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
Japan Airlines uses a simple region-based award chart for its own flights between the U.S. and Japan.

You can book business class award tickets on Japan Airlines through their own Mileage Bank program, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, or one of their Oneworld partners. Let’s dive into the best ways to book this flight.

Japan Airlines Mileage Bank

The Japan Airlines Mileage Bank program uses a region-based award chart for its own flights, unlike the distance-based chart if you’re booking flights on partner airlines.

You can book flights on Japan Airlines online by following the steps below:

  1. Go to the Japan Airlines website
  2. Log in to your JAL Mileage Bank account
  3. Select JAL International Award Ticket Reservation
  4. Select round-trip or one-way
  5. Select your desired Area of Departure and Area of Arrival
  6. Select 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. Select your desired flights and hit Next (assign seat now) so you can select your seat and complete the booking process

When you select your flights, make sure there is availability; Japan Airlines will also list flights you can be waitlisted for.

Japan Airlines Seat Availability
Make sure there is award seat availability before you book your business class flight on Japan Airlines.

The image above provides a guide to what you should see under the Seat Availability column when selecting a flight. Let’s take a look at an example:

Japan Airlines First Class Award Availability Example
If you see a diamond under Seat Availability, that means there is only waitlist space available.

In the example above, you can see the first flight from New York to Tokyo has 1 seat available and the other flight has 2 seats available. On the return, the second flight has 1 seat available while the other flight only was waitlist space.

If your booking involves a connection on a partner of Japan Airlines (such as American Airlines), your booking will fall under their partner award chart and you will need to call to complete the booking.

Japan Airlines Mileage Bank Chart
Japan Airlines made 3 subtle changes to its Mileage Bank partner award chart that will take effect in October 2017.

For example, if you fly from Philadelphia (PHL) on American Airlines to Chicago (ORD) to catch a Japan Airlines flight to Tokyo Narita (NRT), you will need to look at the partner award chart to determine how many miles will be required.

If you need more Japan Airlines Mileage Bank miles, you can transfer SPG Starpoints, but be warned: it takes around 7 days to complete the transfer from SPG to JAL, and Japan Airlines does not hold award tickets.

Remember: You can only transfer 79,999 SPG Starpoints to a particular airline each 24 hours. To ensure you receive the 5,000-mile bonus on each transfer of 20,000 SPG Starpoints, do not transfer more than 60,000 SPG Starpoints to an airline per 24-hour period.

For other ways to earn Japan Airlines miles, read our best ways to earn JAL miles. If you need some other ways to use your Mileage Bank miles, check out our best ways to redeem Japan Airlines miles.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

Another good way to book Japan Airlines business class is through the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program. Flying between North America and Japan will cost 75,000 Alaska Miles for a one-way ticket in business class.

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. Select your desired flight and click Add To Cart
  5. Pay the necessary taxes/fees and complete your booking

You can book a stopover on a one-way award ticket booked with Alaska miles.

If you need more Alaska miles, you can transfer SPG Starpoints to your account. Keep in mind that transfers to Alaska Airlines often take a couple of days.

If you need some other ideas for using your Alaska miles, check out our best ways to redeem Alaska miles.

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles

Cathay Pacific’s frequent flyer program, Asia Miles, provides an easy way to book online. Additionally, you can book a stopover and an open-jaw to really take your trip to the next level. However, this can change the required miles for the booking.

Cathay Pacific Award Chart
Cathay Pacific uses a distance-based award chart.

To book a flight on Japan Airlines, you will need to call Cathay Pacific.

  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 Cathay Pacific at 1-866-892-2598
  10. Provide the flight details and complete the booking process

If you need more miles to complete a booking, Cathay Pacific has several credit card partners including American Express Membership Rewards points, Citi ThankYou Points, and SPG Starpoints.

These partners each transfer to Asia Miles at a 1:1 rate. Citi ThankYou Points generally transfer within 24 hours, and transfers from Membership Rewards can take 3-7 days.

SPG Starpoints will usually transfer within a couple 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 Airlines AAdvantage is one of the most commonly used programs for booking Japan Airlines business class.

It was more popular before they devalued their award chart in early 2016, but it’s still very useful if you need to connect to an airport in the U.S. where Japan Airlines operates.

To book with American miles, you will need to call after searching on British Airways’ site.

Here’s what you need to know.

  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

You can transfer SPG Starpoints at a 1:1 ratio if you need some American miles to complete your booking. Transfers take about 2 days, so American’s 5-day hold policy can be really helpful. If 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

You can also book flights on Japan Airlines with any of their other Oneworld partners, including British Airways. Unfortunately, the redemption rates on these other carriers are often quite poor.

Great Japan Airlines Business Class Redemptions

Japan Airlines
Look for Japan Airlines’ “Limited Days of the Week” awards to save a ton of miles on business class flights.

First, let’s take a look at some standard awards between the U.S. and Japan. After that, we will look at some more creative ways to book Japan Airlines business class.

If you’re flying from New York City (JFK), Chicago (ORD), or Los Angeles (LAX), your cheapest option is 100,000 Japan Airlines miles. You could also book with 120,000 Alaska miles, 120,000 American miles, or 120,000 Asia miles.

Here’s where it gets fun. Japan Airlines has what it calls “Limited Days of the Week” awards for a business class flight between the U.S. and Japan. With the exception of some blackout dates, you can fly from the U.S. to Japan in business class for 80,000 miles on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, and return from Japan on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.

This is as good as it gets when booking Japan Airlines business class from the U.S.

Cathay Pacific Multi-Carrier Award Chart
If your booking includes a segment on American Airlines, Cathay Pacific requires you to use a different award chart.

Another interesting twist when booking Japan Airlines business class is what happens if you book a connection on American Airlines. If you do this, your award booking is governed by a different award chart.

For example, if you book an award that has you fly American Airlines from Philadelphia to Chicago and then on to Tokyo via Japan Airlines business class, your total mileage cost would be 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? There are plenty of ways to earn more.

You can transfer SPG Starpoints to Alaska Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, and American Airlines. You can also transfer Membership Rewards or ThankYou Points to Cathay Pacific.

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When Should You Search for Award Space

Finding a business class award seat on Japan Airlines is not always easy, but if you’re flexible with your travel dates you can put together an amazing trip.

As soon as you have an idea about when you’d like to travel, start searching. You might be able to find space many months prior to departure, but Japan Airlines might not release award space until days before you want to leave.

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!

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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.