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Just booked 2 new ANA First Class “The Suite” tickets as my first post lockdown trip ( How I found and booked 2 of the best first class seats to Japan )

an airplane seat with seats and windows

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ANA First Class “The Suite” is booked

I’ve been drooling over this first class product since ANA dropped it in 2019 without any notice. Obviously I’m beyond excited, but at the same time fully prepared to not take this trip. The odds of Japan being open to foreign tourists in December I believe is reasonable; however, I’m also realistic. Japan has been extremely conservative in opening borders, but here’s the thing. There are no penalties to booking this trip. I can cancel and change without fee and ANA First Class is notoriously hard to find 2 seats in this far in advance. So why wouldn’t I just book it to have just in case it all comes together and we can go. I also found the avail on from JFK to HND. Slap me silly – it’s my dream route. I’ll also note…this is the first trip I’ve booked, but it won’t the first one I take. I have at least 3 additoinal international trips on the agenda that I plan on taking before December, but this was the first I threw down the miles to book. Here’s how I search, booked, and earned the miles for ANA First Class “The Suite”

I mean…just look at this seat

an airplane seat with seats and windows
ANA First Class “The Suite”

I used miles earned from my Amex Gold to populate my Avianca Lifemiles account with enough miles to book this insane first class flight. It’s one of our favorite cards.

Learn More about Amex Gold here

a close-up of a credit cardLearn More about Amex Gold here

 

Finding the award space

The place to search Star Alliance ( the alliance that ANA is a part of ) is via United. They have a calendar function that makes searching much easier than day by day found on other sites. I didn’t think there was a chance Japan would be open before November to foreign tourists and sure enough…there was a few dates with 2 people available in First Class. These can be seen via the 121k pricing. Note in the image below that I selected Non-Stop and Business/First class. I believe the only nonstop options from NYC to Tokyo are United and ANA. I’m only using United to find the award space that I want, but not to book it.

a screenshot of a computer screen

If we dial into the 8th as an example…you can see that there are 2 ANA First Class seats.

a screenshot of a ticket

a bed in an airplane
ANA First Class The Suite Bedmode

Why I chose LifeMiles

First off, the cheapest way to book ANA is via Virgin Atlantic but that requires booking roundtrip. I have no idea where I will go after Japan, the odds this trip getting canceled are legitimate, and I’m thinking I may fly on around the world, perhaps to Europe, but I’m not flying roundtrip. Lifemiles also has an amazing award chart for premium cabins departing the US. This flight was only 90k miles a piece, will be nearly 15 hours long, and would normally cost almost $10k. That’s just an insane use of these points.

a screenshot of a graph
Avianca Life Miles Partner Award Chart

You can populate LifeMiles with these programs

  • American Express
  • Citi
  • Capital One

Getting enough points to book ANA First Class with Avianca LifeMiles

Avianca Lifemiles is one of the easiest mileage programs to earn miles in. As I mentioned, they are not only a partner of American Express, Citi, and Capital One, but they often have incredible promotions to straight up buy miles. I did a combination of transferring and buying.

  • I had 92k miles in my account from an Amex transfer I did last year
  • My fiance had 36k miles in her account left

Avianca has a promo where you can get a 120% bonus when you transfer miles from one account to another.

a blue water with white text

So I took the 36k miles in my fiancee’s account, transferred them to mine for a little over $600, and ended up with 171k total miles ( my 92 plus the 79 from her transfer bonus ).

a screenshot of a phone

I then transferred the 9k miles needed from Amex to Lifemiles which meant I was ready to book 2 Suites for 180k points

How you could populate the miles with 41k miles a pice

If each of you had 41k miles you could deposit those into your LifeMiles account and transfer to one another to book these tickets. 41k with a 220% bonus would populate each account with 90k and cost you roughly $700

a large screen on a plane
ANA First Class The Suite Window Seat Doors Closed

Credit Cards we like that earn points that could be converted into LifeMiles

You can learn about all of these cards on our favorite credit card page

a close-up of a computer

Finding the award space with Lifemiles

Remember, I first found the availability using United. Now it’s time to book with with Lifemiles.

Lifemiles has had tech issues for as long as I can remember. The newest iteration of the website is the best they’ve had so far, but it still needs some tinkering to get the job done. For instance…smart search should be the cleanest, most straight forward way to execute a search. However, it often misses award avail. This is why we search on United first, double check on ExpertFlyer, and then proceed to search on Lifemiles. Sure enough…this go around it required me honing in the search to ANA specifically to find the award space I needed. Often times when Smart Search doesn’t yield the results you found elsewhere, search by the specific airline. If it’s a combination of airlines…use Star Alliance search. If all else fails… email Lifemiles to book support@lifemiles.com

a red and white screen with a red background

You can see how the search ended up…

a screenshot of a website

A hiccup in the booking process

I received this notice and needed to call in to book the tickets. The call center is super friendly, but I would set aside 15-20 minutes to get the tickets booked.

a screenshot of a website

A video of the First Class – I’m ridiculously excited

The updated suites are fit with doors, massive tvs, and flowing krug. Sushi anyone? Sure thing. Caviar…gimme, gimme gimme. Needless to say…I’m stoked about finding which hotel we will stay at, and what we will do!

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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10 Comments

  • Hank March 29, 2021

    Zach I tried to do this myself just for the fun of it. But when I got to Avianca I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to get to the screen you got to where you were able to switch from Avianca to another Star Alliance member. If possible please let me know how I can find this feature, thanks!

  • Dublin March 29, 2021

    You really lucked out. I check almost every single day and usually only see one business one first class JFK to Tokyo. Keeping my fingers crossed for you. I am also scheduled to route through Tokyo at the end of January. Can’t believe that I have to keep my fingers crossed that far out.

  • Michael March 27, 2021

    Congrats on that booking. I’m going to keep looking for that for sure.

    I booked DEN-BKK and back in Biz on combos of UA, and BG (via YVR and TPE) on the outbound and TG, OZ, and UA (via ICN and LAX) on the return over the December holidays. Hoping to spend a week in Bhutan as well (hence the arrive in BKK flight). Fingers crossed. Lots of time to find other options (SQ would be nice).

  • Joey March 27, 2021

    Really hope your trip goes through! I had an ANA F suites booking for this summer but unfortunately Japan is not allowing foreigners during Olympics and Paralympics … in other words no foreign tourists allowed this summer so had to cancel my flights.

  • Christian March 27, 2021

    Does Lifemiles allow an inclusive domestic connection to the gateway city on the same award? e.g. RDU-ORD-HND? TIA.

  • Mike Saint March 27, 2021

    Congrats. HOPEFULLY you will be able to go. Like you, I was itching to book something. I used ANA miles and booked Business Class for two people from Seattle-Taipei-Bali and then going from Bangkok to Tokyo back to Seattle all for 272,000 ANA Miles.

    I booked it for end of September so like you, not sure I’ll actually be able to fly then as I’m not sure they will allow flying without quarantining but I figure I can cancel if it comes down to that. This was a replacement trip for a cancelled trip in May 2020. The only thing that makes me a little nervous is ANA miles expire 3 years from when they were first earned. I transferred from AMEX to to ANA in November 2019 so I really really hope this doesn’t get cancelled.

  • Sho'nuff March 27, 2021

    Do you have to search for Saver Awards for this to work with Lifemiles or with Virgin?

    • Miles March 27, 2021

      Yep, but those will the only ones that show up on lifemiles, united, aeroplan, singapore, etc…

  • Philly380 March 27, 2021

    don’t get too excited. I booked October flights few months ago, but unfortunately, ANA cancelled JFK-Tokyo flight so I am stuck with 95k Virgin Atlantic points. Will give it a shot again for spring 2022….

    • Miles March 27, 2021

      yeah fingers crossed…it just felt good to book something tbh

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