ANA has a survey you can take for 100 miles in their Mileage Club program. It’s 11 multiple choice questions (including an optional free form question at the end for your additional comments) about their New York – Tokyo service going twice daily and which flight you prefer.
Here’s why you care.
Two years ago ANA made it difficult to search for awards for folks without any miles in their account, although there was also a workaround which I described. Folks who use the KVS Tool to access award search on the ANA website effectively have the workaround automated.
But with 100 miles in your account you can search for Star Alliance award space using the All Nippon website, find the flights that are available, an ring up your preferred frequent flyer program with flight details of what you already know to be available.
Now ANA is no longer the only game in town. They do have full coverage of the Star Alliance. But their site doesn’t show all of the Singapore Airlines premium cabin space that’s available (you’ll get ‘not available’ even when seats are available). And other airlines have become better about offering award inventory online such as United and Aeroplan (although both of those program websites will show false positives for Lufthansa First Class, so I generally check their results against the ANA website).
Regardless of which website you use to search for award space, you should search for the toughest segments first. Search your overwater segments, and then figure out how to get from your home city to the international gateway. In other words, don’t type “Kansas City to Hong Kong” you instead want to search for all of the transpacific flights you can find, such as Chicago to Tokyo or Hong Kong or Seoul and then search how to get to Chicago from Kansas City. That’s because these websites don’t really search all possible connections, and you’ll do better finding space if you follow this method. Although I do find that the Aeroplan website comes up with the most creative routings of the three options.
(HT: Online Travel Review)