Do ANA Miles Redemptions Cost Less in Cash Than 2 Years Ago?



ANA Miles

UPDATE: 10.26.18

I’m revising this post because ANA has made more changes to their fuel surcharges — not just to their own award tickets, but their partners as well. When you see red, it means new info.

ANA and Air Canada Remove TAP Portugal Fuel Surcharges

I left this post from April 2018 intact as the point of reference.  

If you have ANA miles or transferable American Express Membership/SPG points, you might get a better value from ANA  than ever before. Let’s just be clear: the redemption levels haven’t changed, but the cash outlay has, and in some cases — to the tune of hundreds of dollars!

Last week I reported that ANA has stopped adding fuel surcharges to flights on their Star Alliance partner Scandinavian Airlines. That’s a huge thing, IMHO, because finding Business Class award space on United or Air Canada is not an easy task.

ANA Has Dropped Fuel Surcharges for Award Flights on Scandinavian Airlines

That nudged me to take another look at what’s going on with ANA fuel surcharges. Last time I checked was almost two years ago in this post:

ANA Fuel Surcharge Is Gone… Kinda

It’s no secret that I love ANA Miles, even though they add YQ

ANA has a very good, Business Class friendly award chart for both their own flights and Star Alliance and other airline partners. In fact, it’s exactly Business Class where ANA shines – neither Economy nor First offer values vastly superior to U.S.-based frequent flyer programs, although there are exceptions to this rule.

Yet ANA does add fuel surcharges to its own flights and most of its partners flights, and I’ve probably got some ’splaining to do, considering how much I’ve bitched about those pesky scamcharges (usually coded by airlines as YQ).

Most people who aren’t travel agents and miles aficionados don’t care about fuel surcharges because a revenue ticket already contains them. Travel agents hate them because they get stiffed on commissions, and we, “enthusiasts,” hate them because they add a cash component to a supposedly free ticket. The fact that airlines keep getting away with this scam in most countries is mindblowing, because, seriously, those shenanigans shouldn’t be legal.

In 2016, after oil had gotten dirt cheap, ANA dropped its fuel surcharges. Not out of the goodness of its heart, mind you; rather there is a law in Japan prohibiting airlines from overcharging for fuel (and they have to apply for and receive permission from the government on a bimonthly basis). So, this lovely, legalized accounting scam perpetrated by nearly all European carriers is not legal in Japan, at least to the degree it’s practiced elsewhere.

Since 2016, however, the price of kerosene has risen, so Japanese airlines are at it again. Right now the cost of fuel surcharges adds $86 each way if your travel originates from North America. It’s not pleasant, but even a cheapskate like me can live with that.

ANA Miles

if your flight to Japan originates in the U.S. you’ll pay the $86 fuel surcharge per segment in addition to taxes

UPDATE 10.26.18: Now $129 

Let’s take the simplest redemption possible. 2 years ago, a roundtrip award flight between New York and Tokyo used to cost $85.39 in taxes and fees (no YQ). Now it costs ~$256 with ~$173 in fuel surcharges.

UPDATE 10.26.18: Now $342.15 with $258 in fuel surcharges.

ana miles

Your fuel surcharge per roundtrip to Japan is $172 — 2 years ago it was a zero 

So, that’s straightforward enough even though it sucks. Well, simple roundtrip flights are easy to figure out, but when you add connections, whatever YQ the airline charges defies logic sometimes. But don’t worry, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Let’s take another look at the ANA fuel surcharges on their own flights and their partners’.

ANA fuel surcharges have changed

Yep, I know this may sound like a paradox after ANA reintroduced fuel surcharges to its own flights, but it’s true. I decided to compare ANA fuel surcharges today with what I found 2 years ago, and was amazed at the results. This is what I found (keep in mind, with ANA you pay the same fuel surcharges for all classes of service).

To compare apples with apples, I tried to find award space for the same flights exactly. When that was impossible, I tried to find the closest route.

Note: SO means Stopover (24 hours and more); OJ – Open Jaw; D – Destination.

ANA Fuel surcharges: changes for the better 

(UPDATE 10.26.18: not anymore 🙁 )


2016 Total/YQ

2018 Total/YQ

Los Angeles – Sydney (United): SO

OJ: Aukland – Tokyo (Air New Zealand): D

Tokyo – Los Angeles (ANA)

$468/$346 via Shanghai (AKL-PVG-NRT)

I couldn’t find any nonstop AKL-NRT award space back then

$212/$104 via Manila

$133/$2 (AKL-NRT Nonstop)

UPDATE 10.26.18: $126/$1

Los Angeles – Tokyo (ANA): SO

Tokyo – Manila (ANA): D

Manila – Tokyo – Los Angeles ANA)



UPDATE 10.26.18: $240/$134

Los Angeles – Tokyo (ANA): SO

Tokyo – Bangkok (ANA): D

Bangkok – Tokyo – Los Angeles ANA)



UPDATE 10.26.18: $338/$209

Los Angeles – Tokyo (ANA): SO

Tokyo – Singapore (ANA): D

Singapore – Tokyo – Los Angeles ANA)



UPDATE 10.26.18: $134/$4

Los Angeles – Tokyo (ANA): SO

Tokyo – Phnom Penh (ANA): D

Phnom Penh – Tokyo – Los Angeles ANA)



UPDATE 10.26.18: $305/$209

Los Angeles – Tokyo (ANA): SO

Tokyo — Kuala Lumpur (ANA): D

Kuala Lumpur – Tokyo – Los Angeles ANA)



UPDATE 10.26.18: $322/$209

Los Angeles – Tokyo (ANA): SO

Tokyo — Beijing (ANA): D

Beijing – Tokyo – Los Angeles ANA)


$445/$323 (minimal reduction)

UPDATE 10.26.18: $433/$324

Los Angeles – Tokyo (ANA): SO

Tokyo — Taipei (ANA): D

Taipei – Tokyo – Los Angeles ANA)

 $196/$85 $184/$70 (minimal reduction)

UPDATE 10.26.18: $187/$76

Back then it felt very strange to me that ANA would remove fuel surcharges from its award tickets to Japan (according to the law), but leave them intact for some destinations beyond Japan. It was also weird that ANA would add fuel surcharges to partners that didn’t add them to their own flights, like Air New Zealand. I even tried to reach out to the airline to find out why, but never got a straight answer. It didn’t make any sense to me at all.

Well, these strange surcharges seem to be either drastically reduced or eliminated altogether. Which is no less strange considering that ANA does add fuel surcharges today – unlike 2 years ago.

UPDATE 10.26.18: Most surcharges have been back

ANA Fuel surcharges: changes for the worse

I wish I could report that all ANA changes are peachy and rosy, but I won’t lie. The weird thing is that the routes that had YQ 2 years ago now cost less, while some routes that didn’t have YQ back then – do get them added now. If there is any rhyme or reason to this, I’d surely like to know.

Here are some examples.


2016 Total/YQ 2018 Total/YQ

Los Angeles – Tokyo (ANA): SO

Tokyo — Hong Kong (ANA): D

Hong Kong – Tokyo – Los Angeles ANA)

 $121/$10 $273/$134

UPDATE 10.26.18: $298/$169

Los Angeles – Tokyo (ANA): SO

Tokyo — Jakarta (ANA): D

Jakarta – Tokyo – Los Angeles ANA)

 $115/$8 $284/$166

UPDATE 10.26.18: $314/$209

Los Angeles – Tokyo (ANA): SO

Tokyo — Ho Chi Minh(ANA): D

Ho Chi Minh – Tokyo – Los Angeles ANA)

 $125/$8 $286/$166

UPDATE 10.26.18: $327/$209

ANA fuel surcharges: net positive!

Are you seeing what I’m seeing?

It’s cheaper to visit Japan and: Taipei, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Phnom Penh, Sydney, Manila, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh, Jakarta, Hong Kong than just fly to Japan (even though YQ to Hong Kong, Ho Chi Minh, and Jakarta have increased). Note, though, that you’ll pay more miles.

Tell you what: I’m not complaining.  😀

UPDATE 10.26.18: this is still true due to the increased fuel surcharges for round trip to Tokyo ($342.15 with $258 in YQ).

Whether I do or don’t understand the logic behind ANA YQ pricing (I don’t), it doesn’t really matter. The point is, if you want to add another city in Asia to your flight plan on ANA metal, it will cost you either less or roughly the same as a nonstop trip to Japan (with the exception of Beijing). And if you want to see 2 cities in Japan, it will cost you exactly the same.

ANA partners fuel surcharges

 UPDATE 10.26.18: No more fuel surcharges on Air China for travel between North America and Asia!

Today Air China is your best bet for flying to Asia on ANA miles. Not only is there no fuel surcharges anymore, it also has great availability in Business and First. Note there is still a sizeable fuel surcharge added to Air China intra-Asia flights.

As I’ve mentioned before, ANA doesn’t add fuel surcharges to some partners, like United, Air Canada, Scandinavian, and Air New Zealand.

UPDATE 10.26.18: Now, TAP Air Portugal, as well.

Some ANA miles partners carry small-to-moderate fuel surcharges.

LOT will set you back $120 for a round trip between the U.S. and Warsaw.

ana miles

LOT is the cheapest European Star airline in terms of fuel surcharges: only $120 per roundtrip between the U.S. and Warsaw

Turkish charges more than twice as much between the U.S. and Istanbul; however, its flying network is nothing short of sensational, and its Business Class award space is frequently wide open.

ana miles

Turkish has a higher YQ surcharge than LOT: $266 per roundtrip between the U.S. and Istanbul (still considered low by European “standards”)

For flights to Asia, Eva is probably your best bet with only $66 in fuel surcharges between the U.S. and Taipei.

UPDATE 10.26.18: Now $76

UPDATE 10.26.18: The best now is Air China — no YQ!

ana miles

Eva is great for travel to Asia: only $66 YQ between the U.S. and Taipei per roundtrip

Asiana’s fuel surcharge will set you back $222 in YQ charges for a flight between the U.S. and Seoul. That’s almost a 40% increase compared to 2016.

UPDATE 10.26.18: Now $262

ana miles

Asiana has a higher fuel surcharge: $222 between the U.S. and Seoul

Let’s recap: how to save cash with ANA Mileage Club award tickets

  • The Americas

No fuel surcharges at all.

  • Europe

To fully avoid fuel surcharges, fly United, Tap Portugal, Scandinavian, Air Canada, or Singapore (only to Frankfurt and Manchester). Note: it’s virtually impossible to get Singapore in premium classes on a partner’s award.

To save on surcharges, fly LOT or Turkish. All other European airlines’ fuel surcharges are $400 to $500.

  • Africa and the Middle East

To avoid fuel surcharges, fly TAP Portugal via Lisbon to Israel (from 3.19.19), Morocco, Senegal, and Mozambique, among others. Can’t avoid the surcharges on South African ($400+).

  • Asia

To avoid fuel surcharges fly United, Air China, Air Canada, or Singapore (same caveat regarding premium seats).

To save on surcharges, fly Eva (very low) or Asiana (moderate). Fly ANA if you want to visit Japan, especially in low seasons (you’ll save on miles).

  • Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific

Use Air New Zealand or United (no fuel surcharges).

So what do you think? Have ANA miles become more or less valuable to you? Share your thoughts.



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SO useful! Better than anything I’ve read on blogs so far in 2018.

Now if ‘someone’ could do a new Flying Blue award chart with surcharge info, since it looks like they dropped some prices slightly. Trying to figure out what to do with my Amex MR: Virgin, Aeroplan, ANA or FB. Maybe a transfer bonus will help with that…

Boris Minevich

Thanks Andy for great review. Only you and Drew do this stuff ( Drew used to as he does not post anymore). As with ANA miles – hard to say if they are more valuable or less as Amex is kind of stingy with lifetime language, so just sitting on some MR points, never transferred them to ANA, maybe will in the future.

[…] Lazy Traveler takes a deeper look at ANA redemptions and fuel surcharges. We may actually have some good news for a […]

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