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This entry was first written in July 2018, but since then, we’ve already taken the trip back from Los Angeles to Japan (here are the many links about 2019 trip for our entire family of 19). Since coming back from our trip to Japan, my wife and I decided to book a return trip in 2020…this time, we fly first class roundtrip – worth $35,000 BUT all we used were our points and our only out of pocket cash for this booking was a total of $500.
Ok back to our 2019 trip – 12 FREE tickets to Japan!!!!
You will also see the details how we booked this trip and managed to get 12 FREE tickets – scroll down below:
- The perfect starter card to travel for nearly free
- The mad rush to get ready for Japan
- Flying ANA + our first few hours in Tokyo
- How to book a large AirBNB for a big group
- One day in Tokyo
- All Things Osaka
- Kyoto AirBNB for 19? No problem!
- Visiting Fushimi Inari Shrine
- Kyoto Days: Historical Ninenzaka
- All things Kyoto
- How we booked 3 FREE nights in a Tokyo Hostel
- Lost and Found Tales in Japan
- Tokyo MariCar – our GoKarting experience in Japan
- The Japan Takeaways
The Backstory – how we booked 12 FREE tickets to Japan
That’s right. My family just booked twelve (12) free tickets to Japan. We are flying from Los Angeles to Tokyo round trip. All we used were points we earned from our credit cards. How exactly?
First of all, I’m in the habit of publishing our outrageous deals and share them on the day that we travel. This trip to Japan is not scheduled until 2019, but it was too good not to share. Why?
- No taxes and fees were used – all points
- No cash out of pocket, all included with the points we used
- No need to transfer to airline transfer partners
So, what happened
I just got back from a father/daughter trip to Europe (from NYC to Portugal, Italy, and the United Kingdom). Most of you know that we have four kids, but it has been a challenge to get all of us to be in one trip due to our conflicting schedule. I knew that a summer vacation with all six of us was probably not going to happen so I took the bull by the horn and took one of our four kids with me to Europe for two weeks. I haven’t even finished blogging about the whole thing yet, but in a nutshell:
- Out of pocket costs = $245 in fees for both of us
- Flew from Los Angeles to New York City to Porto, Portugal to Rome and Naples, Italy to Manchester and London in the UK, then flew back to Los Angeles
- Two weeks of travel
- 8 nights in hotels in Portugal and Italy, all using points (only paid taxes and fees)
After coming back from this trip in late June, I had this bug to want to do something with our whole family. But, it was just impossible to plan something this summer because of previous commitments.
How we booked 12 Free Tickets Japan
I came across a deal with Singapore Airlines from LA to Tokyo for 2019. The dates, however, weren’t going to work for us. So I slept on it. When I woke up the next morning, I searched for the deals again to Japan, and was faced with a predicament. I could fly my family to Japan during Spring Break and use approximately 43,000 Chase Ultimate Reward Points via Singapore Airlines or 37,000 Chase Ultimate Reward Points via ANA. I opted for the one that would charge me fewer points. It was at least a difference of 30,000 Ultimate Rewards Points, and I value those points quite heavily. I checked the ANA website and if we booked this directly with ANA, it was going to cost $8,933 for the six members of my family. Ouch!!! No, thanks!
Using Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal
I knew there was a better way of booking this flight. I had seen this fare go on special with Singapore Air and ANA, but I knew better not to pay cash for this airfare. I mean, I have the points, and whenever possible, I’d rather use points than paying cash. It was a toss up between ANA and Singapore. I couldn’t go wrong. In 2017, Singapore was ranked # 2 and ANA was ranked #3 in the world’s best airlines.
I also chose to use the Chase Portal because with the points earned with my Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve, I get a 1.5x when I book from my CSR account. We ended up using a total of 224,136 points or roughly, 37, 356 points per person and zero fees out of pocket.
That’s it. I checked the dates that I wanted for all of us to travel, and it just happened to have worked out. I ended up calling Chase and booked our trip, other than that, it was easy peasy.
After booking this around noon, five hours later, my sister-in-law called me and inquired about our booking. An hour after that, bam! They booked the same flights. They booked three additional tickets and will be joining us to Japan in the Spring of 2019.
A few weeks later, my nieces and nephews also booked their free tickets to Japan using rewards earned with Chase. News spread and next thing you know, 19 members of our family were all headed for Japan and 12 of those were booked using points with Chase!
How was this possible
For those who are just starting or who are not aware of the points earned with credit cards, that’s truly what made this possible. As you can see with this example, each traveler needed approximately 37,000 points. There are quite a few credit cards that are perfect for beginners that could get you to travel for nearly free. Two of the ones that come to mind:
You have to meet a minimum spend of $4,000 within the first 3 months of opening the account, once you do so, you will be awarded your bonus points. For more details, click here for a list of my favorite travel credit cards.