How to Use the ANA Search Tool for Awards with United and other Star Alliance Miles

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I use united.com for most of my award searches when redeeming Star Alliance miles because it shows most Star Alliance partners’ award availability, but it does have some drawbacks. Namely, it doesn’t show all partners and it sometimes displays phantom award space–award space will show as available but in reality, it doesn’t exist.

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 9.14.50 PM
Star Alliance Airlines Whose Award Space I Want to Search

The best way to confirm Star Alliance award space is using the All Nippon Airways (ANA) search tool. ANA’s tool is trickier to use, but it’s the most reliable. The website and search tool’s interface has undergone some changes since the last time I wrote about how to use the ANA search tool three years ago, so I’m rewriting that post today to clarify any doubts.

First of All, Great News!

ANA no longer restricts members from using it’s award search tool for a lack of miles in their account. Anyone can search Star Alliance availability as long as you are signed up as a member of the ANA Mileage Club— no more annoying work arounds necessary!

Using the ANA Award Search Tool: Step-by-Step Guide

1. If you haven’t already, sign up for a ANA Mileage Club account here. Though this page looks like a credit card application (no annual fee!) simply click “Apply Here” at the bottom of the screen.

ANA mileage club sign up2. After filling in your pertinent information, you will be assigned a Mileage Club frequent flyer number and a password. Once you are signed up and logged in, you can access the award search tool directly from the ANA home page, just click Award Booking in the bottom right corner of the regular flight reservation box.

ANA homepage, award booking box

3. You will then be taken to the ANA Award search tool, where you can start searching for your desired Star Alliance award. Check the bubble next to “Compare seat availability +/- 3 days.”

ana search tool

4. Checking the bubble next to Compare seat availability +/- 3 days will show you a week’s worth of availability.

LAX to Tokyo ANA

5. Occasionally a search will turn up this ugly error message, but it only means the specific day and class you searched for doesn’t have a seat available. Click Confirm and the rest of the week’s availability will display.

Mia to Bue error, confirm anyways ANA

6. Choose your dates for both legs.

LAX to tokyo, day specific selection

7. And then select your preferred flight schedule for both legs.

If you don’t have the sufficient mileage in your Mileage Club account, a box will pop up like this:

lack of mileage ANA

8. Just click Confirm and it will allow you too see all the details anyways.

Displayed will be the summarized flight itinerary, the price of the award in miles as well as taxes, fees, and fuel surcharges….

ANA itinerary, payment breakdown

…and the award type descriptions, with convenient links to the corresponding award chart/rules. The baggage limitations are also displayed. (This is only important if you are redeeming ANA miles.)

award type bagge ANA

A Common Glitch

I received this pop-up multiple times while choosing the flight itineraries for my preferred days of travel:

wonky error ANA

It seems like you can ignore the error message if the previous screen said there were flights available on the day you’ve selected.

LAX to Tokyo ANA

Try to select the date again, and you may see the space and no error message.

In my experience, even if you keep getting the error message, there is award space on the flight. (You can check this by calling United and asking the agent if the flight has award space. I did that for the example of a Business Class seat from Los Angeles to Tokyo above, and there was indeed award space available.)

Can I Plug in my City Pairs and Expect ANA to Come up With Good Itineraries?

No. ANA’s search tool has improved somewhat over the years, but searching Kansas City <-> Mumbai likely won’t yield anything usable. You should search segment-by-segment (like Newark to Mumbai on Air India and Kansas City to Newark on United.)

How do I search multiple segments?

There’s no short cut to this with ANA’s search tool unfortunately. You’ll need to search every segment separately.

This seems tedious. Any shortcuts?

Searching United.com is faster but can sometimes display false positives and negatives as previously detailed in my post about phantom award space. United’s site is a great place to get routing ideas while confirming them using ANA’s tool.

Do ANA miles have any value?

This is outside the main scope of this post, which is how to SEARCH ON ANA.COM to USE ANY STAR ALLIANCE MILES.

But yes, since you ask, ANA miles have plenty of value.

Though ANA assesses fuel surcharges on all Star Alliance partner flights except United, their chart has some great sweet spots that allow for low mileage redemptions. Check out how ANA’s chart compares to other types of Star Alliance miles here: Comprehensive Spread Sheets of Eight Star Alliance Award Charts.

Bottom Line

ANA’s search tool is the final word on Star Alliance availability. If united.com displays the space but you don’t see it on ANA’s site, the award isn’t bookable.

The only requirements to use ANA’s search tool are a Mileage Club membership and a little bit of patience to do the segment-by-segment searching. Once you find award space on ana.com, you can book it with the Star Alliance miles that offer the cheapest award price to where you’re going. Find that out here.


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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32 COMMENTS

  1. It’s absolutely worth the nominal value of a few MR to have an ANA balance and have access to their tool without doing the workaround every time you log in–not to mention access to the 7-day tool (which is probably the most useful aspect of their site) and the “search the single airline” tool which is nice too if you’re looking exclusively for LH F.

  2. I can’t remember when or what it is that I did, but I seem to have 100 miles in my account?!
    WooHoo! So the Star Alliance Partner search is not grayed out for me.

    Awesome.

  3. Would Aeroplan also be a good way to double check United.com? Why is ANA the best over other star alliance search engines such as Aeroplan’s?

  4. I used to search through ANA website for star alliance award, but it seems like it’s not showing everything. For example, I had to book my brother’s ticket to LAX-ICN-LAX, I couldn’t find any business class seat, so i check again with united.com and it was showing Thai business class for the date I want so I was able to book it using us airways miles.
    Anyone had same problem?

  5. Why does ANA charge relatively huge fees? E.g., round trip EWR to NCE, ANA charges 43,000 miles and $485 per person; United 60,000 miles and $100 per person?

  6. I understand that Amex MR points can be transferred to ANA. Do you know if the names on both sides have to match? In contrast, Chase’s UR points can be transferred to UA account without the names matching (i.e., I can transfer my UR points to anyone’s UA account).

    Thanks for the great article

  7. Many thanks for your great article on using the ANA Award Tool. I had heard about it for years, but it’s definitely not easy to use without some help!

    Thanks to you, I have already booked two Business Class award trips:

    First, for 100,000 UA miles, for July in Amsterdam, etc. and a Second, for 120,000 US miles to SGN, TPE, and PEK in August. The timing was perfect to also take advantage of the IHG Pointsbreaks award for 5,000 point/night at the IC Asiana Saigon Residences.

  8. I had a 1 day car rental with an ANA partner car agency in California, and provided them with my ANA account number and they posted the miles. You need to first create an account with ANA, then try to figure out their car rental partners in the USA. I got 300 ANA miles for that one day and now I never have to do work-arounds to use their valuable award search engine.

  9. […] While checking for Lufthansa first class space, another thing to consider is that United.com sometimes shows phantom award space. When you go to book the space it isn’t available. For this reason, it’s recommended to use All Nippon Airway’s  (ANA) website to search for Lufthansa. To do so you have to log in with an ANA Mileage Club account. You can sign up for that free on their site. Once you have an account, you can find how to access the partner searches here at MileValue’s post on using the ANA Search Tool. […]

  10. i used ANA to search for a US domestic flight.
    -the results show “OK”, but the box above “OK” is gray. what does this mean please?

    -does ANA allow 1-way rewards?

    -does ANA charge YQ on SQ please?
    thanks

    • I don’t know. But any saver space that united.com shows on US Airways flights, ANA has access to.

      No.

      Yes. The only partners without YQ are United and US Airways.

  11. Thanks for this excellent post!. My question is that I have good amount of United miles but zero ANA miles. I am able to search United flight on ANA by using the above trick. I wanted to uses ANA website to buy a ticket from New York(EWR) to London(LHR) in economy using my united miles as they require only 38,000 miles VS 60,000 through United website. Is this a possibility? if yes, how? If there’s any other better way of doing this please let me know.
    Thanks once again and God bless you.
    Sheriey

    • Using United miles, you pay the United chart’s price, so what you’re hoping to do is not possible unfortunately.

  12. Maybe I am missing something but it seems to me that this no longer works. I followed your instructions but instead of having an option to search Star Alliance members it simply displays both ANA Awards and Star Alliance Awards as the default. That would be okay, except you can’t search destinations to which ANA doesn’t fly. Can someone tell me if I’m doing this incorrectly?

  13. First of all, thank you for putting up a very well-explained tutorial! I was able to follow for the most part. I’m try to look for Singapore flight availability using the ANA site, but looks like the short-cut to the search page link is not working (all in Japanese) and/or that ANA has changed their web layout? I was able to follow your instruction up to the “to member-only function” under the application/ticketing tab, but everything after that was different. I wasn’t able to find the “ANA International Flight Awards” option in the tutorial. I’d really appreciate if you can give a new tutorial on how to navigate through this complicated website. Thanks!

  14. Is there a way to search one-way awards using ANA?
    I don’t see anything obvious, and when I try putting in one segment in the ‘Multiple Cities/Mixed Classes’ search it says I must put in at least 2 segments.

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