It was always going to happen and that time is sadly now – Virgin Atlantic has updated its award chart which has resulted in a no-notice devaluation when redeeming Flying Club points to fly in ANA First Class.
Redeeming Virgin Atlantic points for ANA First Class was one of the sweetest of sweet spots. That’s because you could book flights to/from Japan for only 55,000 points each way from the west coast or 60,000 points each way from elsewhere in the US – a phenomenally low price.
This change has greatly increased the cost for First Class awards from the US to Japan. Rather than being 55,000 or 60,000 points one-way from the west coast or central/eastern US respectively, the new cost will be 72,500 miles one way from the west coast and 85,000 miles one way from central or eastern US. That’s an increase of 31.8% and 41.7% respectively which is a drastic increase.
There’s been a huge amount of ANA First Class award availability over the last couple of months, something we’re taking advantage of for our next challenge as we were able to book 5 seats in First Class on the same flight. I wouldn’t be surprised if this influx of award availability – and people using Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points to book it – is what’s resulted in sudden devaluation, especially considering the fact that Economy and Business Class award redemptions have remained untouched.
The Not-Quite Silver Lining
While it’s disappointing that First Class redemptions have increased by such a large percentage, the 72,500 and 85,000 point redemption values are still very competitive for First Class awards to Asia. Check out Best ways to get to Asia using miles for business or first class for a list of your options, but there are only a couple of programs where you can redeem fewer miles/points for one-way First Class tickets. (n.b. We’ll be updating that post to reflect these Virgin Atlantic changes soon.)
Add in the fact that Virgin Atlantic is a transfer partner of every major transferable currency and the frequent transfer bonuses from those currencies and you’ll likely find that booking ANA First Class (when you can find availability) with Virgin Atlantic points will still represent a great redemption option even if it’s nowhere near as great as it had been up until now.
A bit off-topic, but I’m at my wits’ end here…
I have been trying to change my password to the ANA Mileage Club for over a year. They never send the promised postcard. I cannot get past the verification screen bc it says my phone number is incorrect (which it’s not, I’ve tried all my historic numbers). I have an email from Feb. 2022 informing me that they are instituting 2FA, and that is where I got stumped trying to log in. I am now into the second hour of hold time on 800-235-9262.
What is the magic required to regain access to the site and my Club account? I do recall once I got to a screen that requested my mailing address, but it was only accepting Japanese-style addresses so that did not work.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Just booked this in J today going into HND early next year. Taxes were $361, which is still a steal, but I specifically jumped on this because of the devaluation in F. Wait time on the phone was about 10 minutes (did it at work immediately after the first meeting ended…lol). Also found a space for my brother going into NRT as well via United, and hoping more space opens up through the rest of 2023 so he and my sister-in-law can switch to my flight.
This increase in points comes on top of a big increase in fees added to award tickets.
ANA raises and lowers and raises their fuel surcharges often. Yes they’re high right now but will probably drop again sometime in the future.
speaking of ANA, there is some availability for RT SFO-AKL in June-July in business if anybody is interested. Unfortunately none of the dates work for us, but there were several dates in either direction
Which US routes still have First Class on ANA? I couldn’t book a new roundtrip using Virgin Atlantic miles because Houston-Tokyo flight is on a plane without first class.
JFK, LAX, SFO, ORD
I’ve never seen availability when I actually need it, during traditionally busy travel periods.
Would be nice if they allowed attaching a connecting flight on same award, otherwise paying for positioning flights and worrying about missing the flight, is not worth the headache.
To be able to reach and communicate clearly with a CSR is worth a lot. Virgin Atlantic is stellar in this regard. ANA….not so much
Strange. I’ve always got a hold of someone at ANA with lot less of a wait time than VS?
Hopefully ANA will now release more availability like they did before Covid.
IF the increase results in more availability, it’s a better deal than not being to use it at all.
@Mick unlikely, VS has so few ANA awards because award space opens up last for them compared to ANA or Aeroplan.