In this morning’s Marriott Bonvoy airline partner sweet spots guide, we noted that your best option to search for Japan Airlines award space is to use BritishAirways.com. However, another option has developed today: You can now search for and book Japan Airlines awards on AA.com. To book on AA.com you will of course need American Airlines miles, but a quick look at availability at AA.com should give you an indication of what to expect with other partners.
- You can now search for and book award tickets on Japan Airlines via AA.com
- US to Asia 1: 60K AAdvantage miles in business class or 80K AAdvantage miles in first class
- US to Asia 2: 70K AAdvantage miles in business class or 110K AAdvantage miles in first class
You have long been able to use American Airlines AAdvantage miles to book awards on Japan Airlines, and this has been a particularly good value in business class since American Airlines charges 60K between the US and Asia 1 or 70K between the US and Asia 2 in business class. First class is 80K to/from Asia 1 and 110K to/from Asia 2. However, until now, you have had to use other sites to search for availability and then phone American Airlines AAdvantage to book your award tickets.
Today that has changed, with awards now available right on AA.com
As you can see, availability is tight at the moment (Los Angeles to Osaka shown and filtered to nonstops only). Those flights are indeed on Japan Airlines.
Being able to book journeys like that online is a nice improvement for those sitting on AA miles as Japan Airlines can be a fantastic use of miles since their business and first class cabins and service are widely considered to be some of the best (though be sure to check your aircraft with a tool like SeatGuru.com to be sure that you are getting what you expect).
The downside for those who were comfortable booking via the phone is that there will suddenly be a lot more competition to book these awards — right around the time when another kind of competition — the Tokyo Summer Olympics — is on the minds of those planning travel as the schedule opens. On the flip side, one has long been able to search and book these awards online via Alaska Airlines or British Airways, so it’s not like these were totally in the dark. It is worth mentioning that Alaska also charges 60K in business class or 70K in first class to “Asia 1” or only 75K in first class to Southeast Asia — and unlike American, Alaska allows a free stopover on a one way award. However, they typically have access to 1 fewer seat than oneworld airlines, so if you only see 1 seat available via AA.com, it likely will not be available to Alaska. This development certainly might make it harder for those using Alaska miles for JAL.
Still, being able to use your miles with ease is a win in my book and I’m glad to see more options to do it online without having to wait on hold and sit at the mercy of an agent.
H/T: JonNYC on Twitter