Old Mar 21, 2024, 5:48 pm
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
Last edit by: joejones
TL;DR VERSION
  • ANA award seats are strictly limited in quantity. Unless you have status with the ANA program, there is usually only one first class seat and one business class seat made available per flight.
  • Awards become available for booking to ANA Mileage Club members 355 days before departure at 9am JST, and almost all First and Business Class award seats get booked within minutes at this time.
    • Most partner airlines (e.g. Virgin Atlantic and United) do not allow you to book this early.
    • If using ANA miles, you need to fly round-trip, which creates a catch-22 for itineraries starting in North America because there will be no return flight available yet.
  • After T-355, availability shows up at random times due to other people canceling their reservations. You have to be flexible and search frequently across multiple dates and cities.
  • If ANA upgrades a route's equipment to a 777-300ER with First Class, it will result in an award seat being available every day on the calendar. Get them while they're hot.
  • Some flights will show more award availability 2-3 weeks before departure, especially during low seasons.
  • Useful search tools include ANA's website, United's website, point.me (available to Amex MR cardholders), and seats.aero.
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ANA Award Availability

Old Apr 1, 2024, 11:29 am
  #631  
 
Join Date: Apr 2024
Posts: 4
Hi guys first post. I'm trying to book J SFO-TYO, or ideally SFO-TPE for early March 2025 trying to take advantage of my miles before the deval takes place.

I was able to confirm an SFO-NRT J seat, and my original plan was to create a separate SFO-TYO-TPE-SFO itinerary to waitlist behind that SFO-NRT. I ended up doing so and called ANA CSR to make sure that I was the only one on the waitlist (for the SFO-NRT leg), which they were able to confirm. During that call, I told them my plan and understood so they cancelled that SFO-NRT reservation with the hopes of getting my real reservation confirmed for the SFO-NRT leg. Next thing you know, my ideal itinerary is still waitlisted and it looks like my ideal outbound J seat is gone into the ether. ANA CSR didn't have any answers aside from "someone else reserved it."

I've read posts suggesting that these award seats can possibly "go back into the inventory" if they're released and that it is never guaranteed they will be available again. However, I haven't read anything or any experiences where people have seen these J seats open up at a later date.

I've kept my waitlisted reservation but I've also created another itinerary with a confirmed Y seat in case this does not pan out. Has anyone been in this situation before and has come off the waitlist knowing that no one was in front of them, and that those seats are still open? Or am I just SOL?
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Old Apr 4, 2024, 10:39 pm
  #632  
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: LAX/SFO
Programs: Hyatt Explorist, Hilton Diamond, Marriott Gold, Fortune Wings Club Gold
Posts: 359
Originally Posted by trek1ngs
Hi guys first post. I'm trying to book J SFO-TYO, or ideally SFO-TPE for early March 2025 trying to take advantage of my miles before the deval takes place.

I was able to confirm an SFO-NRT J seat, and my original plan was to create a separate SFO-TYO-TPE-SFO itinerary to waitlist behind that SFO-NRT. I ended up doing so and called ANA CSR to make sure that I was the only one on the waitlist (for the SFO-NRT leg), which they were able to confirm. During that call, I told them my plan and understood so they cancelled that SFO-NRT reservation with the hopes of getting my real reservation confirmed for the SFO-NRT leg. Next thing you know, my ideal itinerary is still waitlisted and it looks like my ideal outbound J seat is gone into the ether. ANA CSR didn't have any answers aside from "someone else reserved it."

I've read posts suggesting that these award seats can possibly "go back into the inventory" if they're released and that it is never guaranteed they will be available again. However, I haven't read anything or any experiences where people have seen these J seats open up at a later date.

I've kept my waitlisted reservation but I've also created another itinerary with a confirmed Y seat in case this does not pan out. Has anyone been in this situation before and has come off the waitlist knowing that no one was in front of them, and that those seats are still open? Or am I just SOL?
Someone could have booked or waitlisted it quickly. The ANA waitlist processor is weird. I had the same situation of having SFO-HND J confirmed in early March, booked a waitlist over that leg, cancelled the confirmed J, and felt like an idiot when nothing appeared. Then two hours later both the SFO-HND J that I had let go of AND somehow the return leg that was waitlisted had confirmed. When I remembered to select seats a few days later, I saw someone had already picked a J seat on SFO-HND, so it seems like ANA released a second J seat for me.
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Old Apr 5, 2024, 12:44 am
  #633  
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: SFO/YYZ
Programs: AC 25K, AS MVP Gold, BA Bronze, UA Silver, Marriott Titanium, Hilton Diamond, Hyatt Globalist
Posts: 2,485
Snagged one of the SFO-TYO F seats that just got released. Pretty much every day availability from Nov 1 to Dec 15.
synergypi, jrm68, aquanine and 1 others like this.
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Old Apr 7, 2024, 9:40 pm
  #634  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: SF, Japan, YYG
Programs: ANA Pt
Posts: 405
Originally Posted by nexusCFX
Snagged one of the SFO-TYO F seats that just got released. Pretty much every day availability from Nov 1 to Dec 15.
First class SFO TYO thru January 31st now
Edit: available through March end

Last edited by synergypi; Apr 8, 2024 at 8:30 am
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Old Apr 7, 2024, 9:44 pm
  #635  
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: LAX/SFO
Programs: Hyatt Explorist, Hilton Diamond, Marriott Gold, Fortune Wings Club Gold
Posts: 359
Originally Posted by synergypi
first class SFO TYO thru January 10 now
Entire Jan first week gone already for TYO-SFO. There's some pickings for SFO-TYO around Christmas
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Old Apr 8, 2024, 12:12 pm
  #636  
 
Join Date: Apr 2024
Posts: 4
ANA recently changed their plane configurations to 77W for SFO-TYO in 2025. I see them in March but not sure how far back they've made this change. Lots of 1F openings since this was just changed last night. Go get em.
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Last edited by trek1ngs; Apr 8, 2024 at 12:19 pm
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Old Apr 8, 2024, 12:15 pm
  #637  
 
Join Date: Dec 2023
Posts: 7
Originally Posted by trek1ngs
ANA recently changed their plane configurations to 77W for SFO-TYO onwards from 3/15/25. Lots of 1F openings since this was just changed last night. Go get em.
Is this the room? What are the best J seats in this configuration?
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Old Apr 8, 2024, 4:28 pm
  #638  
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Originally Posted by freegunnersaurus
Is this the room? What are the best J seats in this configuration?
In another thread, someone mentioned that it was the old configuration.
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Old Apr 12, 2024, 12:07 pm
  #639  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 251
I’m on a mixed class ticket in J JFK-HND and PY HND-JFK and called in this morning to check if there were any J seats released for the return.

Surprise #1: I got through to an agent after 10 minutes on hold. Shocked the hell out of me.
Surprise #2: No J seats but there were F seats available the next day and later in the week so I grabbed one of course—really excited to try it!

Icing on top is the taxes and fees total is actually lower than what I paid for the J/PY reservation.
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Old Apr 12, 2024, 1:24 pm
  #640  
 
Join Date: Jun 2023
Posts: 10
Originally Posted by nycnyc
Im on a mixed class ticket in J JFK-HND and PY HND-JFK and called in this morning to check if there were any J seats released for the return.

Surprise #1: I got through to an agent after 10 minutes on hold. Shocked the hell out of me.
Surprise #2: No J seats but there were F seats available the next day and later in the week so I grabbed one of coursereally excited to try it!

Icing on top is the taxes and fees total is actually lower than what I paid for the J/PY reservation.

Did you book through ANA? I thought you couldnt upgrade class after ticketing
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Old Apr 12, 2024, 4:26 pm
  #641  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 251
Originally Posted by hwang1607
Did you book through ANA? I thought you couldnt upgrade class after ticketing
Yes booked directly through ANA.
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Old Apr 12, 2024, 9:59 pm
  #642  
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Originally Posted by hwang1607
Did you book through ANA? I thought you couldnt upgrade class after ticketing
As a principle you can't change booking class on ANA issued award bookings

https://www.ana.co.jp/en/jp/guide/am...tional/refund/

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Old Apr 13, 2024, 7:17 am
  #643  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 251
Didn’t upgrade sorry—the agent had to cancel my reservation and create a new one so there were some losses like the handling fee and points penalty.
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Old Apr 22, 2024, 2:00 pm
  #644  
 
Join Date: Nov 2023
Posts: 11
Wife and I currently have award tickets ord to nrt booked next year with two seats in F, and two seats in F on a dummy waitlist for the return. Im hoping that two seats in F open up for when we are trying to return, but if one J and one F open up, am I able to make this change myself/customer support rep make this change, or is it not possible without cancelling the ticket and trying to rebook it individually (hoping neither of our tickets have someone on the waitlist)?
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Old Apr 22, 2024, 5:00 pm
  #645  
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Originally Posted by WorkToLive
Wife and I currently have award tickets ord to nrt booked next year with two seats in F, and two seats in F on a dummy waitlist for the return. Im hoping that two seats in F open up for when we are trying to return, but if one J and one F open up, am I able to make this change myself/customer support rep make this change, or is it not possible without cancelling the ticket and trying to rebook it individually (hoping neither of our tickets have someone on the waitlist)?
​​​​​​
To put it bluntly, unless the waitlist clears, you have no tickets and will not fly ORD NRT. You don't have a ticket until the waitlist clears.

You can probably split the booking so you can book a different class for the return. But two passengers on one PNR will need to be booked in the same fare class. I am not sure if you can change the waitlist from F to J without cancelling, but you would certainly need to call in and have an agent try.
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