United MileagePlus Nonstop: Houston to/from Tokyo [70,000 points +$48 tax] round-trip (Including Hanami Season)

[09/24/2022 @ 12:16 PM CT] Book this with: United.

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Japan has announced that it will allow visa-free entry to independent tourists, removing the daily cap on arrivals from October 11 onwards [per Skift]. Inbound arrivals will need to be vaccinated and boosted to avoid needing a pre-arrival negative result for a Covid-19 test, according to [per Kyodo News].

The Yen is currently at its weakest level in 24 years, trading below 141 yen per dollar [via ft.com]. In some cases, goods and services in Japan may be about 40% cheaper if you’re converting USD to Yen.

Booking flights with miles/points is worthwhile when the cost of airfare is high. In this case, the cash cost of flights between Houston and Tokyo is still relatively high, about $1100-$1500, with stops.

United has round-trip flights from Houston (IAH) to Tokyo (NRT/HND) for 70,000 miles/points, NONSTOP. 35,000 miles/points each way. Regular economy, not basic. Fare allows for carry-on bag and seat selection. If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® card, you can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to the United MileagePlus program on a 1:1 basis.

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  • Tips: Rent a car for cheaper by using Priceline’s “Express Deals”. The rental car company will be hidden until after you purchase, but this allows those companies to undercut the published rate indirectly. You can remove low quality companies from those hidden results. The trick is to use the quality filter on their website to remove any rental car company with a review rating under 7.0 and then pick the deals that survive the filter. Note that the quality filter is only available on the desktop/web version of the Priceline website and isn’t available on the mobile version.
  • Tips: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card allows for 1-to-1 point transfers to many airline loyalty programs. Booking with points is a good alternative to paying with cash when the price of airfare is high. Here is the current list of Chase Sapphire transfer partners: United, Southwest, jetBlue, British Airways, Iberia, Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Air France, KLM, Virgin Atlantic, Aer Lingus, and Air Canada.
  • Tips: Use Tripadvisor to create a Hotel “short list”. First, plug in your dates and destination. Then select “Sort by Traveler Ranked”. Finally, select the “Traveler Ranking” filter to show “only 4* and up”. Use this resulting “short list” of hotels to find the cheapest one with a high ranking.
  • Tips: Hotel rates for Weekend dates are usually higher than the rates for Sunday through Thursday. Tripadvisor has a color-coded date calendar, red when the average hotel price for that day is more expensive, green for less expensive. You can use this to get an overview of what dates in the month are at a discount.
  • Tips: Different booking websites will often have differing routes, prices, and availability. Before you finalize your purchase, do a quick check on BookingBuddy, Skyscanner, and Kayak to see if any other site or airline is offering a better deal.

I was able to pull this up on United. Screenshot taken when this post was initially created. See timestamps at the top of this post.


 


Flight Details:

  • 6-month moving average: $1250
  • Book this fare on: United



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