April 1, 2017

A Week in Japan: Introduction

Planning & Booking
United Polaris Business Class 787-8 San Francisco to Osaka (KIX)
Intercontinental Osaka
The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto
Park Hyatt Tokyo
Cathay Pacific First Class 777-300ER Tokyo (HND) to Hong Kong
Conrad Hong Kong
The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong
Singapore Airlines First Class 777-300ER Hong Kong to San Francisco
Hyatt Regency SFO

I'm still working on a couple of segments from our latest trip to Al Maha in November of last year.   I plan to finish those trip reports in April but given that our next trip is coming up next month, I wanted to get the introductory post on the blog.

We were in Tokyo last August and loved it.  We decided to go back on the flight home and started thinking about when and where.  We wanted to spend some additional time in Tokyo along with a visit to Kyoto.  We were able to snag flights on United's direct service from San Francisco to Osaka (closest international airport to Kyoto) and began planning from there.

I do want to give United's Polaris soft (hard product won't be installed on these planes for years) product so leaning towards keeping the direct flight.  For another 40,000 miles a piece we could fly Asiana first class through Seoul which would be more comfortable and more fun but take longer.

16,000+ miles of flying

We land in Osaka in the afternoon so I burned a free IHG night from holding the Chase CC at the Intercontinental Osaka which looks nice.  After checking out Japan's second city, we're off to Kyoto via Shinkansen bullet train.  We'll be roughing it at the Ritz-Carlton Kyoto which looks absolutely gorgeous.  Total cost will be $0 as there was points availability using a combination of Marriott Rewards points and SPG points transferred to Marriott at a 3:1 ratio.

After exploring Kyoto, it's back on the bullet train for the ride to Tokyo.  I was leaning towards staying at the Andaz again but free nights opened up (thanks to the Chase Hyatt card) at the Park Hyatt Tokyo so opted to check it out for a couple of nights.

After a week in Japan, it's off to our favorite city in the world via Cathay Pacific First Class.  I'm looking forward to checking out JAL's First Class lounge at Haneda as well.  In Hong Kong, we're planning on spending the first couple of nights at the Conrad on an award stay.  The location is solid and I really enjoyed the lounge during my last visit with my brother.

For our last night, we'll move over to the Ritz-Carlton on the Kowloon side.  I booked an American Express FHR rate of ~$400 USD with complimentary breakfast and a $100 credit which we'll use at the highest bar (Ozone) in the world.  We've both wanted to stay here since our first visit in 2012 and since we're not paying cash for any of the other hotel nights, it was worth a splurge.

It's always sad to come home from such a great trip but we'll do it in style flying Singapore Airlines First Class (no Suites this time around) from HKG to San Francisco.  The flight leaves late (11:30PM) and lands late (~9PM) so we'll stay the night at the Hyatt Regency SFO before an early morning United flight back to Denver.

Both of us can't wait to spend more time in Japan and a few days in Hong Kong.  Of 10 nights, 9 were paid for using points/free nights and the cash outlays for the flights was very low.  More details on how I booked coming up in the next installment.

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