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Biz Class to Tokyo for 45K Points?! The Best Points & Miles Deals to Japan

Attention Thrifty Traveler Premium members:

Attention Thrifty Traveler Premium members:

You’ve likely already received these deals. If not, log into your Premium deals hub to see every recent alert we've sent.

For years, travelers put off trips to Japan time and time again. But that's changed in a big way: Japan is back open, flyers are flocking there, and an excellent exchange rate means your sushi will cheaper than ever!

Why not save even more getting there by using some credit card points and airline miles? Finding flights you can actually book and figuring out the best miles to use can be a challenge, I know… but that's where our Thrifty Traveler Premium flight deal alert service comes in.

Week after week, we're sending members award alerts to get to Japan on the cheap this year or next. They range from dirt-cheap economy redemptions on Delta for a fraction of what most other airlines charge; lie-flat business class seats to Tokyo as low as 45,000 miles each way; and the ultimate unicorn deal: ANA First Class to Japan.

Let's look at some of the best ways to get to Japan this year using your miles from first class at the front of the plane to economy at the back.




ANA First Class to Japan from 73K Points

This isn't just one of the best ways to get to Japan on points. It's one of the best deals in the world of points and miles, period. It involves flying one of Japan's top-rated airlines in private first class suites … by redeeming miles from a British airline. 

Yes, really. 

You can book ANA First Class using Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points. And while it took a hit last year when Virgin suddenly raised first class award rates for ANA, it's still a darn good deal: as low as 72,500 points each way. Compared to the exorbitant rates you'll pay on other airlines, it's a steal – especially considering how easy it is to get Virgin Atlantic points by transferring them from credit cards like Chase, Capital One, American Express, and more. 

The hard part is finding award availability … or patience waiting for a Thrifty Traveler Premium alert like this one to hit your inbox.


ana first class alert


In the last year alone, we've sent Thrifty Traveler Premium members a half-dozen alerts to fly ANA First Class to Tokyo and back. That includes this recent alert with plenty of availability from San Francisco (SFO) … including many flights in the airline's newest suites!

ana first class alert 

These flights are long gone now – get the next alert with Thrifty Traveler Premium!

Thrifty Tip: We regularly transfer bonuses of 30% to Virgin Atlantic from banks like Chase, Amex, and Capital One. With a 30% transfer bonus, you could book these flights for as few as 56,000 credit card points each way!

Whether you score a ride in the airline's newest first class suites or the older seats, ANA First Class is a treat. You'll have one of the most comfortable beds available in the skies. Amazing dining, comfortable pajamas, top-notch amenities, and seemingly bottomless glasses of Krug champagne will help put you to sleep.

ANA first class seat 

Read our full review of ANA First Class on the flight from Chicago-O'Hare (ORD) to Tokyo-Haneda (HND)

Just to underscore how good of a deal this is: these flights typically sell for more than $20,000!

jal tokyo flights


Hop on a Cheap Delta SkyMiles Deal

Delta's award pricing system is unpredictable. Sometimes, the pricing to fly Delta can be good … and other times, it's exorbitantly expensive.

But when the Delta deals are good, they're unbeatable. And deals to get to Japan just don't get any better than Delta SkyMiles flash sales. Case in point: We've previously sent Thrifty Traveler Premium members roundtrip Delta fares to Tokyo for as low as 30,000 SkyMiles. That's less than most airlines charge for a one-way fare!


flights to japan 

While SkyMiles flash sales have made a resurgence over the last year with some incredible deals like 27,000 SkyMiles to Europe or 37,000 SkyMiles to New Zealand, deals that good to Tokyo haven't made a comeback just yet. But they're out there, like this alert we sent last summer with flights as low as 42,000 SkyMiles roundtrip.

delta skymiles tokyo deal 

This deal is gone now – get the next Delta deal to Tokyo with Thrifty Traveler Premium!

Delta has shifted all its flights to Japan into Tokyo-Haneda (HND), rather than Tokyo-Narita (NRT). Given how much closer Haneda airport is to town, that's a good thing. And the flight itself should be fairly comfortable, as many of Delta's long-haul planes are far more passenger-friendly in economy than its competitors.

Delta air lines economy seats
Photo courtesy of Delta via Flickr


The trick with using Delta SkyMiles is waiting for the right deal – and being flexible enough to wait for it to come to you. That means this option likely won't work if you've got a specific time period in mind.

There's just no telling when the next great deal will pop up. But Thrifty Traveler Premium will get the first heads up about the next Delta SkyMiles deal to Japan. When it hits, use your stash of SkyMiles to book ASAP – or use Amex Membership Rewards points from cards like the *amex gold* or *amex platinum*. Delta is an Amex transfer partner, which means you can wait for a great deal to Tokyo and when you get one, transfer some points to your SkyMiles account and book!


Fly Japan Airlines Economy Using AA Miles

When you're flying across the Pacific Ocean at the back of the plane, you want to be comfortable. And while economy seats across airlines may seem identical, every extra inch of space counts.

Few airlines do economy better than Japan Airlines (JAL). We're convinced this Japanese flag carrier offers the best economy seat to fly to Asia – or anywhere, really. JAL calls these seats “Sky Wider” economy, and they live up to that name.

At up to 19 inches across, these seats are substantially wider than what airlines like American fly on many of the same long-haul routes. An inch or two of extra width is the difference between relaxing and worrying about rubbing shoulders with your neighbor. Look for JAL's Boeing 787 Dreamliners on these routes, as they configure the economy cabin with just eight seats across – most airlines squeeze nine seats into the same space.

japan airlines economy seats 

Read our full Japan Airlines economy review!

Want legroom? You're in luck there, too. JAL gives you up to 34 inches of pitch on these planes, which is at least 2 inches more than you'd get on most airlines. Factor in JAL's tasty food and sterling service, and you've got one of the best ways to fly economy to Japan – or anywhere in Asia, really.

There are a handful of ways to book flights to Japan on JAL. But we think the best way to get there is using American AAdvantage miles: A one-way flight between Tokyo and the U.S. will run you just 35,000 AAdvantage miles. And thanks to how American prices out awards, it works out at that price whether you're flying nonstop from one of JAL's many U.S. outposts or adding a connecting flight from your home airport flying American before the long transpacific jaunt.

flights to japan 

When it comes time to book, it couldn't be easier. You can book these flights with your AAdvantage miles directly on AA's website. Finding economy flights on JAL at 35,000 miles is usually a cinch as award space tends to be wide open: Just search on AA.com and make sure you select “redeem miles.”

chicago to tokyo jal economy 

Read our full walkthrough on finding the best deals with your AAdvantage miles!

If you're on an economy budget with your points, it's tough to beat 70,000 AAdvantage miles and minimal fees for roundtrip flights to Japan in comfort.


Or Book it in Business Class for 60K via AA!

So maybe we have a soft spot for Japan Airlines. Can you blame us when their business class seats looks like this?

finding award space 

Read our full review of flying Japan Airlines business class!

Welcome to SkySuites. These seats are the best of both worlds, offering tremendous privacy while giving you near-limitless room to stretch your legs and store your bags. But it gets even better: Japan Airlines recently began flying a brand-new business class suite to and from select flights from New York City (JFK) complete with closing doors, new technology, and tons of other bells and whistles.

japan airlines new business class
Photo courtesy of Japan Airlines


Just as with JAL economy, you can book these flights with American AAdvantage miles. And you only need 60,000 AAdvantage miles to do it. 

Award availability comes in waves: Sometimes you can find plenty of seats months in advance, while other times you'll only see award space to book Japan Airlines business class to Tokyo just a few weeks in advance. A few weeks back, we tipped off Thrifty Traveler Premium members to some wide-open award availability for two (or more!) travelers to fly from Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) to Tokyo this spring, summer, and fall!

thrifty traveler premium alert to tokyo 

Whether you live near one of JAL's U.S. outposts or have to make a connection on American (or Alaska Airlines) to get there, flying business class from cities nationwide to Tokyo for just 60,000 miles and a few bucks is tough to beat.

aa award to tokyo 

Read up on the best ways to earn American AAdvantage miles!


Book ANA Biz Class Instead (Just 45K!)

Don't have the budget for first class flights? No problem: There's still a way to score amazing lie-flat seats at a huge bargain. 

It's back on All Nippon Airways … using Virgin Atlantic points again, too. Despite raising first class award rates last year, business class redemptions remain untouched. And get this: It costs just 45,000 points each way from the West Coast – or 47,500 points from the Midwest or East Coast! 

Oh, and frequent 30% transfer bonuses from banks like Chase, Amex, and Capital One can make it even cheaper: just 35,000 points if you time it right! Compared to the 110,000 miles each way United Airlines would charge you for the, that's a huge bargain. 

All of ANA's business class seats are excellent, the new ANA The Room business class suites are out of this world. They may just dethrone Qatar Airways' Qsuites for the mantle of the best business class in the world.

ana business class seat


These days, finding award availability for these seats can be a real chore. Whether you book through Virgin Atlantic, another Star Alliance partner program, or ANA Mileage Club itself, the airline typically only releases business class awards just two weeks before departure, and sometimes even closer. You may need to procrastinate to pull this off. 

Every once in a while, though, the floodgates open. And when it happens, we alert our Thrifty Traveler Premium members.

ANA Business class Virgin


ANA Business Class fares


Take a Flight Deal & Make it Free

What's better than a cheap flight to Tokyo? A free flight to Tokyo.

If you're not up for studying airline award charts to find the best way to book with airline miles, one of the easiest ways to do it is by redeeming credit card points through travel portals like Chase Travel℠. The cheaper the flight, the fewer points you need to book. It's that simple.

Whether you find a cheap flight on your own using Google Flights or get an alert through Thrifty Traveler Premium, it's easy to book through Chase Travel℠. And it's the only way to book a flight to Tokyo for completely free – normal award flights will always tack on additional cash fees of $50 or more.

Take a previous deal from Los Angeles (LAX) to Tokyo-Haneda (HND) for under $600 roundtrip, for example.

thrifty traveler premium deal to tokyo 

Get flight deals like this sent to your inbox with Thrifty Traveler Premium!

If you've got the *chase sapphire preferred* you can book one of these flights with points to make it free. Because every point from the Preferred Card is worth 1.25 cents, that same deal would work out to roughly 46,800 Chase points for your trip to Tokyo.

Got the *chase sapphire reserve* It's even cheaper because every point is worth 1.5 cents apiece, which means you can book that same flight for just over 39,000 Chase points! 

Want an even easier route, booking directly with the airline and making it free using your points? If you've got Capital One Venture Miles, you can just use your miles to cover the cost of your flights.

Every mile is worth 1 cent, so that same $586 flight would take 58,600 Venture Miles.


Bottom Line

Thrifty Traveler Premium members eyeing a trip to Japan in 2024 have plenty of ways to pick from to get there. Heck, the same goes for 2025. 

Some of these are easier to book than others. But don't worry: We're watching award availability on these routes like a hawk so you don't have to.


4 Responses

  • ANA award flights always seem to be on waitlist. What is the best way to confirm business class seat?

    • Waitlisted seats are the norm for ANA, sadly – and far from a guarantee that those waitlist awards will clear. Generally, the sweet spot for confirmable business class award tickets is either:
      -10+ months in advance, or more likely…
      -3 weeks in advance

      So if you’re OK with planning last minute, you can probably make something work.

  • I was delighted to see a Delta flash sale included in your list. But the lack of deals and stinginess of the Delta Skymiles program has been written about so much, it must be true. I was loyal to Delta for a lifetime, and now that I am retired I have a large number of miles set aside in their program. But the usual cost of a ticket when I shop is nearly obscene. Can your program realistically help us?

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