If all goes according to plan, I will be traveling to Japan and South Korea next month. It will be my first time in both countries and I am working now to finalize my flights between Tokyo and Seoul using miles.
The return flight is set, since I need to fly into Narita to connect with my United Airlines flight to Honolulu, but I’ve got three options on the outbound, one on Asiana Airlines, one on All Nippon Airways, and one on United. I am leaning toward booking economy class tickets because of the short flight duration.
Tokyo Haneda (2020) to Seoul Gimpo (2240) on Asiana (A333)
Tokyo Narita (1820) to Seoul Incheon (2050) on ANA (777)
Tokyo Narita (1900) to Seoul Incheon (2130) on United (777)
My cursory research indicated that Haneda and Gimpo are much more convenient airports and therefore the obvious choice would be on Asiana. Drawbacks to this option are the late departure and the fact that I will also be flying Asiana on the return trip and would like to give either United or ANA a try.
The ANA option appeals to me because I have never flown ANA (yet) and have heard great things about their service. The United option appeals to me because I have never flown on UA intra-Asia, would like to sample one of UA’s Asia-based flight crews, and I hear that elites are often upgraded on this route (though I really am not concerned about that).
Business class is only an extra 7.5K miles each way. Is it worth the upgrade? Award space is available in business on all three carriers, but again–15K miles is 15K miles toward my next international first class award. Now based in Germany, I am not exactly swimming in United miles anymore.
I could always use British Midland miles, but at 30K r/t for economy class + the fuel surcharge, I think I am better off sticking with UA miles.
I look forward to exploring this region of the world and becoming an expert myself, but for now your sage advice is appreciated.