The Best Value Virgin Flying Club Redemption is Amazing…and You’ve Probably Never Heard of It!

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You might think that the best value Virgin Flying Club redemption would be on Virgin Atlantic, but that would be far too obvious. It’s actually on Japanese airline All Nippon Airways (ANA)!

Before I go any further, I first need to give an extremely large hat-tip to InsideFlyer UK’s old friend Gary Leff at ViewFromTheWing for putting in the spade work on this one.

Virgin Flying Club has a different award chart for each of its partners and here’s the one for ANA:

Spot the fact that it’s amazing!

Where do ANA fly (from Tokyo Haneda and Tokyo Narita)?

In Europe: London, Paris, Brussels, Frankfurt and Munich.

You have to book a Return flight, so any of those destinations will be in the 11,000-14,000 miles band, which means:

  • 95,000 Flying Club Miles for Business Class
  • 120,000 Flying Club Miles for First Class

I think I’m right in saying that it’s currently only London and Frankfurt that are served by aircraft that have First Class cabins.

I’m genuinely not sure how the routing rules work here, so even though it’s a distance-based award chart, I’m not 100% certain whether you can connect to destinations like Bangkok, Beijing, Hanoi, Seoul, etc, on one award – if you have experience, let us know in the comments!

This may be a great value Virgin Flying Club redemption in terms of Miles, but what about Surcharges?

Nothing too terrible.

London to Tokyo Return in First Class should set you back about £265 in total, but over £200 of that is tax and airport fees that you would have to pay regardless.

How do I book ANA flights using Virgin Flying Club Miles?

I would strongly recommend giving Gary’s post a read as he includes the details of his experience, but it’s really quite simple:

  1. Find ANA award space (I would use the United MileagePlus website to do this).
  2. Call Virgin Flying Club: 0344 412 2414
  3. Try to have as much information to hand as you can (airport codes, flight number, etc) in order to help the agent as much as possible – they probably won’t have booked many ANA redemptions before, so be patient and try to help them out.

How do I get Virgin Flying Club Miles?

Good news – it’s easy. You can earn Flying Club Miles in dozens of different ways in the UK – here’s just a few: Tesco Clubcard Points transfer at a rate of 1 to 2.5 FC Miles; there are Flying Club branded credit cards with juicy signup bonuses (10,000 and 25,000 Miles currently) and you can transfer at a 1 to 1 rate from Amex Membership Rewards; get thousands for taking out an ISA; online shopping; buying wine; shopping at Waitrose etc, etc. 

If you can think of a way to collect British Airways Avios, chances are that Virgin Flying Club offers something similar!

Why haven’t you mentioned this before?!

It’s a fair question, and basically it boils down to me (incorrectly) assuming that this would be the sort of redemption that sounds great in theory but is more or less impossible to book in practice. Gary Leff is one the most experienced Points/Miles bloggers around, so if he says this is the real deal (and he does!), then I trust that 100%.

Is ANA any good?

I’ve never flown with ANA personally, but its Business and FIrst Class are widely regarded as being top notch.

Unlike many airlines, ANA has a genuinely good website with lots of info and pictures, so you can have a proper look yourself there.

To whet your appetite, here’s a few images:

Business Class is fully flat and looks great.
ANA seems to take food extremely seriously:
Yes, ANA serve Krug in First Class… and Hibiki Suntory 21 Year Old Whisky, which is probably the best blended whisky in the world!

Best value Virgin Flying Club redemption Bottom line

Being able to book Return First Class from London to Tokyo on ANA for just 120,000 Virgin Flying Club Miles + ~£265 in tax/fees is amazing. These are flights that retail for over £10,000!

Far more important than any theoretical cash saving though (I don’t know anyone who would actually pay £10,000 for a flight!), is the fact that the number of Miles required is very low and that Virgin FC Miles are relatively very easy to collect.

There are other ways to fly ANA using Miles (any Star Alliance Miles would work), but collecting United/Aeroplan/M&M Miles in large quantities from the UK is difficult. Collecting Virgin Miles is (at least) as easy as collecting Avios!

If anyone knows a better value Virgin Flying Club redemption, please let us know!


  1. RichT says

    I’d argue Air China First Class is better value. It’s only available London to Beijing but it’s only 75k miles + ~£500 in surcharges and taxes.

    Higher cash cost but the extra £300 in fees is offset by the lower mileage 🙂

    • Joe Deeney says

      Close one! ANA First looks awesome though and I’m not so convinced by Air China (could be wrong though!).

    • Joe Deeney says

      Also, do we know if that’s definitely bookable?

      Edit – ah yes, Rob HFP has booked it.

      • Craig Sowerby says

        I understand that Air China can’t be booked any more through Flying Club.

        Basically it seems that there are dozens of examples where people booked rewards, only to have Air China cancel them for no particular reason (other than perhaps they managed to sell the seat). This would leave the original FFP in the lurch, having to re-accomodate the passenger.

        So, Flying Club and others simply aren’t booking Air China rewards any more.

        But indeed… flying ANA or JL First Class is high on my bucket list!

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