Awesome Deal: JAL First Class Wide Open To Australia!

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!


Bottom line

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)


  1. To what cities in the US do they fly their 773? Also, if flying after peak season how is the business product on the 772?

  2. It’s actually been like this for a couple weeks now. While a nice product, I don’t know if I’d shell out 60K miles for this again. The food was decent and the service friendly, but the wifi was unreliable and the cabin too warm to sleep.

  3. (Abu Dhabi, Doha, or Qatar)

    Isnt Doha in Qatar Ben? (at your third bullet point)

    Apart from that sounds like a good opportunity to fly JAL F, now that award space is wide open 🙂

  4. As others have mentioned; nice product and good service but man, it’s HOT in that cabin. It’s not worth it to unless you get the 788, which has individual vents. Last time I took the 77W, it was so hot, I had to press my leg on the side wall panel to cool down.

  5. so since you have to route via NRT, it’s 122,500 miles each way from US Australia? Is that a deal, or am I missing something?

  6. Not all readers live in the states… 60K is definitely reasonable for those that live in Asia.

  7. Back in June I went out of my way to fly JL F – rather than flying home nonstop on CX, I made two stops and flew three airlines – and it was not worth it. First, the cabin was uncomfortably hot. Second, when I requested caviar with my japanese meal, the IFM said that I can only have caviar if I order the western meal (to be fair, the IFM later said I can have caviar because no one ordered the western meal). Maybe this is JL’s policy but I was surprised/disappointed. I’ve flown in F to Asia six other times on other airlines and have always been offered caviar with the asian meal.

  8. Am I the only one getting an error when I search for award flights on the BA website? It’s been like this for me for over a week now. The text is as follows:


    Unfortunately our systems are not responding, so we are unable to process your request at the moment.

    We apologise for this inconvenience and suggest you try again later.

  9. Ben, why do you rate the food highly? I take a look at the menu for JLs flights to and from the U.S. And they scare me. I’m an adventurous eater most times, but really?

  10. @chase the JL Japanese meal is one of the best meals I have ever had in the sky. I think that is why Ben rates it so highly.

  11. @chase The food on JL First is fantastic if you like real Japanese food. The sushi and appetizers and beef are all as good as what you’d get in a Tokyo restaurant. And sea urchin in the sky? Yum.

    Having said that, if your knowledge of Japanese food is limited to the california roll, then maybe it won’t appeal so much. And I wouldn’t call myself an adventurous eater if that were the case.

  12. @Lucky is JAL that good or Thai that mediocre?

    I have an ex-ICN UA award booking on OZ (J on the 744 combi) and TG (F/J on 380/777) and there is JL availability on my dates. Looks like switching would be $200 cancellation fee and then 10k more miles (though only 4k more after 10% rebate) plus I’d have 50k UA miles around. Think that’s worth it?

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