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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
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
Learn 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.
If we dial into the 8th as an example…you can see that there are 2 ANA First Class seats.
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.
You can populate LifeMiles with these programs
- American Express
- 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.
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 ).
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
Credit Cards we like that earn points that could be converted into LifeMiles
- American Express Platinum
- Amex Gold
- Amex Green
- Amex Everyday Preferred
- Amex Business Platinum
- Amex Business Gold
- Citi Thank You Premier
- Citi Thank You Prestige
- Cap1 Venture Rewards
- Cap1 Spark Miles for Business
You can learn about all of these cards on our favorite credit card page
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 email@example.com
You can see how the search ended up…
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 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!
Affiliate link via Card Ratings
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based.
60k Points after $4k spend in 3 months
Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash , Ink Business Unlimited you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners
Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.
- 3x on dining
- including eligible delivery services for takeout
- 3x on select streaming services
- 3x on online grocery purchases
- (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
- 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards – Chase Travel Portal
- $50 Annual Credit on hotel stays purchased via Ultimate Rewards/Chase Travel
- The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
- 10% Anniversary Bonus
- Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel Portal and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including primary rental car insurance, purchase protections, etc.
- Points are transferrable to 13 Ultimate Rewards partners
- Redeem in the Chase Travel center for 1.25 cents per point
- No foreign transaction fees
- Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
- Primary rental car coverage is my favorite
We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.
Historically 80k is a very, very good offer and hit in both 2022 and 2023. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back.
Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.
Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on.