Going to Japan!

Last April, my boyfriend and I went on a two week vacation to Turkey and Greece for our four year anniversary.


Hot air ballooning in Cappadocia was unforgettable!

It was a completely amazing trip, and we wanted to do another trip in 2016. Since I chose Turkey and Greece last year, I told Max to pick a place. He chose Japan, which has been on both of our travel lists for awhile, and he also wants a new pillow.

Unfortunately, the timing for a 2 week trip in April didn’t work out. After missing the past few trips my family has done, I committed to going on a giant family reunion this summer. I’ll be taking 2.5 weeks of PTO to go on a cruise and visit Barcelona in July. Since I have 3 weeks of PTO/year, we wouldn’t be able to do the Japan trip we truly wanted in a short period of time. So we decided to postpone the trip to October.

Our plan was to spend about 1.5 weeks in Japan. We were pretty flexible on flying into either Osaka, Haneda or Narita airport and using Japan rail pass to get around the country. I also had about 85k United miles, 180k Chase Ultimate Rewards points, and Max had about 70k Chase points, so we wanted to travel to/from Japan in comfort.

Ultimately, we booked the following itinerary:

  • 10/5 SFO – ICN – KIX (1hr layover)
  • 10/17 HND – YVR – SFO (5hr layover)

The entire itinerary cost us:

  • SFO -> KIX: 125,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points + $238
  • HND -> SFO: 150,000 United miles + $76.72

SFO -> Japan

Since Korean Air is a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards, I started poking around their flight schedules to find flights for us. The good news is that they have tons of business class award availability, and you can put seats on hold. The bad news is that you have to call their office to put seats on hold.

I originally put seats on hold for Oct 6 – then I saw the snapchat story about Osaka and realized I wanted another day so we could visit Harry Potter World at Universal Studios Japan 😉 So I called again and put another reservation on hold for Oct 5.

Korean Air only allows an account holder to book an award ticket for immediate family, which meant that one ticket had to be under my account and the other under Max’s own account. The ticket cost 62,500 Korean Air Skypass miles, but Chase only lets you transfer points in increments of 1000. Max and I each transferred 63,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to our respective Korean Air accounts. After paying $119 in taxes and fees and 62,500 miles, we were confirmed for our flight to Japan!

For our first flight, we’ll be on the upper deck in Prestige Suites seats 18A and 18B:


And for our second flight, we’ll be in Prestige Sleeper seats 7A and 7B:


Japan -> SFO

I wanted to utilize the United miles I had in my account – about 80k. After hunting on United’s and Air Canada’s websites, I found a decent award at 75,000 miles each. Even though it had a 5hr layover in Vancouver, we’d be able to clear border control during our layover. We’d also get to experience business class on ANA’s Dreamliner. Since I already had 89,000 United miles, I transferred 61,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to my United account to book our tickets.

On our first flight, we’ll be business class staggered seats 2C and 3A:


And on our second flight, we’ll be in business class seats 4A and 4C:


This is our first time booking business class award tickets so we are pretty excited 😉

How did we get these miles?

  • 50,000 United miles from the United MileagePlus Explorer signup bonus
  • The rest of the United miles came from credit card spend and other United flights I’ve taken.
  • 50,000 Chase points from my Chase Sapphire Preferred signup bonus
  • 20,000 Chase points from my Chase Freedom signup bonus
  • 50,000 Chase points from Max’s Chase Sapphire Preferred signup bonus
  • The rest of the Chase points came from credit card spend.

How much do these seats cost for two?


#hacktheplanet #travelittoo

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