Not surprisingly, over the years they’ve added a few restrictions to using it, given that a lot of people that didn’t have any ANA miles were using it to search award space when trying to redeem miles through other airlines.
One restriction they technically added is that you need some miles in your ANA account in order to be able to search partner award space. Three years ago ANA offered 100 miles for completing a survey, which was a good way to get some account activity so you could easily search Star Alliance award space.
However, ANA miles expire 36 months after they’re earned, so if you earned miles through the survey, those have now expired, and you might find yourself no longer easily being able to search partner award space.
I received quite a few questions about this from readers, including this one from Todd:
It seems the few ANA Miles I had that allowed me access to use their award search tool, have expired.
What are the best/quickest ways nowadays to add enough miles back into my account so I can use their award search tool once again?
So I figured I’d clear up a couple of things:
You don’t need ANA miles to search Star Alliance award space
As I explained in my primer on using the the ANA award search tool, you don’t actually need ANA miles to search Star Alliance award space, as there’s a workaround:
If you don’t have any miles, the page will look like this, with the option to search Star Alliance and Single Airline award space greyed out:
Worry not! Even if you don’t have miles in your account there’s an easy workaround: click on “ANA International Flight Awards:”
Then enter any random route that ANA operates (like JFK-NRT, IAD-NRT, CDG-NRT, etc.), and click “Next.”
When you get to the results page, scroll to the very bottom and you’ll see the button reading “Use Star Alliance Member Airlines” is no longer greyed out!
Click it, and you’ve now “cracked” into the Star Alliance searched tool. On the next page you’ll be able to search award availability for any Star Alliance route.
It’s that easy!
Easy ways to top off an ANA account
Assuming you use the ANA tool enough so that going through the five second workaround every time is a pain, what are the easiest ways to top off an account?
ANA Mileage Club partners with both American Express Membership Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest.
With American Express Membership Rewards you can transfer as few as a 1,000 points.
With Starwood you can transfer as few as 2,500 Starpoints if you’re a non-elite member. That limit is lowered to 1,500 Starpoints if you’re a Gold member.
And if you are a Platinum member, you can transfer as little as one Starpoint. That being said, in order for an ANA account to qualify as having “activity,” it must have at least 100 Starpoints, so you’ll want to transfer at least that many points.
Ultimately there’s not really a need for a workaround, but if you do want to be able to search space in a straightforward way, those are your best options.