After 2 1/2 lengthy years, Japan is lastly opening again as much as vacationers. Japan will resume visa-free entry for particular person vacationers starting Oct. 11.
Japan is my favourite nation, with its well-known cherry blossoms, cutting-edge know-how, and top-notch hospitality.
The nation additionally has unbelievable delicacies and a service trade that completely embodies the cultural significance positioned on respect and politeness.
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All of this to say, I’m unbelievably excited to get again to Japan. Fortunately, there are quite a few loyalty packages to get vacationers there — let us take a look at a few of the finest choices.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Membership
Naturally, I’ll begin with probably the most aspirational solution to get to Japan: All Nippon Airways top quality.
Though Virgin Atlantic simply will quickly be part of the SkyTeam alliance, the airline nonetheless has particular person partnerships with different airways, together with ANA. The Flying Membership program is hit and miss, nevertheless it does have a number of extremely helpful redemption choices.
Right here is the round-trip award chart for flights on ANA booked by means of Virgin Atlantic Flying Membership:
In lots of instances, these costs are decrease than what most different carriers cost for a one-way award — 110,000 factors round-trip in one of many world’s finest first-class merchandise is an absolute steal.
Enterprise class for 90,000 factors isn’t half-bad both. Observe that costs are marginally increased for flights from the U.S. East Coast and central states than from the West Coast, however the small distinction shouldn’t be sufficient to sway you.
One other great point is that you may now e book one-way journeys for half the price of a round-trip ticket.
Sadly, there are two main downsides to reserving ANA tickets with Virgin Atlantic Flying Membership. One is that ANA is sort of stingy with award availability. The opposite main draw back is that you just can not e book tickets on-line. As a substitute, you should discover award house utilizing a Star Alliance search instrument. I like to make use of United Airways’ web site or Air Canada’s web site as each present all Star Alliance award availability on-line.
After you’ve famous award availability, it is advisable name Virgin Atlantic and provides the consultant the precise flights and sophistication of service you need. The agent will lookup and make sure the house. You possibly can then switch factors over to Flying Membership. Most transfers course of immediately, so that you don’t have to fret about shedding award house.
Switch companions: Flying Membership factors are extremely simple to earn. It is a switch accomplice with all the foremost transferable currencies, together with:
If you switch Marriott factors to Flying Membership in increments of 60,000, you obtain a bonus 5,000 airline miles. In different phrases, 60,000 Marriott factors equal 25,000 Virgin factors.
It is also value noting that we typically see switch bonuses from packages equivalent to Chase and American Specific to Virgin Atlantic Flying Membership. By way of Sept. 30, 2022, Amex has a 30% bonus for Flying Membership.
Associated: 5 methods to maximise Amex’s newest set of 12 switch bonuses
ANA Mileage Membership
One other nice solution to get to Japan on ANA is thru its personal loyalty program: ANA Mileage Membership
ANA Mileage Membership is probably not probably the most well-known loyalty program, nevertheless it does have some nice makes use of.
Though not fairly top quality, top-of-the-line methods to make use of your ANA Mileage Membership miles is for enterprise class. ANA business-class award tickets from the U.S. to Asia could be booked for as little as 75,000 miles. That is lower than what many airways cost for a one-way business-class ticket from the U.S. to Asia. This system additionally permits for stopovers and open-jaw journeys.
ANA costs its personal tickets primarily based on the area you’re flying to and from, in addition to the season wherein you’re flying. At present, the airline has three completely different seasons: low, excessive and common.
You then want to search out the area your flight is departing from and arriving at. Yow will discover that by scrolling down the web page.
It’s value noting that you may solely e book round-trip tickets with ANA Mileage Membership — no one-way awards are allowed. You can even solely e book off-peak costs on ANA-operated flights.
Remarkably, you’ll be able to e book round-trip tickets to Japan in top-of-the-line business-class merchandise on this planet for less than 75,000 miles.
The best solution to earn ANA Mileage Membership miles is by transferring American Specific Membership Rewards at a 1:1 ratio. You can even switch Marriott Bonvoy factors to ANA Mileage Membership at a 3:1 switch ratio. You’ll earn a 5,000-mile bonus for each 60,000 Marriott factors transferred, so 60,000 factors are value 25,000 ANA miles.
If it is advisable add some Membership Rewards factors to your present stability, listed here are some present welcome provides:
Associated: 10 methods to redeem ANA Mileage Membership miles for optimum worth
Alaska Mileage Plan
This is because of its beneficiant award charts for accomplice airways. Alaska Airways has completely different award charts for its flights and every of its companions which opens up quite a few award redemption alternatives.
In March 2021, Alaska Airways joined the Oneworld alliance. This opened up partnerships with main airways together with American Airways, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Japan Airways.
Flying top quality on Japan Airways is broadly thought of top-of-the-line methods to get to Japan. From the good seats to the implausible onboard delicacies to the unimaginable service and hospitality, Japan Airways’ top quality is actually a once-in-a-lifetime expertise.
That is the place the Alaska Airways Mileage Plan program comes into play. Flying between North America and Japan will value 70,000 Alaska miles for a one-way ticket in top quality. Sure, that’s appropriate. Solely 70,000 miles to fly in top quality to Japan. Alaska Airways permits a stopover on award redemptions, however we’re centered on Japan for this text.
Utilizing Alaska’s search function is comparatively easy. There’s an award calendar and you’ll e book JAL-operated awards on-line.
As you’ll be able to see, it prices solely 70,000 Alaska miles to fly Japan Airways top quality to Japan.
Alaska Airways Mileage Plan miles are a few of the most respected miles you’ll be able to earn. Sadly, they are not as simple to earn as a result of Alaska Mileage Plan isn’t a accomplice of any main transferable bank card packages like American Specific Membership Rewards or Chase Final Rewards.
Nonetheless, due to its large listing of airline companions, each within the Oneworld alliance and non-alliance companions, you’ll be able to earn miles by flying many various airways and crediting these accomplice flights to Mileage Plan. Plus, after all, you’ll be able to earn miles while you fly with Alaska Airways.
Additionally, Alaska usually has purchase miles promotions that help you top off on miles at an affordable worth. There’s additionally an internet procuring portal that may assist you earn miles on on-line procuring.
Alaska Airways has two cobranded bank cards issued by Financial institution of America: one private card and one enterprise card.
If it is advisable prime up your Alaska stability, the Alaska Airways Visa® Enterprise card provides 70,000 bonus miles plus Alaska’s Companion Fare from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and costs from $22) after spending $4,000 inside the first 90 days of account opening.
Associated: Spa at 35,000 ft: A overview of Japan Airways in top quality from New York to Tokyo
One other Oneworld choice to get to Japan is together with your American Airways AAdvantage miles.
Though this system misplaced some worth over the previous few years, you’ll be able to nonetheless get a ton out of this system. One of the simplest ways to get actual worth is thru the airline’s worldwide companions within the Oneworld Alliance.
American publishes award charts for every area and even accomplice awards. On AA’s accomplice award chart, Asia is split into three award areas: Asia Area 1, Asia Area 2 and South Pacific. Japan is taken into account to be in Asia Area 1.
This implies you’ll be able to e book Japan Airways enterprise class for simply 60,000 AAdvantage miles every means. It prices 20,000 further miles to fly in top quality. This offers an alternate solution to fly on Japan Airways if incomes Alaska miles is simply too troublesome.
I discovered some business-class availability from Chicago’s O’Hare Worldwide Airport (ORD) in January 2023 utilizing American’s award calendar.
It prices 60,000 AAdvantage miles to fly to/from Japan one-way in Japan Airways’ enterprise class:
For simply 20,000 extra miles, you will get into the distinguished Japan Airways top quality. I personally consider this is without doubt one of the very best redemptions for AAdvantage miles.
All that’s left is to earn the miles. Incomes American Airways miles is considerably simpler than incomes, say, Alaska miles. That is primarily as a result of there are quite a few cobranded bank cards.
Between Citi and Barclays, there are presently 5 American Airways bank cards with various sign-up bonuses and incomes buildings. This is a take a look at Citi’s choices:
The knowledge for the Citi Enterprise AAdvantage Platinum Choose Mastercard, and Citi AAdvantage Platinum Choose World Elite Mastercard has been collected independently by The Factors Man. The cardboard particulars on this web page haven’t been reviewed or offered by the cardboard issuer.
You can even earn AAdvantage miles by flying on American and accomplice airways. You can even earn American miles with the AAdvantage eShopping portal and AAdvantage Eating program.
Associated: Your final information to American Airways AAdvantage
One closing choice to get to Japan is through a fifth-freedom flight operated by Singapore Airways. Though this selection is restricted to Los Angeles Worldwide Airport (LAX), I believed it will be value mentioning for our West Coast readers.
Singapore Airways is legendary for its top-notch service, particularly in its premium cabins. Plus, this route is operated on a 777-300ER, which opens up the potential of flying Singapore Suites top quality.
Singapore does not launch premium-cabin award house to its companions, so you will must e book by means of Singapore’s KrisFlyer program.
Award availability is usually scarce. Nonetheless, it’s value noting that KrisFlyer means that you can waitlist for awards if your required flight or class of service is not obtainable on the time of reserving.
Thankfully, these miles are simple to earn since KrisFlyer is a accomplice of all 5 main transferable factors currencies: Chase Final Rewards, American Specific Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, Capital One and Marriott Bonvoy. The primary 4 transfers happen at a 1:1 price.
Once more, the switch from Marriott happens at a 3:1 price. In case you switch 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy factors to KrisFlyer in a single transaction, you’ll get a bonus of 5,000 miles on prime of the 20,000 miles you’d earn.
Associated: The very best first-class seats between the US and Asia
With Japan lastly set to reopen subsequent month, count on to see a surge of demand for journey to the nation.
Though some nice choices to fly to Japan on a few of the world’s finest airways, award availability is scarce. I spent quite a few hours searching for availability with the choices listed above and my recommendation is to e book as quickly as doable.