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How to hack your way to Tokyo with points

Tokyo’s vibrant metropolis has a unique lure, no matter how many times you’ve visited. Diversity is at the forefront of Japan’s capital, touted for its dynamic landscape. The city moves quickly – whether it be through technological advancements or an efficient public transport system. And yet a sense of tranquillity can still be felt in the world’s most populated city, dotted with greenery and strong elements of Japan’s rich traditions.

Travellers can delight in Tokyo’s boundless offerings. And by leveraging frequent flyer points, you could be heading there for less – in style.

In our Point Hacker’s pocket guide, we cover everything you need to know about travelling to Tokyo from Australia. We’ve outlined various airlines and routes with different frequent flyer programs so you can put your points to work. Plus, we’ve included our top ways to earn rewards on accommodation and tips for planning the Tokyo trip of a lifetime.

Flying to Tokyo on points

Whether you’re looking for an entryway to start your skiing holiday or simply want to immerse yourself in Japan’s fascinating culture, flying into Tokyo will have you perfectly poised to explore everything this remarkable nation has to offer.

And what’s even better is that it’s easy to fly to Tokyo from Australia with points. Take your pick of airlines and frequent flyer programs to leverage your benefits. We’ve highlighted some of the best options below.

Flying Qantas

Qantas operates direct flights from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane to Haneda Airport, the closer of Tokyo’s two international airports to the city.

using Qantas Points
Brisbane to Tokyo (Haneda)25,20068,400
Adelaide, Canberra, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Sydney to Tokyo (Haneda)31,50082,000
Qantas Points required are per person, one way. Taxes, fees and charges are also payable and vary by route.

Ways to earn Qantas Points

Qantas Frequent Flyer is the largest program of its kind in Australia, so it’s no surprise that it’s one of the most popular for Aussies looking to take to the skies for less. There are lots of ways to earn Qantas Points on the ground from your daily spend, and fast. Here’s how.

Many credit cards offer a generous stash of bonus points when you sign up and meet the minimum spend requirement. And on top of that, you can earn Qantas Points on eligible transactions, plus receive a host of other great benefits like travel insurance or lounge access.

Wine connoisseurs can indulge in a delectable selection of drops via Qantas Wine and pocket bonus points along the way. Eligible cases can net you up to 10,000 bonus Qantas Points, or even more during promotional periods. And when you unlock Qantas Points Club, you’ll receive a voucher to use on Qantas Wine, plus collect triple points on your purchase.

Fancy being rewarded from your regular grocery shop? That’s entirely possible thanks to the Everyday Rewards and Qantas partnership. By linking your Everyday Rewards account to your Qantas Frequent Flyer account, you can automatically convert your Everyday Rewards points to Qantas Points so you can take to the skies sooner.

We’ve just scratched the surface, but you can learn more in our complete guide to earning more Qantas Points on everyday purchases.

Enjoy comfort all the way from Brisbane to Tokyo in Qantas’ Business Class cabin.

Flying Jetstar

For less of a points outlay, you can also redeem Qantas Points to fly with Jetstar direct to Tokyo’s Narita Airport from Cairns or Gold Coast. These departure cities would otherwise require a layover when flying with Qantas, so this is an alternative if a single flight is your preference.

Jetstar flights booked via Qantas include checked baggage allowance, but don’t include seat selection.

using Qantas Points
Cairns, Gold Coast to Tokyo (Narita)21,50051,300
Qantas Points required are per person, one way. Taxes, fees and charges are also payable and vary by route.

Flying Japan Airlines

Qantas Frequent Flyer members can also redeem Qantas Points to fly with Japan Airlines to Tokyo. From here, you can fly onwards to other cities with Japan Airlines using Qantas Points. And here’s a tip – when you use Qantas Points to book a domestic flight with Japan Airlines, you won’t pay a single cent in taxes or carrier charges.

using Qantas Points
EconomyPremium EconomyBusiness
Melbourne, Sydney to Tokyo (Haneda/Narita)37,80070,80090,000
Qantas Points required are per person, one way. Taxes, fees and charges are also payable and vary by route.

Flying Cathay Pacific

If you prefer a different onboard experience or want to spend a bit of time exploring Hong Kong en route, you can fly to Japan with Cathay Pacific using Qantas Points. Note that Cathay Pacific operates flights from Hong Kong to both Narita and Haneda in Tokyo.

using Qantas Points
EconomyPremium EconomyBusiness
Perth to Tokyo (Narita/Haneda) (via Hong Kong)37,80070,80090,000
Melbourne to Tokyo (Narita/Haneda) (via Hong Kong)45,00081,800104,500
Qantas Points required are per person, one way. Taxes, fees and charges are also payable and vary by route.

Flying Virgin Australia

Velocity Frequent Flyer members now have the option of redeeming their points to fly direct from Australia to Tokyo thanks to the launch of Virgin Australia’s Cairns to Tokyo route.

using Velocity Points
Cairns to Tokyo (Haneda)27,80059,500
Velocity Points required are per person, one way. Taxes, fees and charges are also payable and vary by route.

Ways to earn Velocity Points

Virgin Australia’s Velocity program is another major player in Australia’s frequent flyer program landscape. Your day-to-day activities can boost your Velocity Points balance, with the points redeemable on a number of Velocity’s airline partners. It’s a handy points currency to have up your sleeve, particularly if you’re considering flying to Tokyo from Australia.

Why not start your Velocity Points-earning journey on a high note? Many Australian banks offer an exceptional amount of bonus Velocity Points on new credit cards. This may be enough to cover a return trip to Tokyo in Economy, or one-way in Business.

If you’re a serial online shopper, you can pocket Velocity Points simply by clicking through to your favourite online retailer via the Velocity e-Store. That’s it – your purchase is tracked, and the Velocity Points will land in your account. Easy!

Velocity’s partnership with Flybuys makes it simple to earn Velocity Points when you shop at retailers like Coles, Kmart, Bunnings and Officeworks, just to name a few. Scanning your Flybuys card when you shop can also help you earn Velocity Status Credits – handy if you’re aspiring to maintain or move up the program’s tiers.

We’ve just touched on a few methods, but there are lots more in our complete guide to earning more Velocity Points on everyday purchases.

Flying Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines operates flights from Singapore to both Narita and Haneda. And given that a layover is required in Singapore, it’s the perfect opportunity to check out the famed Jewel at Changi Airport.

Using KrisFlyer miles

using KrisFlyer miles
Darwin, Perth to Tokyo (Narita/Haneda) (via Singapore)38,00073,000
Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, to Tokyo (Narita/Haneda) (via Singapore)45,500100,500
KrisFlyer miles required are per person, one way. Taxes, fees and charges are also payable and vary by route.

Ways to earn KrisFlyer miles

It’s relatively easy to earn KrisFlyer miles, even when you’re in Australia. A number of credit cards offer flexible rewards programs, allowing you to convert your points to KrisFlyer miles. Or you could even fast-track to Star Alliance Gold Status with the HSBC Star Alliance Credit Card, which offers excellent benefits across the Star Alliance network, including Singapore Airlines.

If you don’t have KrisFlyer miles on hand to book flights to Tokyo, you can also transfer Velocity Points to KrisFlyer miles. Though the ratio is 1.55 to 1, you’ll find better reward seat availability using Singapore Airlines’ own points currency.

Discover more ways to earn KrisFlyer miles in Australia with our guide.

Using Velocity Points

You can also redeem Velocity Points for Singapore Airlines flights to Tokyo, though be aware that SQ’s carrier charges are slightly higher when you use Velocity Points.

using Velocity Points
Darwin, Perth to Tokyo (Narita/Haneda) (via Singapore)42,00078,000
Adelaide to Tokyo (Narita/Haneda) (via Singapore)50,00092,000
Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney to Tokyo (Narita/Haneda) (via Singapore)56,000104,000
Velocity Points required are per person, one way. Taxes, fees and charges are also payable and vary by route.

Flying ANA

Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways (ANA) is part of the Star Alliance network. ANA’s only direct flight between Australia and Japan is their Sydney to Haneda route, which is bookable using KrisFlyer miles.

Happily, Velocity members can look forward to more benefits when flying with ANA, as the Velocity-ANA partnership is set to ramp up in 2023.

using KrisFlyer miles
Sydney to Tokyo (Haneda)48,500104,000
KrisFlyer miles required are per person, one way. Taxes, fees and charges are also payable and vary by route.

Exploring Tokyo’s Haneda and Narita Airports

Tokyo has two major airports, with both operating international flights to and from Australia. If Tokyo is your final destination, you can learn more about travelling from Haneda or Narita to Tokyo in our comprehensive guide.

But if you’re seeking comfort within the terminal, we’ve highlighted some of the top lounges to check out in Tokyo’s Haneda and Narita Airports.

Airport lounges at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport

Haneda Airport – officially known as Tokyo International Airport – is Tokyo’s main aviation hub. From here you can connect onwards to other cities in Japan, as well as numerous overseas destinations.

While you’ll likely stumble upon several other lounges at Haneda Airport, note that many are restricted to holders of Japan-issued credit cards only.

But for the majority of Australian passengers flying out of Tokyo International Airport, here’s where you can kick back before you take to the skies.

ANA Lounge

Unwind before your flight at the ANA Lounge at Haneda Airport. Note that this lounge differs from the ANA Suite Lounge, which is reserved for First Class passengers on ANA and Star Alliance and ANA’s own Diamond Service Members.

Here’s who can gain entry into the ANA Lounge:

  • Business Class and First Class passengers travelling on ANA or a Star Alliance-operated flight.
  • Premium Economy passengers travelling on ANA-operated flights.
  • Star Alliance Gold frequent flyers.

JAL Sakura Lounge

Eligible passengers departing Haneda on a oneworld flight number can relax at JAL’s Sakura Lounge at Haneda Airport. This includes passengers flying to Australia on JAL, Qantas or Cathay Pacific.

Here’s who makes the cut:

  • Qantas Gold, Platinum, Platinum One and Chairman’s Lounge.
  • Qantas Club members (but not single-use passholders).
  • Qantas Club Annual Guest Card.
  • Economy (Flex Y Fare), Premium Economy, Business Class and First Class passengers travelling on a JAL-operated flight.

Cathay Pacific Lounge

The Cathay Pacific Lounge in Tokyo’s Haneda Airport is one of the carrier’s largest lounges outside of its Hong Kong base.

If you meet one of the criteria below, you can check out the lounge for yourself:

  • Business Class and First Class passengers flying on a oneworld airline.
  • Qantas Gold, Platinum, Platinum One and Chairman’s Lounge.
  •  oneworld Sapphire and Emerald members.
ANA’s new lounges in Haneda can fit up to 900 passengers.

Lounges at Tokyo’s Narita Airport

Similarly to Haneda Airport, there are far more lounges in Narita Airport than the ones listed below. But given that many limit entry to Japan-issued credit card holders only, we’ve just listed the ones most applicable for Aussie travellers departing from Narita Airport.

Priority Pass lounges

Members of the Priority Pass lounge program have a few options inside Narita. The Priority Pass card is not accepted in any lounges in Haneda.

Here are the lounges you can access at Narita Airport with a Priority Pass membership:

  • KAL Business Class Lounge
  • ANA Lounge
  • IASS Executive Lounge (landside, only for arrival, departure and domestic transit)

Note that ANA operates two lounges at Narita Airport – level two and level four, after passport control – that can both be accessed by Priority Pass members.

Similarly, there are two IASS Executive Lounges – one in Terminal 1 and the other in Terminal 2 – that Priority Pass holders can access.

ANA Lounge

ANA’s only route to Australia departs from Haneda, but there are still a few ways to access the two ANA Lounges at Narita Airport – particularly if you’re flying with a Star Alliance partner like Singapore Airlines.

  • Business Class and First Class passengers travelling on ANA or a Star Alliance-operated flight
  • Star Alliance Gold frequent flyers
  • Priority Pass members

JAL Sakura Lounge

This one is more relevant if you’re heading back to Australia, given that eligible passengers travelling on oneworld partners can access the lounge. If you’re flying with Qantas, JAL or Cathay Pacific and meet one of the below requirements, you can gain entry into the JAL Sakura Lounge at Narita Airport.

  • Qantas Gold, Platinum, Platinum One and Chairman’s Lounge
  • Qantas Club members (but not single-use passholders)
  • Qantas Club Annual Guest Card
  • Economy (Flex Y Fare), Premium Economy, Business Class and First Class passengers travelling on a JAL-operated flight

Emirates Lounge

Emirates operates its own lounge inside Tokyo’s Narita Airport. Access is reserved for Emirates Skywards elite frequent flyers, plus Business Class and First Class passengers onboard Emirates-operated flights. While this won’t be relevant for the bulk of passengers flying from Tokyo to Australia (unless you’re taking an extremely long detour), it’s worth noting that paid access to this lounge is available. The entry fee borders on exorbitant, though – $USD130 plus taxes per person – but the option is there.

Earning and using points on hotels in Tokyo

Tokyo’s sprawling metropolis houses thousands of accommodation options. Budget travellers are well-catered to with Japan’s signature capsule hotels, while those seeking the ultimate in comfort and luxury will also find plenty to satisfy.

Find out how you can earn the best rewards when you book accommodation in Tokyo.

Book directly with the hotel

Hotel loyalty programs provide plenty of perks for members, even at the entry-level tier. You’ll enjoy benefits such as free Wi-Fi, a welcome drink or complimentary breakfast, among other member-exclusive offers. And the best way to take advantage and work towards a higher tier – to unlock even more perks in future – is by booking directly with the hotel.

Many global chains have a presence in Tokyo. IHG One Rewards, World of Hyatt, Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy are just some programs you can earn points towards when you stay at a participating hotel.

Book through a third-party provider

Not all properties are affiliated with a loyalty program, but there are still ways to ensure you get rewarded by earning points towards a frequent flyer program instead.

If you want to earn Qantas Points

The Qantas Hotels platform awards Qantas Points on hotel and Airbnb bookings. You can pocket one point per $1 from Airbnb bookings, and three points per $1 on hotels. There’s also the potential to earn up to 50% more points from your booking once you’ve unlocked Qantas Points Club.

There’s also the option of redeeming Qantas Points for a Classic Hotel Reward to save on your stay.

If you want to earn Velocity Points

Velocity doesn’t have its own hotel booking platform, but you can earn Velocity Points on bookings made via Rocket Travel, at a rate of three points per $1.

If you want to earn KrisFlyer miles

Hotel aggregator Rocketmiles – which is a separate platform from Rocket Travel – offers the ability to earn Rocketmiles reward points. These points can be converted to KrisFlyer miles, as well as a range of other frequent flyer programs.

If you want to save on the cost of your hotel bill

If you hold an American Express card that includes travel credit, you can put this towards your hotel booking to reduce the cost of your bottom line. You’ll find this offered with cards like the American Express Explorer Card and the American Express Platinum Edge Card. And if you prefer to use your credit for flights or car hire you can do that, too, as long as you book via American Express Travel.

A stay at the stunning Park Hyatt Tokyo will have you perfectly poised to explore the city. [Photo: Victoriano Izquierdo, Unsplash]

Point Hacker’s tips and tricks

Before you book your trip to Tokyo, here are some final tips and tricks to make your travels a breeze.

  • Japan is notably a cash society, but the popularity of card payments is steadily rising. Consider using a credit card with no overseas transaction fees to save on those pesky foreign exchange fees.
  • When searching for reward seats, ensure you’re looking at Classic Rewards and not Points Plus Pay. The points totals in this article are reflective of Class Rewards redemptions, and you’ll get far better value this way. Our guide covers what a reward seat is and how they work.
  • A number of credit cards in Australia offer complimentary travel insurance, including many American Express cards.
  • Looking for more tips or things to do in Japan? We’ve got everything you need to know to travel to Japan from Australia.

And that’s a wrap for our Point Hacker’s pocket guide – Tokyo is calling!

Featured image: Riccardo Chiarini, Unsplash

This post first appeared on Point Hacks - The Best Frequent Flyer Deals & Offers In Australia., please read the originial post: here

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How to hack your way to Tokyo with points


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