ANA Website No Longer Allows Members Without any Miles to Search for Star Allaince Awards

I woke up this morning to some disturbing news. The All Nippon Airways website award search page is the killer app for searching out Star Alliance awards. The site displays award inventory for all Star Alliance members, and is easy to use (more or less).

Sometime overnight (here in the US, presumably sometime in the morning over in Japan!) the website introduced a new restriction:

The Partner Flight Award search function is not available for passengers who do not have any mileage balance.

Makes sense, Star Alliance members the world over were using the ANA site to find their award space and then calling their home programs to book awards. Either ANA got tired of having their system resources used by folks who are only nominally members of their program, or other member airlines pressured them to restrict access. I don’t know which, but it’s not surprising other than that I rather expected this to happen quite a long time ago.

That said, as soon as I looked into it I wasn’t too concerned.

  • I usually access the ANA site for award inventory via the KVS Tool, and this method is unaffected.

  • There’s a clever workaround, as posted on Flyertalk:
    1) Click on “ANA International Flight Awards”
    2) Enter any (valid) city pairs and any (valid) dates
    3) Click “Next”, NOT of Flight Search
    4) Scroll all the way to the bottom
    5) You should see “Use Star Alliance Member Airlines” button, click this to search *A availability.

  • It’s easy to get miles into your ANA account. Starwood Platinum members can transfer as little as 1 Starpoint to ANA. American Express Membership Rewards members in the US can transfer 1000 miles into ANA. ANA has several partner hotel and rental car programs, just credit one activity to your ANA account.

    All in all then, the current restriction isn’t particular onerous or difficult to overcome — which suggests that it may only be a temporary stop gap measure, and that more may be coming.

    I was a little bit hesitant to post the current workaround, because the more attention it gets the more likely ANA is to close the loophole. But then they’re probably going to do that anyway if they care. It was posted on Flyertalk which has far greater reach than this blog. It’s been posted by Lucky on his blog and by Wandering Aramean as well.

    It’s an ironic time for ANA to begin clamping down on use of their site for award searches, because Star Alliance more generally has been moving towards online partner award search — the Air Canada Aeroplan site has had it for years, Continental brought it online (though not truly comprehensively, especially for the Asian carriers, and not showing first class) when they joined Star in October, and United even introduced the beginnings of a Star Alliance award search functionality to their site this week. And it’s even been suggested that Star Alliance itself would roll out an award search tool.

    So I’m not too concerned… yet.

  • 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 Milepoint.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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    1. […] The All Nippon website is the most reliable method for searching award space. There are occasionally variations from what’s available there — for instance it’s been possible to use Lufthansa’s Miles & More or Avianca’s LifeMiles to book Singapore Airlines premium cabin space that isn’t available to ANA (or the rest of the Star Alliance). And US Airways sometimes has trouble booking some seats on some partners (such as Lufthansa, ANA intra-Japan especially flights operated by Air Japan). But in general availability that shows on ANA’s website is available to other members of the Star Alliance. The only challenge is that they restrict searches to members of the program who have at least 100 miles unless you use this workaround. […]

    Comments

    1. Just hope that they don’t increase the minimum to the 14k required for the cheapest award.

      I would gladly have paid $10 or some nominal amount for this service.

    2. it’s not working for me… i never get that “use star alliance member airlines” button…
      :-(((

    3. does anyone know why i can’t see that “use star alliance member airlines” button? i am following the instructions…
      🙁

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