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Still haven’t decided where to take that last-minute spring trip yet? You might have been thinking of a weekend getaway or a staycation, but United is giving us a pretty good reason to consider hopping across the Pacific to Japan. When you book an economy Saver award now through April 17 for travel completed by April 30, 2014, the airline is giving a 25% discount on the redemption level.

Feel like a trip to Japan this spring?
Feel like a trip to Japan this spring?

Economy awards to Japan were one of the redemptions just raised in United’s February devaluation, so instead of 65,000 miles roundtrip, you’ll now be forking out 70,000 miles. However, with this discount, the redemption drops to 52,500 miles. Per the T&C, eligible awards must be roundtrip and flown only on United and United Express – so no booking an ANA award, even if it’s a United codeshare. However, open jaws within the same region count – so you can fly out of Chicago and back to Newark, for instance, giving you some more flexibility. The discount is valid only for travel between the US or Canada and Japan.

It looks like there’s plenty of availability throughout April from most of United’s hubs including Chicago, Denver, Houston, Newark and San Francisco. You don’t have to do anything to register – the correct discounted award level will price out automatically on United flights as you can see below.

Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 8.28.27 AMAmerican Airlines normally charges 65,000 miles roundtrip in economy to Japan, but April is off-peak season for Japan (it runs through April 30) according to the airline’s award chart, so you can actually get economy awards for 50,000 miles roundtrip.

That’s just 2,500 miles less than United, and given that you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United instantly at a 1:1 ratio if you have the Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold or Ink Plus, as well as United’s recent award chart devaluation, I’d rather use United miles at this point and keep my American miles for more premium international redemptions.

I haven’t been to Japan in a few years, but I had a blast on my trip back in 2011, so check out the posts from that:

Happy booking!

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

With great transfer partners like United and Hyatt, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
16.49% - 23.49% Variable
Annual Fee
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

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