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How likely is it that ANA releases award seats around the time of the Olympics?
I’m trying to plan a trip for my mom and I to go to the Olympics in Tokyo next summer. She grew up in Japan but has lived in the US for nearly 30 years and doesn’t get too many opportunities to go back to Japan anymore so I want to make this trip special for her. Given that I’m the miles & points geek in the family and I have much more opportunity to fly premium products, it’s less important that I get to Tokyo in the absolute best product available but for her, I’m trying to make sure she gets the best of what the miles & points game offers. We also live in different cities so will be flying separately anyway so we only have to worry about one award seat rather than two. She has been saving up points on her Citi Premier for a couple of years now and is sitting on about 230,000 points. I was thinking that with the current 30% transfer bonus I should move some points over to Virgin Atlantic for the purpose of redeeming for ANA First Class (or business, if I have to settle for that) but I’m not too sure of what ANA’s trends for releasing award seats are and how much the Olympics will affect it. Does ANA usually release award seats as soon as the schedule opens? And if they normally do, do you think the Olympics would cause them to buck that trend and withhold seats? Also, since one-ways are not bookable with Virgin Atlantic, we would have to wait two weeks or so until after the schedule opens to book flights since we would also need to book the return ticket. Do you think if we waited, any open seats would get scooped up?
Or, maybe there’s a better way to get to Japan with Citi points? I’m sure she would love JAL First Class just as much so are there any good OneWorld programs that partner with Citi? Either that or maybe a Star Alliance Program that allows one-way award bookings so that we can lock-in a seat as soon as we see it, even if it’ll cost a little more (LifeMiles?). What’s the best course of action here?
While Virgin is a fantastic deal, booking round trip is an issue, especially since youre looking to book when the schedule opens. Because of this, it’s worth considering the transfer to Lifemiles and booking with them instead, just to secure a ticket. If there’s more than one F seat or a J seat on the flight your mom will be taking, I hope you consider joining her on that flight.
Citi also transfers to Singapore, and they have some decent products to Asia. Also consider buying Alaska miles for JAL
I also think you’d be okay to find space, even considering the Olympics are happening. Unless you’re literally trying to land the day before the opening ceremony…
Alright thanks for the input.
Do you think the risk is sufficiently low enough to go ahead and speculatively transfer miles to Flying Club now?
I hate recommending speculatively transferring miles 🙂
I don’t even know – what month next summer are the Olympics? Could you book travel before the 30% bonus offer ends?