In our series Award Success we have a last-minute redemption on ANA All Nippon Airways from Bangkok to Tokyo, and contrary to our usual redemptions this was in Economy Class.
As revenue fares were extremely expensive, I decided to make use of the Lifemiles 160% bonus sale just a few hours before it closed and I ended up saving 75% of the fare by going this route.
There is a very high demand for flights between Thailand and Japan at the moment ever since the country opened up as Japan is one of the most popular travel destinations for Thai tourists, and so it comes at no surprise that the prices are very high and availability sparse.
My airline of choice for this route is usually Japan Airlines, but there was no award availability in either class of service, and the surcharges when booking one ways through British Airways Executive Club have soared to ~ $300 for a one-way after the recent increade of fuel surcharges.
When I looked at revenue fares they ranged from 13,000 Baht for a budget carrier (Air Asia) to 40,700 Baht for this particular ANA flight.
Quite honestly, I was pretty shocked at how expensive it became to fly from Bangkok to Tokyo:
I decided to look at availability with Star Alliance miles, first with United where this connection was available for 24,000 miles but I’ve used up all my Mileage Plus miles with the recent flight from Frankfurt to Tokyo.
Lifemiles was more promising, only 20,000 miles in Economy Class and they currently had the 160% bonus sale going on.
First I purchased 8,000 Miles which turned into 19,200 miles at the cost of $264:
I was missing 800 miles and purchasing an additional 1000 miles (1600 with bonus) would have cost $33 so I had a better idea and just transferred 1000 Amex Membership Rewards to my Lifemiles account.
I wouldn’t want to waste 20k MR points for this economy ticket but 1000 points to save $33 is a decent redemption just to top up the small amount. The points transferred in real time and were available immediately.
The ticket purchase was easy enough:
Out of these $46.50 fees, $25 was the LifeMiles Redemption fee – more than the $21.50 actual airport tax as Lifemiles doesn’t levy the overpriced surcharges that ANA itself and some other programs do.
Another problem with LifeMiles was that following the purchase the miles didn’t show as available for hours. The transaction was visible in the account transactions but the available balance still showed zero.
I emailed the support desk and went to sleep (it was well past midnight here) and when I woke up in the morning the miles were available. Lucky for me, the seats were still available but this shows that Lifemiles isn’t without pitfalls, something I always warned about. I was willing to take the risk in this case.
In total, after purchasing the Lifemiles, I paid $310,50 for this ticket which I consider a pretty good deal, all things considered. That’s 10,700 Baht and I wouldn’t even have been able to take a budget carrier for that price. I’m completely satisfied with this redemption!
This ANA ticket itself would have cost me roughly four times as much as I paid now and while I’m not a big fan of flying Economy Class, I have done this BKK-TYO route in coach quite a few times. It usually takes ~ 5:30h, and that’s absolutely doable.