American Airlines Now Allows Free Tokyo Stopovers

American Airlines eliminated free stopovers on award tickets with the April 8, 2014 AAdvantage massacre. There is one city where you can still book a free stopover – whether on award tickets or paid tickets – but only if you book by August 31.

If you’re booking travel to Japan, you can now have a free stopover in Tokyo. That’s because the government of Japan is currently enforcing a 14 day quarantine in Tokyo for travelers headed to other parts of the country. However this option is available for all tickets booked by August 31, 2021 even if travel is for summer 2022.

With Rei Masuda at Sushi Masuda in Omotesando

So even if you have another city in Japan in mind for a visit next year, book a Tokyo stay for no extra fare or miles. Or if you plan to visit Tokyo, consider visiting somewhere else in Japan as well.

Here’s the internal message about the new stopover provision for Tokyo:

I’m looking forward to returning to Japan, and fortunately I’m 30 pounds lighter than I was when in Tokyo last. A little more progress and I’ll be ready for amazing sushi.

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, 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. That’s very nice to know. The BIG question for me is, when will Japan be open to tourists (at least vaccinated American tourists) without quarantining? I have two Japan trips booked for later this year – one in October to Sapporo via Tokyo, and one in November simply to Tokyo. I’m beginning to think neither of these may work out. Has anyone seen anything about the Japanese government’s thinking on re-opening?

  2. Love the sushi and everything else about Japan but any bookings should come with the caveat EXTREMELY SPECULATIVE because nobody knows when Japan will reopen to gaijin- hopefully in 2022 but be prepared to redeposit points or take airline scrip if you actually buy tix.

    After Tokyo I would personally recommend flying on to Osaka for the food, and it is a short train ride to Kyoto. Of course there are other more remote destinations like Sapporo that might maximize value…

  3. Happy Fathers Gary! Thanks for the heads up on a free stopover in Tokyo; I may do a speculative booking with AA for next summer.

    Also congratulations on losing 30lbs. That’s a major accomplishment and excellent for your health.

  4. But this is limited only to trips with a final destination in Japan or could I do a free stopover in Tokyo if headed to say Taiwan on JAL connection? Thanks!

  5. @Stan Lane
    I’m also looking to travel to Kyoto/Osaka in fall ‘21 or spring ‘22. Curious what you’re basing your summer 2022 prediction on?

  6. Congratulations on the weight loss, and hope you maintain it and get into healthier activities as it makes a difference in future father’s days.

    I’m thinking of a ski trip in Japan this next ski season, but I have my doubts that Japan will be open then for me to just do that and a recreational stopover in Tokyo isn’t high on my priority list.

    The free stopover in Tokyo isn’t possible if Japan is not the final destination for the AA-issued award travel?

  7. @Don in ATL There’s no thinking of re-opening while parts of the country remain in a coronavirus state of emergency. There probably won’t even be a path for business travelers to return until at least after the Paralympics end in September.

  8. Well that makes it not so fun. Who’s booking trips to Japan (final destination) these days.

  9. Tried it on and it looks like the site still prices two segments separately …

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