I Just Blew All My Points for a Trip to Japan

Springtime in Japan, how perfect!
Springtime in Japan, how perfect!

I have been dreaming about a trip to Japan for a long time.

Our family kind of lives moment to moment.  It is hard for us to make long-range plans because we never know what might come up.

Spontanaity has its advantages, though.  Sometimes, when you see an opportunity you can to jump on it.

Other times, it can be frustrating because tickets sell out, you can’t get reservations, and you miss out.

We have been saving miles and points for a trip to Japan for several years.  Between my husband and myself, and a few strategic credit card applications, we had 300,000 frequent flier miles, enough for two roundtrip business class tickets to Japan.

OMG, My Husband Retired!

My husband retired last fall.  I wasn’t really expecting it.

What does “retired” means these days, anyway?  I mean, he stopped going to work every day.  But, what’s next?

What’s more, our daughter graduated from high school in June.  We suddenly have more flexibility than during all those years when we were tied to the school calendar.

So I did exactly what you might expect.  I planned a trip.  To Japan.

All Dressed Up With 300,000 Points and Nowhere To Go

I am totally conflicted about miles and points.

Sometimes I think they’re a total scam.  It seems there is never availability for where you want to go, when you want to go.  Or, the only flights available on frequent flier miles follow ridiculous routings.

Both United Airlines and All Nippon Airlines (ANA) fly nonstop from Washington Dulles (IAD) to Tokyo (NRT).  You can use United Mileage Plus miles for either airline.  It’s a code share thing.  Both airlines offer lie-flat seats in business class on this route.  But I couldn’t seem to find saver seat availability.

Then, miraculously, I found seats in both directions for travel during peak cherry blossom season!  The routing would require an extra 15,000 frequent flier miles apiece.

Suddenly miles and points seem like magic!  We’ll be traveling to Japan on United in business class, and returning via ANA in first class!  The tickets are costing us 165,000 miles and $37 apiece.

That’s unbelievable!  $37 to fly roundtrip to Tokyo in lie flat business class and first class.  It kind of renews my faith in this hobby.

This will be our first trip to Asia.  Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing a few things I learned from booking this trip, as well as some deals I’ve run across along the way.  I am beyond excited!

If you have any tips on travel in Japan, I’d love if you could share in the comments!

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