Japan and South Korea 2017: Planning

I just returned from an amazing 2 week vacation to South Korea and Japan.

When I was planning for this trip, I decided to try 2 new airlines (well, new for me): Singapore Airlines and Japan Airlines. Both airlines have been ranked pretty high on my list of must try airlines. Normally, I wouldn’t have taken another Asia trip this quickly after my April 2016 trip because I need time to build back my points/miles. But, my friend, Haejin convinced me to visit her while she is still living in Japan.

We literally started making plans a month after I returned from Hong Kong and Taiwan. I was a bit stuck on the airline situation. I will be honest. I am spoiled. Now that I’ve experience Business and First Class, it is so difficult to go back to Economy Class; especially on flights that are 9+ hours. But at this point, my miles were pretty depleted. I then remembered that I had a large number of Citi Thank You points from my Citi Preferred and Citi Prestige cards so I transferred them to my Singapore Krisflyer account to book Singapore Airlines First Class!

I used 54,000 miles (10% off miles due to my Aadvantage credit card) to book a Business Class seat on JAL. 2 days before I was due to fly out, I decided to check if JAL had open any First Class seats. Lo and behold, 2 seats became available! I quickly called American Airlines and requested to upgrade my Business Class seat to First Class using my Aadvantage miles.

The itinerary was set as followed:

SQ007 Los Angeles to Seoul – First Class
KE767 Seoul to Aomori – Prestige (Business) Class
JL062 Tokyo to Los Angeles – Business Class First Class

and booked the following accommodations:

InterContinental Grand Seoul Parnas – 3 nights (including Haejin’s reservation)
Holiday Inn Express Seoul Euljiro – 2 nights
La Jolie Motomachi – 1 night
Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills – 3 nights

The remaining 3 nights, I crashed with Haejin 😛

The final cost of this itinerary cost:
*Retail prices are shown as of when they were redeemed/paid
**I used 2 free nights for Andaz Tokyo as a result of my Hyatt credit card.

Flight/Hotel Retail Price Miles/ Points I Paid…
SQ007 6,207.90 74,375 212.50
KE767 542.00 22,500 25.00
JL062 9,504.68 72,000 39.96
Grand InterContinental Seoul Parnas – Haejin 361.72 0 181.00
Grand InterContinental Seoul Parnas 654.26 50,000 70.00
Holiday Inn Express Seoul Euljiro 220.80 40,000 0.00
La Jolie Motomachi Hakodate Grand Hotel Annex 238.10 0 116.00
Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills 1,598.23 25,000 0.00
Total 19,327.69 283,875 644.46

Yup, you read that correctly. I paid $644.46 for a trip that retailed for $19,327.69. That is a savings of 97%!

I will be posting the rest of my trip report soon so don’t forget to follow the blog (upper right, underneath my profile) to get notifications when I update!

Until next time,


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