HURRY: Wide Open Business Class Awards To The Tokyo Olympics

Filed Under: Award Sweet Spots, Awards

The Olympics are in Tokyo next summer, and I know a lot of people are looking to go there. The catch is that it can be really tough to find award availability to the Olympics, given how much demand there is.

A few weeks ago I wrote about how Japan Airlines is launching a new second daily flight between San Francisco and Tokyo Narita. When reservations opened business class awards on the route were wide open, including over Cherry Blossom, over the Olympics, etc.

There’s still some award space in the market, but now there’s yet another great opportunity.

I recently wrote about how Japan Airlines is reworking their US route network, as they’re adding six new flights out of Tokyo Haneda.

Well, tickets have just gone on sale for Japan Airlines’ new daily Tokyo Haneda to Los Angeles flight, which launches on March 29, 2020. The route will be operated by a four cabin 777-300ER with the following schedule:

JL16 Haneda to Los Angeles departing 5:00PM arriving 10:50AM
JL15 Los Angeles to Haneda departing 1:45PM arriving 5:20PM (+1 day)

The good news is that business class award seats are wide open on this flight, and on most dates I see at least two business class award seats, including over the Olympics.

Space isn’t quite as wide open as it was on the San Francisco route (where virtually every date had at least four business class award seats), but in this case I do see at least two seats on a majority of dates.

Want to redeem miles? Your best bet is to book through one of the following two programs (neither adds carried imposed surcharges):

If you’re looking to travel to Japan next year, this is a great opportunity.

Want to know what to expect onboard? Here’s a review of Japan Airlines’ 787 business class, and here’s a review of Japan Airlines’ 777 business class.

Hopefully some of you can take advantage of this amazing award space!

  1. I started booking a trip to Japan a few months ago found a lot of availability on ANA. Did not realize it was the time of the Olympics. Thank God I didn’t book because I started looking for hotel rooms. Good luck. Could barely find anything.
    But that being said great availability is great availability! Good find. Good luck to those who have booked maybe you’ll get lucky or already have a place to stay.

  2. @Ben — This is awesome, but you will have to live on he street. For now anyways (I am guessing it will open up last-second), chain hotels seem to be blocked out completely or asking for astronomical amounts of money. It would be incredibly exciting to be there for a few days during the Olympics, but I think I’ll be watching on TV from somewhere else.

  3. @Gene I booked a trip for my parents to go to the Tokyo Olympics. I was having the same issues with finding any availability at any chain hotels. Recently, the Hyatt Place Tokyo Bay became available for the dates during the Olympics. Hyatt Place isn’t the most aspirational brand, but it is pretty good for what it is. Also, the hotel is brand new, so it looks relatively nice for a Hyatt Place. Unfortunately, there was no awards or points availability. I ended up booking at the cash prices. It was between $600 and $700 a night after taxes. Much more than I would ideally pay, but I resigned myself to the fact that it would be expensive. Like you said, maybe it will open up last minute and maybe their will even be a possibility of points redemptions. If it was me travelling, I might take that chance, but I wanted to make sure everything was squared away for my parents.

  4. I will visit Tokyo after all the mess of the Olympics is over. It such a nice city that needs time for it and not to bounce of so many tourists. Bad time to visit if you want to enjoy Tokyo.

  5. If you put on hold, are you guaranteed to get the availability and price you put on hold as long as you finalize before the end of the hold?

  6. Flights are the easy piece of the puzzle. Just try and find a hotel room during the Olympics. The travel agencies booked them all. I have the flights done (1st Class on Singapore) and now I have to wait until right before the games start to find what is left after they release all what they haven’t sold.

    Same happened with the London Olympics. We booked last minute and found nice rooms at the Marriott.

  7. @JFB – I wouldn’t necessarily count on the same lodging pattern as the London Olympics. Even with the building boom, Tokyo will only have about one sixth of the four and five star properties that London had. Most of Tokyo’s rooms are at three star (or less) properties that are extremely cramped by Western standards but otherwise clean and suitable. I believe prices for these properties will likely fall drastically before the Games begin.

    If the predictions hold true that there will be 900,000 foreigners visiting Tokyo per day during the Olympics, availability at the typical Hyatt or Marriott will probably still be very tight. I am guessing most of those properties will be able to charge anywhere from four to eight times above normal and never release standard room to eliminate award bookings. Points bookings will likely still be very difficult, but hope I’m wrong.

  8. @Justin just prepare your parents for very small room. My room at Intercontinental Tokyo Bat was tiny. BTW if they want to take the train around, I love this site for planning – sorry if you already were aware of it!

  9. I’ll pass.
    I don’t want to irradiate myself inside out from eating Fukushima products that Japan plan on feeding Olympics visitors next year.
    Actually, Japan is feeding radiation food to visitors already.

  10. Might do this and go elsewhere in Japan.

    By the way, we booked rooms one Week before Atlanta games… right downtown cheap

  11. Lots of small Japanese hotels available , just think outside the box and move away from traditional American chain hotels . Get a local experience !!!
    Look at online agents .

  12. I looked at , there are 529 hotels available for 27th July 2020 in Tokyo, all business class Japanese hotels and smaller , some with 9.0 ratings , mostly 3 star.
    So saying there are no hotel rooms is false news . What you mean is there are no 5 star hotels . Yes, available rooms will be smaller rooms , but most are small in Japan .

  13. Not worry about flights. It’s the hotel situation that is ridiculous and the heat and getting event tickets.

  14. The hotel I usually stay at in Tokyo (Hamamatsucho area) is a no-frills Japanese business hotel that usually charges $80-100 per night. However during the Olympics it’s charging $350-400 even for the smallest, very cramped room. Insane. Similar ridiculous prices from all the other “cheap” hotels.

  15. I’ve been averaging EUR 800 for some real dives during the olympics. Pretty stressed about the whole experience (I expected the event tickets to be the hard bit).

    Looking for new options is literally a daily job for my wife and I.

  16. Why are comments like Sam’s allowed to stay up on here? I’m generally against censorship, but when someone is spreading baseless conspiracy theories I think an exception should be made. This kind of thing is what’s eroding society’s grasp of the truth and trust in institutions (including the media and governments) and adds nothing valuable to public discourse.

  17. @Bob if you lived in Japan like I do, you might not look too askance at the substance of Sam’s rant. All of my friends and my family and I studiously avoid any produce from Fukushima. Produce from Fukushima is heavily advertised on TV and in stores. And some of it could certainly be finding its way into school lunches. Of course we know that Fukushima is a big prefecture, not all produce comes from areas bordering the accident area but frankly the government has a poor track record of telling the truth when it comes to industrial accidents.

  18. Ben, instead of recycling old posts, can’t you just make a new short one and add a link to the previous? I really dislike clicking on a new post and discovering it’s just a repeat with old comments (I don’t know if I’m the minority).
    Even if you copy and paste the majority of the content (like you do when AA sell miles), I think it’s better solution.
    I know you spend daily lots of hours with this blog, but this recycling trend adds a lazyness feel to the blog (which I know ins’t the case).

  19. Could you book a room in, say, Osaka and then bullet train your way in for the games? It takes a couple of hours, but the green car is really luxurious, and relatively cheap if you get the JR pass.

  20. @Howard: I’m all sorted now, thankfully. Overpaid a bit, but it could have been a lot worse.

    I am actually visiting Osaka for a day, but I wouldn’t want to be staying there and having to get up 2 hours before I would have if I was in Tokyo!

  21. The wife and I are taking our kids to Tokyo for the Olympics. We found 5 saver-award business class seats on Air Canada going via Montreal from Philly one-way. We are United MileagePlus members (along with Miles and More members) and we searched for flights as soon as the availability opened 334 days out from the day we wanted to travel. Luckily found Air Canada had the number of seats we needed as most carriers we found only released 2 to 4 award seats. I think what helped was securing them so early.

    Coming back is a whole other story as I’m trying to use up my M&M points so we’re going to Munich for a day layover to show the kids Germany (used to be stationed there). Now just need to get a flight out of Munich back to Philly on Star Alliance….

    As for lodging, we horded our Hilton Honors points so that we could stay on points the whole time. The Hiltons in central Tokyo never opened up for award stays. We finally found award nights for 90k at Odawara Hilton which is about a 30-45 min train ride to Tokyo Station. Using the Hilton 5th night free bonus when you book using points, we’re staying for 10 nights and paying points for 8. Would it be nice to be right downtown? Yes, but we didn’t want to leave our trip up to chance that Hilton would finally release award nights in their downtown properties.

  22. @Bob Because it’s not a conspiracy theory? There’s actually been legitimate media coverage over this, just not much from US side. Japan also announced plans for dumping radioactive waste from Fukushima into the ocean. Also, there were issues during the hurricane season with waste getting released.

    I’ll be skipping this Olympic although I attended the last two due to various reasons, but it probably is a good idea to do some research if you are planning to attend.

  23. @Sam.
    You would get much more background radiation from the flight to Japan than you would from eating out there for a week! Probably best if you stay home in your bunker though.

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