Yesterday, Qantas announced that after almost 20 years of ceasing to operate the route, they will fly from their main hub in Sydney to Japan’s second largest city for the northern winter.
The seasonal service will operate three times a week from 14 December 2017 until 24 March 2018.
Osaka is a handy gateway to not only exploring the city and neighbouring Kobe themselves but also for catching the shinkansen to Hiroshima, Kyoto and the skifields. While you can never be certain of when the snow falls, I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy fresh powder when I snowboarded at Nozawa Onsen in early March 2014.
You may also consider using British Airways Avios to avoid having to pay for expensive domestic intra-Japan flights.
News of this service follows the launch of Qantas’ Melbourne to Tokyo Narita route in February 2017. Qantas also operates to Sydney to Tokyo Haneda and Brisbane to Tokyo Narita.
The resumed route will be operated by one of Qantas’ A330s with their updated Business Class cabin, and there is some good availability when it comes to using points on the route.
The aircraft and cabin
This is Qantas Business Class on the A330:
As of 6:30am Sydney time on 27 July, I have found at least two but usually three open Business Class seats on the following dates:
|Depart Sydney||Depart Osaka|
|16 December||16 December|
|21 December||18 December|
|1 January||23 December|
|4 January||25 December|
|6 January||1 January|
|11 January||6 January|
|18 January||8 January|
|20 January||29 January|
|1 February||3 February|
I only searched until the start of February, so following this trend, it is likely that there is award availability on other days until the service is scheduled to end on 24 March.
There are also single seats open on a few dates like 14 December and 3 January (outbound) as well as 30 December and 20 January (return).
How to book using your points
The five main points currencies Australia-based travellers can use on Qantas flights are:
- Qantas Points
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
- Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles
- American Airlines AAdvantage miles
- British Airways Avios
Here is a comparison of one-way Business Class award pricing on this route:
|Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan||30,000|
|American Airlines AAdvantage||40,000|
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles||45,000|
|British Airways Avios||75,000|
- Taxes through Qantas should be ~$260 AUD departing Sydney and possibly more on the return
- Alaska Mileage Plan miles can be earned through buy miles promotions but there isn’t one on at the moment
- AAdvantage has a buy miles promotion running until 31 July – if you buy the maximum amount of miles, this redemption would work out to be $688 USD + lower taxes than Qantas charges (much cheaper than the retail price tag of $3686 AUD)
- Return flights using Asia Miles are cheaper than two separate one-ways; in this case 45,000 one-way/80,000 return
This is a handy addition to the wide range of Qantas-operated services into Asia, and a nice win for Sydney folks with enough points to consider a Business Class redemption.
There is no doubt availability will dry up a bit as what we can see now gets booked by those in the know, but hopefully Qantas continues to release good quantities of award seats to Japan into the future.