Good morning from my extremely large business-class couch/seat on ANA’s “The Room.” This is a bucket list flight that I’ve had for a while…
I could not be more excited to be here right now, and even more excited to share with you exactly how I booked it and how you can book it too.
It’s not the most straightforward ticket to book… Without some guidance, it would be hard to understand how you can experience this for yourselves.
But that’s why I’m here. 🤗
Here’s what we’ll cover today:
Why this is more special than any other business class
How to know which flights even have these special seats
How to book it for under $100 with points and miles
✈️ First-class Friday: Booking ANA’s “The Room”
To start off, we should probably talk about why you should even care about this in the first place. I don’t know about you, but when I think of “The Room,” I think of the incredible (or incredibly bad) cult movie from 2003.
So what’s the deal? Is this plane as terrible as the movie?
What’s so special about ANA’s “The Room”
They don’t call it “The Room” for nothing… This is a bigger seat than any other business-class seat. In fact, it’s bigger than many first-class seats, which is why it’s such an incredible opportunity.
The seat also has closing doors that give you a sense of privacy, world-class catering (which is a good reason to fly this seat in itself), and of course, a lie-flat bed.
The fact that you can book this for the same price as many other far more inferior business-class seats makes it one of the best possible ways to use your points…
…If you can figure out how.
How do you know which planes have these seats?
ANA only operates nine planes with this new business-class cabin, so there are some very important steps to take to ensure the flight you book actually has these seats.
While any ANA business-class flight is sure to be fantastic, very few will be this life-changing seat.
So if only nine planes have these seats, how do you know how to find it?
Here are the routes which primarily use these new planes:
Tokyo (HND) to Los Angeles (LAX)
Tokyo (HND) to Chicago (ORD)
Tokyo (HND) to New York City (JFK)
Tokyo (HND) to London (LHR)
There are a handful of other routes that use the planes, and their schedule is always subject to change, but that’s a good starting point.
Next, it’s important to know that most planes operating those very routes don’t have The Room seats.
For example, ANA has 4-5 flights to Los Angeles every day, only one of which has The Room.
The plane type that has this new seat is the Boeing 777-300ER.
You can see which plane operates the flight when doing a booking and clicking “details” or something similar:
This screenshot is from Aeroplan, but Google Flights is also a great way to see which plane is operating a given flight.
But there’s another kicker… Not all ANA 777-300ERs have the correct seats on them… only nine planes do.
So here’s the next step:
Do a mock booking on the flight that you think has the right seats. During the checkout process, you’ll have the chance to select your seats.
When you see the seat map, you’ll know if the business class cabin is “The Room” if it looks like this and ends at row 20. The Room is the ONLY ANA business class cabin that ends at row 20.
One final way to be EXTRA SUPER SURE that you’ve got the right plane is to check if the plane has rear-facing seats (which is what I chose, and a very unique experience when flying!!!).
If you select one of the window seats (try a few because only half are rear-facing) and see the words “rear-facing,” you know you’ve got the right one. 👇
Generally speaking, the Tokyo (HND) to Los Angeles (LAX) route has the most availability. Even as a Toronto resident, I decided to fly to LAX first and just book another short-ish flight from there home to Toronto.
Now you may be wondering where all of these screenshots are coming from and where you even book this seat in the first place.
So let’s talk about it.
How to book ANA’s The Room with points and miles
There are a few programs that allow you to book ANA business class, mainly Star Alliance airlines. Using our example of Tokyo to Los Angeles, here are a few of them and how many points it will cost for a one-way flight:
Air Canada Aeroplan - 75,000 points
Turkish Miles & Smiles - 67,000 miles
United MileagePlus - 88,000 (or more) miles
Avianca LifeMiles - 75,000 miles
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club - 45,000 miles
ANA Mileage Club - 75,000-85,000 miles (RT only)
Some programs (like United) charge much higher rates than the rest, so I’d avoid doing it that way unless you have a big stash of miles.
ANA’s program only lets you book a round-trip, and their miles are hard to come by (although you can transfer Amex points to the program).
Turkish Airlines has slightly lower prices than Aeroplan and Avianca, but their service and booking platform are so terrible that it’s worth paying the extra few thousand miles (in my opinion).
Virgin Atlantic has the best pricing by far at just 45,000 miles one-way, but you cannot book the seat online.
This is the Virgin Atlantic award chart for ANA flights. The amounts are for round-trip tickets, but one-ways can also be booked.
Rather, you need to call in and cross your fingers that there are some seats available. If it works, it’s definitely a great option.
But don’t forget, Virgin Atlantic has very high fuel surcharges, so you can expect to pay hundreds of dollars in cash fees…
That’s why I’d recommend Aeroplan.
And no, it’s not just because I live in Canada… In fact, our travel hacking power-couple friends Kara and Nate chose the same program when they booked ANA’s The Room a few weeks ago.
They’ll also be publishing a video all about their ANA experience on the new Daily Drop Youtube channel sometime soon, so make sure you subscribe now if you want to catch it!
Here’s why we all chose Aeroplan:
Decent points price
Ability to combine a ticket with 50 other airlines
No fuel surcharges
Ability to transfer points from every major bank
Most of the cards on our Top Travel Credit Cards page allow you to transfer points to Aeroplan, making it an excellent option.
Specifically, Amex, Chase, Capital One, Citi, and Bilt all let you transfer credit card points to Aeroplan… So yeah… it’s an easy program to build up a hefty points balance with.
Having said that, if you have miles or points with other programs like United, then use whichever program you’d like!
I just ran a search for the next few days from Tokyo to Los Angeles on Aeroplan’s site and found PLENTY of award availability for The Room.
The ticket will cost you just 75,000 Aeroplan points and $97 USD in fees.
This brings us to one final point:
It is generally much easier to find award availability for The Room a few weeks or a few days beforehand. If you need to plan your trip far ahead of time, it’s unlikely you’ll find a seat.
However, there is a way to get around this.
You can simply book a flight that works for you with a program that doesn’t charge change/cancellation fees.
As your trip gets closer, you can keep searching Aeroplan and other programs for flights with The Room. If you see one pop up, simply book it and cancel your previous reservation.
Having “backup flights” is a good way to open the door to more spontaneous adventures like this, and something I do all the time.
One thing I love about points and miles is that it helps normal people experience things that would otherwise be completely out of reach.
This flight typically costs more than $4,000, and this hobby of points and miles gives us the chance to experience it for $100.
Sometimes, the journey can be equally as exciting and awe-inspiring as the destination, and I think this is a perfect example.
Yup. this is awesome.
I hope that today’s newsletter helps some of you experience something this amazing for yourselves, and I thank you for sitting through this more tedious breakdown.
I’d like to know:
Have you ever flown in business or first class?
If so, tell us when/where/which airline!
Only Email Recipients can participate in polls.
Have a GREAT weekend and I look forward to another week of travel hacking adventures with you all ❤️