Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Is British Airways about to announce flights to Osaka?

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

According to reports in the Japanese business newspaper Nikkei (which is a credible source, it now owns the Financial Times), British Airways is about to announce a 4x weekly service to Osaka.

This would be a good result if true.  Tokyo is generally a decent route for Avios availability but you will struggle during the peak cherry blossom season.  There are currently no Avios Club World seats available between 23rd February and 3rd April for example.

Osaka is very convenient for Kyoto.  If you were only planning a short trip to Japan, taking in Tokyo and Kyoto, flying through Osaka would not be too bad.  The best option would be to fly into Tokyo and out of Osaka after visiting Kyoto.

(Here is my Conrad Tokyo review, here is Anika’s ANA InterContinental Tokyo review and here is my The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto – which is amazing – review.)

Nikkei reports that services are due to start with the global Summer timetable change, which is 31st March.

If true, getting an Avios seat during the first few days should let you catch the cherry blossom.  The season usually runs from the last week of March into the first week of April.

That said … it varies.  Nature is awkward like that.  We took a family holiday in Tokyo over Easter last year and caught it perfectly.  Cherry blossom season was running late (we flew on 8th April) and were told all the hotels had been sold out two weeks before, with nothing to see.  We got very lucky.

The photo above is one that Anika took when she was also in Tokyo last year doing our review of ANA business class – she flew in on 6th April.

Anyway …. nothing is confirmed yet.  I’ll let you know if / when a BA press release turns up.  The Nikkei article is here.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

Comments (88)

  • Mark says:

    We went in March this year on CW avios redemptions to Tokyo and were lucky enough to catch the start of the cherry blossom. Highly recommended.

    It’s well worth considering a rail pass as they’re great value if you travel around a bit. We spent 5 nights in Kyoto, at the Almont which was great value and a few minutes walk from Kyoto station. We used it as a base for day trips Osaka and Hiroshima as well – travel on the Shinkansen (bullet train) is efficient, comfortable (especially if you go for green class) and fast so a redemption into Osaka wouldn’t be a bad option even if you only wanted to visit Tokyo.

    • Sam says:

      My advice is not to bother with green class. The trains are so comfortable anyway, the extras you get with green glass are not really worth the extra cost.

    • Lady London says:

      +1 for the Almont. Tiny rooms but suspect that’s par for Japan, and ok price compared to others there. very well run hotel with excellent access to trains although IIRC not central to other activities within kyoto..

  • Olly says:

    Rob – presumably being able to fly in to Tokyo and return from Osaka wouldn’t work with the BA 241 voucher, as it has to be a return?

    • Genghis says:

      Open jaw returns OK.

      • Stu N says:

        Open jaws work but you need to book them over the phone; the website can’t handle it.

        There is a rule that the open jaw can’t be bigger than the distance back to London but in this context that’s not going to be an issue.

        • Mark says:

          Yes, we did an open jaw, albeit both Tokyo airports (into Narita and out of Haneda) and have also done so many times before, such as flying into Vancouver and out of New York last year on a 2for1.

          As Stu says needs to be booked over the phone – you should be able to get them to waive the telephone booking fee on the basis that the transaction can’t be done online.

        • Lumma says:

          Surely you could book and open jaw online if it would just be the different airports in the same city? Looks like you could even do LHR-EWR JFK-LGW if you wanted to online

        • Tom1 says:

          If I have an existing open jaw booking that I might want to change, (different arrival airport on outbound leg only), will they also waive the fee as I cannot do the change online?

        • Olly says:

          Lovely, thanks for your help

        • Tom1 says:

          @lumma I think open jaw with 241 are the issue

        • Mark says:

          @Lumma – true, you probably can book different airports in the same city online. The point is though, its possible to book any open jaw (subject to the constraint around the distance between them not being greater than the distance from the start/end point) over the phone.

          If you’re not using a 2for1 the only way to book an open jaw redemption (same city aside) online is to book two one-ways. You obviously can’t do that with a 2for1 and benefit from it on both legs, hence the need to call.

        • Lady London says:

          Osaka also has the smaller Itami airport (ITM) which might be able to be used if there is any problem with Osaka availability.

          I landed at ITM and left from Osaka. It was shocking how quickly it was possible to depart from Osaka airport. I dawdled and I think the whole process took about 20 mins from arrival out of the bus(as trains from Kyoto cancelled due to earthquake damage on the track) to the plane.

        • Genghis says:

          Itami is Osaka airport. Kansai is Kansai.

        • Alex Sm says:

          @Genghis it’s always a bit of a grey zone of which is which
          For domestic flights they position Haneda as ‘Tokyo’ and Narita as ‘Narita’ while for an average UK reader ‘Tokyo airport’ is first and foremost Narita and then Haneda

        • Genghis says:

          But we’re not talking about Tokyo…

        • Alex Sm says:

          @Genghis This was to develop the argument about whether Kansai could be counted as Osaka or not. For some it is, for others it isn’t. Nowadays, it’s just about marketing and fuzzy edges. Lots of examples in Europe as well

        • Genghis says:

          I think Kansai should be marketed as Osaka. But Itami is more Osaka airport than Kansai in “I landed at ITM and left from Osaka”

        • Alex Sm says:

          Could be exactly the same logic for TYO: “Landed at Narita and left from Tokyo” (meaning Haneda)

        • Alex Sm says:

          @Genghis out of curiousity – how do you manage to monitor comments and replies to older posts? This forum – ANNOYINGLY – has very limited functionality: no notifications about replies, no option to edit or delete comments, etc. and Rob for some reason is very reluctant to do anything about this. But you seem to have found a way round this. Can you share? Thanks!

      • Stu N says:

        @Tom1 – they should waive the phone service fee; you may have to prompt the call handler to do this. You will still pay the change fee of £35 to amend the booking.

  • DaveWinch says:

    Completely OT, but:

    I joined Iberia on June 23rd – I tried logging into Avios.com to combine my avios and got the message that I had to wait for three months. Tried logging in this morning and I now get “Sorry, your log-in details have not been recognised. Please contact us” – logins still work fine on Iberia.

    Any ideas where I’m going wrong? Anybody else having this problem?

    • Rob says:

      Your Avios account has been closed as part of the closure of ALL Avios Travel Rewards Programme accounts, as discussed many times on here.

      You need to open an Aer Lingus AerClub or Vueling Club account and then log in to avios.com using those details. All will then be well and you can transfer.

  • GRIMZ says:

    OT, I used the spend 600 get 200 back on my Platinum card for two shows in Vegas in October. instead of showing as £613 on my account it has split into two 498 and 115, anyone else had this? I’m concerned that this wont track as an over 600 spend and i wont get my 200 statement credit.

    • Michael Blume says:

      I am interested in this scenario too.

      Also, a related question. If you save the offer to both supp and main card, can you spend 1200, half on each card and get 2 x 200 back? The terms say one offer per card rather than account, and the offer has appeared in both dashboards separately…

      • John says:

        Yes, offers are specific to each card, not guaranteed that both cards will get the offer though they usually do

        No way to split 1200 over two cards though (at least online), needs to be two spends of 600+

      • Simon says:

        Yes, £600 on each card will both trigger the offer. On that note, anyone have a tip for a superb hotel for 2 adults and 2 kids in midtown NYC which I can prepay for £301 per night !? Need a 2 night stay in April….

        • Nicky says:

          Look at the CasaBlanca: No. 1 on Tripadvisor (part of the small ‘Library Collection – 4 hotels in Manhattan and take spots 1, 2, 3 and 6 on Tripadvisor). Free continental breakfast, 24hr tea, coffee, soda, cookies etc and cheese and wine between 5-8pm. Not stupidly expensive. Next to Times Square. Am booked to go in January and can’t find any negative reviews, everyone raves about it.

        • Simon says:

          Thanks Nicky, I looked at the Giraffe hotel in same group. Annoyingly its not bookable on amex travel online though. might give them a call

        • Spurs Debs says:

          I’ve booked hotel giraffe for beginning of April. Really helpful sorting my two rooms out and no resort fee! Should be in your budget.

        • Simon says:

          Yeh that whole chain looks decent. Only issue us i want to book via amex travel to get the 200 off 600 spend offer. These hotels arent loaded on to Amex travel website though

      • fivebobbill says:

        On the first question, won’t be a problem. Have just made my 600 (£637) up with 4 different Amex “experiences”, got an email as soon as I went over £600 and the £200 credit appeared in my account a few days later.

        As to the second point, the offer is per card, not account, so yes, if it’s on the supplementary card you can get the £200 twice.

      • Grimz says:

        Yes I have it on my supp card and was waiting till I seen the credit post on my main card before using the supp card. Iv just noticed it’s saying ‘redeemed’ in my offers section so now for the supp card. 1200 spend and 400 back can’t be bad for Vegas shows!

  • Scallder says:

    OT (no bits today): my wife has the SPG Amex and points have gone out of the account for August and September. She called Amex earlier and they said that the linking to the new accounts was meant to be done by mi-September however the project has over-run, and that it will probably be a few more weeks to sort it all out. They said there’s nothing they can do at their end, but it looks like points from the SPG Amex won’t be hitting accounts until perhaps mid-October at the earliest. Rather frustrating as want to shut her card down but won’t do it until the points have been transferred properly.

    • momomo says:

      I’m in exactly the same situation and was told similar over Live Chat. However, they also requested that I provide them with my new Marriott / SPG number (the new number following account merger). I was assured that all outstanding points (Aug + Sep) would be transferred over when points from my October statement are sent (for my account: 27th-ish Oct).

  • Boo says:

    OT: Another Hertz / Amex question. With the Amex Platinum hire car insurance, can I decline all insurances including the basic CDW and theft protection cover, not just the super cover?

    The Amex wording is “Cover applies only when rental agency allows refusal of their insurance”, so I think that means if Hertz let me decline a cover option, I can and Amex will apply. Am I right?

    • Rob says:

      You can, but there are legal requirements country-by-country as to what insurance MUST be included. You cannot decline that.

  • Prune says:

    OT – I am travelling back from Barbados next month to LGW south and unfortunately have to go straight to work. Do you know if there is a lounge after arrivals that I can have access to a shower and maybe some sustenance before joining the rat race back to London?

    • Rob says:

      No, the BA arrivals lounge in the Sofitel closed a couple of years ago and there are no independent options.

  • Benylin says:

    OT: anyone have contact details (email) for someone senior at LastMinute.com? Like global CEO or UK CEO. Have been dealing with a complaint with them for over a week with no luck.

    • Shoestring says:

      Mr Marco Corradino Chief Operation Officer
      [email protected]

    • Crafty says:

      I have the email address of the global CEO if Rob/Anika wants to connect us. Not going to post publicly.

      • Shoestring says:

        I’ve got the Chairman’s – happy to post publicly! 🙂

        • Shoestring says:

          tbh the email pattern is obvious enough, so you just need the names

          Fabio Cannavale – Executive Director and Group CEO
          Marco Corradino – Executive Director and lastminute.com CEO
          Laurent Foata – Non-Executive Director
          Marcello Distaso – Non-Executive Director
          Roberto Italia – Non-Executive Director
          Anna Gatti – Non-Executive Director
          Marco Corradino – Chief Operation Officer and Co-Founder
          Sergio Signoretti – Chief Financial Officer

        • Lady London says:

          er… has Lastminute.com fallen under the control of an Italian group then?

        • Shoestring says:

          Yes, a couple of years ago now – all on wiki

        • Crafty says:

          Not sure what you mean by “fallen”.

          It was purchased by Bravonext some time ago (after the british emperor turned out to indeed have no clothes).

        • Crafty says:

          Marco and Fabio run the business. Not much point emailing a NED.

        • Shoestring says:

          True enough, poor form provided the Execs sort out the issue. I think with the IB 90K problems, people were firing emails at non Execs as well and getting quick results – IB deserved it for their lies, obfuscation and general poor customer service.