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ANA has been in the news lately. They recently announced that they are moving to a zone-based award chart as of April 12, 2015. In the meantime, they are still a great source of availability for searching other Star Alliance flights
Why would I want to check ANA for Star Alliance flights?
I typically do most of my travel on United, and united.com has a actually a pretty good engine. The only problem is that while it CLAIMS to show availability for most of its Star Alliance partners, it doesn’t show ALL of them, and some of the availability that it DOES show is what we call “phantom” availability, where it might show up in the results, but not be actually bookable.
ANA shows better availability for Star Alliance flights, so if you’re looking to take a flight on a partner that United doesn’t show, or if you want to make sure that the award availability that you see is bookable.
Aeroplan (Air Canada) also has a pretty good award engine so it’s another option for Star Alliance flights. It’s also a great option for avoiding close-in booking fees that United tries to charge.
So what’s the problem?
First, in order to use ANA’s flight search at all, you must sign up for ANA Mileage Club.
Make your way to the ANA flight search page. You will be prompted to login (which is why you have to have an account). After you login, you’ll see the following screen
Notice that the ability to do the ANA Star Alliance flight search is greyed out. This is because I do not have enough miles to book a Star Alliance flight (based on ANA’s award chart, you need at least 20,000 miles to book anything).
The simple trick to book ANA Star Alliance flights
As a workaround, first choose the enabled button which says ANA International Flight Awards
Once you get to that screen, choose any international flight that ANA flies. I always pick SFO-NRT. Then choose “Next”
ANA will return some availability, but since this isn’t actually where we care to go, just ignore it and scroll down to the bottom
After you select Star Alliance Member Flight, you are taken to a separate screen that allows you to put in any airports that you want, to do a Star Alliance flight search
Seeing our Star Alliance flight results
ANA will show your results, which lets you pick the flights that you want. If it shows up as available here, that means it is “Saver” availability, that you should be able to book with United, Air Canada, or any other Star Alliance member.
I pick two of the available flights
In this case, my ZERO miles in ANA are not enough to be able to book the flight, so it tells me what the mileage would be required. CVG-IAH is 871 miles one-way, so it falls into the lowest category on ANA’s current chart
That chart is going away as of April 12, 2015
But now you can either transfer miles into ANA from American Express, or you can note the flights that have the availability you want, and book them on the Star Alliance carrier of your choice.
Hope this helps!!