How to Use Points and Miles to Travel to Japan

Japan has recently reopened to international travelers after being closed for several years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As one of the most popular tourist destinations for Americans, demand for flights and hotels in Japan is surging.

Buying House in Japan

However, it is still very possible to book an amazing trip to Japan using points and miles.

Here’s how to get started.

Flying to Japan Using Miles

One of the best options for flying to Japan on miles is with Japan Airlines business class.

You can book a one-way business class award seat for just 60,000 American Airlines AAdvantage miles or 60,000 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles, plus minimal taxes and fees. Availability is best either within a few weeks of travel or far in advance, currently in February and March 2025.

To find more award availability on Japan Airlines, search using the British Airways Executive Club program, which allows you to book seats a couple weeks further out compared to the US frequent flyer programs.

Another great option is All Nippon Airways (ANA) business class. You can book awards on ANA through several programs including ANA Mileage Club, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, and United MileagePlus.

Business class seats from Houston to Tokyo can be found for 110,000 United miles each way. As with JAL, look for seats either last-minute or at the very end of the schedule.

The easiest way to book ANA is probably by transferring American Express Membership Rewards points. Just watch out for phantom availability that shows seats but then waitlists you during the booking process.

Consider applying for The Platinum Card from American Express, which is currently offering a welcome bonus of 80,000 points after spending $6,000 in the first 6 months, to boost your balance of Amex points for a future trip.

Check to see if you’re targeted for an even higher 150,000 point bonus offer through CardMatch.

Staying in Japan Using Points

In addition to flights, hotel points can help you stay at some incredible properties in Japan. In Kyoto, the luxurious Park Hyatt Kyoto is bookable for just 35,000 World of Hyatt points per night. Set an alert if you don’t see availability at first, as seats do open up.

The Hyatt Place Kyoto provides another great option to stretch your points further.

In Tokyo, the centrally located Grand Hyatt Tokyo goes for 25,000 Hyatt points per night. There are many other top Tokyo hotels that can be booked with points as well.

Consider applying for the World of Hyatt Credit Card, which is currently offering up to 60,000 bonus points, to jumpstart your balance. You can also transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards to Hyatt if you have a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

While Japan is one of the most in-demand destinations for award travel right now, it is very possible to book an amazing trip, flying business class and staying in top hotels, all on points and miles.

The keys are to start planning early, set alerts for availability, and have flexible points like Amex Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards to transfer to airline and hotel partners. With some savvy planning, you can be on your way to an unforgettable Japanese adventure.

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