Award Booking Strategies: Tokyo To LAX in ANA Business Class
After spending a month in Japan, it was time to go back to life in Los Angeles. I knew I had to get back, but I didn’t book a flight in advance. This left me in a predicament. I had to find a way to get back from Tokyo to Los Angeles with limited flight options.
Expiring Singapore Air Miles
My choices were limited because I have 90k Singapore miles that were going to expire in a few months. It’s a VERY rare problem, but I’d HAVE TO fly in First Class or Business home.
If you’ve ever tried booking an award flight with Singapore Air, there’s not a lot of availability. There is A LOT of reservations available in their waiting lists though. Those happen to work out if you get on the list way ahead of time. Last minute availability is very rare with Singapore.
I tried booking a lot of flights on their wait lists for the whole week I was planning on going home. Nothing opened up over that week. I had to use Singapore miles to fly on a partner airline.
Searching For Star Alliance Partner Availability
Singapore Air will only show award flights with Singapore Air. If you want to search for Star Alliance availability, you have to use a different site. I use United.com because it’s pretty fast and you don’t have to log in.
After searching for award space on United.com, I found a flight to Los Angeles using ANA. The only problem is that it was through Narita.
Japan airport Pro-Tip:
This flight was from NRT (Narita) to LAX. Narita is the FAR away airport that is still considered Tokyo. Whenever you have the option, always fly to HND (Haneda). Haneda is much closer to Tokyo and will cost much less with public transportation.
International Flying Pro-Tip:
If the choice is between a Japanese airline and an American airline, always pick the Japanese airline. The quality of service and food is always much better. I flew in ANA in economy a few months back and didn’t mind it.
Using Singapore Air Miles
To fly in business class from Tokyo to Los Angeles with Singapore Air is 85k Singapore miles. The Singapore Award Chart does not give any good deals in business class. First Class is 100k miles which is a pretty good deal considering united will charge 110k for a similar award.
85k Singapore miles is a lot! You can get these from AMEX or Chase with their bank reward cards at a 1-to-1 exchange rate. If you were going to use bank points to fly to Asia, I’d HIGHLY recommend using 80k miles to fly FIRST CLASS on Korean Air. That’s cheaper than flying business class with Singapore and they don’t charge you a bunch of taxes.
When Do Singapore Miles Expire?
If you transfer miles to Singapore, they will expire after 3 years. They do not renew with activity. Do not transfer miles to Singapore unless you have a reward redemption in mind already AND can make the reservation.