Australia is one of the toughest places in the world to get to using American AAdvantage miles:
- American partners with Qantas, though they’re notoriously stingy when it comes to releasing premium cabin award space, so in many cases that’s off the table unless you’re booking the minute the schedule opens
- American doesn’t let you route from the US to Australia via a third region on a single award
- In practice you can more easily find space traveling via Asia (Hong Kong or Tokyo) or the Middle East (Abu Dhabi, Doha, or Qatar), though as I said above, that will be costly and require two awards
Anyway, for those of you looking to redeem American miles to Australia, and who are willing to part with some extra miles, there’s some great news.
Japan Airlines seems to be in the process of upgrading their Tokyo Narita to Sydney flight from a Boeing 777-200 to a Boeing 777-300ER for peak season. This goes from October 25, 2015, to March 26, 2016. They did exactly the same thing last peak season.
Why does this matter? Because the 777-300ER is the only plane in Japan Airlines’ fleet with a first class product.
And now that there’s a 777-300ER on the route for peak season, there’s first class award space available almost every day — typically 2-3 seats per flight. You can use the British Airways award search tool to find space, and then call American to book.
So how many miles would booking this cost?
- American charges 60,000 miles for one-way first class between Tokyo and Sydney (they don’t let you route from the US to Australia via Asia, so that would require two awards)
- American charges 62,500 miles for one-way first class between the US and Tokyo (should you want to book this as part of a trip between the US and Australia)
As I’ve written about before, Japan Airlines has a fantastic onboard product. Earlier in the year I had the chance to fly it from Jakarta to Tokyo Narita and then from Tokyo Narita to New York, and was absolutely blown away.
Japan Airlines has a solid first class hard product, though what really sets them apart is the food, service, amenities, onboard wifi, and toilets. I can’t say enough good things about them!
It’s tough to beat having a fantastic first class product be wide available to Australia during peak season. This isn’t just potentially useful for those originating in the US, but even more so for anyone originating travels in Asia, Australia, or elsewhere.
Hopefully lots of you can take advantage of this — I’d book quickly, because availability likely won’t last.
(Tip of the hat to Josh)