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bmi FAQ No.4: Redemptions - Finding Award seats : the ANA online tool masterclass

bmi FAQ No.4: Redemptions - Finding Award seats : the ANA online tool masterclass

Old Oct 29, 08, 4:57 pm
  #1  
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Arrow bmi FAQ No.4: Redemptions - Finding Award seats : the ANA online tool masterclass

MOD EDIT: Do you think you can no longer access the ANA Tool if you do not have enough miles in your account ?
If you don't have enough miles in your ANA account, the "Star Alliance Member Airlines" option is now disabled. However, they have blocked the Star Alliance search button on the first page only. The workaround: do a search for an ANA operated international service, e.g.ICN-NRT. When you get the results, you'll notice the *A button below now magically works. Click it and the over-type the pre-populated fields with the routing you want - and off you go...

MOD EDIT 2 : ANA has apparently blocked access for flights within 7 days.
If you try a date within 7 days, you now get the message The itinerary you entered is not valid. The booking period for the Star Alliance Award Ticket is between 330 days to 7 days prior to the date of departure and all the Outbound flights display " - "

However, it still shows availability for the return, even if it is within 7 days. This is the workaround :

Reverse your route, set the outbound to today or tomorrow, and you can the see availability for the next 7 days.
Example, It is Sunday, and I'm looking for LHR-LAX on Tuesday. Ask ANA for LAX-LHR, outbound tomorrow, return Tuesday, and availability for Tuesday (LHR-LAX) is displayed. You can then forward through all the days of next week too.



A Guide to finding redemption seats using the ANA Online Tool

What is it?
ANA Mileage Club members have access to a tool that allows them to search for award seat availability on most Star Alliance airlines as well as the likes of Virgin Atlantic and Qatar Airways.

What it is known as?
You may see it referred to on FlyerTalk as ‘ANA’ or ‘The ANA tool.’

Why use it?
It is heavily relied upon by Flyertalk Diamond Club (and other *A) members as the best way to research redemptions to be made on bmi and Star Alliance partners.

Which airlines are covered by the tool?
26 airlines in total can be checked via the tool. These are:

Adria Airways
Air Canada
Air China
Air New Zealand
ANA
Asiana Airlines
Austrian Airlines
Blue1
Bmi
Continental
Croatia Airlines
Egypt Air
Jet Airways
LOT
Lufthansa
Malaysia Airlines
Qatar Airways
SAS
Shanghai Airlines
Singapore Airlines
South African Airways
Spanair
SWISS
TAP Portugal
Thai Airways
Turkish Airlines
United Airlines
US Airways
Virgin Atlantic

Continental and Copa Airlines were added to ANA on 28th October 2009.

Any noticeable exceptions?
The major gaps have now been filled.

Ok, so that all sounds very useful, how do I sign up?
I’m glad you asked. It is pretty quick and painless to become an ANA Mileage Club member. To do this online, go to http://www.anaskyweb.com/ and select the most appropriate country and language options for you. You will then need to select ‘Join ANA Mileage Club’ link and follow the instructions to register. An example of this page can be found here

It is free to join ANA Mileage Club. You will receive online confirmation of your registration and will also get a membership pack in the post within a few weeks. Most importantly, once you have registered online you will have instant access to the ANA Tool to start looking up redemptions.

Done that, so how do I go about logging in to ANA?
The log in page for the ANA tool can be found at https://aswbe-i.ana.co.jp/p_per/sky_...SearchLogin.do

You will need to enter your 10 digit ANA membership number as well as your password. If you forget these details you will be able to find them via your registration email. (An example of the login page can be found here)

I’m in! Now what?
You will be presented by three main options:

1) ANA International Flight Awards
2) Star Alliance Partner Awards
3) Single Airline Partner Awards

For this guide we shall concentrate on option 2 and the Star Alliance Partner Awards view. The ANA and Single Airline Partner options work in a similar to this, so if you can do the Star Alliance version, you can search across any of the options.

So anyway, let’s get started:
Click on the link marked ‘Use Star Alliance Member Airlines’
This will then take you through to the search page. Get used to this page, make friends with this page, learn to love this page for it shall be your main source of help and information on your road to redemptions.

Star Alliance Flight Awards – A walk through finding availability
Within the partner awards section, you can check availability for flights across the Star Alliance airlines listed above. You will be presented the following menu screen:

Here you need to enter a few pieces of information to help find flight availability.

• Dates. Both outbound and return are required. You can search for flights up to 330 days from the current date. If you only want to find availability for one leg, then enter a suitable dummy date for the return. For our example we will look for a flight out on Monday 12th January, returning Tuesday 20th January
• Airports. You can either use the drop down boxes to find an airport by continent, country and then by airports within that country. Not all *A served destinations are covered by the drop down boxes, so you may need to enter them manually. If you know the airport codes then these can be entered in manually into the APO code boxes. For our example we are looking at flights from London Heathrow (LHR) to Singapore (SIN).
• Passengers. You can search for up to 4 adult passenger tickets and up to 3 child tickets. ANA however treats adults and children as equals, so for 2 adults and 2 children, you may as well search for 4 adults. Please note that availability can be seriously reduced on some airlines (SQ is a good example of this) if you search for more than one ticket at a time. It is often worth just searching for one passenger to start with and then selecting a higher number of passengers if required once you have identified initial availability.

For our walk through example we are looking for just 1 redemption seat each way.

So we have entered our details and the following screen appears to show availability. You can see 3 of the main 4 symbols on this screen.

The 4 symbols that you depend upon to bring you redemption joy or frustration
x = This cabin is featured on the plane, but there is no award availability
- = This cabin is not featured on this aircraft or airline (e.g. First Class on NZ)
O = Awards are available for your dates and route in these cabins
Δ = Awards may be availability on request. (Or the system couldn’t connect)

There are also some colours to look out for
Bright Gold = The sector(s) are available in the chosen cabin class
Dull Gold = The sector(s) are available for the return journey
Grey = Cabin not available for all any / all sectors

The Bright Gold colour will show when a cabin is available on a single leg flight. On schedules with two legs, the bright gold colour will only be fully displayed if both legs are available in the same cabin. Do not worry about this too much as on some routes only one or two cabins may be available.

For example MAN-LHR on BD has only an economy cabin. MAN-FRA on LH has only economy and business. In both cases if you were looking to book an onward flight in First Class, ANA would display availability in both cabins, but would not display Bright Gold at the top as it is not the same cabin for both legs.

Booking an award in one cabin for one leg and another cabin for the other leg is absolutely fine. You should be able to book this as a redemption, although you may need to explain this to the ICC. You are charged the miles for the cabin class of the longest sector

The Dull Gold colour is used for available return journey flights. Again there is nothing to worry about here. If the flight shows an award is available via the O symbol, then you are fine.

Now back to the walk through…
As you can see, on the dates we searched for, only economy seats are available both ways. Not ideal as I would like to find seats in either business or first class. I therefore have two main choices. Firstly I can change the dates or I can look to see if an alternative route with a connecting flight will help.

Well I can be flexible on my outbound flight, therefore I can see if you the following day has any premium cabin inventory. To change the date I can either select ‘Search Again’ from the options at the bottom of the screen, or I can use the forward / back a day arrows at the top of the itinerary lists. In this case I am looking to find availability a day later, so I will just click the right arrow to move the LHR-SIN search on a day.

Moving it on a day is good. There is F cabin availability for SQ319 on Tuesday 13th (See the results here)

However my travel plans are not too flexible for the return, so I would ideally want to come back on Tuesday 20th. There are no options in premium cabins direct from SIN to LHR, therefore my best option is to look for connecting flights instead. At this point I click on the ‘Connecting Flights’ button below itinerary 3 from SIN to LHR. This returns the main connecting flight options between the two airports. (See the results here) Please note however that this list is not exhaustive, so if you know of suitable connecting airports that do not show up, then try to find availability one sector at a time instead.

As you can see here, there are a few premium cabin options, with the most suitable being SIN-BKK-LHR in First Class all the way.

With these flights found, you need to take a note of the flights, flight numbers, times and dates to make it as simple and easy as possible to book your redemption with Diamond Club call centre. For the sake of clarity, this FAQ does not cover how to make a redemption with bmi. For this information and a whole lot more, check out the main bmi sticky at http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=836802

A few tips for finding Star Alliance availability

• Flights are often best checked on a sector by sector basis as some route options will not show up. Similarly, availability will not come up for routes requiring more than two sectors in either direction. For these you will need to check availability on a sector by sector basis.
• A search will not come back with results if you search for flights on dates where no suitable flights operate. (See example of the unavailable results screen here. This is due to no suitable outbound connections on 7th January operating.)
• As you can only search on a single outbound and return date at a time, you will have to change dates manually to see availability on operating flights. Therefore it is recommended that you check the Star Alliance website at www.staralliance.com to find out the operating days of the week for some routes with limited operations
• Availability on some routes or across peak periods will be very limited, therefore you will need to search across larger ranges of dates, or be prepared to regularly check the ANA tool for latest award availabilities.
• Plan and book early if you can. You can find availability on ANA up to 330 days prior to a flight. If you really want a flight on a popular route and in peak season, then look frequently and look early. If you see it, book it. You can always cancel for a small charge if your plans change.
• Also look out for late availability of premium cabins to open up in the weeks before departure. For example SQ often release premium cabin seats in the last couple of weeks before departure.
• If looking for a long haul redemption, search for the longest sector first as these will often be the hardest to find availability on. Then look at finding the connecting flights to tag on around the longer sector.
• Learn the main transit points for routes you are considering so that you can search for alternative routes if your preferred option is unavailable. In Europe these points could include LHR, MAN, ARN, CPH, VIE, FRA, MUC, DUS, ZRH, WAW and IST amongst others. In North America, IAD, ORD, SFO, LAX, PHL, CLT and YYZ are some of the main *A hubs.
• You can force the ANA tool to look for routings via a particular transit point by using the “select transit point” option
• ANA will not show award availability First or Business class on SQ on the A380, 77W and A345 planes. Awards in these cabins on those planes are currently restricted to SQ KrisFlyer members. Basically, don’t keep looking for availability, you won’t find any!

One last question: How do you find Premium Economy cabin availability?
Simple answer is that you can’t. Due to PE cabins only being available on a few planes on a few *A airlines, these are not supported by ANA. You will not be able to book PE on the likes of Air New Zealand or SAS via Diamond Club, so don’t bother searching for, or asking the ICC for redemptions in these cabins.

The exception to this of course is Premium Economy on the Heathrow A330 operated flights to Cairo and Tel Aviv. The only ways to check availability for this cabin on those flights is via www.flybmi.com or by calling the ICC.

But a small word of warning…
ANA is just a tool to help you find whatever award inventory is available and in itself is no guarantee that you will find the flights of your choice, particularly on some routes (South Africa and Singapore for example) where you and many other people want to redeem their miles. You may need to put in a significant amount of time and effort to find what you want.

And finally…
If you have any suggestions, recommendations or corrections for this overview guide then please let me know and I will update the FAQ accordingly.

For any specific redemption help questions, then please ask them on the following thread: DC Redemption Help

Thanks for reading this far, your perseverance is admirable. You are already one step closer to making that redemption that you were after. Good luck and safe travels!

RAPC

Last edited by Oxon Flyer; Jun 8, 11 at 2:16 am Reason: Continental added
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Old Oct 29, 08, 5:02 pm
  #2  
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Discussion of the ANA tool masterclass

The main FAQ thread is now unlocked so I can keep it up to date without bothering our mods!

And finally, thanks to Oxon Flyer for his help and suggestions after the first draft was written. Thanks too to GoldCircle for his help in getting this up and live.

Cheers,

RAPC

Last edited by RAPC; Oct 30, 08 at 4:21 pm Reason: Threads merged
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Old Oct 29, 08, 5:04 pm
  #3  
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Diamond Club Redemption Help

Again folks, for those wanting help with making a Diamond Club redemption there is now a new thread to ask any questions that you may have.

Diamond Club Redemption Help

Last edited by RAPC; Jan 2, 09 at 11:51 am
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Old Oct 29, 08, 5:09 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
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Seriously well done - a marvelous masterclass in an essential tool. It will be well received by panicing DC members and by the wider *A community.

Very well done, RAPC
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Old Oct 29, 08, 5:27 pm
  #5  
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Thanks for writing.

One thing I have noticed is that the tool does not like city codes (i.e. LON, NYC). Using one generates a destination/arrival point is unknown error message.
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Old Oct 29, 08, 5:44 pm
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Top work RAPC.... and considering everything that's going on - well timed too

Nice one
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Old Oct 29, 08, 5:55 pm
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Thank you RAPC
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Old Oct 29, 08, 5:57 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
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Excellent FAQ you've written there.

I had to figure everything out for myself when I first got to grips with it, but this should be great for newcomers.

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Old Oct 29, 08, 6:08 pm
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Excellent job RAPC!
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Old Oct 29, 08, 7:58 pm
  #10  
Moderator: British Airways Executive Club, Marriott Bonvoy
 
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Great job. I trust you will post a translation into German tomorrow ?

Originally Posted by Swanhunter View Post
One thing I have noticed is that the tool does not like city codes (i.e. LON, NYC). Using one generates a destination/arrival point is unknown error message.
Conversely, I have noticed that it does recognise city-linked airports, for if you ask, for example, LHR to LIS, it offers you TP flights from both LHR and LGW, and if you ask for IAD-MCO it offers UA flights from both IAD and DCA.
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Old Oct 30, 08, 3:09 am
  #11  
 
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As a newcomer, this is superb and just what I have learned recently that I need. Many thanks for putting this together, it really hits the spot. I shall be telling all my colleagues who travel to get onto this forum in order to open their eyes!

Regards
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Old Oct 30, 08, 3:23 am
  #12  
 
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Danke schön
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Old Oct 30, 08, 6:40 am
  #13  
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Good work, RAPC.
One small comment on when to search: yes, well in advance is best. However, at the other end of the spectrum, for premium classes, especially long-haul on LH, it is also worth having a look at the last minute (say, a couple of weeks before desired flight date or less) as LH will sometimes release seats quite late if the bookings are below expectations.
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Old Oct 30, 08, 8:11 am
  #14  
 
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LON-NYC

An anomaly.

It's worth reminding people that searching LHR-JFK will only bring up options on Air Canada.

Best to search FRA-JFK (which will also bring up FRA-EWR as eluded to above), LIS-EWR, etc and building your own connection.
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Old Oct 30, 08, 10:51 am
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Great work RAPC.......many thanks
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