Great Route For Redeeming American Miles To Asia

In late August, Japan Airlines announced that they’d begin Boeing 787 flights between Dallas and Tokyo Narita. American and JAL have a joint venture between the US and Tokyo, so this would complement American’s existing flights in the market.

JAL-787

The route would be operated by a Boeing 787 featuring JAL’s new business class product, which looks fantastic. It’s fully flat and quite private. While I haven’t had the chance to fly it myself, I’ve heard great things about it.

JAL-Business-Class-3

Shortly after the new route was announced I noted how award availability was wide open on the flight, as there were four business class award seats available most days. That made it a great option for redeeming AAdvantage miles between Dallas and Tokyo, as American charges just 50,000 AAdvantage miles for an award between the US and “Asia 1.”

It’s worth noting that JAL’s flight between Tokyo Narita and Dallas launched today, November 30, 2015.

On the same day the flight launched, JAL has announced that the Dallas to Tokyo flight will be transitioning from 4x weekly to daily as of March 22, 2016. As of that date the route will also operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays in both directions.

While the additional frequencies haven’t been added to the schedule as of the time of this posting, I suspect we’ll see good award space on those flights once they’re loaded.

In the meantime, I think it’s worth noting that Japan Airlines continues to be very generous with releasing business class award space on the flight between Dallas and Tokyo. Many flights have four business class seats available.

JAL-Business-Class

I’d argue this is one of the best ways to redeem miles for business class travel between the US and Asia, given the excellent hard and soft product offered by JAL, and the fact that the flight leaves from Dallas (which can be accessed nonstop from just about anywhere in the US).

JAL-Business-Class

Bottom line

If you’re looking to redeem miles for travel to Asia in business class, this flight is tough to beat. Especially before the March 22, 2016, AAdvantage devaluation, when the cost of this award will be going up from 50,000 to 60,000 AAdvantage miles (though frankly even the devalued cost isn’t that bad, in my opinion).

Award availability on this flight is great as is, so should get even better over the coming days when the additional 3x weekly frequencies are loaded.

I’ve flown Japan Airlines first class, Cathay Pacific first class, and Cathay Pacific business class, so it’s about time I try Japan Airlines business class. I’m thinking this is the route on which I’ll do it.

Have you flown JAL’s new business class? If so, what was your experience like?

Comments

  1. except there are no award flight to the gateway, which makes it useless for me unless I want to pay for the ticket in a 738.

  2. I just flew that product on their 777 yesterday – I think I actually prefer it to the reverse herringbone seat on CX/AA. It felt much more spacious and the window seats have a ton of privacy.

  3. The best business class product I’ve ever flown, and this is a nice, long route on which to try it (I did NRT-JFK, which is also a good choice).

  4. I’m flying BOS-NRT on the 787 in September 2016. Any way of finding out if the new business class will be on the flight? Do you know if JAL is upgrading all of their 787s? I flew NRT-JFK on the 787 in the old business class seat last year, and it was fine, but this would be much better!

  5. Hi Lucky, are the 2 center seats staggered in the new 787 JL configuration. I will be booking for my wife and I and we usually choose the 2 center seats in Business or First at they are in line with each other. What seats would you recommend for two people?

  6. Any advice for first class routes? I know you posted awhile back about space being great, but nowadays only ever seeing 1 ticket (looking for 2) for NRT>JFK / and vice versa.

  7. My experience flying Jal 787 was not so good. I flew from YVR-NRT on the 787, and those 787’s have slanted seats. Not exactly the best. As well I thought that the food was only so so.

  8. JAL does open up quite a few spaces for J cabin. The NRT-YVR and KIX-LAX have lots of open spaces, but both are angle flat (shell flat neo) seats. The Sky Suite (new J cabin) route that have consistent open space is indeed the NRT-DFW. Too bad that the route is not daily.

  9. I flew this new J class from ORD-NRT and honestly if felt like a coffin.
    Loved the access to the isle but felt so damn slim and box like.
    Tight is not for me and yet I am tall but tone.

  10. Booked this route in J for May, 2016, continuing to Hong Kong on Cathay First ( on a 747) and then coming back HKG-ORD also on Cathay First for 157,500 AA miles. Great way to unload those AA miles.

  11. So let’s say you find J space on the BA site for DFW-Tokyo.

    Which space has to be available on AA for XXX-DFW where XXX is your local city?

    I.e. Does economy or domestic first “work” to not break the fare and keep it at 50k?

  12. I have flown JL Long haul business on 77W lately. Superb service, as expected from Japanese carries.
    Great food, great seat/bed (great privacy, a limit on the legs, like in CX), offers cardigan to pax. Amenity Kit, from Tumi, not bad. The thing I like it the most is the a la carte for 2nd meal, and you order from remote control, which I liked so much, and ate so much. Entertainment is on the weak side. But recently they have announced that they will double its films and TV programs. Well, good to bring one’s tablet for entertainment. Althought the TV is huge. So funny that they don’t offer welcome drink, not even water, I guess they will happy to offer, if asked.

  13. @ asfdasd — Economy or first class would work without raising the price, as long as it’s available at the “saver” level.

  14. @ Andrew T — Definitely tough at the moment. If you check last minute there are sometimes two seats, but that’s about it, unfortunately.

  15. @ AJ — Hmmm, haven’t flown it myself, but based on the pictures it looks like the center seats may not be staggered.

  16. I flew JL J SFO-HND on their 77W this past August. Not a bad product but I’m not sure it deserves the praise its been receiving. Seat width felt a little tight (I was in the center) and getting to/from that seat was a pain. The very, and I emphasize narrow, passageway between the aisle and seat make it impossible for even very slim people like myself to get through.

    Food was alright but I’m not going to put them down for that considering the SFO flight leaves around 2AM.

    From the looks of it the window seats are certainly the best and most private and wouldn’t mind giving those a try on the 787 in the future.

  17. What’s the process for booking JAL flights with AA miles? I know I can search for availability on BA, but do I then have to call AA to actually book, or can I book through AA.com?

  18. @DJ
    I searched for availability on JAL’s site, and then had to call AA to book. Make sure they don’t charge you a phone booking fee as you can’t book online.

  19. @lucky
    how do you earn so many miles please?
    surely you arent able to MS while travelling outside of the USA.
    thanks.

  20. Hi Lucky,
    Do you know if the the “SS8” configuration of the 787 for JAL is also used for the JFK-NRT flight? Seems to be two JFK-NRT flights a day (on days offered), but not sure if its the new business class product?

  21. I’m seeing great J availability early next year DFW-NRT but almost nothing on the return flight. Tried throughout Feb, March and April. Anyone else having this problem?

  22. I’m travelling business class on JAL 65 from San Diego to Narita in November. Anyone know if it’s the upgraded version? Looks cool in the pictures 🙂

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