The Star Alliance Award Search “Killer App” Just Got Better!

The All Nippon Airways award booking engine is the best way to search Star Alliance award inventory.

Get yourself an ANA Mileage Club account and you have a pretty darn good gauge of what’s available as an award to Star Alliance partners.

It pretty much never shows Singapore Airlines business and first class availability (what few seats may exist) from the US to Asia. But otherwise it’s pretty much a match for what everyone has access to, other than United Mileage Plus (because United often ‘blocks’ award seats being offered by their partners when United doesn’t want to pay for the seats; you could book the same flights with Continental or US Airways miles for instance that United claims are unavailable).

There are really only two drawbacks to the tool, and one of them has just been improved.

First, you won’t find all possible routings and you’ll only find one-stop itineraries. If you type in an origin and destination, it’ll come up with only what it thinks are the most logical connections. There may be plenty of ways to get between two cities, it doesn’t automatically search them all. That’s why you need to search segment by segment, beginning with the toughest flights first. Search every transatlantic or transpacific gateway and then figure out how to get there, don’t just assume you can type in Buffalo and Venice and have the system tell you what awards you can book (you’ll need to find transatlantic flights out of Washington DC or Newark or Charlotte to Frankfurt or Munich, etc instead).

Second, the ANA site was not 100% comprehensive. It searched almost the entire Star Alliance. Notably absent were Swiss and Air China as well as Shanghai Airlines. For Swiss availability you had to get a Miles and More account or Expert Flyer, and even then you’d only know what award seats were being offered to Miles and More members, not to partners. Air China was available on Expert Flyer.

Today’s big news: sometime around noon eastern, the site went down for maintenance. Remember, this is late night in Japan.

And when it came back up, it was comprehensive.

The ANA award search site now includes Swiss, Air China, and Shanghai Airlines.

And that also means that the KVS Tool searches these airlines for awards using the “Awards/Star Alliance” method.

That’ll make grabbing seats on Swiss soooo much easier. Thank you, All Nippon Airways!

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Sweet!!! The addition of M&M to KVS wasn’t that great as you still had to call your program to see if LX was opening the seats to other carriers.

  2. To borrow a line from PWMFlyer19

    Woo Hoo! This is great, I’ve been using ANA as my award seat finder for a few years. I have given up on finding SIA seats but looking for SWISS as an option is great!

  3. FYI: April 1st of each year for ANA is when the get rid of elites who didn’t qualify the year before.

    So April 1st is the day when we see tons of new elites or loss of tons of elites in Japan.

    There was an annoucement on the NH Japan Japanese page that the site will be down from Midnight until 2-3am Japan time to make the changes. This has happened every year since 1998 when I have been tracking the NH homepage.

  4. Thanks for making me aware of this great site for searches.United Blocks Awards hmmm I hear a song in my head
    Lets get that singer songwriter and do a parody version that he could perform globally.Anyone here remember his breakthrough hit? “United Breaks Guitars”?
    Google it and you will be singing along.An easy change of the lyrics and “United Blocks Awards” could be the follow-up hit and hopefully get them to recind the policy
    I hear a hit 🙂 I’ll help with the production costs!

  5. Looks like the space still isn’t showing up correctly in Aeroplan’s system. Just tried to book a LX flight that ANA shows available only to be told that it’s not. Arrggh…

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