With my colleague Matt recently writing about his tips for travel to Japan, I thought I would share the single best travel hack I know for purchasing cheap domestic flights in Japan with ANA.
Partner Awards with ANA
As most will know, each Airpoints Dollar (APD) is worth $1 when redeemed towards flights with Air New Zealand.
While this results in unbeatable award availability — every seat on the plane is up for grabs — it also means that you are the mercy of the revenue cost of the fare.
This is where the Airpoints partner airline partner award chart comes in:
- 125 APD will allow you to redeem for an Economy Class seat on any Star Alliance airline on one-way sectors under 1,000km.
- 150 APD will cover all one-way sectors under 2,000km.
In Japan, this includes all regularly scheduled domestic routes serviced by Air New Zealand’s Star Alliance partner, ANA.
Example – Tokyo to Fukuoka
You have just arrived in Japan, and after a few nights in Tokyo, you decide that you want to fly to Fukuoka in the south.
On 2 May 2019, the cheapest revenue flights on offer are with Jetstar and Peach:
Airpoints Gold or Elite members will likely have a preference for travelling with ANA, with benefits such as priority boarding, lounge access, and extra luggage on offer.
However, flights with ANA are considerably more expensive:
Airpoints comes to the rescue, beating even the best available price on the route:
A total of 14 flights options are available on this high-frequency route
Example – Fukuoka to Sapporo
Looking to hit the ski slopes in the north of Japan, after exploring the sights in the south for a few weeks?
A flight with ANA on the 17 May would break the bank:
However, Airpoints let you redeem for the same seat for only 25% of the price:
Note that you could also fly with Peach a few days earlier for only half the price—but with no luggage allowance, no seat selection, and cramped seats, you would need to weigh up your preference for a discount airline over a full-service carrier.
How much luggage can I check on these flights?
Economy Class checked luggage on ANA’s domestic flights is free up to 20kg. More information can be found on the ANA website.
What about airline taxes and fees?
You will pay no taxes and fees on domestic award redemptions with ANA.
How do I ‘buy’ these flights?
The Air New Zealand Airpoints credit cards issued by Kiwibank are the only cards that allow you to top up your Airpoints Dollars account.
As long as you have available credit on your account, you can purchase Airpoints Dollars at cost.
Simply follow the instructions here.
While you will incur a $5 fee for each top-up, you will also earn Airpoints Dollars on your spend.
Other rules to remember
- Reward travel cannot be booked online within 3 days of departure. If your travel is within 3 days, you will need to book by phone at 0800 737 000
- The ANA Experience Japan Fare may offer cheaper travel on some routes, especially the shorter ones, but availability can be limited. It is a good idea to compare prices before deciding the cheapest way to book
- This redemption option is particularly good for last-minute bookings, when revenue fares can be high. If you plan your travel far in advance, revenue fares can be cheaper on some routes
- As usual, be sure to confirm award availability before booking
The more I explore the Airpoints partner award chart, the more I come across hidden gems like this that make the programme ever more appealing.
While domestic flights in Japan with low-cost carriers like Jetstar and Peach can often be found at a lower price, those who like to plan their trip as they go will find these redemptions with ANA valuable.
Have you found a great value Airpoints redemption? Let us know in the comments below.