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I really like British Airways for mile redemptions. One of the things that I like is that it has a DIFFERENT redemption style from most of the other airlines.
Since BA has a distance-based award chart, it gives you lots of options, especially for short-haul flights, even in the USA (since they are part of the oneworld airline alliance and partner with American Airlines and US Airways). When I went to the Family Travel for Real Life conference a few weeks ago, I flew from CVG-DCA on US Airways using Avios. That roundtrip flight cost me 9,000 Avios, but if I had booked the flight using US Airways Dividend Miles, it would have cost me 25,000 miles!!!!
ANA (All Nippon Airways) is another of the airlines with a distance-based award chart. As opposed to British Airways, where each segment is priced individually, ANA calculates how many reward miles are needed based on the miles of the total itinerary.
Here’s an example:
Here’s an example of a flight leaving Cincinnati (CVG) going to Frankfurt Germany (FRA), connecting in JFK on the outbound and IAD on the return trip. With Avios, you calculate the total cost based on the cost of each individual segment:
- CVG-JFK: 4,500 Avios
- JFK-FRA: 20,000 Avios
- FRA-IAD: 25,000 Avios
- IAD-CVG: 4,500 Avios
- Total cost: 54,000 Avios
With ANA, you calculate the cost based on the total mileage. In this case, 8913 miles is in the 7,001 – 9,000 band, which costs 43,000 miles to redeem – 11,000 fewer than Avios! This is especially useful for people that don’t live in a OneWorld hub. For me, in order to use Avios to go anywhere, I have to spend 9,000 Avios roundtrip to get to a hub (like ORD, JFK, PHL, etc.)
The rules of an ANA award are
- Awards must start and end in the same country (but not necessarily the same city)
- Up to 4 stopovers on any award (your 4 stopovers include your destination, so it’s really only 3 stopovers in the way that most of us think of stopovers)
- Only one stopover in any given city
Milenomics had a guest post a few months ago talking about using stopovers to book multiple different trips as one “award” on ANA, so the ANA chart is quite liberal with stopovers and thus does have some uses.
The basic idea is that you can go to any 4 locations and stay for as long as you want. This can be useful if you want to see different cities in Europe, or even for a few domestic trips.
One thing to note is that ANA DOES levy fuel surcharges on most of its partner flights. One exception is United (within the Americas). The Points Guy has the full breakdown on how much the surcharges are on different airlines.
ANA is a transfer partner of both American Express (1:1) and Starwood Preferred Guest (1:1 but with a bonus if you transfer at least 20,000 points), so they’re pretty easy to get. The search tool is a little hard to use, but The Points Guy has some tips on that.
The way that I see it – the more options that you have, the better it’s going to be for savvy travelers to find one that works the best for your particular situation. Let me know – have you ever redeemed an award on ANA?