now and June 7 showing at least two seats available in business class to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport (HND) and Narita International Airport (NRT) from the following U.S. airports:

  • O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
  • Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL)
  • George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)

Related: 7 of the best airline award chart sweet spots

If you were to book these flights through United MileagePlus, you could do this online for 110,000 miles each way per person.

However, you can also book this award ticket through Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club program, and you would need just 45,000 Virgin points one-way from the West Coast or 47,500 from central and eastern U.S. destinations.

Virgin Atlantic partners with all major transferable points programs, and if you have American Express Membership Rewards points, this becomes an even more attractive redemption. Amex is offering a 30% bonus when you transfer Membership Rewards points to Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club program through May 31. Transferring Membership Rewards points would bring the cost down to just 35,000 Amex points from the West Coast or 37,000 from other U.S. destinations. Transfers from Amex to Virgin are usually instant, and can be done online.

Unfortunately, you must call Virgin Atlantic Flying Club to book ANA award flights. While this can be a point of contention for most, it is fairly easy to book these awards via phone. To book, call 800-365-9500 and give the phone agent the exact dates and flight numbers you want to book.

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Related: Best American Express credit cards

Aside from Amex, Capital One is also offering a 30% transfer bonus to Virgin Red (where the points will appear in your Flying Club account). However, this transfer bonus ends Tuesday.

For flights retailing for more than $4,000 each, these award rates represent exceptional value.


When booking your flight, note that ANA operates different types of business-class seats between the United States and Japan. The best product, known as “The Room,” is on new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft and can be found on flights from New York and select flights from Chicago and San Francisco.

Related: Feels like first class: Flying ANA The Room business class from LA-Tokyo


Other destinations and dates will see ANA’s older business-class seat. You can check Google Flights for that if you find availability on a particular date. The newest product will be listed as an “Individual suite,” while the older seat will be listed as a “Lie flat seat.”


The food, service and amenities will be the same regardless of whether you fly the newer or older seat, but if you can book the new seat, it is an excellent product and one of the most comfortable ways to fly to Japan.

Bottom line

While a last-minute trip to Japan might not suit everyone’s schedule, traveling in luxury for just 35,000 American Express Membership Rewards points is a terrific offer. While there are a few hoops to jump through, it’s worth your time for a deal this good. To summarize how to book this deal:

  • Use either Seats.aero or a United MileagePlus account to check the availability of traveling with ANA.
  • Optional: Check Google Flights to see if your flight will be operated with a newer or older product.
  • Transfer Amex points to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club (points should transfer instantly).
  • Call Virgin Atlantic at 800-365-9500 to book over the phone.

Then, pack your bags for a terrific time in Japan!


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