Saturday, September 21, 2013

ANA Not Charging Fuel Surcharges on SAS Redemptions - The Cheap Way to Europe

ANA is an American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner (1000 Membership Rewards = 1000 ANA Miles), and a very lucrative one at that.  They have a great search engine and access to Star Alliance awards, so availability is typically fantastic.

In the past, I've written about ANA's excellent bargains for domestic and North American travel redemptions.  For example, you can travel up to 2,000 miles on a round trip domestic or North American flight for just 20,000 miles, and up to 4,000 miles for 22,000 miles.  These deals are a result of a generous distance-based award chart coupled with no fees or surcharges for United and US Airways domestic travel.

Generous Award Chart
The major downside to ANA is they typically charge fuel surcharges for their partners.  A "free" award ticket suddenly jumps up to $500+ when you're traveling to Europe on, say, Lufthansa.  The Points Guy wrote an excellent blog post a while back detailing some of these fees and surcharges.

It turns out that, at least for now, ANA is not charging fuel surcharges for SAS flights.  SAS flies a number of routes between the US (San Francisco, Chicago, Washington and Newark) and Scandanavia (Oslo, Stockholm, and Copenhagen).  They have easy connections to a number of European destinations, including Iceland.

There are some incredible bargains to be had, including Newark to Oslo for only 43,000 miles round trip plus $40 in fees!

Plus, ANA allows up to two stopovers on a European itinerary, and doesn't charge for "surface travel", meaning you could take the train out to Bergen (to take a look at the Norwegian Fjords) and tag on a flight back to Oslo.  You'd only need to add the miles for the time you spend on the plane, and in this case there are no additional miles required for the redemption.

Perhaps of particular interest to travelers are SAS's Iceland itineraries.  SAS is one of the few "mainline" airlines that flies to Iceland, connecting through Oslo.  Their flights are a bargain at only 55,000 miles round trip from Chicago, Washington, and Newark.  Here's a sample itinerary from Grand Rapids:

With only $63 of fees and other charges, this is a bargain redemption.  Plus, you can stop over in both Oslo and Reykjavik.

Availability isn't fantastic, but there are still some flights left for peak summer season in 2014.

Here is the breakout of fees for the itinerary above:

Enjoy these bargain redemptions while they last, and remember that ANA often charges additional fuel surcharges when you call -- so this deal is probably only available for itineraries booked online.

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