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

Japan Airlines Business Class Cabin

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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.

(We’ve also covered the best ways to fly to Japan using points and miles!)

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, and 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.

Hot Tip: Try to book in row 5 in the 777-300ER — it’s essentially a mini-cabin and feels like you’re on a private jet! Don’t miss our review of Biz Class on a JAL 777-300ER flight, LA—Tokyo!

JAL 777-300ER Business Class Seat Map
Row 5 on Japan Airlines’ 777-300ER business class is extremely private because it’s a 1-row mini-cabin! It has a true private jet feel to it.

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 flights.

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.

Availability is usually best either 1-2 days before departure or 2-3 weeks before departure.

Japan Airlines releases all unoccupied seats available for award redemption 1-2 days before departure, so if there are vacant seats, you’ll have a great chance of finding close-in award availability.

Occasionally, you’ll notice award availability very far in advance, but your best bet will always be closer to the departure date.

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 — 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.

Hot Tip: 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 Haneda (HND) has award space for 1 while the other flight has award space for 2. The return flight options show a flight with award space for 1 and waitlisted space.

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 complete it.

JAL Partner Award Chart
Although the JAL partner award chart was recently devalued, there is still solid value to be had. Image courtesy of

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.

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 60,000 Alaska Miles, you can fly between North America and Japan in business class.

Hot Tip: Keep in mind that Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan intra-Asia awards on Japan Airlines must be booked at least 72 hours in advance. Other routing is not affected and can still be booked last minute.

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.

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

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles

You’ll need to check mileage by partner airline using their calculator.

As an example, New York City (JFK) to Tokyo-Haneda (HND) business-class round-trip is 150,000 miles.

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 and Citi ThankYou Points can 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.

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.

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

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 for 5 days 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 150,000 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 85,000 miles.

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

Asia Miles oneworld multi-carrier award chart
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles uses a separate award chart for Oneworld multi-carrier awards. These complex itineraries could provide huge value!

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 135,000 Asia Miles.

Hot Tip: If Tokyo is a bucket list destination for you, check out our in-depth Tokyo Travel Guide for great ideas on things to do, see, eat, etc.

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.

Marriott Credit Cards

You can earn Marriott points and transfer those to Japan Airlines, American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and Cathay Pacific at a transfer rate of 3:1. Plus, for every 60,000 Marriott points that you transfer, you’ll receive an extra 5,000 miles bonus.

Recommended Marriott Cards

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card - For a limited time only, earn 125,000 Bonus Points and 1 Free Night Award (value up to 50,000 points) after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Get automatic silver elite status each account anniversary year; and a free night award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary. Plus, earn up to 17x total Bovoy points per $1 when using your Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card at at over 7,000 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, and 2x Bonvoy points per $1 on all other purchases. Annual Fee is $95.
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Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card - For a limited time, earn 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points and a bonus Free Night Award after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Resort fees may apply. Terms apply. Offer expires 11/3/2021.

Earn 6x per $1 at hotels participants in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program, 3x at U.S. restaurants and flights booked directly with airlines, and 2x on all other eligible purchases. Annual Fee is $450. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Bonvoy Brilliant card, click here.
Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card - For a limited time, earn 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points & 2 bonus Free Night Awards after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months. Each bonus Free Night Award has a redemption level up to 50K points. Certain hotels have resort fees. Offer ends 11/3/2021.

This is a solid card for business owners who will get complimentary Marriott Bonvoy silver elite status. Annual fee is $125. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card, click here.

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles can be transferred from American Express Membership Rewards and Citi Thank You Rewards (both at a rate of 1:1), or from Marriott at a transfer rate of 3:1.

Recommended Amex Cards (Personal)

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This is our #1 card for accessing 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide, including Priority Pass (enrollment required). We leverage ~$4,900+ in benefits and perks from the card every year. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, click here.
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If you’re a business owner, see our article on the best Amex business rewards credit cards.

American Express Membership Rewards Credit Cards

JAL is not a direct airline partner of American Express Membership Rewards, but they do partner with Asia Miles, which are redeemable for flights on JAL. Note that Asia Miles awards are subject to Asia Miles prices and terms, which are different from those of Japan Airlines Mileage Bank.

Citi ThankYou Rewards Credit Cards

Citi ThankYou Rewards also has Asia Miles as a transfer partner. Earn Citi ThankYou points with Citi ThankYou credit cards and transfer to Asia Miles for use on JAL.

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 — 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

Japan Airlines Business Class 777
The Japan Airlines business class seat is spacious and comfortable!

Every seat has direct aisle access, so you won’t have anyone climbing over you. If you’re in a window seat, you don’t have to crawl over anyone either!

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

You will also enjoy 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 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 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 on Japan Airlines, all you have to do is figure out when you can jump on the opportunity!

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Best Ways to Book Japan Airlines Business Class Using Points

Frequently asked questions

What is the best way to book Japan Airlines business class?

If you are booking business class on Japan Airlines, check Japan Airlines Mileage Bank, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, Cathay 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 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 U.S.

Stephen Au

About Stephen Au

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Stephen has been privileged to enjoy many premium cabin products and 5-star hotels. A petroleum engineer by trade, Stephen caught the travel bug in college when he traveled to Asia several times. After 2 years of continual promotions, Stephen quit his safe and secure career path in favor of entrepreneurship.

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  1. Cora Martin July 11, 2019

    Hello, I am curious if the comment on reward flights opening up 2-3 weeks before travel applies to only bookings through JAL or if that is also the case for Alaska?
    Thank you!


    • Hi Cora,

      Generally, the availability you’ll see on Alaska is less than the availability on JAL’s website. This is a way to reward people who earn JAL miles and want to redeem with JAL. Thanks for reading.


  2. Is it possible to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to redeem JAL Business Seats?


    • Hi Nico,

      You can transfer Chase Ultimate Reward points to British Airways or Iberia Avios in order to book JAL business class!


  3. Xuan Vuong July 12, 2019

    Can I use AAdvantage from American airline to upgrade JAL flight?


  4. We are planning a trip to Japan in September 2021 (need something to look forward to) because the trip we had planned in May of this year was cancelled. We had transferred 130,000 miles from our Citi Thankyou points account to my AsiaMiles account, so those points are now stuck there. Currently there is wide open availability on JAL business class using 150,000 AsiaMiles for the outbound flights in mid-September. I’m concerned about booking the NY to Tokyo portion now without knowing if we’ll be able to get award flights back in mid-October. We have enough points for two round trips using Virgin Atlantic but we can only book round trips, not one-way flights. We also have enough points in either Citi or Chase accounts for return flights through Star Alliance or OneWorld. Should we take the chance and book those flights now or wait and also take a chance that those flights will no longer be available when we can book the return flights a month from now? Buying one-way tickets from Japan is almost as expensive as buying round trip tickets, which are astronomical in business class so we might be stuck. We are reasonably flexible in our dates, both the outbound and inbound portions.

    Also, is AsiaMiles separate from Cathay Pacific in that if CP goes bankrupt the award flights booked through AsiaMiles will still be honored by JAL? That’s another concern about booking the flights now.

    Thanks for any insight/advice.


    • Hi BklynProf,

      Without knowing your specific situation, it can be hard to tell.

      For example, if your family and you are incredibly flexible, it makes a lot of sense to wait. The reason why is because the availability is wide open on JAL business class, so there would be multiple viable dates, as long as you are flexible.

      Asia Miles is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cathay Pacific, a lot like LifeMiles is for Avianca.

      Without getting into the details of their corporate finance, it is unlikely that Cathay Pacific will go bankrupt in the same way that people usually imagine bankruptcy.

      Cathay Pacific would be able to raise funds and the Hong Kong government has already lead a huge rescue package for Cathay Pacific.

      It is likely that your Asia Miles flights will still be honored by Japan Airlines, but it is not guaranteed.

      And if you feel like you’d get value from a service that will optimize your award travel and offer ultra-personalized points wealth management, please feel free to contact me directly at [email protected] to inquire about a monthly subscription service.


  5. American Airlines’ web site shows JL flights now in its award search results. There is no need to search for availability on British Airways’ site and then to call AA Reservations. Once AA shows your flight is ticketed, you will still have to call AA to get your JL PNR, which you’ll need in order to select seats on JL’s website.

    This has been the case since July 2019.


  6. Alaska Airlines virtually removed First Class awards for JAL. Last availability was April 31st. Have searched every route online and called as well. AA & BA show availability in First Class but Alaska shows nothing!


Any thoughts or questions? Comment below!

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