You can now book Japan Airlines award flights through the Qantas website

How to use your points on Japan Airlines flights

GUIDE: Using Points
DIFFICULTY: Intermediate
TIME TO READ: 3 minutes
POSTED: April 20, 2018
UPDATED: April 18, 2018
LOYALTY PROGRAMS: Qantas Frequent Flyer, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, British Airways Executive Club, American Airlines AAdvantage, Relevant to Multiple Programs

The Tokyo-based carrier is the last of the oneworld airlines to be integrated into the Qantas Frequent Flyer portal, which means that using your Qantas Points for a redemption on this excellent airline has now become easier.

This is especially good news for points enthusiasts who are interested in including Japan Airlines in a oneworld round-the-world trip in Business Class for 280,000 Qantas Points.

In this guide, we outline the routes, aircraft and cabins; do a comparison of points pricing; give award availability tips; and provide links to reviews and other guides.

How to search for and book award seats

Japan Airlines award space is best searched through the Qantas or British Airways website.

Reward seats in Economy Class are generally easier to find than those in premium cabins but it is definitely worth searching for Japan Airlines seats for trips to Asia and beyond.

If you are not able to book online, you will need to call the frequent flyer program to book. You may be able to argue the point and avoid the booking fee given that it is not showing online.

For more information, check out our guide on how to search for frequent flyer award space most efficiently.

Routes, aircraft and cabins

Japan Airlines unfortunately don’t fly to New Zealand, with their flights haven’t been terminated in the 90s. Though they do still service Australia, and are a useful partner to have in your arsenal for flights around Asia and also further afield.

The Sydney to Tokyo Narita flight is serviced by the larger Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner and the Melbourne flight by the smaller Boeing 787-8 aircraft—the only real difference is the number of seats.

The lie-flat ‘Sky Suites’ Business seats are in a 2-2-2 configuration but do offer direct aisle access to all passengers with its staggered layout:

The Premium Economy section is set up in 2-3-2 with a quite generous 42 inches of seat pitch between you and the person in front of you, plus a hard shell so you are not bothered by other passengers’ movements:

The Economy section is in 2-4-2 with 33 inches of seat pitch—try to snag a seat on the edges for more privacy if you can.

A comparison of points pricing

The five main points currencies New Zealand-based travellers can use on Japan Airlines flights are:

Mileage Bank offers the lowest redemption pricing across the board. You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to Starwood Preferred Guest, which can then be transferred to Mileage Bank or AAdvantage. You can also get hold of the latter through buy miles promotions.

Asia Miles and British Airways Avios offer good value for Premium Economy and Economy redemptions. Avios are also a great option for domestic flights within Japan, which can tend to be quite expensive. Note that Asia Miles redemptions on Japan Airlines must be for roundtrip travel.

Qantas Points offer the poorest value of the five options.

Here is a comparison of one-way pricing to Japan from Australia, noting that you’ll also need to factor in any Trans-Tasman leg if you’re flying from New Zealand:

RouteClassJapan Airlines Mileage BankAAdvantageAsia MilesBritish Airways AviosQantas Frequent Flyer
Sydney - Tokyo NaritaBusiness30,000-40,00040,000(80,000 return)75,00078,000
Premium Economy25,000N/A(54,000 return)50,00063,000
Economy20,00030,000(45,000 return)25,00042,000
Melbourne - Tokyo NaritaBusiness30,000-40,00040,000(120,000 return)75,00078,000
Premium Economy25,000N/A(72,000 return)50,00063,000
Economy20,00030,000(60,000 return)25,00042,000

Important notes:

Taxes and surcharges on a one-way flight from Australia to Tokyo in Business Class are under $100; in the other direction, they are ~$150 AUD. As the fuel surcharge departing Australia is under $5 and returning under $100, the cash component on an award booking should be quite similar across frequent flyer programs.

Where to credit miles

If you are purchasing a cash ticket on one of these flights and want the most value out of the points you’ll get out of it, check out our guide on how to choose which program to credit your frequent flyer points to.

Summing up

Japan Airlines is renowned for friendly, efficient customer service, and great onboard food.

This represents a great-value points redemption opportunity for flying in comfort to Japan and beyond.

You can now book Japan Airlines award flights through the Qantas website was last modified: April 18th, 2018 by Matt Moffitt