Japan Airlines First Class Award Space to Australia for the Whole Family

A couple of weeks ago I pointed out outstanding Japan Airlines first class award space between the US and Tokyo.

Now via Point Hacks award availability is wide open from March through December in first class between Tokyo and Sydney.

Here’s award availability for four passengers which is half the cabin (some dates may have more space than that, and of course availability is even better for two passengers).

This happens from time to time, first class opened wide up on the same route last August.

American AAdvantage charges 60,000 miles for a one-way award between Australia and Japan (until award prices go up March 22).

Now, this may be of limited use to many of my readers although a not insignificant number of readers are actually based in Australia (and I have family there). American Airlines doesn’t let you route via Asia on a single award ticket between the US and Australia. Instead you’d have to book one award US-Asia and a second award Asia-Australia.

Japan Airlines miles are actually quite reasonable for this at 100,000 miles roundtrip. They do add fuel surcharges to awards, and Starwood Starpoints transfer but not instantaneously in fact it can take some time for the transfer so I wouldn’t use this route if you don’t already have JAL miles in your account (as the space could be gone by the time you get the points).

Cathay Pacific AsiaMiles, an American Express and Citi ThankYou Rewards transfer partner, charges 70,000 points one-way or 120,000 miles roundtrip plus fuel surcharges.

The way I would play this as someone in North America is:

  • Book a one-way award to Australia
  • Then book Australia – Asia (one-way JAL first)
  • Separate award back from Asia, after your Asia stop on the return

Neither American nor Delta allow stopovers on awards any longer (though United and Alaska still do) so it’s not uncommon to have to pay extra miles for a stopover. And some will want to fly JAL’s first class and may find it worthwhile, or may want an Asia stop on an Australia award.

Search for Japan Airlines award space using the BA.com British Airways website, note that American’s website doesn’t show JAL award space. I am using Award Nexus to search a month’s availability at a time and display it in calendar format.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Slightly related and any help is appreciated.
    Looking for 4 tickets to NRT or other asia1 or asia2. I can only find 4 F on old AA 777-200 for summer.
    Are there any better F or C possible that I should look for?
    What should be my strategy?

  2. Not surprised. I was on one of their flights a year or two back and it was me, and about 4 others scattered throughout the cabin TOTAL. Oh and the airplane was absolutely immaculate. In fact since then, just seeing how they actually maintained their equipment in comparison I haven’t been able to look at our carriers in the same light.

    In other words, they have great planes and nobody flying them on many days so it doesn’t surprise me that there’s this much space. This seems like a huge mileage expense . I guess it’s ok if you have several hours to evaluate what you “might” be able to do but don’t see this at first glance being practical.

  3. @TerryH,

    It would get you the F lounge, but the 8:15 am departure would interfere with the complete experience.

  4. Hi, Gary. Is there a way to book the SYD-AKL (LAN) as a stand alone segment? Using BA site to search but it errors out on SYD to AKL search; however, it will submit results if I look for NRT/HKG-AKL. Thanks in advance!

  5. Hi Gary,

    Thanks for the headsup! Was wondering if there’s any chance I could do Singapore-Japan-Australia with JAL, and still consider that to be an Asia 2 – Australia award under American? Would be a great chance for me to try JAL’s first class product. Thanks!

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