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
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
How do I get back?
- $200 Flight to Japan with Hidden City Ticketing on LifeMiles Awards
- Business Class 10k Award Miles One Way to Asia via Cabotage/Throwaway Route
- Flyertalk thread (note this will take you a long time to decipher and may not be too helpful).