How to Fly Round-Trip to Japan in Business Class for ~$100 Round Trip: Part 5 – 3 Weeks of Lodging for Only ~$450!

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Using miles & points, I recently flew round-trip from Austin, Texas, to Japan for ~$110 in Business Class.  The retail cost was ~$11,000!  And for 3 weeks of lodging (including some fancy hotels), I spent ~$450!

Japan is a beautiful country, filled with a lot to see and do.  You’ll find everything from high-rise skyscrapers to old temples and hot springs.  I loved Tokyo’s energetic neighborhoods, shopping, and delicious restaurants.  And Kyoto is a fantastic place to ride bicycles, and to explore the bamboo forest and monkey park.

Participating in a cooking class and meeting new friends was the highlight of Osaka.  And a day trip to feed the deer in Nara was unforgettable!  Plus, Okinawa is known for its beautiful beaches and scuba diving.

Japan Trip Report

Our Airbnb in Kyoto, Japan, Was Clean, Simple, and Affordable

Wherever you go, you’re sure to have an amazing time!  We spent 3 weeks in Japan, and the total cost of our accommodations was ~$460.  That’s $22 per night in an expensive country!

In this part of the series, I’ll share more about where I stayed, and how you can do it, too!  In future posts, I’ll tell you about getting around Japan and my flights back home.

How to Fly to Japan for ~$100 Trip Report Index:

Get More From Your Points by Booking Hotels & Airbnbs

On this trip, I used a combination of hotel points and free night certificates, and cash for Airbnbs.

Airbnbs are great for families and larger groups.  Because you’ll get more of an authentic feel for the area you’re visiting and more amenities for the price.  Here’s how to find a safe and comfortable Airbnb.  And if you use my Airbnb referral link, you can get $40 off your next rental!

Japan Trip Report

Get $40 Off your Next Airbnb Rental Using My Link

For the majority of my trip, I used Hyatt hotel points and certificates I earned by signing up for the Chase Hyatt card.  And transferred Chase Ultimate Rewards points I earned from various Chase credit cards to Hyatt.

Transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt is easy.  And they transfer at a 1:1 ratio.  So my everyday spending credit cards are usually Chase cards because their Ultimate Rewards points program so versatile.

And my favorite ways to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points are to transfer them to Hyatt for swanky hotels and to Southwest for practically free (~$11) domestic flights!

There are plenty of hotels where you can stay with points, so it doesn’t have to be Hyatt!  Use Hotel Hustle or Award Mapper to find hotels you can book with points.

1.   Grand Hyatt Tokyo

In Tokyo, we stayed at the Grand Hyatt Tokyo in Roppongi Hills.  The hotel is in a great location, only 15 to 30 minutes from the main sites via bus or metro.

Nights regularly go for ~$700.  But we paid 25,000 Hyatt points and $0 per night!

Japan Trip Report

We Saved Thousands of Dollars Using Hyatt Points for Free Nights at the Grand Hyatt Tokyo

Another great option in Tokyo is the Park Hyatt Tokyo, where the cash price is normally ~$1,000+ per night!  But it costs 30,000 Hyatt points per night, so it’s a little pricier than the Grand Hyatt Tokyo.

Japan Trip Report

Our Room Had Great Views of the City!

Both locations are very good, so it just depends on your preference.  I really enjoyed the Grand Hyatt.  But the next time I am in Tokyo, I would love to stay at the Park Hyatt to compare!

2.   Hyatt Regency Hakone

After Tokyo, we headed to Hakone, which is ~90 minutes away.  Hakone is a mountainous resort town that was the perfect getaway after fast-paced Tokyo.

We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Hakone Resort and Spa, where rooms cost ~$500 or 25,000 Hyatt points per night.

Japan Trip Report

We Loved All of the Space at the Hyatt Regency Hakone Resort and Spa

We had a huge room that felt more like a suite.  And the view was fantastic!

Japan Trip Report

We Had Beautiful Views of the Mountains in Hakone

3.   Airbnb in Kyoto

In Kyoto, we stayed at Private Apartment Airbnb.  You’ll get more of an authentic feel for the area you’re visiting and more amenities for the price (we LOVED using the washer!).  And if you use my Airbnb referral link, you can get $40 off your next rental!

The total cost for 4 nights was ~$166.  And the room came with two large beds, a fridge, basic kitchen, and a no-frills bathroom.

Although it was basic, you could also rent 2 bikes for an additional ~$10 per day.  All we had to do was go downstairs by the elevator and pick up our bikes.  It was super easy and we rode them every day, for hours a day, all around Kyoto!

By staying in an Airbnb, we were able to experience what homes are really like in Japan, with the small bathrooms and kitchens.  We really do get spoiled with swanky hotels sometimes. 🙂

Japan Trip Report

Most Homes in Japan Have Small Kitchens, So It’s a Different Experience Than Staying in a Fancy Hotel Room!

There was even a clothes washer and laundry detergent, and we happily did our laundry here!

But if you want to use hotel points for free nights in Kyoto, consider staying at the Hyatt Regency Kyoto, where rooms go for ~$400 or 20,000 Hyatt points per night.

4.   Hyatt Regency Osaka

In Osaka, we stayed in another Hyatt hotel, the Hyatt Regency Osaka.

Nights here are only 8,000 Hyatt points per night, making it a steal!  And here, we had the largest room on our trip, a corner room that looked like a suite.

Japan Trip Report

We Were Lucky to Score a Corner Room at the Hyatt Regency Osaka

The downside was that it was pretty far away from the city center.  So we had to take the metro into the city every day, which can take ~35+ minutes.

Japan Trip Report

The Bathroom Was Spacious and Had a Nice Soaking Tub!

Within walking distance of the hotel were a 1980s era shopping mall and a supermarket, but not much else.

I actually liked the shopping mall, because it wasn’t overwhelming like other malls can be.  Plus, I found some vintage Godzilla posters and gadgets, which made perfect souvenirs!  And since we we were flying out of Osaka, it was a great spot to stock-up on gifts to bring home.

5.   Airbnb in Okinawa

In Okinawa, we stayed at the Fun & Local Seaside Homestay for ~$300 for 5 nights (~$60 per night).

We had a private room in a 4-bedroom flat.  And even though this was the least private of all the places we stayed during our trip, we LOVED our host.

But if total privacy is important to you, or you’re traveling with small children, for example, renting a whole home or apartment might make more sense.

Bottom Line

We spent 3 weeks in Japan, and the total cost of our accommodations was ~$460.  That’s $22 per night in a very expensive country!

The hotel points helped a lot.  We redeemed a total of 74,000 Hyatt points (some of which were transferred from Chase Ultimate Rewards points) and 2 Hyatt free night certificates for 10 free nights!  There are plenty of hotels where you can stay with points, so it doesn’t have to be Hyatt!  Use Hotel Hustle or Award Mapper to find hotels you can book with points.

Plus, we used cash to stay at a few affordable Airbnbs, which was a nice way to experience what life is really like in Japan.  And don’t forget to get $40 off your next rental if you use my Airbnb referral link.

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10 responses to “How to Fly Round-Trip to Japan in Business Class for ~$100 Round Trip: Part 5 – 3 Weeks of Lodging for Only ~$450!

  1. It looks like Airbnb got you a much better “value” per night than Hyatt. Have you looked at Airbnbs in Tokyo and Hakone?

    • @Dima- I didn’t look at Airbnbs in Tokyo or Hakone because I knew I wanted to use points. Renting Airbnbs is a great option and can save you money no matter where you are (bigger cities vs smaller towns).

  2. onyeisue louis

    How do I vist the united state of American with my wife for a month with little money.

  3. How did you turn 2 free nights into 10 free nights?

    Great post. Thank you for all the information as I hope to go to Japan some day.

    • @ Ebene- Glad you enjoyed the post! I also hope you make it to Japan. It’s a beautiful place. 🙂 I used 2 free night certificates and the rest was paid for with Hyatt hotel points. You can transfer Chase points to SW at a 1:1 ratio.

  4. How much money did you spend to get all those points and how long did it take you to do it.

    That would be very helpful for every post. Was is $20,000 dollars on purchases in a year or $750,000 over 10 years.

    If one point is one dollar besides the sign up bonuses, it seems like a lot. I really want do a trip like this but want to know how you did it with spending money to earn the points.

    Thanks
    Brad

    • @ Brad- The minimum spending requirements for each card vary. Usually they are around ~$2,000-5,000 within the first 3 months. Here’s a post on how to meet the minimum spending requirements. http://millionmilesecrets.com/2011/07/20/40-powerful-ways-to-complete-your-credit-card-minimum-spending-requirements/ Check out the cards on the Hot Deals page to see the sign-on points received and the regular spending earning rate. http://millionmilesecrets.com/hot-deals/

      After I complete any necessary minimum spending, I put all of my regular purchases on credit cards and try to max out the points per dollar for each transaction. Different cards offer different rewards for spending. The Chase Freedom Unlimited has quarterly bonus categories, the Chase Sapphire Preferred earns multiple points for travel and dining, etc, so I think about the best rate of return before I pay for anything. I also shop through the bank’s shopping portal to extract even more points. Hope that helps!

  5. Have you considered buying Airbnb gift cards at an office supply store (like Staples) and earning 5X UR points with the Chase INK card and then using the gift cards to pay for your Airbnb stays?

  6. It’s well documented that AirBnb has contributed to the housing crisis in cities like San Francisco and New York. I live in SF and see if first hand everyday.

    Do you know if there are similar issues in Japan? The AirBnb concept is great but I don’t want to be a part of the problem of taking whole apartment off the normal housing market for use as hotels. This hurts the local population and I’d feel bad if my tourism was having a negative impact.

  7. Pingback: Tokyo To Hakone • Japan Technology News