The land of the rising sun is open for business once again, and the Qantas Group are celebrating with a frequent flyer point frenzy.

Qantas and Jetstar will make every economy seat available as a ‘Classic Flight Reward’ on various dates over 2022 and 2023. Five Australian cities will benefit from the deal travelling to Tokyo and Osaka. However, booking dates and availability vary per deal, so we have unpacked everything in one easy-to-understand guide. If Japan isn’t your flavour, the flying kangaroo will also run the same deal from Sydney to Hong Kong at the end of January when the route reopens.

Japan Reopens with Qantas and Jetstar deals
Japan is reopening after years of strict Covid-19 restrictions. © Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

Japan’s tourism sector still reeling from the pandemic

From Tuesday 11th, Japan is reinstating visa-free travel for dozens of countries, ending one of the strictest borders during the pandemic era. The country hopes this will provide a significant economic boost, with just half a million tourists travelling to Japan so far in 2022. The tech nation recorded a record 31.8 million visitors in 2019, with the aim of breaking the record again in 202o. However, those plans were quashed when the summer Olympic games were postponed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The country hopes to rebound to pre-pandemic levels citing a target of 5 trillion yen. Although, a report conducted by Nomura Research Institute economist Takahide Kiuchi found that spending from overseas visitors will reach only 2.1 trillion yen by 2023 and won’t surpass pre-pandemic levels until 2025.

Narita Airport, the nation’s largest airport and one of two airports in Tokyo, remains a ghost town. More than 260 shops and restaurants remain closed as the country slowly exits the pandemic. Travelling to Japan won’t be for everyone as the government still requires visitors to be fully vaccinated as a condition of entry.

“I don’t think there’s going to be a sudden return to the pre-pandemic situation. Restrictions are still pretty strict compared to other countries,”  said Amina Collection Co president, Sawato Shindo, while speaking to the New York Times.

Despite the associated uncertainties, travel companies are keen to reenter the Japanese tourism market. Australia’s flagship airline group is one of them.

Qantas and Jetstar points planes to Japan
© Donal Morrissey/CNN/Jonathan Green/Travel Radar

Qantas and Jetstar points deal to last six weeks in 2023

Up to 100,000 points will be available across six different routes, with Qantas flights leaving Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, while Jetstar flights will depart from Cairns and the Gold Coast. Flying kangaroo routes will fly to Tokyo Haneda International Airport, while Jetstar will travel to Tokyo Narita Airport and Osaka Kansai Airport.

Classic Flight Rewards will be available on all economy seats with both airlines from May 11th to June 20th 2023. Jetstar will also run the same deal on all fights to Japan between October 11th and November 30th 2022. Classic Flight Reward seats and ‘points planes’ can be booked directly with the airlines until October 13th. All flights can still be booked with cash.

The Sydney-Haneda route currently runs three times a week, increasing to seven times a week in November, setting frequent flyers back by 31,500 points plus 147.09 AUD in the economy and 82,000 points plus 197.09 AUD in Business. Brisbane-Haneda will recommence this December, while Melbourne-Haneda restarts in March 2023, running three and four times a week, respectively. All Jetstar flights will ‘cost’ 21,500 frequent flyer points with taxes, fees and carrier charges charged additionally. Fares, in addition to points, will be 146.58 AUD from Cairns and 131.45 AUD from the Gold Coast.

Qantas flight summary:

  • Sydney and Tokyo Haneda
  • Brisbane and Tokyo Haneda (Restarting December 2022)
  • Melbourne and Tokyo Haneda (Restarting March 2023)

Jetstar flight summary:

  • Cairns and Tokyo Narita
  • Cairns and Osaka Kansai
  • Gold Coast and Tokyo Narita

“Australians have been waiting to be able to return to Japan, and having access to thousands of reward seats will help our frequent flyers travel to one of their most loved destinations,” said Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth. The national airline extended its commitment of fifty per cent more Classic Reward seat availability until 30 June 2023. “We saw a record number of points used recently when we extended our commitment of up to 50 per cent more Classic Reward seats with strong demand for travel to Japan,” said Wirth.

May is a prime time to visit Japan

Classic Flight Rewards could not come at a more opportunistic time for holidaymakers and backpackers alike. Spring blooms around May time in Japan, bringing colourful cherry blossoms that we are so accustomed to seeing in iconic images of Mt Fuji and the streets of Osaka.

The Sanja Matsuri festival is an event that runs in Tokyo late-May
The Sanja Matsuri festival is an event that runs in Tokyo around late May © Tokyo Cheapo

May and June are vibrant months in Tokyo, with several major festivals and fantastic weather to explore the city and its surroundings. The Sanja Matsuri festival is celebrated towards the end of May and is considered one of the three Great Shinto festivals in Tokyo. Usually attracting massive crowds from all around the globe, this is a traditional Japanese experience you would never forget. If you fancy a bit more rough and tumble, and that’s not to say joining a crowd of nearly two million people at Sanja Matsuri wouldn’t provide that, then the Tokyo Grand Sumo Tournament is also held for 14 days in the middle of May.

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