How to get to Japan with credit card rewards

Choose a card with high signup bonus.

Last updated:

We value our editorial independence, basing our comparison results, content and reviews on objective analysis without bias. But we may receive compensation when you click links on our site. Learn more about how we make money from our partners.

You can get to Japan without paying much out of pocket for your flight. To do so, you likely need to pick a card with high signup bonus, which is usually enough to redeem for a one-way ticket.

Additional purchases with your card can secure you a ticket home.

Credit cards that get you to Japan

Your best choices include cobranded airline credit cards and general travel cards. If you’re looking for flight-specific perks like free checked bags and priority boarding, an airline card is usually the better choice.

But if you want to get a broader collection of perks like earning miles on flight purchases, getting an airline credit or TSA PreCheck and Global Entry fee credit, and you also want to get hotels benefits — consider a general travel credit card.

Jump to …

Our pick for getting to Japan

The Platinum Card® from American Express

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Read less
Read more
See Rates & Fees
Promoted

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®

How many American Airlines miles do I need to fly to Japan?

American Airlines flies between the US and Japan, and you can also catch a flight on one of its partner airlines through Oneworld Alliance. Airlines within the network include Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines.

One-way trips between the US and Japan start from 32,500 miles plus $5.60 for taxes and fees for Economy MileSAAver tickets according to the American Airlines website as of January 2019.

flight to Japan image 1

How do I earn the miles?

Spend $2,500 in your first 3 months of card membership and earn 50,000 bonus miles.

Now you need to spend another $7,500 at gas stations, restaurants or American Airlines purchases to get a total of 65,000 miles, which is enough for a round trip to Japan.

United℠ Explorer Card

United℠ Explorer Card
See offer

How many United miles do I need to fly to Japan?

United Airlines offers direct flights to Japan, but you can also board a flight to one of the Star Alliance partner airlines — including Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines and Nippon Airways.

Whichever airline you choose, redeeming miles for a flight to Japan starts from 35,000 miles plus $5.60 for fees and taxes for an Economy flight. This is according to the United website as of January 2019.
flight fees to Japan image 2

How do I earn the miles?

You can earn 40,000 miles if you spend $2,000 within 3 months of your account opening.

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
Apply now

How many SkyMiles do I need to fly to Japan?

Delta is slightly more expensive where additional fees are concerned for a one-way trip. Be ready to spend at least 35,000 miles and $120 for fees and taxes according to the Delta website as of January 2019.

If you opt in for a round trip, you’ll save around $70 on additional fees, meaning you’ll need 70,000 miles and $50.73.
flight fees to Japan image 3

How do I earn the miles?

The card comes with a decent welcome offer of 60,000 miles when you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months of card membership. Compared to similar cards, you get high value for a low spending threshold.

By earning the welcome offer, you’ll have nearly enough points for a one-way ticket to Japan.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express
Apply now

How many Membership Rewards points do I need to fly to Japan?

According to the American Express website as of January 2019, with The Platinum Card® from American Express you can transfer your points to Delta SkyMiles at a 3:2 ratio. This means, you need 52,500 membership reward points to convert to 35,000 SkyMiles — which is the minimum for a one-way Economy flight to Japan.

How do I earn the miles?

When you spend $5,000 within 3 months of account opening, you can earn 60,000 bonus points. That’s more than enough to convert to Delta SkyMiles and book a flight to Japan.

To get the return ticket, you need to spend about $8,250 on prepaid hotels or flights booked through Amex’s travel site.

Compare similar travel credit cards

Name Product Filter values Rewards Purchase APR Annual fee
1x points on all purchases with 2% point value when you redeem for airfare and 1.5% for cash back
16.74% variable
$495
Receive an annual $100 air travel credit toward flight-related purchases including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more.
5x points on directly-booked flights or on flights and hotels on Amex Travel. 1x points on all other purchases
N/A
$550
Get 5x Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 5x points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com. Rates & fees
12x points on Hilton Portfolio spending, 6x at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, 3x on all other purchases
17.49% to 26.49% variable
$95
Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors™ Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 or more in purchases with your new card within the first 3 months of card membership. Rates & fees
3x points on dining and travel after earning your $300 travel credit and 1x points on all other purchases
18.99% to 25.99% variable
$450
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
2x miles at restaurants, hotels and United and 1x miles on all other purchases
18.49% to 25.49% variable
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

To earn a reward flight to Japan, consider getting a general travel or airline credit card. With an airline card you earn miles on your flights and potentially purchases at restaurants or gas stations. Plus you get airline-specific perks like free checked bags or priority boarding.

With a general travel rewards card, you can convert your points to airline miles. And you may get additional perks at hotels and extra statement credits among other benefits.

However, if you’re not sure whether any of these cards will work for your spending habits, check out other travel credit cards to compare your options.

Frequently asked questions

Shuttestock

Disclaimer

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site