After performing my daily search for LH award space from FRA-NRT last night, I was surprised this morning to find this message today:
The Partner Flight Award search function is not available for passengers who do not have any mileage balance.
It seems that ANA got tired of thousands of Star Alliance flyers clogging up their servers when they had no intention of ever throwing business at ANA.
Let not your heart be troubled, though: there are workarounds.
- Click on “ANA International Flight Awards”
- Enter any (valid) city pairs and any (valid) dates
- Click “Next”, NOT of Flight Search
- Scroll all the way to the bottom
- You should see “Use Star Alliance Member Airlines” button, click this to search *A availability.
ANA will probably fix this loophole soon, so I suggest you follow Gary’s advice and either transfer 1000 American Express Membership Reward points or as little as one Starpoint (for Starwood Platinum members only) to your ANA account. You can also credit hotel stays and car rentals to ANA’s mileage program.
It is a bit odd ironic that UA added the ability the search for select Star Alliance awards online the same week ANA "eliminated" this option. Perhaps an effort to cover-up UA’s Starnet blocking practice?
(Tip of the hat to Gary and Lucky)