Redeem Miles For JAL First Class To Australia

Filed Under: Awards, Japan Airlines

Getting to Australia in a premium cabin on miles can be extremely difficult, especially if you’re trying to redeem American AAdvantage miles.

That might seem counterintuitive, given that American partners with Qantas, which is Australia’s largest airline. However, Qantas is stingy with releasing premium cabin award space, so that eliminates a lot of options. American also has pretty strict routing rules, so doesn’t let you route from the US to Australia via Asia on a single award.


However, if you’re willing to redeem extra miles, it looks like there’s a good option for getting to Australia at the moment.


Via Point Hacks, Japan Airlines has a great amount of first class award availability between Tokyo Narita and Sydney. JAL has as many as four first class seats per flight. Four first class seats represents half of the first class cabin!

Here’s an example of availability between Tokyo and Sydney:


And here’s an example of availability between Sydney and Tokyo:


To find availability, you’re best off using the British Airways award search tool.

JAL seems to have the most first class award availability for travel between late March and late December, so you can find availability across a wide variety of dates. This can be especially useful for:

  • Those in Australia looking to travel to Asia during Northern Summer
  • Those in Asia looking to travel to Australia during Southern Fall or early Southern Winter
  • Those in the US looking to get to Australia, though it does require two awards


American charges 60,000 AAdvantage miles for one-way first class between “Asia 1” and Australia. That’s a good value, when you factor in that it’s a 10 hour flight in first class on a great airline. This is also an award cost which isn’t increasing with American’s March 22 devaluation.

If you want to redeem miles between the US and Tokyo, you can book business class for 50,000 miles or first class for 62,500 miles, to build a “full” itinerary between the US and Australia.

Japan Airlines has one of my favorite first class products. I reviewed it last year for travel from Jakarta to Tokyo and then from Tokyo to New York.


Bottom line

It’s incredible to see so many flights with half of the first class cabin available for awards. This availability will be most useful to those flying out of Asia or Australia, though can also be useful for those originating in the US. While it will require two awards, it can otherwise be really tough to get to Australia on miles, so this is a great option, if you ask me.

Is anyone able to take advantage of the excellent JAL first class award availability between Tokyo and Sydney?

  1. Unfortunately I already have flights booked on AA/QF between USA/Australia, but this is a great option for those who wish to stopover in East Asia.
    It’s also interesting to note that for this routing (Asia 1 to South Pacific) the business class cost for a one-way flight decreased from 45k to 40k one-way. It’s similar to what UA did when it had its devaluation a few years ago. Perhaps not many AAdvantage members or MileagePlus members redeem miles on this route.

  2. How would you compare it to SQ J?

    I find myself needing to fly NRT-PER and I’m torn between SQ J via SIN and JL F via SYD…would this be worth the extra miles to do so?

  3. Amazing Lucky, many thanks, have changed my hkg-syd in cx business to hkg-nrt in business and nrt-syd in jl first.

    Love they have put first back onto Sydney, flew it last year fav first after the apartment.

    Flight is now dub-lon (ba bus), lon-fra (ba bus), fra-hkg (cx first), hkg-nrt (cx bus) and nrt-syd (jl first). Hoping EI becomes part of one world soon and I can skip LHR and go Dub-fra.

    Going out with a bang before the devaluation

  4. @Dave plant: HKG-NRT-SYD means two awards with AA (because you can’t transit Asia 1 on one award between Asia 2 and South Pacific), correct?

  5. @02nz. Nope. 1 award, 80k miles extra $18 in taxes for Japan change

    Did the same last year , Syd-nrt-lhr. Jl rocked Ba was massively underwhelming

  6. @Dave: You could also do BA DUB-LHR & CX LHR-HKG, no UK departure tax for <24h layovers (and award availability with 3 flights a day seemed pretty good)

  7. @Lucky – Am not flying to/from Sydney, but based on your JAL first class reviews, I changed my CX business class from KUL-HKG-EWR to KUL-CGK-NRTJFK F class. So Thanks 🙂

    Agreed, JAL has amazing award availability between Asia 1and Asia 2/South Pacific. Although the award space between JAL and North America is disappearing fast, guess us readers took your advice to book before AA deval date and change later 😉

  8. Slightly related and any help is appreciated.
    Looking for 4 tickets to NRT or other asia1 or asia2. I can only find 4 F on old AA 777-200 for summer.
    Are there any better F or C possible that I should look for?
    What should be my strategy?

  9. @ Sam — Finding four business class seats on JAL shouldn’t be impossible in general, though if you’re planning now for summer it might require a lot of flexibility. But be sure to check space out of Boston, Dallas, etc.

  10. @ozdan. Unfortunately I have tried but no availability Fra was only flight with space. Will try to chage closer to departure as commission should open space up then

  11. LOL I was waiting for this to break on a blogger site or FT…
    Availability has been in the system for weeks now, some days with more than 4 seats available through JMB. They’ll be gone soon now..!!

  12. I’ve done F from NRT-SYD and the service is good, but man, that plane is hot! Too bad there’s no onboard shower because JL keeps their planes warm. No thanks, I’ll pass.

  13. @Bob – last week I politely asked them to turn down the temperature in JAL F and before I was done asking, the FA was making the change.

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