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How to redeem Virgin Points on ANA and other partners (Virgin Redemption University #5)

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How do you book flights on Virgin Atlantic’s non-SkyTeam alliance members using Virgin Points?

This article is Part 5 of our new ‘Virgin Redemption University’ series to run alongside our existing ‘Avios Redemption University’ – which itself will get a much-needed update next month.

If you want to earn more Virgin Points, our review of the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard credit card is here (15,000 bonus points) and our review of the free Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard credit card is here.

using Virgin Points on ANA is the best way to use air miles to get to Japan

Here are the other 12 articles in the series:

Let’s first look at everyone except ANA ….

Who are Virgin Atlantic’s non-SkyTeam airline partners apart from ANA?

The airline does have a number of airline partners with whom you can earn and redeem Virgin Points.

These are:

  • Air New Zealand
  • All Nippon Airways
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • IndiGo (earning only, no redemptions)
  • LATAM
  • SAS (earning only, no redemptions)
  • Singapore Airlines
  • South African Airways
  • Virgin Australia

There is no standard partner redemption chart in terms of the Virgin Points needed and it is difficult to get your head around what is a good deal.

In general, however, you won’t find these partners (except ANA) relevant if you are UK based.

Booking Air New Zealand with Virgin Points

Air New Zealand no longer has any flights from Europe. Whilst this is an option if you are heading down under, you would need to match it to another flight to get there. It flies from Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore to Auckland.

Hawaiian Airlines is similar. With no services to the UK, you will only be using them in conjunction with another flight. One option is to use them to fly from a US West Coast city to Hawaii.

LATAM only became available for redemptions in mid August 2023 – literally a week after this article was first published. We don’t yet have any information on what can and cannot be done.

You can forget Singapore Airlines for long haul because “Redemptions in Business Class and First Class on their A380-800, 777-300ER and A350-900 aircraft types are not available.” This covers virtually every aircraft they fly from Europe.  You can book regional Singapore Airlines flights around Asia which may be handy if travelling in the region.

South African Airways is now a shadow of its former self. It currently has no long haul flights although it will restart Sao Paulo from Johannesburg and Cape Town in November 2023.

Virgin Australia is in a similar situation to Air New Zealand. If you want to use it to reach Australia, as opposed to flying regionally across Australia and New Zealand, your only option is to make your own way to Denpasar or Tokyo and connect.

How many miles do you need?

Each airline has its own reward chart. Follow the link to that airline on this page of the Virgin Atlantic website.

How do you book?

None of these partners except LATAM can be booked online. All require you to call Virgin Atlantic.

How can you check availability?

Not easily, except for LATAM which can be searched and booked online.

The best route is to find another airline which has your airline as its partner and look for award seats online with them. In most cases Virgin Atlantic can see the same seats, but this is not always the case, eg see the extra restrictions that Singapore Airlines puts in place.

For LATAM, it is as simple as going to Virgin Atlantic’s homepage, entering your destination and dates you want to fly and selecting ‘Points’, an option which is hidden under the ‘Advanced’ button.  In reality the site can be buggy so a call may be needed.

Using ANA miles on Virgin Atlantic to Japan

How to use Virgin Points to fly ANA

ANA is the most useful non-SkyTeam airline partner if you have Virgin Points and are based in the UK

You can also earn Virgin Points when booking cash tickets on ANA, if you want to steer your next business trip their way. ANA is, of course, a Star Alliance member so you also have the option of crediting a cash flight to any Star Alliance frequent flyer programme.

How many Virgin Points do you need to fly ANA?

You can see the Virgin Flying Club earning and spending chart for ANA on this page of the Virgin Atlantic website.

Assuming you are based in the UK, these are the key numbers you need to know:

  • Economy return flight (London to Tokyo) – 65,000 Virgin Points
  • Business return flight (London to Tokyo) – 95,000 Virgin Points
  • First return flight (London to Tokyo) – 170,000 Virgin Points

One way redemptions are possible for half of the above cost.

Note that First Class redemptions seem to be limited to one seat per flight to Europe, especially on the aircraft with the new ‘THE Suite’ product which we discuss below. This was never a great option for a couple unless you book one seat and wait to see if another is released later.

Whilst this article talks about using ANA to fly to and from Europe, you can redeem Virgin Points for any flight on their network. It gives you another option if you are travelling around Asia.

How can you check ANA reward availability?

Virgin Flying Club appears to have access to the same availability as ANA’s Star Alliance partners. The Aeroplan (Air Canada) and United Airlines websites are both decent places to search for seats before calling Virgin Flying Club to book.

Use Virgin Points on ANA

What about taxes and surcharges?

Historically there were no fuel charges added to ANA redemptions using Virgin Points which kept taxes and charges from the UK at around £250.

During the pandemic, however, ANA got greedy and started to add surcharges. It isn’t possible to check the numbers online but I believe it is now around £700-£800 return in a premium cabin. If anyone has booked recently, please post in the comments and I will update this section.

Virgin Atlantic lets you book ANA flights 331 days in advance

Virgin Atlantic allows you book rewards 331 days in advance. This applies to all partners and indeed Virgin Atlantic’s own flights.

Whilst this does not sound like a problem, ANA itself opens up its flights for booking at 355 days before departure.

This puts an additional squeeze on reward availability using Virgin Points, since reward seats can be snapped up by ANA’s own frequent flyers or members of partner programmes which work on a 355 day basis before you have a chance to book.

A handy tip – start outside the UK

If you can’t find availability on the ANA flights from London, try another European starting point and get there under your own steam.

The schedule for Summer 2023 is:

  • Frankfurt – 14x weekly on a Boeing 787-9
  • London Heathrow – 7x weekly on a Boeing 777-300ER
  • Munich – 3x weekly on a Boeing 787-9
  • Paris CDG – 3x weekly on a Boeing 787-9
  • Brussels – 2x weekly on a Boeing 787-9
ANA first class the suite

Is ANA any good?

Oh yes.

In 2019, ANA launched a new Business and First Class seat on its Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, and the London route was the first to get it.  It looks rather good, to put it mildly.

The First Class suites, known as ‘THE Suite’, are arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration.  Finished in dark woods, there are two only rows which make this an intimate cabin:

The seat almost takes the full width of the suite, with only a thin slither along the side given over to storage or as an armrest. There is also an exceptionally large 43” screen which has a 4K display.

170,000 Virgin Points is still – given the quality of THE Suite – excellent value for a ‘once in a lifetime’ flying experience, especially on such a long route.

THE Room is ANA’s new Businesss Class product.  Club World style, half of the seats face forwards and half face backwards.

If you look at the photo below the first thing that will strike you is how disproportionately wide the seat is.  Look at the head rest.  You can see the protective cover, which is about what you’d expect the seat width to be. THE Room looks like it is twice as wide – more sofa-like than a seat! ANA says that THE Room has twice the width of their old business class seat (click for Anika’s flight review) which is not hard to believe.

Of course, this is business class and the trade-off is that it does taper into a cubby hole where your feet end up.  Nonetheless, the extra width at torso and shoulder height makes sitting and sleeping in this seat feel a lot less cramped.  It is a very clever piece of design.

ANA business class the room

I haven’t flown THE Room but I have sat in the seat at a media event.  It is, genuinely, huge.  At one point there were two of us sat side by side on the seat and we were able to have a normal conversation, with a decent bit of space between us.

Not content with a sliding door, THE Room also has a second opening which slides up and down.  This allows the crew to pass food to you whilst the door is closed, getting around one of the biggest issues with Club Suite and Qsuite.  The 24 inch 4K TV also looked very impressive, although it was not operating.

At 95,000 Virgin Points for a return trip to Tokyo, you’re laughing – even if taxes and charges are now steeper than they were.

ANA business class the room

Conclusion

Whilst Virgin Atlantic has a number of non-SkyTeam airline partners, most of them aren’t going to be of any use to you – and three don’t allow redemptions at all, only the earning of Virgin Points.

The sweet spot is using ANA to fly to Japan, where if you can get the right aircraft you will also get to fly one of the best seats in the air.


How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (July 2024)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Virgin Points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

You can choose from two official Virgin Atlantic credit cards (apply here, the Reward+ card has a bonus of 18,000 Virgin Points and the free card has a bonus of 3,000 Virgin Points):

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

18,000 bonus points and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

3,000 bonus points, no fee and 1 point for every £1 you spend Read our full review

You can also earn Virgin Points from various American Express cards – and these have sign-up bonuses too.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for a year and comes with 20,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 20,000 Virgin Points.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with 40,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 40,000 Virgin Points.

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points AND (to 27th August) £400 to spend at Amex Travel Read our full review

Small business owners should consider the two American Express Business cards. Points convert at 1:1 into Virgin Points.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and FREE for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Virgin Points

(Want to earn more Virgin Points?  Click here to see our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club and click here for our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)

Comments (30)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Shawn says:

    No availability from London…

    • meta says:

      There is, but you just need to know how to play it. You need to have a Star Alliance miles, book with those miles then cancel and rebook with Virgin. Another option is to book it last minute. I flew mid-May and booked my ticket on Virgin a week in advance.

      • nick meech says:

        So if you book with Star alliance mixes and then cxl are you saying that those released reward seats are made available for Virgin redemptions on ANA

        • Rob says:

          They should go straight back into reward availability and, by that time, Virgin accounts can book them. That’s the idea.

      • ANA Zennikku says:

        Which Star Alliance partner is best for the dummy booking?

        • Rob says:

          Needs to be one with a 355 booking window (or there is no point) and, since you will be refunding the flight in order to rebook via Virgin, it needs to be one where you either already have miles or are happy to have some stranded after the refund is done.

  • JW says:

    Other than Tokyo, are other direct flight destinations available?

    If the final destination requires a transit, say Nagoya, or a smaller city, does it require extra miles?

  • Barry says:

    Hi, any tips or ways to find 2x Business class for ANA to Tokyo from anywhere in Europe. Tried the United Airlines website and all I can find is Economy that is only direct.

    thanks

    • Mos says:

      Try searching on the Air Canada website instead, found it easier to use.

    • ANA Zennikku says:

      I found 2 one way first class reward tickets on 28/8/23 LHR-HND

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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