What To Do With 18,000 Orphan ANA Mileage Club Miles?

Mileage expiration isn’t usually a problem I face. Most airlines will keep your miles active as long as there’s some activity every 12-36 months. In other programs, miles expire after a certain amount of time regardless of activity, though I’m usually able to plan around that by booking travel in advance.

ANA’s Mileage Club is one of the programs where miles expire after 36 months regardless of activity, and it’s a problem I’m facing right now. I have 18,000 ANA Mileage Club miles that are set to expire in a couple of weeks, and there’s no way to extend their life. For reasons I can’t quite remember I transferred them from American Express Membership Rewards to ANA Mileage Club almost three years ago, and they’ve just been sitting there.


ANA does in many ways have an extremely lucrative distance based award chart, and I find the “sweet spot” to be for travel of 4,001-7,000 miles roundtrip (for which they charge 63,000 miles) or for travel of 7,001-9,000 miles roundtrip (for which they charge 68,000 miles roundtrip). 9,000 “flown” miles will get you from the east coast to much of Europe, and at just 68,000 miles in business class it’s quite a good deal.


The absolute best use of ANA miles used to be for travel in Virgin Atlantic Upper Class, in my opinion. ANA used to not impose fuel surcharges for these redemptions, so back in 2011 I redeemed ANA miles for a Virgin Atlantic trip — San Francisco to London in Upper Class, and then London to New York in Upper Class. That’s a distance of 8,819 miles, making it just 68,000 miles roundtrip.

The issue is that in mid-2011 ANA began imposing fuel surcharges on Virgin Atlantic redemptions. On a roundtrip San Francisco to London ticket, for example, that adds $896 to the cost of an award ticket. For that price I could book an economy class ticket on American and upgrade to business class, while earning both redeemable and elite qualifying miles.


So now I’m trying to decide what to do with those miles. On one hand the miles already in my ANA account are a sunk cost, but are there any further number of miles I could transfer that would make a redemption worthwhile?

ANA is part of the Star Alliance so has tons of partners there, but also has a handful of partnerships outside of the Star Alliance.

ANA-Partners-1 ANA-Partners-2

ANA doesn’t impose fuel surcharges when the operating airline doesn’t, though with the exception of US Airways almost all of the above carriers impose fuel surcharges as far as I know.

I’m curious, what would you guys do? When you can redeem 90,000 US Airways miles for business class to Asia via Europe, and redeem Delta SkyMiles for Virgin Atlantic Upper Class to Europe without fuel surcharges, it’s really tough to pull the trigger on transferring even more miles…

Filed Under: ANA
  1. Transfer in 2-4k miles and visit a friend domestically. Can’t beat 2-4k miles + $5 for a domestic round trip if you’re writing off the other 18k as a “sunk cost.”

  2. Hey Lucky. What about 17000 miles voucher worth 20000Y to be used at Ana Festa / Bulgari or Ana hotel during a stopover in Narita. In the same situation I used mine to purchase some Japanese whisky. Might not be the best use but here are my 2 cents šŸ™‚

  3. Didnt someone say they are going to live in india?? Top of what u need for economy and get going. Dont do business class thats way to expensive. Or do ur plan buy economy and upgrade. Thats more affordable. Or visit vegas! When was the last time u got to hangout with acouple of ur buddies?

  4. I agree with Justin. Transfer just enough to do a domestic redemption on a partner. That way you’re not losing the miles, but also not wasting a lot of miles or money just to try to save miles.

  5. As you have tons os points and are after new experiences, choose some companies which you have never flown or flew a long time ago (SAA, Tap, Tam, Qatar, Aegan, Shenzhen, Adria, Avianca…). Add some new destinations (Latin America, Africa, Oceania…).

  6. Any way to do something with Jet Airways? Be good to see you review a completely new airline.

    If not, maybe revisit an airline you haven’t been on in a while, like Air Canada, just to see how they compare to the last time you flew them.

  7. Although not a good “redemption value” you can exchange 12,000 miles for $100 in gift cards. At least you get something for them (of course, that would lead to next quandary of “should I transfer 6k more miles in order to get another $100 in gift cards!”).

  8. SAS does not impose furel surcharge on its own Eurobonus members. Unsure if ANA does. Fancy a trip to Scandinavia soon?

  9. Transfer in 2,000 miles and use the mileage on a short haul trip anywhere in coach. I like to fly long haul in business or first, but redeem short haul trips wherever I am in coach using “stray” miles. I am redeeming a one-way award within Europe on Lufthansa, for example, using 12,500 stray United miles (which is essentially my entire United balance as I don’t really collect United miles).

  10. Transfer in 4000 and use it to get to the Chicago seminars so you don’t have to fly to Asia this time.

  11. Would be curious to know if it’s accurate that ANA will transfer miles back to AMEX MR. Always heard that transfers are not reversible.

  12. The Ana 22k reward is a decent value… hell I took my honeymoon to st. Thomas plus before and after side trips to Atlanta and Nashville for 22k + $25 from CLT.

  13. I’m doing LAX-IAH-EZE, EZE-GRU// LIM-CUZ, CUZ-LIM-IAH-LAX all for 90k in biz Roth under $250 in taxes for the World Cup this summer!!

  14. I’d never even heard of Air Macau but how about tagging on a trip to Macau from pretty much anywhere in asia under 2000 miles. You could even arrive in your favourite Hong Kong by boat rather than plane.

  15. @ Chris — I do remember transferring them from Membership Rewards, I’m just not sure why. I’ve made some bookings in the past through ANA, so I guess one award didn’t materialize quite the way I wanted and I had some orphan miles as a result.

  16. @ Lantean @ Jamesbond_ppk — Love that idea. If I can do SAS in one direction and LOT in the other direction with minimal fuel surcharges, that seems like a great option.

  17. Does anyone have any ANA upgrade vouchers they would be willing to give away? Flying NRT to BKK in a few days.

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