We’re ending this terrible year with some terrific business class availability. Tokyo in 2021, anyone?
We’ve unearthed a massive amount of business class award space on Japan Airlines, one of our favorite ways to fly, into late 2021. You can currently book two to four seats from several U.S. cities to Tokyo-Haneda (HND) or Tokyo-Narita (NRT) most days from September through November 2021. There’s some scattered availability earlier in the summer, too.
Keep reading for the full lowdown on all this availability – and the best ways to book it using miles. Read our review of Japan Airlines business class and you’ll see why we love it so much.
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It may seem like a gamble, as Japan is currently still closed down to travelers – and there’s no telling when that will change. But using American Airlines miles is absolutely 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 for late 2021 risk-free and cancel down the road if necessary.
Thrifty Tip: Not looking to visit Tokyo next year? Use this availability to connect onward to Bangkok (BKK), Bali (DPS), or elsewhere in Southeast Asia!
And booking with American miles is definitely the way to go, as it costs just 60,000 AAdvantage miles each way. But the best part is that this works nationwide: Just start your search from your home airport with AA service, and you should be able to connect to one of these hubs before heading to Tokyo in JAL business class – all for just 60,000 AAdvantage miles one-way. Using 60,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles is another strong option, if you’ve got them.
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. And JAL’s SkySuites on the 777 and 787 are a near-perfect blend of space and privacy.
Read our full review of Japan Airlines business class from Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) to Tokyo-Narita (NRT)!
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 Los Angeles (LAX) to even New York City (JFK), availability is wide open to fly business class to Tokyo late next summer and into the fall.
Here’s a look at New York City (JFK) availability, which rarely sees this much award space.
There’s pretty excellent availability from Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) for two to four travelers, too.
The same goes on the West Coast, where it’s fairly easy to snag a JAL business class seat late next year from either Los Angeles (LAX) or San Francisco (SFO).
These major cities definitely have the most award space, but there’s decent availability from other JAL outposts including Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), Boston (BOS), Seattle (SEA), and even San Diego (SAN). And while the availability is strongest from September through November 2021, there’s some good award space from June through early July, too.
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 60,000 miles each way for business class, it’s a bargain. Taxes and fees are reasonable, too: Just $5.60 for a one-way to Tokyo, or $50 to $60-ish for a round-trip booking.
Thrifty Tip: Search for flights to Tokyo (TYO) rather than an individual airport to get the most availability – but definitely fly into Tokyo-Haneda (HND) if you can!
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 next summer or fall. 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, just start your one-way award search from your home airport with American Airlines service, like Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) or Cincinnati (CVG) to Tokyo. It’s still just 60,000 AAdvantage miles for the entire one-way 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 buries 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
For starters, there’s the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select Card, 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 50,000 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 100,000 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. And that’s almost enough to get you to Japan and back in business class.
You don’t see this much Japan Airlines business class availability every day. Planning a business class trip for two (or more) to Tokyo nearly a year in advance can be tough to pull off.
And while international travel may be up in the air throughout 2021, the ability to book these awards with American AAdvantage miles and then cancel for free later on takes the risk out of the equation.