One of my travel hacking goals has been to go to Australia and New Zealand. I knew that flying ANA to Australia in business class was a great deal, but it was also difficult to find availability. At the end of the pandemic and right after Australia and New Zealand had reopened, I began to search. I also knew that you could get a free stopover in Japan and wanted to take advantage of that.
I started looking for flights from LAX (planning to position there) and to Sydney, Australia, with a stopover in Japan. Japan wasn’t even open yet, but I had high hopes! I began my search by checking out the newly opened seats about a year out. It took me a couple of days and hours of searching before I found a flight that would work. 120K in business class roundtrip is incredible, especially since it included a stopover in Tokyo!
The flight was LAX to Tokyo via United Polaris business class (they are both in the same alliance), and I love United Polaris. After visiting Tokyo, it was an ANA flight to Sydney.
Our flight started out with a visit to the United Polaris Lounge in Los Angeles for breakfast (and dessert – can’t skip the cookie skillet!)
I love United Polaris for business seats. They are always comfortable, and the food is good. I feel like the service is usually very good too, and I’ve flown United so many times that it just feels like “home” to me. Always a good thing with travel. I ordered the short ribs – delicious! I watched a movie and went to sleep. Perfect!
Our flight to Sydney (after 5 days in Tokyo) started at Haneda Airport in Tokyo. It cost us about $50 to get there from our hotel. As a major airport lounge geek, I was excited to attend the ANA lounge there. It is a large lounge but pretty dark and dated. The food didn’t interest me much, but my husband enjoyed it (I am a very picky eater). They did have a place to order fresh noodle dishes, so I am sure that many people enjoyed it.
It was after 11:00 pm when we boarded, and I was still exhausted from jet lag. ANA Business Class offered an Asian and Western menu, but I opted for sleep instead of eating. I did wake up in time for a light breakfast, though. The only unpleasant part of the trip was that we were required to wear facemasks, as Japan still follows strict guidelines.
Because you have to do a roundtrip ticket when booking ANA with points, we had to travel back through Japan. We landed at Haneda Airport and booked a shuttle service to take us to Narita Airport. It would have been much nicer if we had just been able to transit home from Haneda. I talked to other Americans who could do that because they were flying back to Chicago. Tip: Find a return flight that flies to a city from Haneda for your return.
The good news is we slept really well on both flights and returned home with almost zero jetlag! And I ALWAYS have jet lag! I’m not sure if two nights on a plane helped or what? And I had the BEST meal on that last flight – A perfectly cooked beef filet.
I feel like the ANA business class setup is similar to United’s Polaris class. I especially like the side seats where you have more privacy. My husband and I were most impressed by the flight attendants – those Japanese girls can’t be beaten! They were seriously so attentive and cute!
Before our last flight, we went into the go into the ANA Lounge in Haneda. It was much nicer than the one at Haneda Airport.
Our experience of flying ANA to Australia was great, except for transferring to a different airport in Tokyo. ANA offers tremendous service, comfortable seats, and the most attentive flight attendants. They are probably the cheapest redemption for points around. Paying 120K points per ticket (plus a little over $200 in taxes and fees) for a business class seat that costs almost $10,000 is why I am in the points and miles game!
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