Best Ways to Book Japan Airlines Business Class With Points [Step-by-Step]

Japan Airlines Business Class Cabin

Japan Airlines’ business class product is a great option when you have a long trans-Pacific journey ahead of you. You can expect a great meal, a nice lounge, and fantastic service all the way through.

Let’s dig into what the business class experience is like and how you can book this flight using points.

A Look Inside Japan Airlines Business Class

Japan Airlines Business Class Lounge Narita
Relax in one of Japan Airlines’ Sakura Lounges before your flight across the Pacific. Image courtesy of Japan Airlines.

As a business class passenger with Japan Airlines, you will have access to the Sakura Lounge at Tokyo Narita (NRT) and Tokyo Haneda (HND) before flying to the U.S. The Sakura Lounge provides a nice selection of food and drink and a place to relax before your flight.

If you enjoy plane-spotting, the views of the tarmac from the lounge at Tokyo Narita are particularly nice.

Japan Airlines also has a very nice business class seat that they call the Sky Suite. While the business class cabin on Japan Airlines’ Boeing 787-9 features a 2-2-2 layout and their Boeing 777-300ER has a 2-3-2 layout, all seats have direct aisle access and are lie-flat.

Aisle seats have a decent amount of privacy, while the middle seat in the middle section of the Boeing 777-300ER has tons of privacy thanks to partitions on each side. However, the middle seat can feel a bit tight with both partitions raised.

Japan Airlines Business Class Sky Suite
Pick a window seat to have the best business class experience on Japan Airlines. Image courtesy of Japan Airlines.

For the best experience on either aircraft, try to book a window seat. While the space to get to your seat is narrow, you won’t have to step over anyone. Additionally, these seats have a ton of room; with the partition raised, they are very private without the cramped feeling of a middle seat on the 777-300ER.

Japan Airlines is also in the process of rolling out its new business class seats on the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, which will feature a 1-2-1 cabin layout.

Just as you will find in first class on Japan Airlines, the service in the business class cabin is excellent. The cabin crews are always friendly and happy to help make your flight as enjoyable as possible.

How to Fly Japan Airlines Business Class Using Points

Japan Airlines North America Award Chart
Unlike their distance-based partner award chart, Japan Airlines uses a region-based award chart for its own flight.

You can book Japan Airlines business class through one of their Oneworld partners or even Alaska Airlines. Let’s take a look at some great ways to book business class.

Japan Airlines Mileage Bank

Japan Airlines uses a region-based award chart for its own flights. This is a different award chart than the distance-based award chart they use for booking award flights with their partners.

Follow the simple steps below to book your next business class flight on Japan Airlines:

  1. Go to the Japan Airlines website
  2. Log in to your JAL Mileage Bank account
  3. Choose JAL International Award Ticket Reservation
  4. Choose round-trip or one-way
  5. Choose your desired Area of Departure and Area of Arrival
  6. Choose your travel dates, departure and destination airports, and business class
  7. Select Designate Date if your travel must be on the specific dates you have selected, or Award Reservation Calendar if you have flexible travel dates
  8. Click Next
  9. If you selected Designate Date, you’ll be taken directly to your flight options
    • Make sure the flights you select have seats available and do not require waitlisting.
  10. If you selected Award Reservation Calendar, you will see 7 dates for your departure and 7 dates for your return. Select the dates and you will be taken to your flight options for those dates.
  11. Confirm the Mileage Bank miles and taxes/fees required
  12. Choose your desired flights and hit Next (assign seat now) so you can select your seat and complete the booking process

Make sure there is award space as Japan Airlines will also show you waitlist space which does not guarantee you a seat.

Japan Airlines Seat Availability
Japan Airlines will show both available award space and waitlisted space.

Keep the image above with you while booking so you know what to look for under the Seat Availability column to ensure you get a seat.

Here’s an example of what you’ll see:

Japan Airlines First Class Award Availability Example
If there is waitlist space available but not a confirmed seat, you will see a diamond in the Seat Availability column.

In this example, the flight from New York City (JFK) to Tokyo Narita (NRT) has award space for one while the other flight has award space for two. The return flight options show a flight with award space for one and waitlisted spaced.

If you need to connect on American Airlines (or another partner airline) to get to your flight on Japan Airlines, you will need to use the partner award chart to determine the number of miles required.

Additionally, a booking that involves a partner will mean that you have to call Japan Airlines to book.

Japan Airlines Mileage Bank Chart
Japan Airlines has divided their partner award chart into 13 mileage tiers.

If you want to fly on American Airlines from Philadelphia (PHL) to Chicago (ORD) then connect on Japan Airlines to Tokyo Narita (NRT), this will require you to use the partner award chart.

SPG Starpoints can be transferred to Japan Airlines but be award that it can take rougly 7 days for transfers to process and Japan Airlines does not put holds on award tickets.

For more fun ways to earn miles, check out the best ways to earn Mileage Bank miles. If you need some travel inspiration, take a look at the best ways to redeem Japan Airlines miles.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan program is another great way to book business class on Japan Airlines. For 75,000 Alaska Miles, you can fly between North America and Japan in business class for 75,000 miles.

To book, go to Alaska’s website and follow these simple steps:

  1. Go to the Alaska Airlines website
  2. Sign in to your account
  3. Search for your desired route (make sure you select Use Miles)
  4. Choose your desired flight and click Add To Cart
  5. Pay the necessary taxes/fees and complete your booking

You can even book a stopover on one-way awards when booking with Alaska Airlines.

Transfer SPG Starpoints to Alaska Airlines if you need more miles for a book but, remember, these transfers can take a couple of days to process.

For some more ways to use your miles, you can check out the best ways to redeem Alaska miles.

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles

With Asia Miles, you have another great way to book with stopovers and open-jaws. Booking stopovers will add to the number of miles required.

Cathay Pacific Award Chart
The above chart is used for bookings that include only one partner airline.

 

Here are the steps to search for award space and book over the phone:

  1. Go to British Airways
  2. Log in to your account
  3. Select Spend Avios
  4. Click Book A Reward Flight
  5. Hover over “Redeem Miles”
  6. Enter your travel dates, city pairing, and select business class
  7. Find your desired flight
  8. Note the flight numbers, departure dates, and flight times
  9. Call Cathay Pacific at 1-866-892-2598
  10. Provide the flight details and complete the booking process

Cathay Pacific has several credit card partners that can be used to earn Asia Miles. American Express Membership Rewards points, Citi ThankYou Points, and SPG Starpoints can all be transferred at a solid 1:1 rate.

Citi ThankYou Points should transfer within 24 hours while transfers from Membership Rewards can take 3-7 days to process.

SPG Starpoints generally transfer within two days.

Hot Tip: Check out our Transfer Partner Tool to easily calculate how many miles you’ll need to transfer for your award.

American Airlines AAdvantage

American Airlines Partner Award Chart
Japan Airlines business class can also be booked with your American miles.

American’s AAdvantage program is one of the most popular ways to book awards on Japan Airlines. Prior to the devaluation of their award chart in early 2016, American miles might have been the most popular way to book.

Here are the simple steps to book:

  1. Go to British Airways
  2. Log in to your account
  3. Select Spend Avios
  4. Click Book A Reward Flight
  5. Scroll over “Redeem Miles”
  6. Enter your travel dates, city pairing, and select business class
  7. Find your desired flight
  8. Note the flight numbers, departure dates, and flight times
  9. Call American Airlines at 1-800-882-8880
  10. Provide the flight details and complete the booking process

The only transfer partner of American Airlines is SPG Starpoints which transfer at a 1:1 ratio. You can expect a transfer to take around two days, so take advantage of American’s 5-day hold policy. If at all possible, you should put the flight on hold before transferring SPG Starpoints.

If Japan Airlines isn’t your thing right now, there are other great options for redeeming your American AAdvantage miles too.

Hot Tip: The ability to put award seats on hold makes using American miles one of the easiest ways to book Japan Airlines business class.

Other Options for Booking Japan Airlines

Any of Japan Airlines’ Oneworld partners, including British Airways, can be used to book award flights. Unfortunately, the redemption rates on these other carriers are often quite poor.

Great Japan Airlines Business Class Redemptions

Japan Airlines
“Limited Days of the Week” awards with Japan Airlines are a great way to save a ton of miles on business class flights.

Let’s start with some typical awards and then move on to some interesting options between the U.S. and Japan.

You can use 100,000 Japan Airlines to fly from New York City (JFK), Chicago (ORD), or Los Angeles (LAX) to Japan. These routes can also be booked for 120,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles, 120,000 American AAdvantage miles, or 120,000 Asia Miles.

Now, let’s take a look at some more creative routes.

Japan Airlines offers “Limited Days of the Week” awards for business class tickets between the U.S. and Japan. A business class award that departs the U.S. on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday and returns on a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday will only cost 80,000 miles.

There isn’t a better way to book business class awards on Japan Airlines than this.

Cathay Pacific Multi-Carrier Award Chart
If you’re booking includes two or more Oneworld partners, you’ll be operating under a different Asia Miles award chart.

If you book business class on Japan Airlines with Asia Miles and your booking includes a connection on American Airlines (or another Oneworld carrier), the booking will fall under a different award chart.

Let’s take a look at an example. If you fly American Airlines from Philadelphia to Chicago and connect to Tokyo on Japan Airlines in business class, it will require 115,000 Asia Miles.

How to Earn Enough Miles for Japan Airlines Business Class

Ready to book a flight in Japan Airlines business class, but don’t have enough miles for the itinerary you want? Here are the ways you can earn the necessary miles and points.

The co-branded Starwood Preferred Guest credit cards can help you earn points to transfer to all four of the above booking options.

Recommended SPG Cards

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Need Inspiration?
> Here's 45 Ways To Use SPG Points
  • Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints®
  • Up to 5x Starpoints® on eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Full Review
Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express
  • Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints®
  • Up to 5x Starpoints® on eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Full Review

You can also transfer Membership Rewards or ThankYou Points to Cathay Pacific.

Recommended Amex Cards (Personal)

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
The Platinum Card® from American Express

Need Inspiration?
> 57 Best Ways You Can Use Amex Points
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • Up to $200 Uber Savings Annually.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit. Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $550
  • Full Review
Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
  • Earn 25,000 points.
  • 3x points for flights booked directly with airlines.
  • 2X points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and at US supermarkets. Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $0 for the first year, then $195
  • Full Review
The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express
  • Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® points. Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Full Review

 

Recommended Citi Cards

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
Citi Prestige® Card
  • $250 Air Travel Credit each year
  • Annual Fee: $450
  • Our Review
Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card
  • 2 ThankYou® Points per dollar spent on dining at restaurants and entertainment
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Our Review
Citi ThankYou® Premier Card
  • 3 ThankYou® Points per $1 spent on Travel, including Gas
  • Annual Fee: $95 (Fee waived for the first 12 months)
  • Our Review

When Should You Search for Award Space

Flexible travel dates will make your award search easier as business class award space on Japan Airlines is not always easy to find.

Once you know when you ‘d like to travel, start your search. Space is not always available months in advance but keep checking as Japan Airlines might release award availability closer to the date of departure.

What Makes Japan Airlines a Great Redemption

For long trans-Pacific flights, comfort is always a top priority. When you book business class on Japan Airlines, you can expect a comfortable flight and so much more.

Business Class Sky Suite

Every seat has direct aisle access, so you won’t have anyone climbing over you if you’re in an aisle seat. If you’re in a window seat, you don’t have to crawl over anyone either, which is particularly nice if you are traveling alone.

A window seat should be your first choice since it has the most privacy without feeling cramped. You might even feel like you’re flying in first class!

You will also enjoy having a fully lie-flat bed, which makes it so much easier to sleep on the long journey across the Pacific.

Business Class Service

Japan Airlines has cultivated a reputation for having absolutely amazing cabin crews in both first class and business class. They seem to take so much pride in their jobs, and you can tell by how they treat every aspect of the flight. Not only are they attentive to your needs during the flight, but they do their jobs with a refreshing friendliness.

Final Thoughts

Business class on Japan Airlines really is a wonderful way to fly. From the moment you set foot on board, you can relax and enjoy yourself. Enjoy a glass of champagne and a great meal knowing that you’re going to have fun on this flight!

If you happen to be flying out of Tokyo, visit the Sakura Lounge to make this an even more memorable trip.

With several great ways to book a business class flight with Japan Airlines, all you have to do is figure out when you can jump on the opportunity!

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

FAQ

What is the best way to book Japan Airlines business class?
If you are booking business class on Japan Airlines, check Japan Airlines Mileage BankAlaska Airlines Mileage PlanCathay Pacific Asia Miles, or American Airlines AAdvantage.

Japan Airlines and Alaska Airlines will have the best redemption rates, but booking with American Airlines can be much easier since you can put awards on hold. It’s also much easier to earn Asia Miles to book with Cathay Pacific.

What credit cards can help me fly Japan Airlines business class?
You can earn SPG Starpoints and transfer them to Alaska Airlines, Japan Airlines, Cathay Pacific, and American Airlines.

Additionally, you can transfer Membership Rewards or ThankYou Points to Cathay Pacific.

Bank of America also provides co-branded cards that earn Alaska miles if you need to top off your Mileage Plan account, while Citi provides co-branded American Airlines cards.

Synchrony Bank provides the Cathay Pacific Visa as well.

What do I get when flying Japan Airlines business class?
Japan Airlines has a great business class Sky Suite and an amazing cabin crew. If you depart from Tokyo Haneda (HND) or Tokyo Narita (NRT), make sure you enjoy the Sakura Lounge before your flight to the US.