How to Book Cheap Flights to Japan Using Points & Rewards

Travel demand to Japan has been steadily increasing since the nation reopened to tourists last year. And it’s reached a fever pitch this year: everyone wants to go to Japan in 2024. Yes, including you. We are aware that tickets for flights this far across the Pacific are not always inexpensive. That’s our main purpose here.

Have you set aside funds for a vacation to Japan, but you’re still looking for a deal on airfare? Alternatively, perhaps you’ve saved up your airline miles or credit card points for the arduous trans-Pacific journey. to discover you are clueless about where to begin to pack the biggest impact on your points?

We’ve got some tips on how to get there for less money, whether you’re okay with flying economy or want to splash out on a lie-flat business or first-class seat to Tokyo and back.

Under $900 for Cheap Japan Flights

Observing four-figure airfare for a trip this year or the following to Japan and back? You are capable of more. Every day, we dedicate our entire day to searching for low-cost flights for our Thrifty Traveler Premium customers, with Japan consistently ranking highly on our list. If you wait for the proper offer, a round-trip ticket to Tokyo may be had for about $900.

The West Coast, especially Los Angeles (LAX), is where you’ll usually find the best deals, with up to 12 daily flights to Tokyo leaving from there. Because of this, the area is ideal for offers on Japan flights like this one.

Use positioning flights from Los Angeles to take advantage of these offers if you don’t live in Southern California. Hundreds of dollars could be saved over time by combining this lower United fare above with a cheap domestic flight to Los Angeles.

Occasionally, however, the travel offer also shows up at your home airport. We’ve found a couple of different examples of under $900 roundtrip ticket fares to Tokyo from several U.S. and Canadian airports in the last few weeks!

Cheapest Premium Economy Flights to Japan as Well

Let’s finally, albeit very marginally, improve. If you want to travel really large distances comfortably without going over budget for business class, premium economy may be a lot better option. It is ideal for the lengthy travel to Japan.

So we’re all over those premium economy tickets when they go on sale! Since upgrading to a premium economy only slightly increases the cost of a typical economy seat, why not do so?

How to Find Low-Cost Air Tickets to Japan

You should bear these tried-and-true suggestions in mind if you’re searching for an inexpensive trip to Japan.

Fly midweek: While there isn’t a perfect time to arrange a trip, midweek is usually when the best deals are found. Look for flights on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays for destinations to Japan.

Go off-season: Take advantage of the shoulder season to avoid the crowds and save money on flights. This usually corresponds to mid-January to mid-March and September to mid-December in Japan.

Travel from low-cost hubs: While there aren’t many low-cost carriers operating between the US and Japan, ZIPAIR, a recent entrant, is reshaping the industry with flights from Los Angeles (LAX), Honolulu (HNL), and San Jose (SJC) to Tokyo (NRT). ZipAIR makes it possible to find the cheapest flights (on any airline) from California to Hawaii, even if you may not want to fly on a low-cost carrier.

Get a positioning flight: Do you not reside on the West Coast, where the cheapest flights to Japan are found? For a more affordable route to Japan, you might choose to schedule an additional positioning aircraft within the United States to reach a gateway.

Utilize Google Flights to conduct your search: this is by far the most effective resource for locating affordable flights to any destination, including Japan.

Be flexible with your dates of trip: Most people decide on their dates of travel and then begin their airfare search. You can make a lot more decisions about your vacation to Japan if you reverse that procedure. This is the best travel hack we know of.

Spend AA Miles to Travel Economy on Japan Airlines

Being in the rear of the aircraft when crossing the Pacific Ocean should be comfortable. Additionally, even though economy seats on different airlines may appear to be the same, every extra inch of space matters.

Few airlines are as adept at economy travel as Japan Airlines (JAL). This Japanese airline, in our opinion, has the greatest economy seats for flights to Japan or anywhere in Asia. These seats are truly what JAL refers to as the “Sky Wider” economy.

Compared to what airlines like American fly on many of the same long-haul routes, these seats are significantly broader, measuring up to 19 inches across. Having an extra inch or two of breadth can make the difference between being able to relax and being worried about bumping into your neighbor. On these itineraries, look for JAL’s Boeing 787 Dreamliners, which have the economy class configured with just eight seats wide, although other airlines fit nine seats in the same area.

Do you want more room for legs? There, too, you are fortunate. JAL offers up to 34 inches of pitch on these aircraft, which is two inches or more than other airlines offer. You’ve got one of the greatest economy seats for your long-haul travel to Japan when you take into account JAL’s delicious food and excellent service.

It is really simple to make reservations when the time arrives. Through American’s website, you can immediately reserve these flights using your AAdvantage miles. Since there is typically plenty of award space, finding economy flights on JAL at 35,000 miles is typically easy: Just search, being certain to choose “redeem miles.”

It’s hard to match 70,000 AAdvantage miles and low fees for round-trip flights to Japan if you’re on an economy budget with your points. However, flying to Tokyo in some comfortable seats—or even suites—might be worth a small investment.

Journey to Tokyo with Delta Airlines

From five of its U.S. hubs, Delta is now operating nonstop flights to Tokyo-Haneda (HND). However, if you don’t take advantage of those insanely low Delta SkyMiles flash sales, be prepared to spend at least 150,000 SkyMiles. and occasionally even more than that.

An even better option is to use your SkyMiles wisely and reserve the same Delta tickets through Virgin Atlantic, frequently at a much lower point value. How much less expensive? We are discussing round-trip airfare of just 55,000 points from Seattle (SEA) to Tokyo.

Want to go by air from another location in the United States? The length of your flight determines how much the rate increases. For example, round-trip nonstop points from Los Angeles (LAX) or Minneapolis to Tokyo are 70,000, and nonstop points from Atlanta (ATL) to Tokyo are 90,000.

To book these Delta flights, you cannot transfer SkyMiles to Virgin, but you can simply obtain the necessary Virgin points. This is a result of Virgin having transfer partnerships with all of the main credit card companies. Thus, credit cards such as the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, the American Express® Gold Card, or the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card provide easy access to the points you require. It’s possible that you can get away with using as little as 43,000 credit card points for your travel to Tokyo if you take advantage of the regular 30% transfer benefits from all those cards to Virgin!

How to Book: Verify that you can book the Delta flights you wish to take before transferring any points to Virgin.

Look for nonstop Delta flights to Tokyo by visiting Being adaptable may be necessary since, particularly during periods of high travel demand, Virgin may not always be able to reserve these seats through Delta.

Alternatively, you could just let us handle the research. We issued a notice earlier this year to our Thrifty Traveler Premium members about this price, which is still available to book for Tokyo this spring (including at the peak cherry blossom bloom) and again in the fall and early 2024!

For ANA First Class

Best for last, of course. Not only is it one of the greatest ways to acquire points and miles to Japan, but it’s still one of the top options in the globe, even after a recent hike.

For a small fraction of what most other airlines would charge, it combines two airlines you’re already familiar with, Virgin Atlantic and ANA, to fly first class to Japan: as little as just 145,000 round-trip Virgin Atlantic points, or 72,500 miles on a one-way trip. Take this: To book this same journey one-way rather than round-trip, you would need to expend 121,000 United miles!

If you are traveling from West Coast cities like Los Angeles or San Francisco, you will get the best rate. A round-trip reward fare of 170,000 points, or 85,000 miles each way, is available when starting in the Midwest or East Coast. For a round-trip reservation, budget roughly $600 in taxes and fees. Virgin Atlantic does, however, let you purchase one-way flights with ANA, in contrast to booking through ANA itself.

Method of Booking: Earlier this year, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club increased reward rates for flights in first class on ANA by 42%. Even though it hurts, this is nonetheless the greatest method for reserving these first-rate suites.

Finding award availability is the difficult part. You can search through months’ worth of flights and not find a single seat—it’s the ultimate unicorn fare. This was altered, however, in the beginning of 2023, when we gave Thrifty Traveler Premium members two award alerts, allowing them to use their miles to book the airline’s newest first-class suites.

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