July 6th, 2011
According to numerous reports on the DansDeals Forums, ANA has started charging fuel surcharges for award tickets on Continental and Virgin Atlantic.
Previously ANA had been a great redemption partner for booking tickets on those 2 airlines.
Starwood points transfer into ANA at a 20K:25K ratio and AMEX MR points transfer at a 1:1 ratio.
For example ANA only charges 60,000 miles for a round-trip coach ticket from NYC to Tel Aviv and 90,000 miles for a business class ticket. Until this change you were able to fly on Continental for just about $50, but with them now collecting fuel surcharges the fees will be higher than $550.
However you can still use ANA miles for travel on USAirways without paying fuel surcharges. So you can go on their Philadelphia-Tel Aviv flight for 60K in coach or 90K miles in Envoy and only about $50 in fees.
Another previously good usage of ANA miles was to go to London on Virgin Atlantic. From JFK they charge just 43,000 miles in coach or 68,000 in Upper Class. Previously there were no fuel surcharges for travel on Virgin, but now fees will total more than $550.
There are plenty of Star Alliance alternatives to use while avoiding fuel surcharges. AMEX points still transfer into Continental miles until 09/30 and from there you can book tickets on Star Alliance carriers and non-alliance partners like Virgin without ever having to pay any fuel surcharges.
Air Canada’s Aeroplan program only charges fuel surcharges if you travel on Air Canada. If you travel on other Star Alliance carriers you do not pay surcharges. Starwood points transfer into Aeroplan at a 20K:25K ratio and AMEX MR points transfer at a 1:1 ratio. They have recently reduced the miles required for travel to Israel, although they are raising other rates on 07/15 that have been ridiculously good values, like for travel in premium classes to Hawaii, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
Starwood points also still transfer into USAirways miles at a 20K:25K ratio and there are often transfer bonus specials, like the recent 25%-75% bonus. They also do not charge the crazy fuel surcharges that plague many non-US carriers.