Advertiser Disclosure

How to book Japan Airlines flights with American AAdvantage miles

by on Wed July 27, 2016 • 24 Comments


As an American oneworld partner, Japan Airlines is ideally positioned for redeeming award flights to Japan or connecting to Asia 1 and Asia 2 destinations via Tokyo or Osaka with your AAdvantage miles.

Prices are reasonable, there are no fuel surcharges to worry about, and Japan Airlines offers a great, comfortable product in all classes.

Routes from the US

Japan Airlines flies to 6 cities in the Continental U.S.: Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles (Narita, Osaka), New York (JFK), and San Francisco (Haneda). Further connections in Japan unlock dozens more destinations all over Japan and Asia.


Where to Search for Space

Since American Airlines doesn’t show Japan Airlines availability, you’ll need to utilize other options to find award space online.

You can search using the Qantas website, but we prefer the British Airways website due to the simplicity and reliable results. If you do use, make sure to search each segment separately, as the British search engine can’t always handle complex itineraries.

There is another free way to search for award flights called the Award Flight Finder. It’s a Chrome extension that allows you to semi-automate your search. You can search for several dates and add your parameters (number of stops, connection places, etc.).

If you are flexible and search a lot of dates at the same time, the search can take a long time, however, it’ll work on the background. If you want to know more about this great tool, you can check our review here.

Japan Airlines award availability between the U.S. and Japan is decent.

Finding one seat in business and first is not hard if you are searching far in advance, but two or more can be a little tricky. However, if you are a little bit flexible, you will find it, and Japan is a little bit unusual as it apparently values Business Class seats more than First.


Here you have a choice between AA Business Class and Japan Airlines First.


And on the LAX – Osaka flight, 4 seats together in Business Class is possible.


Remember that AA will only let you book an award seat 331 days out regardless of what shows.

Routing Rules when Booking with American AAdvantage Miles

You are good to use Japan Airlines to fly anywhere in Asia (except the Indian subcontinent) because American Airlines routing rules allow you to fly to Asia Region 2 via Asia Region 1 (which is where Japan is located). So wherever in Asia you go, you can get there on one award.

Here are the countries you can fly to on a Japan Airlines award to and from the U.S.:

Asia Region 1

  • Japan
  • Korea

Asia Region 2

  • Brunei
  • Cambodia
  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • Indonesia
  • Malaysia
  • Myanmar
  • Philippines

Check our full guide to using American Airlines miles.

This is what you pay one-way for awards between the U.S. and Asia, via the American AAdvantage partner award chart.


What’s interesting about the product

JAL First and Business class seats are coveted and for a good reason. JAL’s Sky Suite is among the most private business class seats in the world. Grab a window seat, and you won’t see anyone except an FA unless you want to.


The JAL First Class Suite is not fully enclosed, but according to multiple reports it’s super comfortable and feels perfectly private.


The JAL Economy Class seat pitch is a generous 34 inches, which is two inches more than the most long-haul accepted pitch of 32 inches. There are airlines that call a 34-inch pitch “economy plus” or similar and charge premium for that space.

All in all, JAL has exceptionally strong hard product with the service to match.

Key Opportunities

Reasonable First and Business Class availability combined with reasonable redemption levels between the U.S. and Asia 1 make redemptions to Japan and Korea a very good deal.

Here is what you pay:

U.S. – Asia 1: 35,000 in Economy; 60,000 in Business; 80,000 in First.

Paying 60,000-80,000 miles for an 11-13-hour flight in an excellent Business or First Class suite is a good value proposition.

Availability between Japan and other Asian countries is usually very good in all classes. The sweet spot here is business class for 70,000 miles.

Here is what you pay to go beyond Japan:

U.S. – Asia 2: 37,500 in Economy; 70,000 in Business; 110,000 in First.

How to Book

You’ll have to call AAdvantage on 1-800-882-8880. Since the flight can’t be booked online you won’t have to pay the phone booking fees.


The following two tabs change content below.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Miles dont expireas long as card is open
Learn more

Partner Offer

50,000 bonus points

Intro Offer

$0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $95

Annual Fee


Foreign Transaction Fee Waived

Yes - transfer to United MileagePlus, Southwest Rapid Rewards, Marriott Rewards, and more

Points Can Transfer to Airline Miles ?

Still confused? Have a question?

Leave a comment below -- we'll reply shortly -- no need to use your real name. Or, use the email form at the top of the page for private advice.

"These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered."

24 thoughts on How to book Japan Airlines flights with American AAdvantage miles

  1. Tigris23

    Hi thanks for the great article! Very informative, but yes still a little confused. I’m new to the Miles/points hobby and just made my first J booking to Asia for 2 seats! After flying International J, there’s no way going back! Ok so I’ve been trying to figure out which airline has best availability for J/F seats from JFK/EWR to Japan (& stopover to Asia 2). Based on your article, Japan Airlines may be possible! We r looking for 3 seats (could be a combo of J/F). 1)How would I search for JFK to Asia 2 to Japan to JFK?
    2)Would they have to be all one directions and will I need to book them separately for best chances?
    3) Any other airlines you recommend for 3J’s or a combo of J/F seats from JFK–>Asia 2–>Japan–>JFK? Many thanks in advance! Oh we are looking at early 2010!

  2. Sasha

    Just chance upon this post of yours. I managed to put on 1 seat on JL36/6 from SIN to JFK in economy for 37500 AA points. LIke to know if I can select my seat in advance being only in economy with status? Thanks!

  3. Gary

    How do I book a JAL flight from Tokyo to Shanghai (or Singapore) Using my american airlines awards points for business class?

  4. Lynn

    Hi, I saw an JAL flight available on their website’s award travel page from PEK to DFW for next summer (July), but when I call AAdvantage # with the same flight infor, they keep telling me the flight is not available. The only way I can do is keep call back like everyday & see if those seats are available or not. Is there any other way I can book the JAL flight using all my AA miles? Any help here?

    1. Lili

      Same here, put on hold Aadvantage booking after finding award space on Let that expire, returned the next day to put another booking on hold, the same picture on, but now Aadvantage cannot find any partner redemptions on JAL. Strange. Recommended that I check back…

      Have been waiting for almost a week to have BA refund my avios to make a reservation on; called them everyday, twitted, emailed – nothing, I’m so mad, don’t want to deal with BA ever again. Some “system bug” that they cannot redeposit my avios, have to send it to “manual review” grrrrrr


      @Dante – Unfortunately there aren’t any more free stopovers with AA miles. You’d have to pay for separate awards.

  5. Robert Craig

    What is the best way to get from ORD, O’HARE to either destination in JAPAN. using advantage miles; then taking the shrinkhausen bullet train for a long distance trip


      @Robert – Either American or Japan Airlines nonstop flights form O’Hare are a good option – if you’re flexible you should be able to find them for 70,000 miles in Economy or 120,000 miles in Business Class roundtrip.

  6. Deb B

    For anyone who has used AA miles on JAL. (I’m flying from ORD but don’t think that matters). I would like to continue on from ORD via Tokyo to Ho Chi Min or BKK. However, I think I may have to end at TOKYO if the rules do not let you stop over in TOKYO, Does anyone know for sure? Don’t want to spend hours searching only to find out I can’t. TIA


      @Deb – You can fly ORD-Tokyo-BKK on Japan Airlines with one award, but you can only connect in Tokyo, not stop over for several days in Tokyo.

  7. CT

    I’ve been trying to find availability on JAL from TYO to almost any of their main US cities for May 2018 (one way). While part of the calendar hasn’t opened up yet, there appears to be little availability (if any). To ORD, which is our preference, there isn’t availability in J OR even Y showing up. To BOS, it’s only on BA metal… with a layover at LHR… Am I missing something?

  8. Logan

    I’ve noticed that BA/Avios requires you to have avios points to view available seats, is there another way to check availabilities?


      @Logan – Strange, we’ve been able to search with a zero balance account. The Qantas site is an alternative.

  9. Tony

    Thanks for the info! In fact, I am trying to redeem 2 J awards from LAX to Tokyo. However, the search only shows 1 J award even if the travel dates are 331 days out. Do you know when will JL release more seats? Will JL release another J award after I book the first one?

    Strangely, BA search suggest that I can do LAX-SFO-NRT and there are 7 J awards available! Any idea why that is the case?


      @Tony – Hard to say if they will – might be best to call AA and see if they see the same availability. Are you sure the LAX-SFO-NRT with 7 awards isn’t just showing the LAX-SFO segment in J, and the remainder in Economy?

  10. Kelse

    Hi, I am trying to book a business class flight from TYO-BOS (round trip) for my father using AA mileage. However the dates for the JAL flight is available on JAL website (using JAL mileage it would be 100,000) but not available on the AA website for the same set of dates. Does this mean that AA does not allow us to book it or that we’d have to call and book? Thanks!


      @Eva – Unfortunately AA doesn’t yet let you book premium economy awards. That may change as they roll out their own premium economy class.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

X Email Alerts
Hear about new offers and tips