[03/02/2023 @ 12:15 PM CT] Book this with: United.
Deals are usually valid 24 to 72 hours after posting, but can expire at any time (see time-stamp).
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. Flights in April, May, September, and October.
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.
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 levels in 24 years, trading below 136 yen per dollar. In some cases, goods and services in Japan may be about 40% cheaper if you’re converting USD to Yen.
You can earn United MileagePlus miles several ways:
- You can earn miles with United Credit cards. We recommend the United℠ Explorer Card for earning MileagePlus points because of the “free first checked bag” perk.
- You can transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards® to United MileagePlus on a 1-to-1 basis. We recommend using the Chase Sapphire Preferred® or Chase Sapphire Reserve® for the ability to transfer points and earn bonus points with travel and hotel spending.
- Use the United MileagePlus X app on iPhone or Android to link your MileagePlus account to “MileagePlus Dining”, “MileagePlus Shopping”, “Featured Apps”, and “MileagePlus eGift cards”. These bonuses can stack with the bonuses from your Credit Card purchases that you would get via Chase Ultimate Rewards.
- You can earn 27,000 MileagePlus miles by switching to Reliant/NRG. 15,000 for signing up + 500 each-month for the next 24-months. Use this link for the correct offer-code.
- Always add your MileagePlus number to flights operated by United or their alliance partners. You can add your MileagePlus account to tickets purchased via United, Priceline, Expedia, Kayak, or any major booking website. How much you earn will depend on your fare price, fare class, status, and the partner airline.
Here are the latest limited time offers that we also think are worth a look:
- New limited time offer: United℠ Explorer Card sign-up bonus increased by +10,000 to 60,000 United MileagePlus points. The bonus offer applies after spending $3,000 in the first 3-months of being approved for the card.
- New limited time offer: American Express® Green Card Welcome offer has increased by +15,000 to 60,000 Amex Membership Rewards® points. The welcome offer applies after spending $3,000 in the first 6 months of being approved for the card. Plus, earn 20% back on eligible travel and transit purchases made during your first 6 months of Card Membership, up to $200 back in the form of a statement credit. This is the highest public welcome offer that we’ve seen for this card. Terms apply. For rates and fees of the American Express® Green Card, please visit [link]. American Express is an Escape Houston advertiser.
- Airfare coupons on Hopper: (updated daily-ish) Hopper always has discount coupons on their main page. These deals are common. $100 off Fiji Airways, $100 Cayman Islands, $50 off Condor airline, $50 off Royal Maroc, $30 off West Virginia. There are also many lesser coupons, but we don’t mention coupons less than $25 off. The full list is on Hopper’s website. Keep in mind that Hopper is an OTA, so don’t expect them to honor the free 24-hour cancellation period, or to have the lowest base fare price. Their customer service is via “App only”, a negative for sure. Hopper will also try to up-sell you on a lot of extras like “cancel for any reason” policies that in our opinion, suck; if you decide to use Hopper decline all of those extras.
- Limited supply: The $500 Southwest Airlines gift card is on sale for $450 at Costco. This deal comes and goes every other month or so. It usually sticks around for a while before selling out.
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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.
- 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: Vacation rentals on Vrbo are usually cheaper per night for longer stays than shorter stays. This is due to three main factors; The first is that most properties have a cleaning fee that is a fixed rate, the second is that many hosts provide discounts for stays longer than 6-days, the third is that the Vrbo service fee percentage is higher on short stays.
- Tips: You can (and should) sort the Vrbo vacation rental search results by “Total” price. Doing so exposes properties with high fees. For example, a $140 per-night property with $100 fees will rank as being more expensive than a $150 per-night property with $30 fees, when sorted. Sorting by “most reviews” is also a good option, as this will show you the most popular properties.
- 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.
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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.
- 6-month moving average: $1250
- Book this fare on: United
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