Given that award availability on Japan-bound flights in Business Class can be tight, getting a good deal in Economy Class is key. I think paying under $850 return for a nonstop flight to Japan on a full-service carrier, i.e. not Jetstar, is a good benchmark.
Apologies for the short notice. Until the end of 3 September, i.e. today, you can pick up flights with Star Alliance carrier ANA from:
- To Tokyo for $794 return (with free or cheap connections to Osaka, Nagoya or Fukuoka)
- To Sapporo for $1,015 (via Tokyo)
- To Tokyo for $838 (with free or cheap connections to Osaka, Nagoya or Fukuoka)
- To Sapporo for $1,055 (via Tokyo)
ANA just started its service from Perth two days ago.
Of all the airlines flying nonstop between Australia and Japan, ANA’s Sydney service offers the most legroom (34 inches). Japan Airlines follows (33), then ANA’s Perth service (32) and Qantas (31).
Depart: Sydney or Perth
Arrive: Tokyo, with onward connections throughout Japan
Dates: November 2019 to April 2020 (these are my recommendations for the best times to visit Japan)
Cost: from $794 return
Where to credit points: Depending on where your existing points balances lie, your ANA flights are probably best credited to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Etihad Guest, United MileagePlus or Avianca LifeMiles.
The specific example above would earn you ~5,000 Etihad Guest miles, which are worth ~$80. That would bring the effective cost of your ticket down to $715, which is a great deal!
Lounge access: American Express Card Members get access to the Sydney and Melbourne Amex lounges; and Priority Pass members can use lounges/eateries in Sydney, Tokyo Narita, Osaka Kansai, Nagoya and Fukuoka.
Best credit card to use for purchase: Credit cards that offer bonus points for booking travel
Airfare deals are typically only available on limited dates. Fares may disappear quickly, so we suggest booking as soon as you are confident in your travel dates.