We have a lot of people wanting to go to Japan (myself include) and it is reopening (finally) on October 11th. It is definitely on my radar and I’ve been wanting to plan a trip there soon. So, basically, this post is as much for me and my research as it is for our readers. Once I do finally get to go, I will for sure do a recap of my trip. Hold on, this could be a long post! Points and Miles to Japan – let’s go!
Most people want to go in the spring to see the cherry blossoms and this is the busiest time. The fall is also busy due to the changing of the leaves. The rainy season is the end of May to July and the hot and humid season is from June to August. I think that I will choose the fall to go as the weather is better for me and not as busy as cherry blossom time. You can check here for the weather and the best times to go.
There are many ways to use points and miles for flights so this won’t cover them all. I’ll use my home airport, Denver, as a starting point so I can refer back to it. Some are easy redemptions, some are more complicated.
Let’s start with the easiest one for me as I live near a United hub. I will not be traveling all the way to Japan in economy class so my screenshots will be of business class. You can fly to Tokyo at two airports. I just searched all airports and found this landing at Narita airport which is outside of Tokyo. There were similar flights arriving at Haneda airport, inside Tokyo.
There were a ton of 70K award flights. Basically, this would be 140K for business class for a roundtrip ticket and 70K for economy class. What I love about this flight is that it is nonstop. I would probably look for an evening flight so I could sleep most of it. This is a very good (and easy) option for me or anyone who lives near a United hub or is willing to position to a hub.
I could use points from a United credit card or transfer points to United from my credit cards that earn Ultimate Rewards. The great news is that this opens up flights to all the Star Alliance partners. I may book on United but fly one of their partner airlines.
I like the idea of using ANA because of two things:
The con of using them is that they are difficult to use to fly to Japan for those reasons. Most people have to book almost a year out to find availability, whereas I can find availability much easier with United and other airlines.
I was able to find economy seats almost a year out for 55K seats roundtrip. I searched for business class seats for quite a while but they were all waitlisted and I wouldn’t want to take a chance on them opening up.
You cannot book on ANA using awards for a one-way flight. It has to be a round-trip flight to use miles/points. ANA is about 90K in business class round trip when you find it. Just know that you have to be diligent in searching and flexible with your dates.
American Airlines usually does not have award prices for a business class that are competitive but sometimes you get a web saver price that is great. I was completely shocked to find a 60K business class seat to Tokyo from Denver with only one stop. This gives me more options.
There are three solid options for me to get to Tokyo – if you have done others, let me know!
Since most people go to Tokyo for part of their stay, I am going to concentrate on hotels there. There are many of the same brands throughout Japan.
You can stay at some very nice Hyatt Hotels in Tokyo, anywhere from 12,000 points for a Hyatt Regency to an Andaz Tokyo for 30,000 points. Using points and miles to Japan does not cost you a ton to stay in a beautiful hotel. Here are some of the best choices:
Using points and miles to Japan and booking a room at the beautiful Park Hyatt Tokyo will only cost 25K a night. You can use points from Chase Ultimate Rewards or Hyatt points to make this your dream lodging. Many, many people have written fabulous reviews after their stay here.
Finally, here is where I might stay if I pass on the Park Hyatt. I am undecided right now. (Let me know if you have a review of one that you’ve stayed at.) The Andaz Tokyo looks amazing with gorgeous views of the city. I am a lover of the Hyatt Andaz brand so I might be willing to pay 30K/night to stay here. Here is a place to see a review comparing the two.
You can find rooms to book in Tokyo with Marriott points or annual free night certificates that range from 35k/night to 85K/night.
Cheaper-priced hotels include the Sheraton Miyako Hotel Tokyo and the Aloft Tokyo Ginza and the Courtyard Tokyo Ginza Hotel.
Other hotels you can book in Tokyo for around 50K points (depending on time) include the Courtyard Tokyo Station, Mesm Tokyo, Autograph Collection, The Prince Sakura Tower Tokyo, Autograph Collection, and The Westin Tokyo.
Finally, we have some pure luxury with points and miles to Japan with these Marriott points that will book at 70K-85K points. If you have a lot of points, you can stay at the Tokyo EDITION, Toranomon, the Ritz-Carlton Tokyo, or the Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho, a Luxury Collection Hotel.
When you are thinking about going to Japan on points and miles you probably don’t think of IHG because you think about the Holiday Inn Express. You might not want to stay there without kids on a dream vacation but have you ever stayed at an Intercontinental Hotel? They are fabulous and Asia is the perfect place to use IHG points.
I have always received upgrades, breakfasts, and elite recognition in Asia with my Platinum Elite Status (which comes free when you have the Chase IHG Rewards Club Premier Card). It is my favorite card to use in Asia for hotels. And, speaking of Intercontinental Hotels, here are two possibilities. The IHG generally card gives you a 125,000+ point welcome offer. I can get 2-3 nights for free at these Intercontinentals!
Last, but not least, let’s look at Hilton. One thing that I like about using a Hilton in Japan is that if you have the Hilton Aspire card, you could use your resort credit for one of your nights.
I’m so excited that Japan is finally opening up completely. I am ready to plan a trip to Tokyo on points and miles. I know a lot of you have the same plans. Let me know in the comments where you plan to stay and how you are getting there!
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