December 2010 Travel Deals

Around this time of year (Winter), many good deals are out there for those wanting to travel to Japan in the near future. Here is a brief summary of some of those.

First there are deals in place with airlines traveling to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, which is located closer to Tokyo than Narita Airport is. Haneda Airport is the world’s busiest airport for domestic traffic, as several major Japanese carriers operate flights from Haneda to other destinations in Japan. Recently Haneda opened up slots for international air carriers during the night hours, along with a new runway and new international building to boot. Airlines offering new flights are starting to promote this with bonus mileage for their frequent flier members.

American Airlines’ AAdvantage frequent flier program is offering bonus miles for their new service from New York JFK to Tokyo Haneda that starts on January 20, on top of the miles that are already earned for flying the route: 5,000 bonus miles for discounted Economy, 10,000 for full fare Economy, and 15,000 for First or Business class. A round-trip purchase is required and travel must be completed by April 30, 2011. Visit the special offer page at American Airlines for more details.

Delta Air Lines has an attractive offer for its Skymiles members, myself included, on their flights between Detroit and Haneda, and between Los Angeles and Haneda. Fly in Economy Class and earn double miles for the trip, or fly in Business Class and earn triple miles. A round-trip purchase is NOT required… you can fly as many legs as you want (a single one-way journey, five round-trips, etc.) Both routes begin operating on February 19, and all travel must be completed by May 31, 2011. Visit the special offer page at Delta for more details.

The best offer out of these is on Delta, flying from Detroit to Tokyo Haneda. The distance between the two airports is 6,428 miles, so for flying that route one-way you would earn 6,428 miles. Fly a round-trip and you earn 12,856 miles. With the bonus mileage promotion, you would earn 25,712 miles for the round-trip in Economy Class, or 38,568 miles in Business Class.

CONGRATULATIONS! You now have enough miles for a FREE, round-trip economy ticket on Delta within the United States. See what I mean?

American and Delta are not the only airlines offering bonus mile campaigns… similar campaigns are being offered by All Nippon and possibly others, while Japan Airlines is offering a discounted mileage upgrade to business class on its flights from San Francisco.

Of course, the good news is that you can get all of this bonus mileage. Now for some not-so-good news: These flights all land at night, at around 10:30 or 11 PM. Land, and then pass through immigration and customs… If you make it out of the airport past midnight, chances are you won’t have a train ride into Tokyo as midnight is the time when most train services stop. Your best bet then is to take a Taxi or one of the few Limousine Buses that run into Tokyo after midnight in order to reach your hotel.

Besides the mileage bonus offers, some companies are offering inclusive travel packages.

Right now one of the best – and least expensive – is from American Airlines Vacations, offering an Air+Hotel package starting at $965 from Los Angeles that includes round-trip air transportation and six nights in a Tokyo hotel. Packages from Chicago start at $1,035, New York $1,065 and Dallas $1,085. Prices are per person, double occupancy. The deal is good for travel in January or February only. You have until December 31 to purchase the package.

If you want to spread your horizons a bit, IACE travel is offering a trip to the world-famous Sapporo Snow Festival from February 7-15. Packages are $2,150 from Los Angeles and $2,265 from New York, and include round-trip transpacific air travel, air travel from Narita to Sapporo, four nights at a hotel in Sapporo, air travel from Sapporo to Tokyo Haneda, and three nights at a hotel in Tokyo. Land packages (no round-trip transpacific air) cost $1,485. Prices are per person, double occupancy.

JTB is also offering discounts on a few of its inclusive travel plans during January and February. This includes their 7-day/5-night Tokyo Osaka Free Plan (Round-trip airfare, 3 nights in Tokyo, bullet train to Osaka, 2 nights in Osaka) starting at $1,525 from Los Angeles and $1,645 from New York. The package does not include any guided tours, but you can book such tours at additional cost if you wish.

Also discounted is the 9-day/7-night JTB Heritage Tour, which includes stops in Tokyo, Hakone, Takayama, Shirakawago, Kanazawa and Kyoto plus round-trip airfare, guided tours and intercity transportation starting at $2,875 from Los Angeles and $3,000 from New York. These prices are per person, double occupancy.

These deals and others can be found on the offical website, for Japan tourism, They have done an excellent job providing information on Japan’s major tourist destinations and I highly recommend combing every nook and cranny of that website to see if any destinations and offers appeal to you.

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