Cheap Business Class Tickets to Tokyo & Guam using Miles

Update July 9 2014

This deal is now dead as LifeMiles has changed the number of miles needed for flights to GUM.

How to get very cheap business class flights to Tokyo

This is an advanced topic for those willing to take a bit of risk and do some work.

There is an airline called Avianca with a mileage program called LifeMiles. Avianca is part of the star alliance which means you can use their miles to book flights on other airlines like United and Singapore Airlines (just to name a few). There are 2 main features to LifeMiles that make them such a great deal to fly to Tokyo or Guam for less:

You can buy LifeMiles for cheap

Avianca often runs promos where you can buy LifeMiles for 1.5 cents per mile (which is a great deal). Recently they even had a better deal where you could get LifeMiles for 1.1 cents per miles by sharing between 2 accounts.

There are some sweet spots in their award chart

LifeMiles have some interesting “anomalies” in their award chart. This is where things get kid of crazy. They only charge 12,500 miles for a one-way ticket from the mainland US to Guam in economy and 25,000 miles in business class. For those not familiar with using airline miles, that’s the same price that it costs to fly within the continental US. But Guam is far away. Usually it’s 50,000-65,000 miles for the same flight in business class instead of 25,000.

But I thought you were talking about flights to Tokyo? Well, here’s where it gets even more “interesting.” To get to Guam you often have to fly through other cities like Tokyo. If you want to continue on to Guam, that’s fine. But there’s nothing preventing you from stopping in Tokyo instead. (This is much cheaper than booking a flight straight to Tokyo.) There are some things to consider if you decide to skip your last flight, though. First of all, don’t check any baggage because it will end up in Guam. Secondly, only book this as a one-way to Guam, not a round trip. Otherwise your return flights will get canceled if you miss your flight to Guam.

United Airlines flies this route with nice business class with lie-flat seat that turns into a bed (see photo at the top).

Cheap Economy Class tickets to Tokyo & Guam

This same deal can be used to fly economy class for 12,500 miles to Tokyo and continuing on to Guam. This is also a fantastic deal.

How do I get back?

If you go all the way to Guam, the return is the same great deal (just book it as a separate one-way). If you get off in Tokyo, you’ll have to book a separate flight back. I decided to use American Express membership rewards points to book Singapore Airlines Suites class.

Summary

You can get a business class flight to Tokyo for 25,000 LifeMiles or $275-$375 (depending on the deal you use to purchase the miles). You can get the same deal on the return if you fly all the way to Guam.

Further Reading

There are others who have written about this deal in greater detail:

 

Posted in Advanced Tips, Avianca LifeMiles, How to Use Airline Miles, Redeeming Miles, Specific Deals, Trip Reports
5 comments on “Cheap Business Class Tickets to Tokyo & Guam using Miles
  1. Wow! What a great deal. I am not a member of life miles but I guess I should be. Thanks for sharing.

  2. CARLOS says:

    Have you noticed this deal not working anymore? any other way to do it?

  3. Jenny says:

    Thanks for the tips. I joined LifeMiles recently for the sign on bonus and have been racking up the points ever since to take advantage of the LAX-GUAM via Tokyo deal. ONly thing is, when I use the search engine on the LifeMiles site to try and anticipate booking something as far as a year out, literally every day is saying “Sold Out”. I feel like the flights can’t possibly be sold out as far ahead as June 2015. Am I missing something? Thanks.

  4. Carlos and Jenny – it seems that finding space is harder than it used to be, but I would encourage you to try again because for a while LifeMiles wasn’t showing most United award space, but it seems they have fixed this now.

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