Japan Airlines First Class Award Space Wide Open, Book With American Miles

Last summer we saw Japan Airlines open up first class award seats on the San Francisco – Tokyo Haneda route. Wide open. I booked an itinerary, but wound up having to cancel.

Now, via One Mile at a Time, Japan Airlines has done it again. And it’s even bigger, with trickles over the summer but floodgates opening in the fall and through winter.

Their Chicago – Tokyo Narita route and San Francisco – Tokyo Haneda routes have first class wide open. Wide open. Three to four seats per flight in many cases, or even more.

Sixteen of the first twenty six days in October have multiple first class award seats available.

You need to use the British Airways award search website if you want to find partner award seats on your own. And it won’t show more than 4 seats at a time. If you book the four (create a reservation, for instance with American miles by calling American and putting them on hold) more first class seats may still show available and bookable.

    Note: the American website (and Qantas website) do not support searches for Japan Airlines space. Find the space yourself on the British Airways website, then call to book. American no longer charges a phone booking fee for awards that cannot be booked online.

American AAdvantage charges 62,500 miles each way for first class to ‘Asia 1’ (“Japan, Korean, Mongolia”) and 67,500 miles each way for first class to ‘Asia 2’ (Southeast Asia generally plus China, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Taiwan).

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Good info to circulate Gary. One small caveat is that readers expecting the full first class treatment on the SF-Tokyo Haneda route and vice versa should be aware that they do not offer a full meal service either way, since as late night flights JAL treats them as mainly for sleeping. Definitely a First World problem, but worth noting for folks who can do the Chicago-Narita route, instead, or who are considering other ways of using their miles, etc.

  2. Good info to circulate Gary. One small caveat is that readers expecting the full first class treatment on the SF-Tokyo Haneda route and vice versa should be aware that they do not offer a full dinner service either way, since as late night flights JAL treats them as mainly for sleeping. Definitely a First World problem, but worth noting for folks who can do the Chicago-Narita route, instead, or who are considering other ways of using their miles, etc.

  3. @Caree I haven’t been to the Andaz, I was going to but wound up cancelling that trip. The Park is a truly special property, but the location makes it tough to walk most anywhere (though they run a shuttle to shinjuku). Lots of people really love the Grand Hyatt.

  4. Sucks to hear about lack of meal service on SFO-HND-SFO. I just booked these flights and despite the lack of dinner I’m super excited. Does anyone know what kind of catering is available on these flights?

  5. It’s been wide open for 4 days now. It’s surprising to see that it took so long to hit the blogs.

  6. thanks for posting Gary. I’ve got 2 ord-nrt on hold for the fall. Love to optimize this further during 5 day hold. Want to do Burma or Laos. Maybe you could do a’follow up post about how people who have these awards can make them even better- Rules on adding add’l legs, finding 23 hour stopovers, change dates if needed once booked, etc.

  7. Hey Gary, for AA award tickets booking these in F, would I be able to pick ECONOMY AAnytime flights for the positioning flight? All other Saver flights either don’t work schedule-wise or are ridiculously early + 1 extra connection… Wondering if they will let me pick any ECONOMY AAnytime flights if I voluntarily downgrade class of service for that segment? Thanks

  8. @Ted no you cannot include American economy AAnytime awards as part of a partner first class award (well you could, but that would be a separate domestic award ticket, more miles)

  9. @Goosh maybe it was earlier that 230p Eastern on Thursday when I was doing all the searching, though in any case that would mean 3 days not 4…

  10. @Steve, you’ve got Japan Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Cathay Pacific, and Sri Lankan pretty much in order to add flights. JAL’s intra-Asia route network is somewhat limited. If you want another route on Japan Airlines with first class, JAL’s morning NRT-CGK (Jakarta) offers it. That requires a ~19 hour layover, some will see it as worth going into Tokyo others will stay in Narita City. But you could pretty much go anywhere you want given AA’s partners.

  11. @Steve: I recommend Myanmar over Laos if you like temples.
    Luang Prabang is full of tourists compared with quiet Bagan

  12. Gary, I never been to Japan..In your opinion when is the best time to go there?
    If I spend 3 days in tokyo, what other country/city would you recommend to visit on 67.5 ticket?

  13. @Sam naturally, ‘it depends’… I much like the spring time there, though some want to go on the earlier side of that even though weather may still be chilly in order to see the cherry blossoms. Tokyo is an amazing dining city. And I love just walking around, probably more there than anywhere else. I am not going to claim to be the expert on what to see and do in japan outside of Tokyo.

  14. Looked at taking advantage of this for an upcoming trip over the holidays to Vietnam. However, these routings and flight times are terrible. I can’t justify the inconvenience over CX’s schedule, even though CX is all J.

  15. @Gary Thanks. If I buy the AA positioning flight separate with cash, how would the boarding pass / checking bags work? Would they streamline at origin? Or would I have to pay for bags for positioning flight and re-check it at ORD?

  16. It had been about 5 years since I was on a JL flight, the wife and I just took the SFO-HND flight (JL1) Saturday in F (there was only one empty seat up front)

    While there was no true meal service on this 1:35am flight, I was far from starving. There was plenty on the menu and service was great.

    My only complaint was the standard for Asian airlines – they kept the AC on 80 degrees so it was like a sauna on board.

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