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 280,000-318,000 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 American Airlines website. I especially like the AA website as it provides an easy-to-understand monthly view.

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

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.

Sydney to Tokyo route map

Qantas also flies direct to Tokyo Narita from Melbourne and Brisbane. Both Qantas and ANA fly between Sydney and Tokyo Haneda, which is closer to the city.

Qantas also flies from Sydney to Osaka year-round and Sapporo seasonally between 16 December 2019 and 28 March 2020.

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:

Japan Airlines Business Class

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:

Japan Airlines 787 Premium Economy Class

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 Australia-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.

Important note: Qantas Point redemptions will change in price from 18 September 2019. The figures below show the pricing before/after the changes.

Here is a comparison of one-way pricing:

RouteClassJapan Airlines Mileage BankAAdvantageAsia MilesBritish Airways AviosQantas Frequent Flyer
Sydney - Tokyo NaritaBusiness30,000-40,00040,00050,00075,00078,000/90,000
Premium Economy25,000N/AN/A50,00063,000/70,800
Economy20,00030,00025,00025,00037,800
Melbourne - Tokyo NaritaBusiness30,000-40,00040,00070,00075,00078,000/90,000
Premium Economy25,000N/AN/A50,00063,000/70,800
Economy20,00030,00035,00025,00037,800

Important notes:

Taxes and surcharges are ~$170-180 in both directions.

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.

Links to related guides and reviews

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 also use KrisFlyer miles or other Star Alliance points currencies to fly ANA from Sydney or Perth to Tokyo.

You can now book Japan Airlines award flights through the Qantas website was last modified: July 12th, 2019 by Matt Moffitt