Here it is! A cost breakdown of our entire 10 day trip to Japan. Today we’re going to take a look at just how we kept our costs so low. If you want to “go deep” on what exactly Margie and I did during our trip, you can pick a day below and read the travel log.
I found Japan to be a surprisingly affordable place to visit. And just like our trips to Peru and Switzerland, we kept our total trip costs (including airfare, hotels, transportation, food and activities) around $2,000. Throughout this breakdown, I’ll be using US Dollars instead of yen to make this easier on you. I’ll be converting prices using the early October 2015 exchange rate of 120.4 yen to the dollar.
Total Cost: $2,052.17
|2 Tickets||Retail Cost||Miles Used||Our Cost|
|Japan Airlines First Class, JFK-NRT, Round Trip||$34,000||250,000 American Miles||$161|
Flights are usually the most expensive part of any trip. That is, if you’re paying cash. Since we’ve been churning credit cards for the sign-on bonuses, we’ve paid for our last 7 or 8 flights just by using frequent flyer miles. This is a simple way to keep your vacation costs very low, especially if you want to travel abroad like we like to. We are middle class folks, so if it wasn’t for frequent flyer miles, we would never be able to take trips like this.
After getting so many Citi American Airlines cards and Barclays US Airways cards over the years, and especially after those two airlines merged, we are absolutely swimming in American Airlines miles! So we redeemed them to fly first class, which is normally a $17,000 ticket. Although I doubt many people pay the price tag quoted on the Japan Airlines website. I’m guessing most people either have their employer pay for it, or they’re flying as part of a free upgrade or something. But if you were to pay cash… well, you’re better off using that $17,000 for something else. It is just a flight, after all!
That said, it was incredible! This was our first time flying in honest-to-goodness First Class. The food was phenomenal. The service was ridiculous. The seats turned into comfortable, wide beds. Unfortunately, soon after our trip, American Airlines announced a change to their awards prices, and that same pair of tickets which cost us 250,000 AA miles, or about five credit card bonuses, would now cost us 440,000, or almost nine credit card bonuses, in the future. So this award will be difficult, maybe impossible to get in the future, and at any rate, maybe not even worth spending the miles on.
|Transport for 2||Cost||Miles Covered|
|Japan Rail Passes (7 day)||$467.00||694 miles|
|Kyoto Subways||$23.07||23 miles|
|Osaka Subway||$7.97||6 miles|
|Tokyo Subways||$35.36||62 miles|
|Narita Express, Tokyo to Narita Airport||$21.91||45 miles|
|Avg Cost Per Mile||$0.67/mile|