Fall is here, and winter is coming. Why not escape for the beaches of Thailand?
We've unearthed a massive amount of Japan Airlines business class award space to fly to Thailand on Japan Airlines, one of our favorite ways to fly. From November through mid-March 2022, you can book two to four seats from most U.S. cities to Bangkok (BKK). And the entire journey will cost you just 70,000 American AAdvantage miles each way!
Thrifty Traveler Premium members got first dibs on this award alert, but now it's your chance. And with rumors of a major devaluation of AAdvantage miles looming, you won't want to wait.
This deal is possible because of widespread award availability flying from the U.S. to Tokyo-Haneda (HND) and Tokyo-Narita (NRT) – and not just from JAL's outposts at major U.S. hubs, but from almost any airport with American Airlines service. While Japan remains closed to Americans, you could book a flight for next year for just 60,000 miles each way and hope it opens in time.
And it's risk-free, as American now allows free cancellation to get your miles back on all award tickets! That means you can lock in this award space risk-free and cancel down the road if necessary.
Get award alerts like this one – plus cheap domestic and international fares – sent straight to you with Thrifty Traveler Premium!
But why not head south for Thailand for just 10,000 AAdvantage miles more? Thai tourist havens like Phuket and Koh Samui are already open today, thanks to the country's novel “Sandbox” program that allows Americans and other visitors to come for one or two weeks with testing and vaccination requirements. But Bangkok and much of the rest of the country are preparing to open come Nov. 1.
Bangkok is a great city to explore in its own right, but it's also the perfect starting point to head elsewhere. Just book a cheap flight to the beaches of Phuket (HKT), Krabi (KBV), or Koh Samui (USM). Or head for the rainforests of Chiang Mai (CNX).
And there's no better way to fly to Thailand than Japan Airlines business class. These are just business class seats – they're SkySuites, with the perfect mix of comfort, space, and privacy.
Read our full Japan Airlines business class review and you'll see why we love it so much!
If you ask us, Japan Airlines has one of the world's best business class seats in the sky. The service and food are unparalleled for business class. You'll be on either a Boeing 777 or 787 flying across the Pacific Ocean from cities like Chicago-O'Hare (ORD), Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), Los Angeles (LAX), or New York City (JFK).
Plus, you'll even get access to American's excellent Flagship lounges before your long transpacific flight. Several of those lounges are already reopened today, while others are set to resume service sometime this fall.
A Deeper Look at JAL Business Class Availability
While it's not the hardest premium cabin to book, snagging Japan Airlines business class seats isn't always a slam dunk. It can be hard to lock in seats far in advance – booking close to departure is usual the safest bet. And some major cities often miss the boat.
But from Chicago-O'Hare (ORD) to Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) to Los Angeles (LAX) and even New York City (JFK), availability is wide open to fly business class to Tokyo starting in November all the way through mid-March. Aside from a dry spell around Christmas, almost every single date in that window has at least two seats available.
Here's a look at availability for two travelers in February 2022 departing from New York City (JFK), which rarely sees this much award space. While this may be for the nonstop to Tokyo, this much availability makes it easy to fly all the way down to Bangkok (BKK) for just 70,000 miles total.
It's even better from Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW): You can get four flyers to Tokyo (or onward to Thailand) almost every day from November through mid-March.
How to Book JAL Business Class
There are a handful of different ways to book these flights, thanks to Japan Airlines' various partnerships and its place in the Oneworld alliance.
Of course, you could use Japan Airlines' own Mileage Bank miles, but those are hard to come by unless you've got a boatload of Marriott points you can transfer. Alaska Airlines is another compelling option, as it will run you 60,000 miles and you'll be able to cancel it and get your miles back free – but those miles are harder to earn these days, too. Other Oneworld partners like British Airways and Cathay Pacific Asia Miles will charge a pretty penny to fly JAL business across the ocean.
That leaves us with using American AAdvantage miles, which is easily your best bet anyway. At 70,000 miles each way for business class to Southeast Asia, it's a bargain. Taxes and fees are reasonable, too: Just $21 or so for a one-way to Thailand.
But the additional flexibility of booking AAdvantage awards with free change and cancellation is invaluable here, given all the uncertainty surrounding international travel.
With this much award availability, it shouldn't be hard to find the business class flights on Japan Airlines you want. You can get an easy view of all this availability by simply searching for award tickets at AA.com. It’s best to start by searching for nonstop flights from of Japan Airlines' U.S. hubs to find the date(s) that work. Use the calendar function to get a month-long look at award space, then filter for nonstop business class flights.
If you don't live in one of JAL's outstations, don't worry about it. Just start your one-way award search from your home airport with American Airlines service, like Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) or Cincinnati (CVG) to Thailand. It’s still just 70,000 AAdvantage miles for the entire two-stop journey, though you may have to make your first flight in economy based on what domestic award space is available.
One important note: American's new award search tool tends to bury non-AA flights on partners like JAL. So you may have to scroll to find the Japan Airlines flight you want – or just filter for them in your results.
How to Earn American AAdvantage Miles
It's never been easier to earn American AAdvantage miles.
That's due in part to a limited-time opportunity: Through Nov. 23, you can transfer Citi ThankYou points to American on a 1:1 basis. That means if you've earned the 80,000-point bonus after spending $4,000 in three months on the Citi Premier® Card, you can easily get the miles you need to book by transferring them to American.
But then there are a handful of American co-branded cards worth considering.
For starters, there’s the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard, which is currently offering 50,000 AAdvantage Miles after spending $2,500 within the first three months. The card’s $99 annual fee is waived in the first year.
Click Here to learn more about the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard.
But American Airlines is unique in the fact that they have co-branded credit card relationships with both Citi and Barclays thanks to the merger of American and U.S. Airways a few years ago. For the time being, American has made the decision to continue the relationship with both banks.
So that means you’ve got another option. And few credit cards offer a better, more lucrative welcome offer bonus than the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard. Just for opening the card, making a single purchase, and paying the $99 annual fee, you can earn 60,000 American Airlines AAdvantage miles. These are some of the easiest miles you will ever earn.
Click Here to apply for the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard (this is not an affiliate link)
That one-two punch is significant because you can earn the welcome offer bonus on each card, netting you 110,000 American Airlines miles after paying one annual fee (the Barclays AAdvantage Red Aviator Card) and spending $2,500 on the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select Card in the first three months of card membership.
You don't see this much Japan Airlines business class availability every day. In fact, you rarely do. So why not use some American AAdvantage miles to book a trip to Thailand later this year or next?
While international travel may still be up in the air, the ability to book these awards with American AAdvantage miles and then cancel for free later on takes the risk out of the equation.