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Executive Traveler reports that Japan Airlines has adjusted its schedule to add flights with a first class cabin between Tokyo and Sydney beginning on September 1, 2020. These flights are widely available for 60K American Airlines miles one-way and many have 2 seats available in first class. This is a great opportunity to enjoy a long first class flight for a bargain price if you have travel planned between the regions. You may even find a chance to snag the award even more cheaply if you’re able to use Greg’s hacking skills a la Cathay Pacific Asia Miles mixed-cabin award pricing. First class for less, though at first glance it doesn’t seem to price lower when booked online.
- Japan Airlines has scheduled an aircraft with first class between Sydney and Tokyo HND starting on September 1, 2020
- These flights currently have wide open first class award availability which is bookable at AA.com.
I won’t spend time on much analysis here because you can read more of that at One Mile at a Time. The key here is that you’re looking at about a 10-hour flight in first class for 60K American Airlines miles, which is a great deal.
A few key notes:
- You can book this with connections in either Australia on Qantas or potentially within Japan on Japan Airlines for no additional miles with American Airlines
- There are no fuel surcharges added via AA
- You can’t book this as a single award to/from the US via American since AA does not allow you to transit a third region (Japan in this case) to travel between two regions (Australia and the US)
- You can not book this via Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan as they do not offer JAL awards between Japan and Australia
- You could alternatively book through Cathay Pacific Asia Miles for 87K one-way. There are two advantages here: first, you may be able to pair with a long connection in a lower cabin to save miles (see this post), but the online booking engine does not seem to price mixed-cabin awards the same as shown in that post; second, Cathay Pacific’s booking calendar goes out further than American’s. In other words, while you can’t book flights for next January via American, you can via Cathay Pacific Asia Miles.
It’s worth noting that this flight is pricing out at 87K in first class via Cathay Pacific despite the fact that it should cost more. In fact, the Asia Miles search engine shows that it should start from 100K miles, but as you can see below it is actually pricing at 87K.
Availability is excellent. Here is a quick look at October.
Since this award availability is during Australia’s summertime, I imagine that it won’t last forever (keep in mind that this is also bookable via Qantas points, which is not a good value for those of us with access to AA and Cathay Pacific, but it means that you’ll be competing for award space with any Aussies in the frequent flyer game).
Keep in mind also that American allows date or routing changes within a year of booking as long as your origin and destination remain the same (and pending availability obviously), so these bookings do have some flexibility. I wouldn’t count on finding another day with 2 available seats down the road, but if you’re a solo traveler and not totally positive on your dates, you could book and hope to later change if necessary.
This is a great opportunity to use a relatively low number of AA miles for what is widely regarded as a fantastic first class experience.