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Ever dreamed of visiting Japan? Credit card rewards can help get you there for a fraction of the price!
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.
Wherever you go, you’re sure to have an amazing time!
In this part of the series, I’ll share my experience flying to Japan in Business Class on Cathay Pacific., and how you can do it, too! In future posts, I’ll have more about where I stayed and getting around.
How to Fly to Japan for ~$100 Trip Report Index:
- Part 1 – Introduction & Planning
- Part 2 – These Are My Favorite Japanese Cities
- Part 3 – Airport Lounge Access Isn’t Just for Elite Travelers
- Part 4 – The Secret to Flying Cathay Pacific Business Class
- Part 5 – 3 Weeks of Lodging for Only ~$450!
- Part 6 – Getting Around Japan (Rail System, Metro, Bus, Etc.)
- Part 7 – Shipping and Storing Luggage in Japan
- Part 8 – Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge at Kansai International Airport
- Part 9 – Flights to USA – Japan Airlines Business Class
Flights to Japan on Cathay Pacific Business Class
I redeemed 190,000 American Airlines miles for 2 round-trip Business Class flights to Japan on Cathay Pacific (95,000 American Airlines miles per ticket), that I booked before American Airlines changed their award chart.
It now costs 120,000 American Airlines miles for one round-trip Business Class ticket!
I wanted to fly First Class over the Pacific, but had trouble finding seats, so instead booked Business Class flights.
I found a route with a few layovers, but it would be a long trip. So I called the American Airlines customer service line to book the less-than-ideal flights I found, and the agent asked where I wanted to go and the dates I wanted to travel.
I let her know I wanted to fly as close to Okinawa, Japan as possible, and then fly out of mainland Japan. She was excellent, and found better seats for me than I found for myself!
You Can Do It, Too!
One-way Business Class flights to Japan cost 95,000 American Airlines miles and ~$5 in taxes and fees.
For an even better flight experience, try to find a seat on Cathay Pacific or Japan Air Lines!
We flew American Airlines First Class from Austin to Chicago. We then had a ~4.5 hour layover in Chicago, and spent most of it in the British Airways Terraces Lounge before our flight in Business Class.
It’s smart to allow plenty of time for the layover, in case your first leg gets delayed. Because the last thing you want to do is miss your overseas connection!
If you need more American Airlines miles, you could consider cards like:
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® – 50,000 American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® – 60,000 American Airlines miles after spending $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account
- Barclaycard AAdvantage® Aviator™ Red World Elite Mastercard® – 40,000 American Airlines bonus miles after your first purchase and payment of annual fee within the first 90 days of account opening
Cathay Pacific Business Class – Chicago to Hong Kong
From Chicago, we flew in Cathay Pacific Business class to Hong Kong. The flight was amazing!
The seats were so comfortable and I loved how they were paired.
The TV screens were huge, which was perfect for watching a movie (or two or three!). There was a great selection of TV shows, movies, and music.
Soon after takeoff, we were served our first course.
For my main course, I had beef with mashed potatoes and vegetables. It was delicious! And for dessert, I had a green tea mousse cake and a piece of chocolate.
The seats were very modern and had all the comforts: lie flat beds, outlets for charging your electronics, a large TV, and plenty of storage compartments.
It’s always nice not having to worry about your laptop or phone battery running low!
There was also a large compartment with headphones and a mirror. The headphones provided good sound. But they always seem to be too tight for me and make my ears hurt after an hour or so. I recently purchased a pair of Bose Quietcomfort headphones and LOVE them! As an added bonus, I earned ~3 points per dollar I spent by shopping through Chase’s shopping portal.
Still, it was a very comfortable flight and I would happily ride Cathay Pacific again!
Cathay Pacific Business Class – Hong Kong to Taipei
After our ~2.5 layover in Hong Kong, we boarded our flight to Taipei, Taiwan.
Because our first stop was Okinawa, we wanted to fly as close to the island as possible. The best availability I got was to Taipei, Taiwan, which worked out fine.
The plane was a little bit older and smaller than our previous flight. But it was a much shorter trip, so we didn’t mind. It was still very nice!
This was my third flight, so I was pretty excited to get to Taipei for a night of sleep in an actual full-sized bed.
Still, we toasted champagne for our last flight of the night and enjoyed the ride.
We had tried to sleep on the previous flight, but I find it’s hard sleeping on long-haul flights for some reason.
It could be partly because of the excitement over Business Class and all the delicious food and fun movies to watch. And at the start of a vacation, all I can think about is getting there!
We were also served food on this flight. And it was so nice not having to rush for food during our short layover in Hong Kong!
Finally, we arrived at the Taipei airport. Everything looked so new and modern!
Overnight Hotel Stay at the Novotel Taipei
I like booking on hotels.com for hotels where I don’t have status or can earn rewards. That’s because when you stay 10 nights, you get 1 free night.
Peach Flight from Taipei to Okinawa
In the morning, we took a regional airline called Peach from Taipei to Naha, Okinawa. And paid ~$350 for 2 tickets in coach.
The airport was busy in the morning and we had to wait in line for ~20 minutes. But thankfully, the line moved much faster than we thought it would.
It’s easy to get pretty spoiled when you’re used to priority boarding! 😉
I used 190,000 American Airlines miles and ~$220 in taxes and fees for 2 round-trip Business Class flights to Japan on Cathay Pacific, which was before the devaluation.
Now it costs 240,000 American Airlines miles plus taxes and fees for 2 round-trip Business Class flights.
But redeeming American Airlines for flights to Asia can still be a great use of miles. Because the cash price of a round-trip Business Class ticket can cost thousands of dollars!