First Class *ALMOST* Around the World with ANA

This is one of the trips I’ve been waiting probably 3 years now to pull the trigger on. It’s a biggie combining Tokyo and New York in 1 trip from the UK in either First Class or Business or both. The flights are on Air Nippon Airlines however instead of paying close to £19,000 for cash tickets, this involves spending Virgin Atlantic points. It may sound complex, but take a seat and read on to see how simple it actually is.

Finding availability

The best way to find availability is to head to United.com, select “book with miles” along with “Flexible Dates” and to make the search a little easier “One Way”. Now comes the first part where you have to put a bit of thought in. Do you want to fly East or West? For me, I’m choosing to fly East, so I would enter my starting point as London and the destination as Tokyo. Chose either Business Class or First Class then hit search.

When you see the above screen, don’t worry. You don’t actually have to be a member of United’s frequent flyer program to use the search so just hit X.

March 2022

This is what you’ll be presented with when you hit search. To make things a little easier, you can click the tick box that says “Show only nonestop flight availability” as this will isolate the ANA flights. The 5 dots in the calendar date are what you need to be looking for. In the above example, you’ll click on 7th March. Now it will show you that the 7th March is available from Heathrow to Haneda airport in First Class. Ignore the points that it shows, that’s how many United points it would cost one way. You can take note of the cash though as that is how much it would cost for the taxes and fees.

If you don’t mind a trip over to Frankfurt, you’ll be rewarded with not just extra availability but also a hefty reduction in taxes and fees. If you wanted to fly Business class, the 4th March is available.

For the onward journey, you’ll want to search Tokyo to New York. You can choose Tokyo to LA but for me, I’d rather have the extra time on the plane for no extra cost. March 15th shows availability from Haneda to JFK in first costing a grand total of $50.

So that’s:

London to Haneda, March 7th. Haneda to JFK March 15th. All in First Class, for $350.

Frankfurt to Haneda, March 4th. Haneda to JFK March 15th. in Business and First, for $170.

Pay Attention

ANA doesn’t just fly Tokyo to LAX, JFK, Heathrow and Frankfurt however these are the only routes they fly their latest 777-300 with “The Room” (Business Class) and “The Suite” (First Class). Think 43″ 4k tv’s etc. When searching for availability, make sure you press on “Details” and it shows that the flight you want is operated by the Boeing 777-300ER.

Booking.

If you’re paying with cash, you’ll be forking out close to £20,000.

Without a doubt, the cheapest way to book however is using Virgin Points. A First Class return from London to Tokyo on ANA will cost 120,000 Virgin points. The crafty thing is though, you don’t have to book a return, you’re booking a flight to Tokyo then instead of a flight home, a flight to New York. All for the same 120,000 Virgin Points which is pretty much half the number of points compared to any other airline. Yes, that means you have to get a flight home from New York, but that isn’t going to cost much.

Virgin Points

How doe’s one acquire said Virgin Points? Easy, Fly with Virgin, Transfer your Clubcard points from Tesco, Transfer your AmEx points from American Express, Get yourself a Virgin Atlantic credit card. Or to save time you can just buy them…

Currently Virgin have a points sale with up to 70% bonus on top. Link Here.

Those same flights which cost close to £20,000 to buy for cash can be had for as little as £1,215 for 120,000 points and about £100 of taxes…

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