How to book Japan Airlines Business Class for 60,000 AA Miles + $5.60 in fees

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Updated: Feb 17, 2024

Failed attempts to rebook ANA

I tried, Lord knows I tried. The miles and points world buzzed a few days ago when ANA released premium cabin award seats. These coveted award seats have not been available for some time, so it felt like a huge Black Friday sale. Members of many travel award community, including members of my Daddy Travels Miles and Points Facebook group shared their success in booking ANA. I searched high and low for ANA first and/or business class availability so I could book my return trip to Japan. I have 220,000 points sitting with Virgin Atlantic (from my old Japan trip that fizzled due to COVID travel restrictions). I guess my points will just have to stay with Virgin for awhile, according to Virgin, my points won’t expire.

Japan Airlines availability wide open

A few days after the ANA release, I saw lots of rumbling yesterday where you could book one way business class from SFO-HND for 60,000 AA miles + $5.60. This was flying via Japan Airlines. This means to do a roundtrip, I needed 120K AA miles. And since there were two of us traveling, we needed 240,000 AA miles to make this booking work.
Unlucky me, I only had 117K AA miles, and I began checking ways to fill the void via points transfer or purchasing more miles. 
Image courtesy of Japan Airlines

Think fast

  • I could transfer points from Marriott Bonvoy to American Airlines – this could take 48-72 hours
  • Buy AA miles
  • Transfer miles from another AA account

I was 123,000 miles short, and none of the above choices made sense.

Zirk to the rescue

One of my trusted travelers and big-time supporters  is Michael Zirk. He posted the Japan Airlines deal over on Daddy Travels Miles and Points Facebook. I replied and said that I was short of miles He offered to help. Mike’s got a boatload of AA miles. He and I have had this discussion before. He helped book the trip for me, and in return, I’d transfer points that are of value to him.

Here’s how to book Japan Airlines using American Airlines website

I had to search availability using American Airlines website. I simply went to search for business class availability.

  • Choose Advanced/Multi-city search
  • Redeem miles
  • One way
  • Pick a date
  • # of passengers
  • Airports (I chose LAX-TYO for Tokyo airports)
  • Class: Business/First
  • Airlines: ALL Airlines
  • Once you hit search, it will take you to a results page. You will an option to click CALENDAR that gives you a 30-day view.
  • Anything in GREEN means that’s the lowest fare available on that date of that month
  • For the Japan business class deals, I looked for the ones that charge 60,000 one way and $5.60 in fees.

I checked for the dates that would work for me. Once Mike and I connected in the afternoon, I provided him the flight info and traveler info (just me and Nancy), anything needed for the booking. I had enough points to book 1 one-way ticket, while Mike booked the rest for me. 

That was easy

If this was a Staples commercial, “that was easy” – the hardest part was deciding on the dates for this trip. It’s going to be a short trip before the holidays in December – just “for research” Thank you so much, Mike!!!

The damage

If you have AA miles, these were the costs per person
  • LAX-HND on business class at 60,000 AA miles + $5.60 in fees
  • HND-LAX on business class at 60,000 AA miles + $47.75
All in all, for two us, we needed
  • 120,000 AA miles per person + $53.35
  • For both of us , 240,K AA Miles + $106.70

If we paid in cash

This would’ve been extremely pricey and something I would never ever do.
  • $19,359 (per person)
  • $38,716 (for two)

There is NO WAY I would pay that amount. But thanks to credit card miles and points, this all became possible

A quick video reel of Japan Airlines Business Class

This trip took place in December 2023. I felt like a little kid in a candy store. Imagine flying to Japan in business class for $5.60! Insane. Here’s the Instagram reel. Click this Jason Francisco (@daddytravelsmiles) • Instagram photos and videos

Easy way of earning AAdvantage miles

In January 2024, an offer came out with AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®  from Barclays. it’s a card here you could earn up to 75,000 AA miles without meeting a huge minimum spend.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy
  • Earn 60,000 miles after making your first purchase and paying the annual fee in full, both within the first 90 days.
  • Plus, add an authorized user, make a purchase on the authorized user card within the first 90 days and earn an additional 15,000 miles.
  • Annual fee $99
AADVANTAGE® AVIATOR® RED WORLD ELITE MASTERCARD®
Junk food for thought
Buy a pack of gum (your first purchase), pay the $99 annual fee, add an authorized user, make ONE purchase on the authorized user card = BOOM! You’ll earn 75,000 AA miles that’s good enough to make this business class flight with Japan Airlines a reality.

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Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

2 Comments

  1. I booked 4 biz for the same route, was short for 22k, ended up purchased the points I need for $500 something. Not bad considering the prices of the business tickets. Wish I know a friend that can help out and I can pay other points in another way.

    1. I just saw this….glad you were able to book. In the grand scheme of things, to book 4 biz class….YAY!!!!! That’s a win!!!

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