Tips for booking ANA’s Round the World award (Updated)

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For the 3 Cards, 3 Continents Challenge, I’ve been busy finding and pricing various ANA Round the World awards.  As a result, I’ve learned some new things since originally publishing this post.  The post below has been updated with info about putting awards on hold, which changes are allowed after booking, how and when to call ANA, and updates to which carriers impose fuel surcharges….

One of the best deals in travel is ANA’s Star Alliance Round the World award.  We previously covered this award here: Around the world in business class for 115K [Sweet spot spotlight].  More recently, I wrote about my initial planning for an expected-to-be-awesome Round the World trip (that trip never happened due to COVID).  In response to our previous posts, many readers offered up useful tips.  And, in researching booking these awards, I’ve developed some tips of my own.  Below you’ll find a summary of tips for successfully booking ANA’s Round the World awards.

ANA’s Round the World Pricing and Rules

Before getting to our tips, here are the basic rules for booking these awards as found on ANA’s website:

  • Required mileage is calculated according to the total basic sector mileage for the entire itinerary. (Calculations exclude ground transportation sectors.).  In other words, add up the distances of every segment flown.  Do not count open-jaw distances.  For example, if you take alternative transportation, such as a train, to get from one city to another, that distance is not included in the calculations.
  • Mixed classes: The required mileage for the highest class of travel in the entire itinerary will apply.  In other words, if you fly some segments in business class and some in economy, the entire trip is priced based on business class pricing.
  • You must fly in one direction (either east to west or west to east). Backtracking is not allowed.
  • You must cross both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
  • You can have a max of 12 segments and a max of 4 “ground transfer” segments (like “open jaws” — for example, fly to Copenhagen and then take a train to Madrid to catch your next flight instead of flying).
  • A maximum of 8 stopovers are allowed. A stopover can be:
    • A city where you fly and stop to spend a few days
    • Either end of an open jaw. For example, if you fly into Copenhagen and take the train to Madrid to catch your next flight, both Copenhagen and Madrid count as stopovers. However, you do not count the distance from Copenhagen to Madrid when determining the price of your ticket
  • No more than 3 stopovers in Europe
  • No more than 4 stopovers in Japan
  • Your trip must last at least 10 days from the departure of your first international flight.
  • Flights may be operated by ANA or Star Alliance partners
  • Your itinerary must touch at least one country in each of the three following “areas”:
    • Area 1: North America, South America, Central America, Hawaii
    • Area 2: Europe, Middle East, Africa
    • Area 3: Japan, South Korea, China, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Southwest Pacific
  • You have one year from the date of your first flight to complete your Round the World trip.

Some backtracking is possible

While the rules are clear that backtracking is not allowed, a reader named Bill reported that agents may have some leeway to allow it within a region. For example, Bill was flying from Vienna to Bangkok and got the impression that they would have allowed him to book it as Vienna to Zurich to Bangkok — which technically backtracks westward from Vienna to Zurich before going east to Bangkok.

A reader named Will backed this up with additional observations:

Their backtracking rule seems to be applied by the agents, and it’s very broad. It’s basically that you can’t cross from one of the IATA-defined “Areas” like Europe, then into Asia, and then back to Europe. Other than that, you have a lot of flexibility. I believe IATA calls them TC1, TC2, TC3.

And this is from a reader known as AS:

You can definitely deviate and backtrack if you need to. I talked to a rep and he explained it this way. If you’re going from the US to Australia, then that’s hard to find award space so you will probably need to go to Asia first and then route to Australia from there. The rep told me they know this and don’t have a problem with it. I think the spirit of the rule is they don’t want you zig-zagging all over the place, but within zones there is flexibility. I traveled SIN-PER and I was traveling west, so I definitely backtracked.

Up to 72 hour hold is allowed, depending..

In a previous version of this post, I wrote that holds were not allowed, but I was wrong.  I’ve put two different trips on hold in the past several weeks.  For the first one I was told that it could be held up to 24 hours.  For the second one, I was given 72 hours. Apparently, the timing is dependent upon the airlines in your booking.  I was told that some specific carriers don’t allow holds or only allow shorter holds and so your mileage may vary.

Here is what I wrote when this post was first published:

Despite a reader named Bill telling us that you can place the award on hold for 3 days, I and other readers have been told that no holds are allowed.  This is really unfortunate because transfers from Amex Membership Rewards to ANA often take a couple of days to complete.  By then, the award space you found could be gone.

I suspect that in my previous failed attempt to put a RTW trip on hold I may have included an airline that doesn’t allow holds.

Some changes allowed for free

According to agents I’ve spoken with, there are three changes that can be made for free:

  1. Change the flight time (but keep exact same carrier and route)
  2. Change the flight date (but keep exact same carrier and route)
  3. Change the class of service upward to the one you paid for (for example, if you booked a business class Round the World trip, you can change an economy segment to business class once a business class seat opens up).  You may have to pay additional taxes and fees when doing this.

These free changes make it possible to book something now that is close enough to what you want and to later change it to what you really want.  There are many flights where business class awards reliably open up only near departure.  If your heart is set on a particular flight, this can be a great way to make it part of your trip.  Obviously, though, it is risky because the award space you want may never appear.

1 Year Limit: Note that there is a limit to how far into the future you can move your flights.  I was told that the Round the World ticket is valid for 1 year from the date of your first flight.

96 hour rule: I don’t know if this rule is strictly applied, but at least one agent told me that changes must be made more than 96 hours in advance of your scheduled flight.

Award availability may not match expectations

Multiple readers offered up this advice.  If you find award space via one tool (for example, I often use United.com to find Star Alliance award availability), ANA might not be able to find the same award space.  This is most likely due to something known as “married segment logic”.  This is where award space may be available from point A to C with a layover in point B, but it might not be available if you look for award space individually from point A to B or B to C.

Here’s an example: when searching for award space to Africa, I found an award from Newark to Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) with a layover in Lisbon in-between.  It’s possible (or even likely), that if I looked for award space only from Newark to Lisbon that it wouldn’t be available.  The work around, then, is to make sure to tell the ANA agent that you want to travel from Newark to Addis Ababa rather than Newark to Lisbon.  Hopefully, then, they’ll be able to find the route you want.

Reader L M points out that it’s very helpful to have alternate options ready to go when speaking with an ANA agent:

Still had phantom inventory display, so it really helped to have back up dates/flight options to propose to the ANA rep. when booking the itinerary. They’ll also be able to check inventory for options in that case, but the process is much smoother for coming in with your own alternatives.

ANA offers better award space to elite members

If you want to fly ANA itself, you’ll have better access to awards by booking with ANA miles than by booking with miles from an ANA partner.  And, if you have elite status with ANA, you’ll find even better award availability.  This applies only to flights flown by ANA.

Go west to reduce jet lag

Jetlagged on a train after flying east

Multiple readers suggested that it was better to fly westward around the world rather than east.  Presumably this is because people believe that there’s less jet lag when flying west (and there seems to be some scientific evidence for this).  There’s a downside to this, though: eastbound flights are faster…

Go east to reduce time in air

If you prefer to minimize flying time rather than jetlag, then it makes the most sense to go east.  Eastbound flights take advantage of the jet stream whereas westbound flights fight against it.

United’s non-stop route between Tokyo (ANA) and Newark (EWR) is a good example.  Above, you can see that the westbound flight is scheduled for 13 hours 45 minutes whereas the eastbound flight is scheduled for only 12 hours 15 minutes.  If all else was equal, you would cut an hour and a half off your in-flight schedule by flying this route eastward.

Start or end in Hawaii

Multiple readers have suggested starting in Hawaii and ending on the east coast U.S. (or starting on the east coast and ending in Hawaii) as a way to greatly reduce the total flight distance calculated into the award cost.  One could then use Turkish miles (transferred from Citi ThankYou Rewards) to fly between Hawaii and the US mainland very cheaply.

I’ve confirmed directly with ANA that this trick does work.  In other words, it’s possible to start your Round the World trip on the east coast of North America (e.g. from Boston, Quebec, New York, etc.) and end the trip in Hawaii in.  This will reduce the total number of miles flown and so may mean far fewer ANA miles required to book it.

Use the Star Alliance Round the World Tool

Star Alliance offers a Round the World planner (found here).  It is intended for piecing together a paid Round the World trip, but it is also useful for finding flight options and identifying fees (taxes, fuel surcharges, etc.) that would be imposed on an award.

Hat Tip: AS

Don’t count on Great Circle Mapper distance calculations

Great Circle Mapper is a terrific tool for visualizing trips and calculating flight distances.  Unfortunately, the distances reported by this tool (and every other tool I’ve tried) do not match the distances that ANA uses.  In my experience, ANA usually uses slightly lower numbers, but not always.

That said, Great Circle Mapper is a great tool for getting the ballpark distance measurements.

Call at 9am Eastern

Unfortunately, Round the World Awards can’t be booked online. You have to call.  And, unfortunately, you’ll often encounter very very long hold times.  I’ve had the best success by calling at 9am ET.

ANA’s website lists this U.S. number for Mileage Club related calls:

1-800-235-9262

If you have Platinum status with ANA (thanks to the status match, perhaps), call this number instead:

1-888-633-2262

When I’ve tried calling the Platinum desk mid-day or in the evening, I’ve been on hold forever.  When calling at 9 in the morning eastern time and during a weekday, I’ve gotten through within 10 or 15 minutes.

Previously, Oldporkchops suggested calling into a smaller ANA call center:

If the line is dropped or if you need to call back for whatever reason, you have a higher chance of speaking with the person you spoke to, or the person who you believe has the best service attitude… I was looking through my phone’s contact list and found numbers for ANA Hong Kong (+852 2810 7100) and Singapore (+65 6323 4333).

I tried Oldporkchops suggested numbers (timed so that it would be morning in those countries), but without success.  I also tried calling the Japanese call center at what would be 8am or 9am their time.  No luck.

Fly airlines with low (or no) fuel surcharges

This one comes from Nick’s original post about ANA’s Round the World award.  Even though the mileage price for these awards is extremely low compared to alternatives, the cash component can be extreme if you fly segments on airlines that charge outlandish fuel surcharges.

Star Alliance airlines with no or low fuel surcharges (on most routes)

  • Aegean Airlines
  • Air Canada
  • Air China
  • Air New Zealand
  • Avianca
  • Copa Airlines
  • EVA Air
  • Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) [see this post for details]
  • TAP Air Portugal
  • United Airlines (most routes)

Star Alliance airlines with medium fuel surcharges (on most routes)

  • ANA
  • Asiana
  • Ethiopian
  • LOT Polish
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Turkish (higher than the others but low by comparison to some)
  • United Airlines (certain routes)

Avoid these airlines with notoriously high fuel surcharges

  • Austrian
  • Lufthansa
  • Swiss Air

Use United.com to find awards

Unlike ANA’s website, United’s website makes it easy to search for Star Alliance awards and to view results a month at a time.  I always start my searches there.

It’s important, though, to note several limitations:

  • United will show results for United’s own flights which are not available to book via ANA.
  • United won’t show some ANA award space that is available only to ANA’s own members.
  • United will show award space for its partners that are not Star Alliance carriers (Hawaiian Airlines, for example).  ANA will not be able to book these flights.
  • The award pricing and taxes and fees shown on United are meaningless when booking through ANA.

Tips for using ANA’s award search

  • Find the search tool: On ANA’s home page, click “ANA International and Partner Airline Flight Awards,” and then “Flight Award Reservations.”  The system will prompt you to log in if you haven’t already.  If you don’t have an ANA Mileage Club account create one (bonus tip when creating your account: It will ask you to create an AMC password. This can be any 4 digit number, but you need to remember it.  It is used to verify yourself when you call ANA).
  • You can’t search for individual one-way awards.  Instead, use either the round-trip search or the “multiple cities / mixed class” search.  Below are tips for when to use each…
  • Round trip
    • Allows searching 7 days at a time (make sure to check the box titled “Compare seat availability +/- 3 days.”
    • Only searches the selected class of service (e.g. economy, business class, etc.).  If there is availability in other classes, the system won’t tell you that.
    • Can be used to estimate award taxes / fees for each segment.  Do a round trip search with your segment of interest as the outbound, and try to find availability for both directions and on the same carrier.  When you select the flights, ANA will show the total taxes and fees for the round-trip.  Divide the result by two to get a very rough estimate of the cost of the segment that you’re interested in.
  • Multiple cities / mixed class
    • Shows results for all classes of service at once.  This is very helpful since you may want to book some segments of your trip into economy if there’s more availability that way.
    • Does not let you search 7 days at a time.  If there’s no availability for the first segment on the date you entered you won’t get any results.
    • Requires at least two segments.
    • Won’t show taxes and fees unless you build a round-trip.  Unless you design the segments to be a round-trip, you can’t get the system to price the award.  Instead it will say “This service is not available for the specified itinerary. Please amend the flight criteria and try again.”
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[…] The last step was to pay for taxes, fees, and fuel surcharges. Some Star Alliance partners pass on fuel surcharges to award redemptions, so we tried to minimize flights on those partners as much as possible. However, it wasn’t completely possible to avoid, so we paid a total of $875 per person for taxes and fees. Not bad for 10+ flights in business class, IMO! A list of partners by their fuel surcharges is discussed on Frequent Miler. […]

koshkosh

Thank you writing up the tips! The tips for searching on ANA have been really helpful as I’m currently building a RTW trip to book through ANA. Is it normal to see “I” award space on Lufthansa in the United search result but not in ANA’s? Is United seeing phantom availability or does ANA not see the same availability for Lufthansa that United does?

Jay

I would be starting out in Nashville and would like to fly to paris, there is a short layover in toronto for the flight I would like to take. Would that distance be calculated into the total mileage flown for the award chart?

AR11

Hi Greg. Fantastic and comprehensive source on the topic and far ahead of the other articles I read to get smart on this hidden gem. 2 questions:
1) Do you think the following itinerary qualifies? I believe it does but wanted to see if it violated any rules? IAD-IST-ISB-BKK-DPS-TPE-JFK
2) I am planning on going with my wife and soon to be born infant. Any idea whats the additional cost of the infant? infant will be <6m old at the time of the flights. Also does the baggage policy of each airline apply to each leg if we think about baggage and stroller etc or is there a consolidated single baggage allowance for *A Biz?

Jason E Camis

Booked our RTW trip this week (for July/Aug 2023), process wasn’t too difficult other than finding availability in some cases. On a couple of legs (LAX-NRT on ANA for instance), there wasn’t any business class available right now. What’s the best process for checking back to see if any opens up?

Will

I like using an Expert Flyer subscription for that, since you can set an award alert for the flight in business class. If you have the flexibility, I would even set alerts on alternate flights before/after yours in case one of those flights opens biz class. So long as an alternate flight is on the same airline and route as originally booked, you’ll be able to change to that flight for free.

Michael Hogan

Not sure if this has already been mentioned, but having ANA Platinum status can provide additional business inventory on ANA flights. When searching availability on the website, even though there was no “I” business class availability from NRT – HNL, the ANA website showed 1 business class seat available as part of an “ANA Award” rather than “Star Alliance Award” (the latter I believe only shows “I” inventory). I called in and was able to book the Business seat for me but not P2 as part of a RTW segment date change; the agent said the additional availability was because of my Platinum status. This was also interesting because it allowed me to get this seat availability (May) after my Platinum status expires (March). So perhaps if you book a RTW trip before your Platinum status expires, you may be able to book this expanded availability.

xiao

Is there a requirement to fly from Zone 2 to Zone 3? or I can just do the following:
IAH (Zone 1) to AMS stop over then BKK to NRT to IAH as a RTW?
so a flight from AMS (Zone 2) to BKK (Zone 3) is not required as a booking in the RTW

Will

Should work. That routing does not seem to violate any of the rules. If you get an agent that says otherwise, HUCA.

May

Hi. Thanks for this great information. Can I book flights for my spouse? I’ve been reading that it’s not allowed

Will

Hi May. Yes, you can book ANA tickets (including RTW) for a close relative, including your spouse. You will have to register the person in your account first.

whocares

ANA website shows Singapore Air business/first redemptions have been suspended as of June 2020. Is that still true? But my proposed trip is not until later next year…so maybe it’ll be ok then.

The counting of both places on a ground transfer is killer. The 8 stopover maximum is VERY LIMITING.

For my purposes – going to have use miles from other programs to do some regional flights. But I got a handle on that.

I think I have an itinerary that works! in the 29k-34k band

Stops in North & Southeast Asia, Western Australia (Will do Eastern with other miles/points), Egypt, Ethiopia (New country for me…everything else is a repeat in some form), Morocco, Brazil

some ground transfers mixed in there.

And all in good weather seasons.

whocares

yes, I saw some brief availability on Alaska….but ended up using Alaska for JAL. (upcoming trip) I read a single comment from someone on Reddit who stated they did get a Singapore bus on ANA RTW ticket. Not sure how that happened. I think there were other comments saying it might get canceled? Not sure, I read it very quickly. was in r/awardtravel I think. Was recent.

I’ve never flown Singapore Air before…I’d probably be excited just to fly econ on a leg or two. Can one get Premium Econ on ANA RTW Business ticket?
What makes you say “more then temporary?”

I was searching for SIN-IST and no Turkish flights came up…is Turkish stingy on that route?

Now on my potential ANA RTW trip I have a spreadsheet column – availability. with low-medium-high designator.

just paid for flightconnections and found some new potential routings. I should probably stop thinking about this potential RTW at the moment….other fish to fry right now. 🙂

Remy Godwin

I’m finding availability with Lifemiles for CMB-SIN in Business Class, after reading this I’m wondering if that’s phantom space.

Michael Hogan

I was able to book KTM – SIN – DRW (Australia) on Singapore Business in an ANA RTW ticket

Michael Hogan

Booked the ticket March this year (but flight is in Dec) …. at the time the only way to get to Australia on the right Star Alliance award availability! I was astounded it actually got ticketed. They didn’t allow another flight within Asia on Singapore, but this was OK for whatever reason.

Last edited 3 months ago by Michael Hogan
Brandon

Can you share more about how you did that then? For example, did you confirm award availability by looking for saver space on Singaporeair.com? Would love to fly Sq biz myself and am trying to book an ANA rtw in the coming weeks 🙂

whocares

Missing EVA airlines in the list of airlines. They should be in the no fuel surcharge list.

I’ve spent most of today looking at camping (both “wild /free” and campgrounds) in countries outside the USA and how to rent / obtain a car for cheaper longer term stays (30 days+). CAR SUBSCRIPTION is your friend in some places!

Like Australia and New Zealand – which are both excellent for camping.

Not sure how useful that is for South America or Europe just yet (Might have multi-month minimums, which might work for some, but not me. No more then 1-2 months in a given place I think, also visa considerations…)

…just renting a car outright for a month in Brazil for example, looks relatively inexpensive enough. Chile will be more I think. [I’ve driven in both countries before FWIW, but short rentals] But wild camping will be easier in Chile, so ways to balance the total monthly cost out.

The super expensive rental car phenomenon in the USA / parts of Europe, may not be in other countries.

And now I’m warming up to do this ANA RTW! Thanks Greg / Team FM!

There goes my 200,000 Amex MR points! [Hitting both Aus/NZ, and South America on a single ticket really increases the mileage. Though maybe the trick of starting in Hawaii, and ending up in continental USA, will reduce that…we’ll see.]

Maybe I can add South Africa / Namibia? for a complete Southern Hemisphere camping trip. Maybe better to ticket ADD – JNB/CPT separately. Star Alliance not having an Australia partner complicates things a little – especially if you want to hit both coasts of Australia. But maybe I can fly to Australia first, then New Zealand, and somehow find business on Air New Zealand to Dubai? and go from there?

The Flightconnections website really helps.

George

In South Africa now after Namibia and… Yes.

Bryan

Sorry if I missed this somewhere, but is there a maximum time limit for the trip? For example, do all the segments have to be flown within a 1 year timeframe?

whocares

ahhh…I think about the RTW trip I planned and executed in 2003 on OneWorld, business. 220,000 miles. I think unlimited segments, just total mileage restriction. I had 20-30? flights (researching now…I forget how many actual) or so all on a paper ticket (Plus separate tickets I bought from some places). Back then — a fraction of the kind of information and tools available today. Digital cameras were much newer then, and digital video was basically non-existent/super low resolution. Ended up not using part of the ticket (Europe part) because, I returned to the USA for a personal event (separate ticket) and I was too mentally tired after 7 months on the road (Which was stacked on other multi-week/month trips prior).

The only lie-flat business then was British Airways. DXB-LHR for me. Business class then was a far cry from what it is or can be now. Lounges were also more limited in some places. Priority Pass – what’s that? Amex lounges?
The Dubai British Air lounge was amazing…maybe still is. Uncrowded lounges in those days compared to some today. I think I have a photo of it still — maybe there were no other passengers – literally.

Many cities of today are overgrown, overdeveloped, and populated versions of what they once were. Like Dubai.

With that said — great write up. Have the points for it, but I think the probability of doing this is very low. I don’t want to mix so many regions up, but will be great for many. (Did take a short 2.5 week RTW some years ago – more limited and very focused – miles from different programs)

The optimal weather during one time in one place is not in another (For my destinations) ..sure you can travel longer to solve that, but that’s more complicated and of course, means a much longer and $$ trip. Relatively few places in the world interest me these days. More interested in camping / wilderness places these days – thus weather is more important. I’m not interested in “culture” for the most part anymore. If I ever did another RTW trip – I would probably bring a tent and mostly camp…which is another complication.

Just doing a search now – best countries in the world for camping

I think THE AMAZING RACE TV show has popularized the idea of short and fast RTW trips for some. But that’s in part – superficial traveling. But sometimes you gotta scratch certain “itches.” You gotta quiet the chirping travel BUG. And sometimes you have to get a lay of the land “more superficially”…before you can be less so.

Last edited 4 months ago by whocares
Jonathan

Great insights, I have never flown award J before, but have amassed 2M points since I started churning 5 years ago, mainly UR and MR. Like you, I love the great outdoors and am thinking of going on a 12-month RTW adventure in J.

How are you researching on wilderness adventures in foreign counties? I’ve been scouring Reddit (r/EarthPorn), and some travel blogs, but the information is pretty fragmented. I guess that’s the nature of the beast, given how this isn’t a common way to travel. Do you know of any travel blogs, resources, or podcasts to get inspiration for these types of adventures?

So far on my list:

whocares

wow – 2 million! Earn and burn? You can do the top mileage level on ANA RTW chart – easy. But the big limitation is the 8 STOPOVER thing. Hello Avios?
I don’t keep track of how many miles/points I’ve accumulated in total. I reckon in 5 years it’s over a million with P1 & P2 surely. 1.5? more? Don’t know. From MR/UR/TYP/airline/hotel points.

well..I’ve done plenty of hiking / “nature” visiting / scuba in foreign countries – so my research is in part just based on experience now. But never camped outside the USA (Besides BC, Canada some years ago – which doesn’t count when you live in WA State).

Resources – it depends what kind you are looking for. General place ideas – you can find books (Yes, remind yourself to look at printed resources) not just websites / social media. Some websites just copy from each other…

And books can be further subdivided by world or country – best SCUBA sites in the world, best KAYAK sites, best HIKING in the world, best BEACHES in ____ country, etc…whatever floats your boat. You might like WILD THINGS PUBLISHING. I just found them. will buy some of their books / e-books. Separately – I have a book – 101 Best Australia Beaches. Gonna put that to good use someday soon. Out of print though, so maybe hard to find. I bought mine used.

Cicerone makes great hiking guidebooks for all over the world. More ideas there….I’ve used a few. Had my library order many more.

I used to make a point of visiting UN World Heritage sites. (150+ now) There is a separate nature category, not just culture. That might give you ideas.

when you want more details – just search on Youtube for say – _____ campground review, might find you something. I’ve been doing this a lot for the USA. Just watched a review of a campground in Tasmania. I have a huge book of campsites in Australia. Camps Australia Wide is the website.

Re: your list – you know there was a big avalanche recently that killed a bunch of people in the Dolomites? Like in the past week or two. Look it up. Visit SOTT – Earth Changes to keep more up to date. Or Youtube channel – Melkeb or Two Preachers among others.

Never been to Algeria, no interest. Spain has a lot of National Parks. Just looking up _____ National Parks will give one ideas. Don’t think I’ve been to any in Spain. Yes, a few local parks near cities. Galapagos – yes — but mostly there for scuba, so don’t know the topside super well. Could it be good for camping, I have no idea. Maybe not as most is protected?

Peru has so many cultural sites.. Not sure how great Peru is for camping. A lot of the country is either very high altitude (Cold – at night) or parched desert. Not a fan of lowland Amazon forest (East), camping/hiking wise…but that’s me. U want wilderness backpacking camping – or more car camping? Big difference.

Japan is – 2/3 forested I recently learned. I’ve put that on my list. Research Shinrin-Yoku forest bases if Japan sounds interesting. Some good books on that. Did 2 weeks in Japan a long time ago…but nature areas was limited, other then a couple of smaller parks. Deer in Nara!

Carpe Diem!

Jonathan

You’ve given me a ton of starting points to embark on my research, and I cannot be more thankful! Much appreciated!

whocares

you’re welcome. enjoy the ride. I’m just learning about Aeromexico RTW trip with Skyteam. 15 stopovers, unlimited miles/segments. But maybe much harder to book. in searching online (And on reddit) –> I’ve seen some bloggers talking about it…but I don’t think anyone has actually booked it (And written about it).

1) fuel surcharges will be higher compared to most ANA
2) validity is 1 year from ISSUE date, not start date. which for most prob won’t be an issue…but something to be aware of. If u go for a year, that might be an issue.

I’m a little short of the 220,000 Amex pts required right now, but could do it if there is another xfr bonus. Which would compensate for the higher fuel surcharges as well. Though Citi Thankyou xfr to Aeromexico now too…so I could do it then…just realizing right now.

not sure if you could put an itinerary on hold….which I think is important – especially Aeromexico. Dont want orphan points there. ANA, less of an issue.

Last edited 4 months ago by whocares
whocares

Aeromexico-RTW has been suspended….per the agent. Ok…that makes the analysis simple then.

Jonathan

I am tinkering around with Aeroplan’s RTW, extremely flexible and (potentially) economical routing options. You can experiment with very esoteric routings — this article encapsulates the routing rules pretty well. FrequentMiler also covers the basics very well here: https://frequentmiler.com/air-canada-aeroplan-guide/

whocares

thanks for the link. Now I have a headache! But after scrolling I saw 355,000 AP points for a 15 stopover trip.

Which at first I thought, yeah, with a 40% transfer bonus, that’s good…then i realized, AP xfr bonuses are infrequent and have only gone up to 20%?

I do have 2 – 50k AP certs I got for a recent CC open…that might make one of the routes profiled pretty good. It’s headache inducing though.

Aditya

I want to do the RTW with ANA. Amex Plat’s 150k SUB is just enough for my RTW points 🙂
Doesn’t Star Alliance RTW planner give the actual RTW miles along with the price? Do we really need to use GCmap to estimate the miles?
Is there a group / social media to discuss RTW route planning and booking with points?
Thanks

Ellen

I wish there was a group to talk about this too.

Frank

I calculated nautical miles with the circle mapper tool and ANA’s calculation was 2000 miles more! Maybe use the circle mapper and add 10%? Have a plan for dropping a shorter connecting flight to get to a lower redemption level.

Frank

I included everything. ANA’s total had me several hundred miles into the next band (145k vs 125k) so I lopped off a short flight on one end that is easy to replace, but a bit of a bummer because I’ll have the dreaded split itinerary. On a positive note, I was initially quoted $30 higher in surcharges than it ultimately was. Super nice agents, used U.S. #, never had to wait.

Reader known as AS

Greg – thanks for the HTs. I wanted to clarify a couple of things.

  1. The GCmap is a fantastic way to get a ballpark idea of the miles that ANA will charge you. I don’t want to make it sound like ANA will deviate far from gcmap.com. However, I was charged 20K less by ANA than I thought I would be charge by gcmap.com, so it’s been a bit of a pain to get rid of these. But I’m not sure how you get around this issue.
  2. You can definitely deviate and backtrack if you need to. I talked to a rep and he explained it this way. If you’re going from the US to Australia, then that’s hard to find award space so you will probably need to go to Asia first and then route to Australia from there. The rep told me they know this and don’t have a problem with it. I think the spirit of the rule is they don’t want you zig-zagging all over the place, but within zones there is flexibility. I traveled SIN-PER and I was traveling west, so I definitely backtracked.
  3. Under the right circumstances you might be able to add another segment. I had a flight time change from CAI to FCO. So they let me change it to CAI-ATH-FCO. This was my ninth segment.

Feel free to ping me direct if you have questions.

L M

Good set of tips overall!
Saying this as someone who booked one of these (125K ANA miles in J) and flew most of it before the full brunt of the pandemic struck. Technically, I have yet to complete the RTW trip since I opted to stay in Europe while things calmed down and didn’t fly my last segments back to the US.

– I didn’t use the Star Alliance tool, but as mentioned in Nick’s post, used a combination of UA and ANA’s website. It’s a bit cumbersome going back and forth fiddling with dates to check availability but it works, sort of.
– Still had phantom inventory display, so it really helped to have back up dates/flight options to propose to the ANA rep. when booking the itinerary. They’ll also be able to check inventory for options in that case, but the process is much smoother for coming in with your own alternatives.
– Be prepared to call back again if you have to rework part of the trip’s itinerary, but don’t wait too long, since the seats you were eyeing can get snatched away in the meantime, causing the process to repeat itself.
– As already pointed, you can call them up and change the date/time of flights without problem or additional cost, as long as there is inventory available, and you are flying the same segment with the same airline. I made use of that a couple of times both after booking and during the trip itself.
– When countries started closing their borders, ANA automatically rebooked me to accommodate the cancellation of my last segments (Europe to US, via Toronto). This was a rare instance where a change to the layover city/booked itinerary was allowed.
Later attempts to change the date of these flights and, because of lack of inventory due to most flights being grounded, connect through another city were not permitted. So, even in pandemic times, ANA stuck to the ‘not changing the itinerary’ rule.
I ended up cancelling these last 2 segments, and ANA refunded me a portion of the fees/surcharges and also the miles (about 1/5 of the 125K miles).

Totally looking forward to booking another one of these once things get back to normal; especially since, just like Greg, I now have a small stash of ANA miles I need to use up.

WR2

Starting my own RTW search, thanks for the inspiration!

I’m still seeing saver J award space on Asiana as far out as early next year. Given the pending merger with Korean Air, what are your thoughts on including an Asiana segment? On the one hand it could be good to lock it in before their likely *A exit, but on the other hand it may cause disruption to the itinerary later if they don’t honor it or wipe out their scheduled flights.

LarryInNYC

While the rules require you to book “Round the World”, this is a valuable program even if your primary goal isn’t a circumnavigation. ANA’s RTW price in miles is easily competitive with most programs US to Asia round trips, for instance. So consider adding a brief stop in Europe to your next Asia round trip and getting a great deal.

WR2

For those over-optimizers out there like me, maximum value is at exactly 22k miles. That’s where the ratio of spent miles to flown miles is the lowest (on the ANA J chart, didn’t check others bc it’s just about impossible to piece together RTW F anymore, and no desire to fly RTW in Y…yuck). At 22k you’re paying 5.68 ANA miles per mile flown. It’s possible on the chart (maybe not irl) to pay up to 15.7, so choosing the right itinerary and route length can make a big difference in value.

Last edited 1 year ago by WR2
Abby

Can this be done in First?

DSK

Confused- Scandinavian is listed as no fuel surcharge and SAS is listed as high fuel surcharge. Isn’t that the same airline?

Another Jeff

Not that one would want to burn ANA or it’s even economical points wise…but assuming Hawaii is ok you could go Hawaii> oceania> South east asia>open jaw for multiple months EU>east coast? Potentially throwing the EU segment away

Will

Hi Greg,

Excellent sum-up of the best tips. Couple of thoughts:

  1. Just wanted to strengthen the case that an open jaw between Hawaii and North America should be OK: The last RTW I booked and confirmed (booked Jan 2020, departure was supposed to be Oct 2020, LOL) had a gigantic open jaw between Hawaii and Orlando (which I of course covered with a United-via-Turkish booking thanks to being an FM reader). Perhaps a stray agent might see it differently, but I never seemed to have a problem when I ran multiple itineraries through the call center. Another reason to believe that it’s OK: Though a segment from Asia to Hawaii does not by itself cross the entire Pacific, it does get you from “Area 3” to “Area 1.” I have a feeling that many agents may view the Area transition as satisfying the ‘cross the Pacific’ requirement.
  2. Agreed that GC Mapper will use slightly different mileage calculations. I also was wondering what data source ANA is getting their numbers from.
  3. One other tip that seems noteworthy: You are also allowed to change the date of a segment without penalty, so long as the airports (and carrier?) remain the same. That can come in handy if you are booking a lower-class cabin on a certain segment, and then the cabin you want opens up on a flight on a slightly different date. Helps to mitigate the risk of getting stuck in economy.
  4. FWIW, I can add a few other data points that the agents have to do a lot of manual application of the rules, which makes for inconsistent results at times. (I was mostly calling the Japan call center.) For example: I ran 9 different itineraries through the call center trying to get a routing with reasonable surcharges, and with some almost identical itineraries, various agent would give different mileage totals. One agent calculated it so low that I actually would have been charged fewer miles! Once or twice, an agent came up with a number that bumped me up into the next tier, telling me I owed dozens more miles than I had calculated. In the end, I was able to walk through it with the agent, and they came back with the (almost) same amount of miles I expected. On the last booking I made, one agent (after initially accepting the itinerary and telling me to call back later for the fees) concluded that a Toronto-Mumbai segment did not cross the Atlantic Ocean. She was probably just looking at a flat map. I called back and asked them to look at it again using a tool like GC Mapper or similar, which would show the actual direct flight path. They accepted that and straightened it out. Bottom line, once you know the rules, don’t give up if the agents don’t see it your way at first.
Honolulu Lulu

If the flight path is over the North Pole – from Toronto to Mumbai – maybe it doesn’t actually cross the Atlantic Ocean 🙁

Al C

Nice tips. But I’m guessing for the foreseeable future, you’re going to need a <72 hr negative COVID test before entering any new country. That’s going to be a huge hassle when trying to fly around the world- visiting multiple different countries.

THEsocalledfan

European Union has a proposal to fully open to those vaccinated; that is where this is going. https://www.euronews.com/travel/2021/03/02/eu-plans-to-boost-summer-travel-with-its-proposal-for-a-digital-vaccine-passport

whocares

may that die in a dumpster fire.

DaveS

I sure hope so. It will soon be time to let vaccinated people have full access to many things, including international travel with proper documentation. It will be shown that we are of very low risk of getting COVID or of passing it on. If some people choose not to get vaccinated, they simply are choosing not to do those things, but we can’t keep everyone hostage to the virus. I do fear it will be a while, though, before those ANA round the world awards are a viable option for a good range of itineraries.

THEsocalledfan

Well said. Could not have said it better myself.

Al C

Even with the vaccination, you’ll still need a negative COVID test to enter these countries.