Without any warning, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club has increased the cost of redeeming miles for ANA First Class flights. This means that there has been a sudden devaluation to what was arguably one of the best sweet spots in the game, as the cost to book one of the best airline products has now increased by up to 42%.
While this is certainly unwelcome news, using Virgin Atlantic Flying Club to book ANA First Class still remains competitive against other programs.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Increases ANA First Class Pricing
On March 2, 2023, Virgin Atlantic officially became SkyTeam’s newest member airline. While there weren’t any announcements about upcoming changes to redeeming Flying Club miles on non-SkyTeam airlines, many members of the Miles & Points community feared for the worst.
Today, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club quietly updated the redemption rates for ANA First Class, and they’ve increased across the board. Depending on the route, the cost has risen by up to 42%.
At this point, there haven’t been any changes to redeeming for ANA business class flights, which still offers great value.
Previously, using Flying Club miles to book ANA First Class was perhaps the single best sweet spot in all loyalty programs. From the Western United States, you could fly one-way to Japan in First Class for just 55,000 Flying Club miles, and from the Eastern US, you could fly for just 60,000 Flying Club miles.
For the same flights, you’ll now have to fork over a few more miles, as the chart has been updated as follows:
Flying Club Miles (One-Way)
Previous Cost in Flying Club Miles (One-Way)
As we can see, the cost of redeeming miles for ANA First Class from Tokyo to Hawaii (HNL) has increased by 28%, flights to Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO) have gone up by 32%, and flights to Chicago (ORD), New York (JFK), or London (LHR) have gone up by 42% without any warning.
If there’s any good news that comes out of this development, it’s that you can still redeem Flying Club miles for ANA business class flights at outstanding value. One-way business class flights from Tokyo to Hawaii still cost just 35,000 miles, to the Western US and Vancouver still cost 45,000 miles, and to the Eastern US and Europe still cost 47,500 miles.
There’s no guarantee that business class flights won’t eventually be affected, so if you’ve had your eye on flying ANA’s “The Room” or 787 business class products, be sure to redeem your Flying Club miles sooner rather than later.
Still Better Than Other Programs
While a no-notice, sudden devaluation of one of the best sweet spots in the game is undoubtedly brutal, at least the costs for ANA First Class flights booked with Flying Club are still the most competitive in the game.
While finding award availability for the highly sought-after product can be very difficult, you can still find excellent value in using Flying Club miles to book ANA First Class should you come across award space.
For example, the following chart shows a comparison of costs of a one-way flight in ANA First Class with Flying Club miles and Aeroplan points:
As we can see, Flying Club still offers lower pricing than Aeroplan, and the cost from the Western US is still substantially lower than Aeroplan.
The same is true when looking at other Star Alliance loyalty programs for booking ANA First Class, which is summarized as follows:
- Avianca LifeMiles: 90,000+ miles
- United MileagePlus: 121,000+ miles
So, while this devaluation is not welcome news, the fact of the matter is that Flying Club still remains one of the best ways to book the product.
If you have access to US credit cards, Flying Club is a transfer partner of Amex US MR, Capital One, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Citi ThankYou, which means that they’re still relatively easy to come by. There’s also the opportunity to transfer Marriott Bonvoy points to the program.
Lastly, if you were to factor in one of the transfer bonuses to Flying Club, then the new award prices might just sting a little less.
For example, in December 2022, there was a 30% transfer bonus from Amex US MR to Flying Club. If we were to see that same bonus appear again, then the cost of ANA First Class awards would drop down to roughly 44,300, 55,800, or 65,400 miles, respectively.
While that’s still more than it was before, and there’s no guarantee that we’ll see the transfer bonuses again any time soon, at least it’s still a great way to book one of the finest flying experiences out there.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club has quietly increased the cost of ANA First Class redemptions by up to 42%. There was no warning about the devaluation, and it affected one of the best sweet spots across all loyalty programs.
When compared against other loyalty programs with points that are easy to earn and that have access to ANA First Class, Flying Club still remains an excellent option. This doesn’t take away from the unfortunate news, but in one sense, it could have been much worse if they’d cut ties with ANA altogether.
Should there be another transfer bonus to Flying Club in the near future, be sure to take advantage of it if you’ve managed to find an award seat for ANA First Class.