Can You Now Redeem Virgin Atlantic Miles For One-Way Awards On ANA?

Filed Under: ANA, Virgin Atlantic

One of the single best airline sweet spot awards is redeeming Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles for travel on All Nippon Airways.

The Basics Of Redeeming Virgin Atlantic Miles On ANA

Check out my previous post for all the details of redeeming Virgin Atlantic miles for travel on ANA, though basically their redemption rates are really attractive:

Those are roundtrip award costs, so when you consider that a roundtrip business class ticket from the US to Japan costs 90,000-95,000 miles, or a roundtrip first class ticket from the US to Japan costs 110,000-120,000 miles, that’s pretty incredible.

ANA’s new 777 first class

They’re even more attractive when you consider that Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is transfer partners with Amex Membership Rewards and Citi ThankYou, and both programs sometimes offer up to 30% transfer bonuses.

For example, earlier in the year I flew roundtrip first class from Chicago to Tokyo, and since I transferred points from Amex, I really paid just 93,000 Amex points roundtrip.

The catch is that Virgin Atlantic only allows roundtrip redemptions on All Nippon Airways, and they also add some (mild) carrier imposed surcharges to these tickets.

Can You Now Redeem Virgin Atlantic Miles For One-Ways On ANA?

A few days ago another blog wrote about how Virgin Atlantic now allows one-way awards on ANA, and he even provided a screenshot of a redemption he made. He also mentioned that a friend in an online group had similar luck.

Since then I’ve received several questions about whether one-way awards are now possible, since this is something most of us weren’t aware of.

Virgin Atlantic’s website still explicitly prohibits this:

One-way reward trips on ANA are not available.

Nonetheless, sometimes airlines are slow to update their websites, and this would indeed be an amazing opportunity. It’s especially useful right now, since ANA has incredible new first and business class cabins, but it seems they mostly just make premium award space available on flights to Japan, and not flights from Japan.


ANA’s new 777 business class

So being able to book business class for 47,500 miles one-way, or first class for 60,000 miles one-way, would be awesome.

I figured I had to test this out and get some good data points.

My ANA One-Way Experiment

You have to book ANA awards through Virgin Atlantic by phone, since they’re not bookable online. I called to inquire about availability on some flights that I knew had award space, and here’s what happened:

  • Call 1: I was immediately told one-way awards on ANA aren’t possible
  • Call 2: The agent let me place two (separate) one-ways on hold, but the seats didn’t immediately confirm, as is often the case; so the tickets were put on hold, and I was told to call back in a few hours to ticket, though she didn’t quote a price
  • Call 3: Once the flights showed as confirmed, I provided the agent with one of the record locators, and he immediately informed me that only roundtrip awards were allowed
  • Call 4: I called to try to ticket the other award, and the agent at first went ahead and priced the first class award at 60,000 miles, but then told me that an error message came up saying that one-way awards are not permitted on ANA
  • Call 5: I decided to start from scratch, and the agent immediately told me that one-way awards aren’t allowed on ANA


ANA’s new 777 business class

My Conclusion

While I don’t doubt that a couple of people were able to ticket one-way ANA awards through Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, I absolutely don’t think there has been a policy change.

If you call often enough perhaps there’s always a chance someone won’t know the rules, and I suspect that’s what happened here. But the other thing working against people in this case is that it’s not just that the agent needs to not be familiar with the rules, but there is a prompt that apparently comes up when trying to book one-way awards, saying it’s not possible. So they’d have to override that as well.

So for now I’m going to say that suggesting one-way awards are possible on ANA is doing a disservice to readers. There has been no policy change, and while a couple of people may have booked it, clearly they were very lucky, and this doesn’t reflect the rules or the reality of how Virgin Atlantic’s award pricing works.

I would put this in the camp of “if you call often enough maybe anything is possible,” rather than “I was able to ticket this and therefore the rules must have changed and this is obviously possible.”

If anyone has any data points suggesting otherwise or thinks I’m off base, by all means let me know!

Comments
  1. ” Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is transfer partners with Amex Membership Rewards and Citi ThankYou,”
    Don’t forget Chase UR!

  2. What a ridiculous list lucky. Why are you always trying to circumnavigate policy then posting it. You realize that just causes everyone to be confused.

  3. @ Ryan — Sorry, what? a) Another blogger claimed the policy changed b) Several people asked me if this was true c) I investigated

  4. It’s things like @Lucky response is what sets this blog apart from other tabloid blogs. You really do try to reflect what readers are facing. No reason to ping back to unverified claims of who shot first when really it was Han who shot first.

    And yes, I also failed trying to get an agent to book a one way ticket.

    And apparently readers here don’t know how to use Google as the ‘lobby’ still looks empty.

  5. So about who posted this originally… I once followed instructions this clown posted in regards to a redemption. Well, turns out it was against T&C of a program and my account was frozen.

    E-mailed the site owner. No reply. Post was never removed.

    Considering their lack of comments on all posts, I don’t know who is propping them up but I would never take anything they say to be fact.

  6. @lucky
    Thank you for this post as I was one of the people who specifically asked you about it
    I also did my own research by calling VS several times on different days & times and always ended up with the same outcome
    One-ways are not allowed on ANA
    It’s a shame the original blogger states there’s been a change in policy to allow oneways when that clearly isn’t the case.
    Anyways thanks for looking into it

  7. When I tried to push a VS agent into doing a one-way NH award about a year ago, she told me that one-way awards will confirm but they will never ticket and will eventually be cancelled by ANA within a few days. I didn’t get into a conversation about it, so not sure if the error message on their end is new. Maybe agents were always able to override it but the booking wouldn’t ticket.

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