How to book flights to Tokyo and Japan using Qantas Points

By Brandon Loo, March 6 2019
How to book flights to Tokyo and Japan using Qantas Points

Japan remains one of the most popular destinations for Australian travellers, and stash of Qantas frequent flyer points unlocks plenty of ways to fly direct to Japan from the eastern states as well as one-stop options such as Cathay Pacific via Hong Kong.

So whether you’re hitting the powdery slopes, closing your next business deal or even both, here’s how to turn your Qantas Points into a ticket to Japan.

Booking Qantas flights to Japan with Qantas Points

Qantas offers daily flights to Tokyo Narita from Melbourne and Brisbane, a daily journey from Sydney to Tokyo Haneda, plus a four-weekly service from Sydney to Osaka.

Tokyo's Haneda Airport (on the route drawn in yellow) is considerably closer to the city centre than Narita and is being positioned as a base for ‘premium/business traffic’ due to its convenience.

Also read: Tokyo's Haneda and Narita airports – a business traveller's guide

Here's how many Qantas Points you'd need to book a Qantas flight from Australia to Japan. Premium economy is only offered on select flights from Sydney to Tokyo Haneda on the Boeing 747.

Qantas flights (one-way)
Business class Premium economy Economy
Brisbane to Tokyo 60,000 Qantas Points Not offered 28,000 Qantas Points
Sydney to Tokyo 72,000 Qantas Points 54,000 Qantas Points 35,000 Qantas Points

Sydney to Osaka
to Tokyo

72,000 Qantas Points Not offered 35,000 Qantas Points
Adelaide to Japan
via Melbourne or Sydney
72,000 Qantas Points 54,000 Qantas Points 35,000 Qantas Points
Perth to Japan
via Melbourne or Sydney
84,000 Qantas Points 63,000 Qantas Points 40,000 Qantas Points

Qantas reward flights are priced according to the distance flown – and with Brisbane being just that much closer to Tokyo, the number of points needed to fly from the Queensland capital is less than from Sydney or Melbourne.

Connecting flights from Adelaide require no extra points compared to flying straight out of Sydney or Melbourne, although the extra backtracking required from Perth means you’ll need to part with even more points.

Most of Qantas' direct flights to Japan feature the modern Airbus A330 Business Suites…

… but Sydney to Tokyo Haneda flights are routinely run on the aging Boeing 747s, which have last-generation Skybeds in a 2-3-2 arrangement on the main deck, and in a 2-2 layout on the upper deck.

Booking Japan Airlines flights to Japan with Qantas Points

Japan Airlines flies daily from Sydney and Melbourne to Tokyo Narita.

You’ll find the Boeing 787 doing the ten-hour dash between both cities, featuring the airline’s much-lauded Sky Suites. Despite a 2-2-2 configuration, the window pairs are slightly offset which enables direct aisle access for all passengers, similar to the seats found aboard the airline's Boeing 777 jets:

AusBT review: Japan Airlines' business class Sky Suites, Sydney-Tokyo

Within Japan, your Qantas Points unlocks JAL’s very extensive domestic network. Below is a map of JAL direct flights from Tokyo (left) and Osaka (right).

[You can click or tap on the image above to enlarge the map.]

JAL flights are based on the separate ‘partner rewards’ table which needs more points compared to Qantas’ own flights. Premium economy is available on flights from Australia, but not within Japan.

Domestic first class is offered on four routes out of Tokyo: to Osaka, Sapporo, Fukuoka and Okinawa.

Japan Airlines First class Business class Premium economy Economy

Sydney to Tokyo
to Tokyo

Not offered 78,000 Qantas Points 63,000 Qantas Points 42,000 Qantas Points
Short domestic flights
Tokyo to Sapporo
26,000 Qantas Points 18,000 Qantas Points Not offered 10,000 Qantas Points
Medium domestic flights
e.g. Tokyo to Okinawa
38,000 Qantas Points 26,000 Qantas Points Not offered 14,000 Qantas Points

Reward seat availability for standalone JAL domestic flights only comes online roughly two months before the date of travel, so don't panic if all you can see is Jetstar Japan.

Note that the JAL domestic business class product, ‘Class J’, is a pared-back offering with slightly bigger seats with standard economy service, but no lounge access or priority perks included, unless you have elite Qantas or Oneworld status. Domestic first class includes these benefits, however.

AusBT review: Japan Airlines Boeing 737 ‘Class J’ (Osaka-Tokyo)

If you're not considering first class, then you’ll probably find it better value to book an economy redemption with points and upgrade to a Class J seat for around ¥1,000 (A$12.70) extra, later on.

Booking Cathay Pacific flights to Japan with Qantas Points

Cathay Pacific and China Eastern are Qantas partner airlines with useful one-stop options from Australia to Japan if you have business to conduct in the airlines' respective home cities of Hong Kong or Shanghai as well as Japan.

Cathay Pacific has the advantage of flying from most Australian capital cities via its Hong Kong hub through to several cities including Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Sapporo.

China Eastern flies from fewer Australian cities – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Cairns – to its Shanghai hub and then onto almost a dozen Japanese destinations.

Both these airlines are on the same ‘partner rewards’ points table as Japan Airlines, but overall the points needed are higher from every city except Perth and Cairns due to the extra distance you’d be flying.

  Business class Premium Economy Economy
Perth, Cairns to Japan
via Hong Kong or Shanghai
78,000 Qantas Points 63,000 Qantas Points 42,000 Qantas Points
All other routings from Australia 
via Hong Kong or Shanghai
92,000 Qantas Points 75,000 Qantas Points 50,000 Qantas Points

Rounding up the list, Jetstar Australia flies the Boeing 787 Dreamliner from Cairns to Tokyo Narita and Osaka plus Gold Coast to Tokyo Narita at least six times weekly. Business class on those flights are more akin to premium economy on Qantas, but it commands fewer points overall.

Jetstar Japan is the local domestic offshoot that flies between major cities. You’ll only need 6,400 Qantas points for most of its routes, with plenty of availability across the board.

Jetstar Business class Economy

Gold Coast to Tokyo
to Tokyo, Osaka

48,000 Qantas Points 24,000 Qantas Points
Short domestic flights
Tokyo to Sapporo
Not offered 6,400 Qantas Points
Medium domestic flights
Tokyo to Okinawa
Not offered 9,600 Qantas Points

How to book flights to Japan with Qantas Points

Regardless of which airline you’ve decided to go with, the booking process can usually be done online.

Start off by logging into your Qantas Frequent Flyer account, then begin a search with ‘Use points - Classic Flight Rewards only’ selected. If you're flexible with dates, checking that box will also help you get a wider variety of results.

A calendar will pop up, and you can filter results by business class reward seats if that’s your preference.

Qantas’ own flights will typically appear near the top, even if it’s not the most convenient option out of the lot. Don’t be disheartened – keep on scrolling to the bottom…

… and you might actually see more options, such as this Japan Airlines direct flight in business class.

Naturally, your Qantas Gold or Platinum frequent flyer card will also unlock access to the business class and first class lounges of partner airlines along the way.

Brandon Loo

Based in Perth, Brandon enjoys tucking into local delicacies, discovering new cocktails, and making aeroplane food look good on camera.

03 Apr 2018

Total posts 3

Brandon, have you noticed that when we search the JL availabilty on Qantas now, there is no more direct flight options. If you want to go MEL-NRT, you'll need to transit in SYD as the JL774 will not show., only JL772 will show. Conversely, if you search SYD-NRT, JL772 will not show, it only shows the option of going through MEL on JL774. I am talking about the same date of both JL772 and JL774.

07 Mar 2013

Total posts 18

I notice the same if looking at booking the flights from Japan through QFF rewards. For example you could book say KIX to HKG which would route through TYO (NRT or HND) however you couldn't just book the direct flight form either of the major Tokyo airports. Happened with all city combinations.

07 Jun 2018

Total posts 14


Want your opinion. What’s the best way to fly to Japan from Melbourne? Obviously want to fly business class but deciding whether Qantas is the way to go or Virgin? Also Can you advise what the max point I should use? 

Don’t wanna be ripped off!

As you know everyone says Virgin has more value than Qantas? 

Are you serious? Right now you can't even leave the country and it'll probably stay that way until the middle of next year. But assuming you are asking well in advance and planning a trip for say 2023, the only airlines that usually fly Melbourne-Japan route are Qantas, JAL and Jetstar. As for how many points etc, maybe wait until closer to your trip.

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