Well this is a pleasant surprise — the single best award redemption value out there has just become even more lucrative.
Redeeming Virgin Atlantic miles on ANA is a great value
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is a fantastic niche frequent flyer program, as there are some incredible award redemption values. The single best use of Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles is for travel on All Nippon Airways.
Here’s the award chart for roundtrip travel on All Nippon Airways:
As you can see, a roundtrip business class ticket from the US to Japan costs 90,000-95,000 miles, while a roundtrip first class ticket from the US to Japan costs 110,000-120,000 miles.
The catch is that historically you’ve only been able to redeem miles for roundtrip itineraries. This was inconvenient for a few reasons:
- Sometimes there was only award availability in one direction and not the other
- Sometimes you may have wanted to only fly one-way between the US and Japan, and then connect to elsewhere before returning home
- If you wanted to fly business class in one direction and first class in the other direction, you’d be stuck paying the higher cost for the whole itinerary
All Nippon Airways business class
One-way awards are now possible on ANA
There’s some great news on that front — you can now redeem Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles for one-way travel on All Nippon Airways at half the cost of a roundtrip.
The ANA partner page used to say:
One-way reward trips on ANA are not available.
Now it says:
One-way trips are permitted at half of the round-trip mileage shown below.
This is amazing!
In other words, you can now redeem:
- 45,000-47,500 Flying Club miles for a one-way ANA business class ticket between the US and Japan
- 55,000-60,000 Flying Club miles for a one-way ANA first class ticket between the US and Japan
All Nippon Airways first class
Should we be suspicious of this?
On the surface it’s surprising to see the world’s best award redemption get even more valuable. So should we assume that we’re just waiting for the other shoe to drop, which would be an increase in award costs?
I have a few thoughts on that:
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club did recently change Delta award pricing without notice, and it was overwhelmingly a devaluation
- At the same time, Delta owns a 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic, and I got the distinct feeling that Delta forced that change
- In the case of ANA, it could be that award reimbursement costs just aren’t very high, and the program doesn’t really have an incentive to “force” people to fly roundtrip
So could we see a devaluation to this redemption opportunity eventually? Absolutely, as this has been around for years. But do I necessarily interpret this change as meaning that such a change is imminent? Nope.
It goes without saying that this change as of now is incredible news. So we’ll have to hope that this isn’t accompanied by award costs doubling at some point. 😉
Hopefully we don’t see an increase in ANA award costs soon
What a pleasant surprise to see the world’s single best use of miles become even better, as it’s now possible to redeem Virgin Atlantic miles for one-way travel on ANA, at half the cost of a roundtrip.
What makes Virgin Atlantic Flying Club so great is how easy the points currency is to come by, thanks to the fact that the program partners with Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Citi ThankYou.
Now if only we had a sense of when Japan will open its borders to visitors…
(Tip of the hat to David)