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Obviously I love trips in general, but I REALLY LOVE surprise trips. Not ones for my self, although those aren’t bad, but what really brings me joy is doing the actual surprising. So when the opportunity came to pull off a very unexpected, special trip to Tokyo for my girlfriend’s birthday…it had to be done. Since we were limited on time, this surprise trip would need to land in Tokyo for just 2 nights, yes – a weekend in Tokyo. Here’s the overview of how I planned, selected accommodations, and
The Planning – MUST FLY IN BIZ OR FIRST
Not only would we only be there for 2 nights, but the whole experience of flying in a premium cabin was a must. I’d originally planned on buying econ tickets and then upgrade by using American Airlines SWUs ( Executive Platinums get 4 a year) that were showing available at the time of booking. The problem? By the time I got around to locking down dates – the 2 I needed on the return had disappeared. As luck would have it, when I searched our return date, Japan Airlines was showing an empty First Class cabin and 1 seat available with Alaska miles. Figuring JAL would release another – I locked in the flights.
Booking flights –
I purchased 2 econ tickets ( LAX-HND) through the American Express travel center. Sidenote: these tickets would be classified as consolidator tickets, and ultimately that fare bucket earned me 100% points credited to Alaska, ok back to the story. I also redeemed 70k Alaska Miles and booked my gf a ticket from Tokyo to Los Angeles, and counted on JAL releasing space as they normally do 10-14 days out. This strategy worked, and sure enough, 10 days prior to departure they peeled off another. I booked the 2nd JAL First ticket using AA miles – 80k to be exact.
Hotels – Club Level Please
I still had 4 club level upgrades from my Hyatt Explorist status in my account, and ultimately chose the Grand Hyatt Tokyo because of it. I redeemed 2 nights, at 25k a night, and applied the upgrades to the account. The location is great, attached to the Roppongi Hills mall, and we were even able to use the concierge to book us into Sukiyabashi Jiro Roppongi.
A $25k weekend trip for a couple hundred bucks. #weekendwarrior
I couldn’t have asked for the trip to go any better. She was totally surprised and we got to spend an amazing weekend in Tokyo.
- Crowne Plaza LAX
- Qantas First Class Lounge LAX
- American Airlines LA to Tokyo on the retrofit 772
- Grand Hyatt Tokyo
- Japan Airlines First Class Lounge Narita
- Japan Airlines First Class 777-300ER Narita to Los Angeles
*since I’d reviewed both the Qantas First Class Lounge and Japan Airlines First Class lounge recently, I included links to those reviews rather than write new ones.