This Tokyo-based carrier and oneworld member is a great option to use your Qantas Points on. This is because of its excellent Business Class product and reputation for warm and professional customer service.
Including Japan Airlines in a oneworld round-the-world trip in Business Class for 318,000 Qantas Points is a popular redemption.
In this guide, I outline the routes, aircraft and cabins that Japan Airlines operates. I also do a comparison of points pricing and give award availability tips. Finally, I provide links to reviews and other guides.
Japan Airlines routes, aircraft and cabins
Japan Airlines flies daily from Sydney and Melbourne to Tokyo Narita. The flight from Sydney to Tokyo is daytime on the way there and overnight on the way back. The Melbourne service is the opposite.
The Sydney flight is serviced by the larger Boeing 787-9 and the Melbourne flight by the smaller Boeing 787-8 aircraft. The only real difference is the number of seats.
The airline will also launch a flight to Tokyo Haneda in March 2020, but it’s still unclear from which city that will be.
Qantas, ANA and Jetstar also operate nonstop flights to Japan. Virgin Australia will too from March 2020.
The lie-flat ‘Sky Suites’ Business seats are in a 2-2-2 configuration. However, they do offer direct aisle access to all passengers with its staggered layout.
I rank this product as the second-best Business Class seat flying from Australia.
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, you’ll sit in a hard shell so you are not bothered by other passengers’ movements.
Unlike other airlines, you’ll get lounge access when flying Japan Airlines Premium Economy from most airports, including Sydney, Melbourne and Tokyo.
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.
The food on Japan Airlines tends to be healthy and of high quality.
A comparison of points pricing for Japan Airlines flights
The five main points currencies Australia-based travellers can use on Japan Airlines flights are:
- Qantas Points
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
- American Airlines AAdvantage miles
- British Airways Avios
- Japan Airlines Mileage Bank
Mileage Bank offers the lowest redemption pricing across the board. You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to Marriott Bonvoy. From there, they can 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.
Qantas Points offer the poorest value of the five options.
Here is a comparison of one-way pricing:
|Route||Class||Japan Airlines Mileage Bank||AAdvantage||Asia Miles||British Airways Avios||Qantas Frequent Flyer|
|Sydney - Tokyo Narita||Business||30,000-40,000||40,000||61,000||75,000||90,000|
|Melbourne - Tokyo Narita||Business||30,000-40,000||40,000||70,000||75,000||90,000|
- Mileage Bank bizarrely discounts Business Class redemptions on certain days of the week
- Alaska Mileage Plan does not allow routings from Australia to Japan
Taxes and surcharges are $170-180 in both directions.
How to search for and book Japan Airlines award seats
Reward seats in Economy Class are generally easier to find than those in premium cabins.
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.
Where to credit Japan Airlines flights
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 Japan Airlines reviews
- Japan Airlines 787 Business Class overview
- Japan Airlines 777 First Class overview
- Japan Airlines Sakura First Class Lounge Tokyo Narita Review
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.
Check out all opportunities to use points to get to Japan in this master guide.