ANA fuel surcharges are back. They’re not too bad if you’re flying to Japan, but if your journey lies beyond Japan’s borders, you’ll have to pay more. And in some cases — much more.
The ANA Mileage Club is very important for international travelers and you need to be aware of this awesome program. Here is why.
The only reasonable transfer partner for ANA (at a 1:1 ratio) is AmEx Membership Rewards. And as you know, AmEx has this silly once per lifetime rule. Granted, lifetime to AmEx may mean that enough time must pass before they “forget” you, which is, reportedly, about seven years. But still, these AmEx bonuses are at a premium these days and that might mean you need to consider reserving all your AmEx points for ANA transfers — if ANA miles work for you.
And how do you know if ANA works for you? Well, if you’re interested in long-haul Business Class travel anywhere in the world you just might. ANA Mileage Club is a fantastic airline for business class awards. Not Economy, not First — Business! If you want an Economy or First Class award, you might want to look at other programs for better values, but I doubt you’ll find any programs that can beat ANA, at least consistently, for Business Class awards.
A brief reminder of the ANA Awesomeness
You can benefit from ANA miles even if you’re not interested in Japan or Asia. ANA partner airlines can take you anywhere in the world, although best values are reserved for ANA’s own flights.
The awards prices on ANA metal depend on the season. Prices for ANA partner airlines are not seasonal and always the highest in the range. For example, traveling to China (Asia 1) costs 95,000 miles in business all year round.
Here are 2021-2023 season charts for flights between North America and Japan
These are Business Class award costs for flights on ANA and the partners between North America and:
- Japan: 75,000-90,000
- South Korea and Russia 1 (Seoul, Vladivostok): 80,000-95,000
- Asia 1 (China including Hong Kong, Taipei, Manila): 80,000-95,000
- Asia 2 (Singapore, Bangkok, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Phnom Penh, Vietnam, India): 100,000-115,000 (136,000 on partners)
- Oceania and South Pacific: 105,000-120,000
- All Europe, South America, and Russia 2 (includes Morocco, Tunisia and European Russia): 88,000 (partners only)
- Africa and the Middle East: 104,000 (partners only)
If you would like to know more, I’ve written a lot (and I mean a lot about ANA), so you know how I feel about them. 🙂
- The Awesomeness and Quirks of the New ANA Fuel Surcharge and More!
- Do ANA Miles Redemptions Cost Less in Cash Than 2 Years Ago?
- ANA Frequent Flyer Program: the Best or Not the Best: Part 7 — Summing Up
(The latest is the final 7th part of my long series on ANA, and most of it is still valid today, so if you’d like to learn more than basics about this uncommonly valuable program, I recommend taking some time to read other posts from that write up).
ANA routing rules are good too!
In addition to outstanding redemption values, ANA allows you to have a free stopover and up to two open jaws anywhere alone the route. Trust me, I know the rules allow one stopover and one open jaw, but I’ve done two, so go ahead and try. Sometimes it’ll work, and other times it won’t. Nothing ventured — nothing gained.
However, I have four major pet peeves about the ANA Mileage Club rules and terms
- They’re unnecessarily complicated
- They’re very poorly explained
- You can only book a round trip
- The online booking engine will drive you nuts
- ANA adds those goddamn scamcharges to its own flights, as well as most Star partners
Wait, did I say four pet peeves? Yes, I did, between the fifth is not a pet peeve, it’s a really major annoyance.
But let me first say this.
ANA surcharges for flights to Japan are actually reasonable
ANA dropped fuel surcharges for flights to Japan on June 1 2020 and it stayed this way for one year until May 31, 2021. They reinstalled them on June 1, 2021, and for the booking period ending Sep 31, the surcharges between the U.S. and Japan will remain $102 per round-trip (at which point they will be reassessed. And if you think this is totally reasonable (considering the ANA terrific Business Class redemption levels), you’re right. However, for traveling beyond Japan there is only one word that comes to mind (to my mind at least).
Unlike European airlines, Japanese carriers can’t just decide to slap a defenseless customer with an extra $1,500 for an award ticket and call it a surcharge. In Japan, a fuel surcharge is really a fuel surcharge (then click International Surcharge Info), which is regulated by the government and directly linked to the market fuel prices. From June 1, 2021 to September 30, 2021 the fuel surcharge for tickets originated in North America is $48 each way. But since you can’t book a one-way ANA award flight, that’s $96 for a ticket plus a small $6 insurance surcharge that adds up to a total of $102.
Again, not too bad.
However, when it comes to ANA connecting flights to other destinations in Asia, the math goes out the window (at least, I have no idea why they charge what they charge, since it doesn’t add up). Even in the past, when they dropped the YQ surcharges for flights between the rest of the world and Japan, they kept adding them to some international connecting flights, as the table below will illustrate.
As you will see, the YQ situation has gotten much worse compared to previous years, and with airport taxes and fees they really do add up.
ANA surcharges on flights beyond Japan
Note: the columns for 2016 and 2020 were compiled when ANA didn’t add any surcharges to Japan, but kept adding them to connecting flights to other Asian destinations.
|Destinations (ANA Metal)||2016||2020||2021 (August)|
ANA fuel surcharges on Star Alliance partners: the good, the bad and the ugly!
There are still no surcharges on all airlines of the Americas
- Air Canada
Other airlines with no surcharges
* Ethiopian dropped YQ in 2018, but now charges $23 for fuel and insurance.
- SAS (very hard to find an award Business Class seat)
- TAP (very easy to find an award Business Class seat)
Airlines with low and moderate surcharges
- U.S. to Warsaw on LOT: $120 (same it’s been for years)
- U.S. to Istanbul: $366 (increased from $266 in 2018)
- U.S. to Taipei on Eva: $120
- U.S. to Seoul on Asiana: $312 (increased from $260, which had been increased from $160 in 2018)
And here comes the ugly
- Egypt Air wants $482
- Austrian, Lufthansa and Swiss: $1,400
ANA started adding fuel surcharges to its own flights to Japan on June 1 and reinstituted / increased them on most connecting flights beyond Japan. And even though the ANA fuel surcharge between North America and Tokyo is still reasonable ($102 per round-trip), many others are not. So you might want to keep that in mind even if the cost in miles is low. However, you can still redeem ANA miles on partners with no or low surcharges, so it’s not like you don’t have a choice.
Does anyone have plans for using ANA miles? And / or what’s your best ANA redemption so far?