Travel hacking your way to Tokyo

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💡 Did you know: According to ICAO regulations, any pilot who flies internationally must be well-versed in what’s known as “aviation English”

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💡 Did you know: According to ICAO regulations, any pilot who flies internationally must be well-versed in what’s known as “aviation English”

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Good morning and welcome back to the Daily Drop. Did you miss us over the weekend? I definitely missed you… In fact, I missed you more than I miss fixed-price airline award charts.

Okay, maybe not quite that much… but still a lot.

Let’s start off the week with a bang, shall we?

  • 🏃🏼‍♂️Mike on the Move: Travel hacking all the way to Tokyo

  • 🦔 Cute world-traveling animals

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🏃🏼‍♂️ Mike on the Move: Travel hacking all the way to Tokyo

For the first time in almost a month, I’m on the move again! Yay!

Later this week, I’ll be embarking on a marathon 3-week around-the-world trip taking me on the following journey:

My trip will start off with a nice long leg from Toronto to Tokyo. You may remember in the first newsletter of the year where I told you about finding good deals and building trips based on them.

This is exactly what I was talking about. Back in December, I found a really good deal from Toronto to Tokyo, so I booked it. Not only was it cheap, but it was on Air Canada.

Since I need to fly a certain number of miles with them every year to keep my Aeroplan elite status, this was the perfect way to build a fun trip and rack up a lot of miles in the process.

After booking this ticket, I ended up just building the trip that you saw earlier in this segment based on this first flight.

Basically, I kept my eyes open for good deals and travel hacks over the last few months and slowly pieced the trip together. Over the next few weeks, I’ll tell you how I booked some of the rest of the trip.

But for now, let’s focus on Tokyo hotels.

Tokyo (and Japan in general) is one of the hottest spots for tourists right now. Finding award availability at hotels is difficult, and the hotels that have cash rooms available are HELLA expensive.

I was looking through my go-to hotel programs (Marriott, Hilton, and IHG) and couldn’t find many options for under $300-400 per night, even for lower-tier properties.

Thankfully, I know a secret that might surprise you…

Are you ready?

Hotels in Japan are actually really cheap - if you know where to look. 

Most North Americans and Europeans are going to default to searching the big hotel chains. As a result, these hotels will fill up quickly, and the remaining rooms will be really expensive.

But if you search for independent, smaller hotels, you can find some really comfy spots at VERY good prices.

Personally, I booked my first few nights in Tokyo through the Chase travel portal, which I have access to from holding one of the best travel cards in existence (not exaggerating).

I was very easily able to find a hotel for under $60 per night right in the heart of Asakusa, the historic area of Tokyo filled with temples and street food stalls.

The hotel has free cancellation, solid reviews from guests, and is just minutes away from many of the places I want to visit in Tokyo.

To make things even sweeter, I earn 5x points on that purchase because I hold the aforementioned card.

I ran a search for this hotel on sites like Expedia and Hotels.com, and it was actually cheaper to book through the portal, so I know I’m getting a great deal in addition to maximizing my earnings.

But I wasn’t going to visit Tokyo without experiencing the luxury hotel scene too…

So I used my Hilton Free Night Award from last year to book a night at the Conrad Tokyo. The night I’m staying there, the room costs over 300,000 points or about $1,100. 🤯

For reference, 150,000 Yen is about $1,100

Hilton Free Night Awards are extremely valuable because, unlike other hotel programs, they have no caps. That means you can use your FNA for a room whether it costs 30,000 or 300,000 points.

If you want to read a bit more about hotel Free Night Awards (including how to earn them), check out this newsletter.

Hopefully this gives you some ideas to explore next time you want to book a trip to the land of the rising sun. 🌅

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🦔 Cute world-traveling animals

Since I’ve talked (or typed) your ear off enough already, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite travel Instagram accounts.

It’s called Mr. Pokee, and it’s an adorable hedgehog that travels all around the world. The photos are pretty stunning, I might add.

Apologies in advance for all the time you end up spending looking at this…

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That’s gonna do it for today! Before I let you go, I have a favor to ask.

If Daily Drop has helped you improve your travel hacking game, I’d love to hear about it.

Click on the poll below and tell us a story. It can be an example of a trip you’ve booked, points you’ve racked up, or even just general knowledge!

Has Daily Drop helped to improve your travel hacking skills?

Tell us what you've learned or how we've helped!

Only Email Recipients can participate in polls.

Thanks so much for joining us today, and I look forward to seeing you all again tomorrow ❤️

Mike Dodge
Head Writer, Daily Drop

52°22'35.4"N 52°15'17.4"W

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