As we’ve previously written about, Virgin Australia will be launching their first flight to Japan in March next year. They have now opened reservations on this route, meaning you can book a seat with points.
Routesonline reports that the airline will launch a daily Brisbane – Tokyo Haneda from 29 March 2020. The timing will be as follows:
- Depart Brisbane 11:40am, arrive Haneda 8pm (daytime)
- Depart Haneda 9:45pm, arrive Brisbane 7:45am (overnight)
I’m seeing one Business Class seat available in each direction on most flights from late April until October (excluding during the Olympics in July-August.) There are up to nine Economy Class seats available on most flights too.
Whilst you can definitely use Velocity Points to book an award seat, it seems that award space has not yet been opened to partners Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer and Etihad Guest.
If you want to use cash, launch fares start at ~$700 in Economy Class and $3,500 in Business Class.
In this guide, I outline what to expect and how to book an award seat on this flight.
Routes, aircraft and cabins
From 29 March 2020, Virgin Australia will fly daily from Brisbane to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda). The flight there will be daytime and on the way back overnight. It takes about nine hours in each direction.
The only other airline operating on this route is Qantas, with an Airbus A330. However, that flight lands at Narita, not Haneda.
Which lounges can I access?
In Tokyo, you’ll have access to one of two partner ANA Lounges, which generally get really good reviews but they can get busy.
How many points are needed?
Here is pricing for a one-way flight between Brisbane and Tokyo on Virgin Australia:
|Program||Business Class||Economy Class|
|Velocity Frequent Flyer||59,500||27,800|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer*||64,000||26,000|
*Based on a flight to ‘Asia’ in KrisFlyer’s award chart for Virgin Australia, however, this pricing has not been confirmed for Tokyo. If you successfully book this online or over the phone, please leave a comment with the pricing and we’ll update this guide
**Given that at the time of writing Etihad Guest agents did not have access to award space on this flight and it was not yet included in the Virgin Australia redemption table, pricing is unconfirmed (expected to be 90,000+ miles in Business.) If you successfully book this over the phone, please leave a comment with the pricing
If you’re connecting from Sydney or Melbourne, you’ll pay 71,500 Velocity Points.
Taxes are $144 in Business and $129 in Economy Class departing Brisbane. They’re $11 cheaper on the way home.
Note that Velocity is increasing its Carrier Charges from 8 January 2020, so if you can book before then (even for travel that date), you’ll save money.
How do I search for and book an award seat?
If you cannot see availability for Virgin Australia flights under the Other partner airlines tab on the KrisFlyer website, then you can phone KrisFlyer to make your booking.
You will need to phone Etihad Guest to book Virgin Australia award flights.
When does award calendar availability open up?
You can book these seats up to 330 days (~11 months) before departure.
This is an exciting route for Virgin Australia and gives Qantas a run for its money. It capitalises on increasing demand from travellers in Australia wanting to visit Japan.
Given the country’s popularity as well as the fact that this is the only way to use Velocity Points for nonstop flights to Japan, competition for seats will be high. Therefore, booking well in advance will help to increase your chances of securing a ticket.
To book a seat, start a search on the Velocity Frequent Flyer website.
Supplementary images courtesy respective airlines.