There’s a fair chance you’ve never heard of one of our favorite airlines, ANA (All Nippon Airways), but the Japanese airline’s points currency is one of the most valuable systems out there. Despite some glaring caveats, round-trip business class flights to Asia and beyond aren’t out of the question if you’re willing to do the research.
If you take a quick glance at ANA’s partners, you’ll find airlines like United, Singapore, Avianca, and Aeroplan — all useful airline currencies to have at your disposable. But ANA’s points regularly go twice the distance as their counterparts. If you’ve got an Amex travel card of any kind, you can transfer points directly to your ANA account.
For example, United Airlines often charges well over 100,000 points for a one-way business ticket from the US to Japan. Booking using ANA Mileage Club would allow you to grab a round-trip on the same route for as little as 75,000 points — and yes, that’s business class. Other options include business-class round-trips from US to Europe for 88,000 — also a steal.
The downsides: ANA’s website is tough to navigate, so working through the award charts and other odd navigation quirks can be cumbersome. You also can’t book one-way flights, and to get the lowest points cost, you’ll need to book during off-peak times. But if you’re flexible, and happy to work out the kinks, you’ll struggle to find a better use for your points.