How to use your points to travel to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan

2019 Rugby World Cup dive
GUIDE: Using Points
DIFFICULTY: Intermediate
TIME TO READ: 4 minutes
POSTED: April 5, 2019
UPDATED: May 14, 2019
AIRLINES: ANA, Japan Airlines, Qantas Airways
LOYALTY PROGRAMS: Relevant to Multiple Programs

The men’s Rugby World Cup is held every four years and this year’s host is Japan. The ninth edition will take place from 20 September until 2 November 2019.

In this guide, I outline when and where Australia is playing, which flights you can find award availability on, and how to maximise your points for hotel redemptions during the tournament.

When and where is Australia playing in the 2019 Rugby World Cup?

Australia has four pool games, all spread apart by a week or so each.

  • 20 September against Fiji in Sapporo
  • 29 September against Wales in Tokyo
  • 5 October against Uruguay in Oita
  • 11 October against Georgia in Shizouka
Australia games Rugby World Cup 2019
The cities in which Australia will play during the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan

Then Australia may be in:

  • 19 or 20 October quarter finals in Oita
  • 26 or 27 October semi finals in Yokohama
  • 1 November bronze final in Tokyo
  • 2 November final in Yokohama (fingers crossed!)

You can find more information on the game schedule here.

How can I use my points to travel to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan?

Excluding Jetstar (which has an inferior Business Class product), there are eight nonstop services from Australia to Japan which feature lie-flat Business Class seats. I’m not going to go into them here, as you can get that info in the guide below.

I searched for at least one Business Class award seat on all of these services in both directions between 19 September and 12 November 2019 (encompassing the tournament). Here is what I found…

Travel to Japan

RouteCarrierDateBusiness Class seats available
Sydney - TokyoJapan Airlines15 October5
28 October5 (+7 in Premium Economy)
29 October8
30 October1 (+3 in Premium Economy)
Perth - TokyoANA30 September1+
2 October1+
3 October1+
5 October1+
16 October1+
18 October1+
24 October1+
25 October1+

I’m surprised at how much availability there in Japan Airlines’ excellent Business Class from Sydney, especially in the leadup to the final. The Apex Suite is very private and you’ll enjoy delicious food on this day flight.

Japan Airlines 787 Business Class
Japan Airlines 787 Business Class

This redemption will cost you only 50,000 Asia Miles or 78,000 Qantas Points + ~$180 in taxes one-way—a good redemption.

ANA is launching direct services between Perth and Tokyo on 1 September, just in time for the World Cup. You can find plenty of award availability on this service in both directions. It’s an overnight flight on the way there and during the day on the way back.

ANA 787 Business Class
ANA 787 Business Class

This is not the best-value redemption—a one-way flight will cost you 83,000 KrisFlyer miles (increasing to 94,000 if you book after 16 April) + a hefty $270 in taxes departing Australia and $300 coming home.

Note that the United website (which I used to search for seats) does not show me how many seats are available, so that’s why I’ve put 1+ in the tables above and below.

By the way, I found no Business Class availability on ANA’s other Australian service (Sydney – Tokyo) in either direction.

Travel back to Australia

RouteCarrierDateBusiness Class seats available
Tokyo Haneda - SydneyQantas11 November1 (Premium Economy only)
12 November1
Tokyo Narita - BrisbaneQantas11 November2
12 November2
Osaka - SydneyQantas9 November4
12 November2
Tokyo Narita - PerthANA23 September1+
25 September1+
26 September1+
30 September1+
5 October1+
8 October1+
10 October1+
14 October1+
15 October1+
19 October1+
29 October1+
5 November1+
7 November1+
8 November1+
10 November1+
11 November1+

Flying back to the East Coast is more limited. There is space on some Qantas flights, but only if you hang around in Japan for at least a week after the final (which may not be a bad thing!).

On the Tokyo Haneda – Sydney service, you’ll be on a Boeing 747, with the older-style Skybed II seat. Given it is an overnight flight and some passengers prefer this bed to the A330 below, even though you’ll be in a 2-2-2 configuration, you’ll probably be sleeping most of the time anyway.

Qantas 747 Business Class seat
Qantas 747 Business Class

On the Osaka – Sydney and Tokyo Narita – Brisbane services, you’ll be in Qantas’ flagship Business Class.

Qantas A330 Business Class seat
Qantas A330 Business Class

Flying one-way on any of these Qantas services will cost you 50,000 Asia Miles or 72,000 Qantas Points + ~$220 in taxes.

As mentioned above, there is ample availability on the ANA service to Perth, but it doesn’t come cheap.

Where should I stay during the 2019 Rugby World Cup?

Given that Australia placed second in 2015 and third in 2011, coupled with the fact that most of the award availability will get you to Japan in time for the finals, I’m going to focus on hotel availability in Tokyo-Yokohama during that time. For the sample bookings below, I searched for five nights between 29 October and 3 November.

You can use 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night for a stay at The Westin Tokyo, Tokyo Marriott Hotel or Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay Hotel (at Disney Resort, a bit out of the way). If you book for four nights, you’ll get your fifth night free.

The Westin Tokyo official image
The Westin Tokyo

If you have access to Hilton Honors points, you can use 80,000 of them for each night at the Hilton Tokyo Bay (again, at Disney Resort). If you’ve got a cool 2.2 million points, then you can stay at the upscale Conrad Tokyo. If you have Silver status or above, then you’ll get your fifth night free.

Tokyo Disney Resort
You can combine your stay in Tokyo with a visit to Disney Resort

Lucky enough to have access to World of Hyatt points? All five Hyatt-affiliated properties have availability during these dates for 25,000-30,000 points per night. My picks are the Park Hyatt Tokyo (in the top 1% of Tokyo hotels according to TripAdvisor), the Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills (which Keith loved) and the Hyatt Centric Ginza Tokyo (where I thoroughly enjoyed a stay six months ago).

Hyatt Centric Ginza Tokyo
I would highly recommend the stylish Hyatt Centric Ginza for any stay in Tokyo

Given Tokyo (and Japan in general) has expensive accommodation, I’d expect prices on Airbnb to be very high during this period. If you do end up Airbnbing, be sure to pick up 1 Qantas Point per $ spent along the way.

Summing up

The 2019 Rugby World Cup is less than six months away. However, there is a surprising amount of Business Class award availability on flights to get there.

Luckily, those with access to oneworld points currencies like Qantas Points and Asia Miles, as well as KrisFlyer miles, can use them to fly Business Class.

If you are keen to travel to Japan for the tournament, be sure to book soon as these seats are likely to get snapped up quickly.

Finally, for tips on how to get around Japan and what to do there, check out our Japan destination guide.

How do you plan to travel to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan? Share in the comments below.

Supplementary images courtesy Rugby World Cup, ANA, Marriott and Disney.

How to use your points to travel to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan was last modified: May 14th, 2019 by Matt Moffitt