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Japan is a wonderful country, with a combination of modern culture and ancient history that is unlike any other places in the world. Getting to Japan using miles or points is relatively easy. With cherry blossom season just two months away, you still have time to plan a family trip during spring break. In this post I will show you the best routes you can take and the cheapest miles to Japan that you can use.

Japan Cherry Blossom

 Cheapest miles to Japan from mainland U.S.

You can use a variety of miles and points programs to get to Japan from mainland U.S. The cheapest miles to Japan, as shown in the table below, are:

  • British Airways – San Francisco to Tokyo Haneda airport for 25,000 avios one-way in JAL economy;
  • ANA – Anywhere in US to Japan for 50,000 miles roundtrip in economy and 80,000 miles in business class;
  • Alaska MileagePlan – 32,500 miles one-way in economy on American Airlines (or 25,000 miles during low season); 40,000 miles in premium economy on JAL anytime; 35,000 miles in premium economy or 50,000 miles in business class on Cathay Pacific with a stopover in Hong Kong;
  • Singapore Krisflyer – 27,625 miles one-way in economy on Singapore Airlines between Los Angeles to Tokyo Narita airport (must book online).
Mileage ProgramsRedeem miles to travel onTransfer partner withMiles required for Economy, one-wayMiles required for Premium Economy, one-wayMiles required for Business Class,
one-way
Miles required for First Class,
one-way
Air Canada AeroplanANA, Air Canada, Asian, United, SingaporeAmex, Chase, SPG37,50062,50062,500105,000
Alaska MileagePlanAmerican AirlinesSPG32,500
(25,000 low season)
not available50,00062,500
Cathay PacificSPG30,00035,00050,00070,000
Japan AirlinesSPG35,00040,00060,00070,000
American AAdvantageAmerican, JAL, Cathay PacificSPG35,000 (32,500 off-peak)not available60,00080,000
ANAANA, Air Canada, Asiana, United, Singapore SPG, Amex50,000 - 55,000 roundtripnot available80,000 -85,000 roundtirp150,000 - 165,000 roundtrip
British Airways Executive ClubAmerican, JALAmex, Chase, SPGDistance-based,
25,000 SFO to Tokyo Haneda on JAL
Distance-basedDistance-basedDistance-Based
Delta SkymilesDelta, Korean AirAmex, SPG35,00045,00080,000not available
Singapore KrisflyerANA, Air Canada, UnitedAmex, Chase, Citi, SPG45,000not availabletoo many milestoo many miles
SingaporeLAX - NRT only 27,625 booked online53,550 booked online65,875 booked online74,375 booked online
United MileagePlusUnited, ANA, Air Canada, Asiana, SingaporeChase, SPG35,000not available65,000 United metal
75,000 partner
80,000 United metal
110,000 partner
AirFrance Flying BlueDelta, Korean AirAmex, Citi, SPG40,00050,000too many milesnot available
Korean AirDelta, Korean AirChase, SPG35,000not available62,50080,000

[SEE ALSO: Using Avios to your advantage for a family trip ]

Best routes to Japan – nonstop services from mainland U.S.

The best routes to Japan are obviously the nonstop services from mainland U.S. to five major cities in Japan. These routes are served by three major U.S. airlines (United, American, Delta) as wells as two Japanese airlines (Japan Airline and All Nippon Airways). Additionally, Singapore Airlines serve nonstop between Los Angeles and Tokyo Narita airport. There are also nonstop services to Japan from Honolulu and Guam, serving by ANA, JAL, United, Delta, and Hawaiian Airlines,

Airports in JapanAirlinesDeparture Cities in mainland U.S.
Tokyo, Haneda (HND)ANAChicago, Los Angeles, New York JFK
American AirlinesLos Angeles
Delta AirlinesLos Angeles, Minneapolis
Japan AirlinesNew York JFK, San Francisco
United AirlinesSan Francisco
Tokyo, Narita (NRT)ANAChicago, New York JFK,San Francisco, San Jose CA, Washington Dulles
American AirlinesChicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Los Angeles
Delta AirlinesAtlanta, Detroit, Portland, Seattle
Japan AirlinesBoston, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Honolulu, New York JFK, San Diego
Singapore AirlinesLos Angeles
United AirlinesChicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Newark, San Francisco, Washington Dulles
Osaka, Kasai (KIX)Japan AirlinesLos Angeles
United AirlinesSan Francisco
Nagoya (NGO)Delta AirlinesDetroit

Once you are in Japan, you can get to anywhere in Japan using as little as 4,500 British Airways avios, or you can travel by train or shinkansen, the high-speed bullet trains that Japan is known for.

Japan

Where to search for award seats to Japan

To find award seats to Japan, you can search on

  • United website for flights on United and ANA;
  • Delta website for flights on Delta and Korean Air;
  • American website for its own flight;
  • Alaska website for flights on American and JAL;
  • British Airways website for flights on American, JAL and Cathay Pacific;
  • Korean Air website for flights on Korean and Delta;
  • Singapore website for its own flights between Los Angeles and Tokyo Narita.

In general, award availabilities to Japan are pretty good. Compared to American, both United and Delta release decent amount of economy award seats on their flights, as many as 8 seats on United and 9 seats on Delta.

[SEE ALSO: Up to 9 Delta awards to Asia Pacific this summer! ]

[SEE ALSO: JAL First class review ORD to NRT ]

ANA and Japan Airlines often releases 4 seats in economy when schedule opens. Cathay Pacific releases 5 seats each in economy and business class when schedule opens. If you want to fly in premium cabin, your best bet might be Japan Airlines. JAL releases in advance 4 seats in premium economy and 4 seats in business class, and 2 seats in first class, with more added closer to departure date.

As you can see, it is easy to fly to Japan using miles. So take the whole family to Japan, especially during cherry blossom season. You and your family are guaranteed to have an unforgettable trip!

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