American starts flights to Tokyo, Haneda with B787 Dreamliner

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You read this right folks, American will commence flights to Tokyo’s Haneda airport beginning February 11, 2016. You can book these flights starting on November 8th.

Why does this matter?

Well, if you’ve been to Tokyo then you already know. Haneda is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay (breath) waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay closer. We’re talking the difference of a 20-30 minute taxi ride vs a minimum 90 mins and with traffic…take an Ambien cause you’re gonna be in that cab for a while.

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Miles and I had the opportunity to visit Tokyo in the Around the World trip this summer and flew into Haneda and out of Narita. Boy, did we miss Haneda when we were just half way to Narita and you could hear the money being sucked from our wallets.  We stayed at the Ritz Carlton on points, so I used this as the destination for both airports.

How did this happen?

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Well, Delta has been squatting on some Haneda gate space for quite some time. American carriers only have 4 gate spaces at Haneda and Delta wasn’t utilizing all the space to it’s fullest capacity.  American, therefore,  has been battling in court to force Delta to open up that space so that they could service more people. See…Delta could squat and force other carriers to Narita – which is a trip in and of itself to Tokyo, but now, with American’s new 787 Dreamliner and new business/first class on the 777 AA was keen on putting butts in seats and getting them to Tokyo. American ultimately won back in March, and now they are starting service. Delta had lobbied an unsuccessful reversal bid with the courts because American hadn’t started utilizing the route they had fought for within 60 days, so it’s no surprise that American makes this announcement which basically settles the case.

Delta also relinquished it’s exclusivity on the Seattle route which was mandated to run daily to maintain exclusivity. They couldn’t turn a profit and now American will start flights out of Seattle as well. These are great verdicts for the consumer. With the recent news that Delta forfeiting it’s Atlanta to Dubai route, and Emirates possibly swooping in to grab it up, it’s another blow move that will endow the consumer with more options, competition, and ultimately better prices.

What will the product be?

The 787-800 ( the shorter of the two 787 models currently in production) is a brand new aircraft for AA. It’s fuselage is made of composite materials allowing for lower altitude cabin pressure, higher humidity, and bigger windows. Composite materials allow for a sturdier frame with less expansion do to altitude which allows for a longer life and better in cabin experience for passengers.

AA 787  is a “3” cabin plane with Business, Main Cabin Extra, and Main Cabin Economy. All the seats have a great IFE system built in, and as someone who has flown on a Dreamliner, I can attest that they are in fact outstanding planes for passengers. As I mentioned before, they are pressurized to a lower altitude ( which helps with jetlag because your brain gets more oxygen), have increased window size for better light, and also have higher cabin humidity ( because the materials around the windows are composite which tolerate higher humidity levels without corroding side effects.

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Keep an eye on the award availability for this route. Often times when a new route is introduced the algos for seat avail will mistakenly create a plethora of availability that ordinarily wouldn’t be there. When every seat on a given route is avail, the computers may think they need to entice customers…so a deal may be had come November 8th when the seats become avail.

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The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based. 

Welcome Offer

60k Points after $4k spend in 3 months

80k offer in branch currently – I think this should be online soon

Annual Fee


Points Earned

Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards

Super solid welcome offer.

If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash , Ink Business Unlimited you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners

Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.

  • 3x on dining
    •  including eligible delivery services for takeout
  • 3x on select streaming services
  • 3x on online grocery purchases
    • (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
  • 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards – Chase Travel Portal
  • $50 Annual Credit on hotel stays purchased via Ultimate Rewards/Chase Travel
    • The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
  • 10% Anniversary Bonus
    • Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel Portal and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including primary rental car insurance, purchase protections, etc.
  • Points are transferrable to 13 Ultimate Rewards partners
  • Redeem in the Chase Travel center for 1.25 cents per point
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
    • Primary rental car coverage is my favorite

There is currently an 80k offer after $4k spend in 3 months available in branch, and up to 90k after $6k spend in 6 months. I suspect some version of this will be online soon if you don’t want the hassle of going into a branch.

We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.

Historically 60k is a very, very good offer. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back. .

Main Cast: 

Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.

Supporting Cast:

Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on. 

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