ANA's around the world award is one of the best values out there. For around 125,000 or 145,000 points, you can stop in eight different cities and fly in business class the whole way! I advise you book as far ahead in advance because that will allow you to have more flexibility, book more direct flights, and find more award availability to avoid airline partners with high fuel surcharges. Use the website FlightConnections to potential routes on Star Alliance airlines (there is an option if you click airlines) and try to avoid those high fuel surcharge airlines.
Most Star Alliance airlines can be found using United, Aeroplan, or ANA's system. ANA's system will not be able to price the entire around the trip award, but you could break it down into small roundtrips to find award space (e.g. if you wanted to search award space from Tokyo to Singapore, search a trip from Tokyo to Singapore back to Singapore since you have to search a roundtrip on their system). This process is a little tedious on ANA, so United and Aeroplan may be a good first step to finding award space. However, United will not show the fuel surcharges, because they don't pass any surcharges on. You can then verify those dates and routes on ANA's website
How Many Miles It Will Cost
ANA's round the world chart is distance based, so enter your route on GCMap to see the distance of the trip and compare this distance with the chart below to see how many miles required.
Rules for a Round the World Award
Routing Rules: Up to 8 stopovers overall (Up to 3 stopovers are permitted within Europe and up to 4 stopovers are permitted within Japan). Maximum of 12 flight segments and 4 open jaws. Must cross Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean. No backtracking (i.e. Once you start going East, you cannot go West. However, ANA can be lenient within a region of this rule). Additionally, trip must be more than 10 days long measured from first international departure.
Only Star Alliance Partners: Adria, Aegean ($), Air Canada, Air China, Air India ($), Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana, Austrian, Avianca, Brussels Airlines ($), Copa, Croatia Airlines, Egyptair ($), Ethiopian ($), EVA Air, LOT Polish ($), Lufthansa ($), SAS, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways ($), Swiss ($), TAP Portugal ($), THAI, Turkish Airlines ($), and United.
- $= high fuel surcharges
Additionally, you must call to book, but find award space for each flight beforehand.
Recommendation: Consider adjusting your route if you are in the bottom or middle of a range so that you can either save points (by moving to lower range) or maximize your points (by adding more stops or visiting a further away city). Additionally, you could also look at more direct flights between destinations to reduce the number of miles total.
Tips: Use the website Flight Connections and select "Star Alliance" to see where the potential routes of Star Alliance members. This will really help when you are trying to figure out cities and routes to visit. Additionally, you may also want to do a 5-day free trial or a monthly subscription to Expert Flyer. It will be much faster to check award space than ANA's website, plus if you are waitlisted in business class for a segment, you can set an award seat alert to alert you when you can call and be upgraded.
This award below is 21,243 miles, which would cost only 125,000 points in business class per person. It includes seven stops and one open jaw (Zurich to Lisbon, which you could buy a cheap flight or visit some European cities on the way to Lisbon). This is a good example of an award that would likely have very low fees. Try to fly as much as you can on ANA, EVA, United, Air Canada, Singapore, and Thai to avoid fuel surcharges. For the other airlines, shorter routes should have reasonable surcharges (e.g. Dubai to Istanbul on Turkish Airlines).