United Airlines currently has oodles of Business Class Saver Award availability through the end of 2022. Flights are available out of Los Angeles, San Francisco and Denver, in most cases with availability of 2 seats or more. (h/t: Thrifty Traveler Premium)
I’m a committed Japanophile. It’s one of my favorite places on Earth, so my award ears always perk up when I hear rumors of good business class availability. In this case, it isn’t just good, but pick-your-date fantastic. Japan’s borders are closed to visitors through the end of February, so this might seem like an awkard time to be planning travel, but it’s likely that once the Omicron surge has crested, tourism will reopen. While getting there for Sakura in March might be a gamble, it seems much more likely to be open for Summer and for Fall leaf season when the whole country becomes a multi-hued wonderland.
United is currently showing availability out of all three cities starting on March 4th and going to the end of the year. All three flights are operated with 787-9’s, but the LAX flight is the only one that reliably features the new 23″ wide Polaris seat with direct aisle access and Saks bedding, a significant upgrade on the older planes that are often flying out of DEN and SFO.
How to Book
You can search for open dates a month at a time by looking directly on UA’s website site and selecting “flexible dates,” or search for an entire year at a time using Seat Spy.
If you recently signed-up for the United Miles Quest card or are planning on adding the United Business Card with the 150,000 point offer that Nick recently wrote about, you may have United miles to burn. If so, burn ’em baby and grab ’em through United at 70,000 each way. But the real magic happens when you book the very same United seats with ANA.
In comparison to United’s 140,000 roundtrip price (or 150,000 with Aeroplan), ANA charges just 85,000 miles round-trip for the those United flights between the US and Japan, one of the many ANA sweet spots worth drooling over. ANA is a transfer partner of Membership Rewards and if you’re bathing in AMEX’s recent largesse through the Platinum Resy welcome offer or got on the Business Platinum bandwagon before the changed annual fee, you probably have enough for you and a lucky friend to get to Tokyo in style (or for the whole family if you bought a car with it). Be aware that MR transfers to ANA usually take 2-3 days, award availability can change while you’re waiting and there’s a three year hard expiration from the date of transfer.