Consider Japan Now if On Your Bucket List & Based out of the US
Below I'll be covering:
Why now is a good time to go to Japan due to the Yen vs US ratio.
When to go to Japan
How to get there
Where to stay
I. Why now is a good time to go to Japan due to the Yen vs US ratio.
Did you know that you can get around 20% more Japanese Yen per US dollar at this time vs a year ago, and around 30% more vs 2 years ago?
Prior to this year, the last time you could get 135 Yen per dollar (the ratio now) was 1998.
The number of Japanese Yen you can get per US dollar has been declining since its peak in mid October, so if Japan is on your bucket list, it's worth considering while the USD to Yen ratio is strong.
II. When to go to Japan
If wanting to know what time of year is best to go, many consider Spring and Autumn the best times to go.
Cherry Blossom Festival is one time many like to go. The Autumn colors can be gorgeous. When you go really depends on what you're looking for, since some of the top skiing destinations in Asia are in Japan, so now's not such a bad time either if looking to ski.
If wanting to go on points/certificates, there are plenty of options to fly there and stay there.
III. How to get there
A. 1st Class
Perhaps the best-known Japan sweet spot for redemptions is to use 120k Virgin Atlantic Points for round trip on ANA 1st class. If you convert Virgin Atlantic awards from Amex Membership rewards during a 30% promo like the one they have going now, I've seen where you can get higher than 25 cents per Amex Membership Reward in some cases because these flights are so nice and so pricey if paid for in cash.
B. Business Class
If you previously caught on to the Capital One 50% transfer promo to Etihad and are in a location with direct flights on AA (from Dallas DFW or Los Angeles LAX), you can get to Japan and back for around 66.67k Capital One Miles (100k Etihad Miles) for off-peak round trip direct flight travel.
Another fantastic option to Japan from mainland US, if you have some time on your hands and don't want to just stop in Japan, is an ANA Business class round the world itinerary for 125k ANA points, or 125k Amex MR converted to ANA at a 1:1 ratio.
C. If going economy, using ANA miles (1:1 transfer partner with Amex MR) you can get to Japan flying ANA only for 40k-75k miles depending on the season. Flying star alliance using ANA miles you can go for as low as 50k miles depending on season and the # of transfers (2 legs, or 3 legs if transfer within Japan) or 55k miles for higher numbers of legs. Using British Airways Avios for Japan Airlines direct flights after buying them for around a cent or a transfer from Amex MR during a 40% transfer promo is also a solid option.
If you previously caught on to the Capital One 50% transfer promo to Etihad and are in a location with direct flights on AA (from Dallas DFW or Los Angeles LAX), you can get to Japan and back for around 33.33k Capital One Miles (50k Etihad Miles) for off-peak round trip travel.
IV. Where to stay