Great Deal: JAL Business Class Awards Wide Open Between NYC and Tokyo!

Japan Airlines presently operates two daily flights between Tokyo and New York, though they’ll be adjusting that service starting in a couple of months, which is great for award availability. It’s probably easiest to explain what’s changing by showing a side-to-side schedule comparison:

Current JAL routes to New York

Presently JAL operates the following flight daily using a 777-300ER:

JL6 Tokyo Narita to New York JFK departing 10:50AM arriving 10:45AM
JL5 New York JFK to Tokyo Narita departing 1:15PM arriving 4:25PM (+1 day)

JAL also operates the following flight daily using a Boeing 787-8:

JL4 Tokyo Narita to New York JFK departing 6:25PM arriving 6:20PM
JL3 New York JFK to Tokyo Narita departing 9:30AM arriving 12:40PM (+1 day)

JAL-787

JAL routes to New York starting April 1, 2017

Starting April 1, the following flight will be operated daily using a 777-300ER:

JL6 Tokyo Haneda to New York JFK departing 10:40AM arriving 10:35AM
JL5 New York JFK to Tokyo Haneda departing 1:10PM arriving 4:25PM (+1 day)

Starting April 1, the following flight will be operated daily using a 777-300ER:

JL4 Tokyo Narita to New York JFK departing 6:25PM arriving 6:20PM
JL3 New York JFK to Tokyo Narita departing 11:30AM arriving 2:40PM (+1 day)

JAL-777

What’s changing and what it means for awards

As you can see, one of JAL’s New York flights is maintaining the same schedule but operating to Tokyo Haneda rather than Tokyo Narita. Meanwhile the second daily flight is getting a slight schedule change, and will be upgraded from a 787-8 to a 777-300ER. This represents some nice additional premium cabin capacity to New York:

  • There are 8 additional daily first class seats (since the 787-8 didn’t have a first class cabin)
  • There are 11 additional daily business class seats (the 777-300ER has 49 seats, and the 787-8 has 38 seats)

JAL seems to be in the process of adjusting the schedule, so I’m not seeing many first class awards yet (though I suspect that will change). JAL’s first class is fantastic, so this will be a great opportunity.

Japan-Airlines-First-Class-40

However, I am seeing tons of JAL business class award seat on the additional frequency, probably due to the increase in business class capacity. For example, here’s the Alaska award calendar showing availability for four people in business class (at a minimum, the dates showing an award price of 60,000 miles are available:

Alaska-Awards-1 Alaska-Awards-2

As a reminder, Alaska’s partnership with Japan Airlines is fairly new, so here are their redemption rates:

One-way award priceEconomyPremium EconomyBusinessFirst
US to/from Asia

(Japan, South Korea, and India)
35,00040,00060,00070,000
US to/from Southeast Asia

(Technically Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Thailand, Philippines, and Cambodia, but in practice China and Taiwan as well)
40,00045,00065,00075,000
Intra-Asia

(all regions)
15,00017,50025,00030,000

Alaska allows a stopover on a one-way award, which is probably my favorite feature of redeeming Alaska miles on JAL. You could fly from New York to Tokyo, have a stopover for as long as you’d like, and then continue from Tokyo to Bangkok, for example.

This is a great opportunity for anyone looking to take the family Asia, even in the peak of summer.

JAL’s business class product is fantastic as well, one of my favorite transpacific business class products. They have Apex Suites with great food, wifi, etc.

Japan-Airlines-Business-Class-777 - 4

Bottom line

It’s great to see JAL add capacity to New York, and in particular to see them add additional award seats. One of JAL’s daily flights between New York and Tokyo has at least four business class award seats available most days starting in April, which is a great opportunity to redeem American or Alaska miles for a trip to Asia.

Now we just have to wait for first class inventory to be loaded, in hopes of there being some award seats there as well (which I’m sure there will be).

Comments

  1. @anon only that’s JL F is not easy to find unless you are right there at 330days out at the right time of the day, or last minute, within 7-10days, most people can’t do that.

  2. Just changed my NRT>ORD to NRT>NYC and get to try out my first 787! Hope that some first class space opens up, I’ll keep an eye out.

  3. Just snagged an F award in September. There was availability on both JFK-NRT and NRT-JFK on the first dates I checked.

  4. Have they not updated the seatmaps for JL-4 yet? Booked NRT=>JFK / J award on alaska and its showing as 787-8. Checked on JAL’s site for same flight and its showing what looks to be the 787-8 seatmap…

  5. @George , it seems like JL-4 (NRT => JFK) typically operates as a 787-8 with angle-flat business class, however Alaska is allowing booking of F on JL-4 , so perhaps even though the award space is available, the aircraft type hasn’t been updated on their systems yet.

  6. Hi Tiffany, After signing in to my mileage plan,>Book>Flight, still could not find any monthly chart. Any clues please.

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