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Most cost effective way to book a special trip to japan.
1st time poster, long time reader and fan. I’m hoping to take my girlfriend on a great holiday to tokyo from London. I’m trying to shoehorn in as much luxury as possible, on a relative budget(as I might be needing to save up for a wedding soon after, if you catch my drift.) I’m an IHG gold elite member, and I plan on staying at the ANA intercontinental Tokyo in a corner suite, which should earn me enough points to be upgraded to platinum elite (I currently have 11,374, after paying I’ll have about 67,000). The thing that’s stumping me is the flights. I’ve looked on skyscanner, kayak, and individual airlines’ websites. I’m hoping to fly us business or (if the price is right) first class. Some of the prices are quite fair on skyscanner, but I was wondering what the Schlappig-Scheme-of-Success would advocate? I’m aiming to fly around November 1st, but I’m flexible. I don’t have an avios or air miles card as my credit rating is recovering from a bad-credit period 🙁
In summation. how would you go about booking such a trip to get maximum luxury as lowest possible outlay?
1. When would be the best/most cost effective time to fly (and possibly stay at a nice hotel).
2. Do you have any personal favourite/recommended hotels in tokyo?
3. Which airline do you recommend to fly with for cost/performance in terms of business/first (there’s a big difference between Thai and Alitalia, for example).
4. Is there any way I can use my IHG points as air miles to get an upgrade?
Many Thanks for your time, and safe travels!
Hi Rory, What’s your budget for this trip? It might make sense to look at purchasing miles if you want to fly a premium cabin, but that’s still going to require quite a bit out of pocket if you don’t have any miles to start with.
[QUOTE=”Tiffany, post: 32523, member: 7″]Hi Rory, What’s your budget for this trip? It might make sense to look at purchasing miles if you want to fly a premium cabin, but that’s still going to require quite a bit out of pocket if you don’t have any miles to start with.[/QUOTE]
Hi Tiffany, thanks for replying. I’d set myself a budget of about £10,000GBP for the whole trip with a degree of flexibility (I’ve been saving for a while). I’ was hoping for a direct flight just so it would be easier to enjoy it, but it’s definitely not a dealbreaker if there’s one connection.
Hi Rory, is that budget for the entire trip (flights, hotels, meals, etc.) or just for the flights? Understand you want to splurge for the special trip… but you have some great options in business class with that budget.
For instance, for about half of your budget, you could fly nonstop on ANA from London to Haneda (closer to the city), and return via Frankfurt on Lufthansa. That’s all in business class. Benefits of this are you can earn miles for the trip as well, you’re also not limited to award availability
[QUOTE=”rickyw, post: 32562, member: 1436″]Hi Rory, is that budget for the entire trip (flights, hotels, meals, etc.) or just for the flights? Understand you want to splurge for the special trip… but you have some great options in business class with that budget.
For instance, for about half of your budget, you could fly nonstop on ANA from London to Haneda (closer to the city), and return via Frankfurt on Lufthansa. That’s all in business class. Benefits of this are you can earn miles for the trip as well, you’re also not limited to award availability[/QUOTE]
Hi Ricky, thanks for your reply! 10k was really for flights+hotel, but as mentioned, I can flex it a bit. Would you recommend going direct to the airlines or going through a broker like sky scanner? And do you know if my planned dates (31 October – 11th November) are economical times to fly? Thanks in advance 🙂
I’d book direct through the airlines. I found those ideas just by looking at Google Flights, which would then direct you to the airline website.
Looks like the cost of tickets for a 10 day trip from London to Tokyo is going to be within $200 regardless of whether you go in November or next March… so I’d say you’re good there!
If I’m understanding the purpose of your trip, it sounds like you might have another big trip to plan in the future (honeymoon, perhaps?) The benefit of flexing a bit and paying outright for your tickets on this trip is that you’ll earn miles for the flights. Then, assuming the next big trip is 1-2 years, you have a bit of a base to build some points up in the meantime and hopefully get out of your credit score funk.
Rory, have you booked your trip yet? If I were you, I’d consider staying in Tokyo for one more night (31 Oct to 12 Nov), when it looks like you could do this itinerary for around £4300 total for both of you (should be bookable on Lufthansa’s website):
This way you can fly ANA there (a great way to start off a Japan holiday is to fly a Japanese airline!) and Lufthansa’s 747-8 on the way back (others have criticized the business class seats for being a bit intimate, since you’re angled toward your seatmate, but when you’re traveling with your girlfriend this should actually be perfectly fine. And I love sitting on the upper deck of the 747-8!).
My favorite hotel in Tokyo is the Andaz, which is probably the best hotel I’ve ever stayed at. But it’s insanely pricey. The ANA Intercontinental is a nice choice, and Lucky recently gave it a brief shout-out in a [URL=’http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2017/08/14/best-hotels-ihg-free-night-certificate/’]post[/URL].
Curious to hear what you end up booking!
I’m jealous, my trip to Japan with my girlfriend in 2011 was the best trip and we still talk about it. We stayed at the Conrad back then, but we scored a deal. I would definitely go to one of the “sky bars” for a drink (conrad, park hyatt…). The routing with LH is a great deal, SWISS also has some similar prices. The new business lounge in ZRH is very nice and you get to go out and see the planes, but an ANA flight would be a great experience for sure.