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Starting April 1, 2019, JAL Mileage Bank members will be able to book award tickets on Japan Airlines 360 days in advance. The current limit is 330 days, which is one of the shortest booking windows in the industry.

This change has some big implications for folks with other types of One World miles as well. Although there is no guarantee that award availability will be loaded when the rules change on April 1st, there is a potential for a bonanza of seats on typically hard-to-book Japan Airlines flights.

When Can I Book with Miles?

To determine the date you can book with miles, there are two dates that matter: First, you need to consider the date that the airline operating your flight opens its booking calendar. Japan Airlines is changing this from 330 to 360 days on April 1st. For most airlines, the date flights go on sale for cash bookings will be the same date that those flights can be booked with miles. The second important date is when the frequent flyer program with which you have points or miles opens its booking calendar.

If you have Japan Airlines miles—JAL Mileage Bank—you’ll be able to book 360 days in advance as of April 1st, putting flights through March 26, 2020 within reach. The day before, March 31st, bookings will only be available through February 24, 2020.

If you plan to use miles from a program that partners with Japan Airlines, the latest date you can book a flight will be either March 26, 2020, or the latest date that partner program allows bookings—whichever is earlier.

Booking Windows for Japan Airlines Partners

  • Cathay Pacific – 360 Days (Book through March 26, 2020)
  • Finnair – 354 Days (Book through March 20, 2020)
  • British Airways – 354 Days (Book through March 20, 2020)
  • Qantas – 353 Days (Book through March 19, 2020)
  • American – 331 Days (Book through February 26, 2020)
  • Iberia – 330 Days (Book through February 25, 2020)
  • Alaska – 330 Days (Book through February 25, 2020)

Our Take

JAL opening its award calendar 360 days out is especially good for those with JAL Mileage Bank miles or Marriott points (which transfer to JAL)—these travelers will have first grabs at booking a JAL award ticket. Additionally, this is also a win for people with transferrable points that can be converted into miles with programs like Cathay Pacific (Capital One, Citi, and Amex) British Airways (Amex and Chase), or Qantas (Citi and Capital One). The downside to using one of these programs that allows longer-range bookings is that you may end up paying more miles for some types of flights. For example, British Airways charges far more Avios for most long-haul business or first-class itineraries than Alaska or American Airlines.

But this change isn't all good. Most notably, it has bad implications for those with Alaska Airlines and American Airlines miles. These One World partners open their award booking calendar 330 and 331 days out respectively, giving their frequent flyers the “leftovers” that haven't already been booked by JAL, Cathay Pacific, Qantas, Finnair or British Airways members.

Japan Airlines to Allow Award Bookings 360 Days Before Departure
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Comments

  • These intricacies explain why booking award flights can be so difficult. I really appreciate this article but I’ll have to read it a couple times before it sticks in my brain. Unfortunate for those of us with AA and Alaska miles.

  • THis is a shame, JAL via AA for internl Japan flights was among the best redemptions I’ve ever had.

  • That’s good to open them up earlier. I think it will make using miles much better on JAL. They are a great airline and fly on them almost every time going back to Thailand.

  • It’s a great news! Time to hunt for award seats in Lunar New Year holiday 2020!

  • Note: Alaska is a partner, but not a OneWorld partner.

  • Good news for Asian travelers! Book in advance.

  • I have a feeling this will just mean more fighting for free space sooner.

  • More time is always good but I unfortunately dont plan my vacations that far in advance

  • cool, does this mean we can book JAL awards using AS miles 360 days out too?

  • PLanning and booking options more days out !! Perfect. Thanks,

  • Does JL nowadays impose fuel surcharges to all carriers booked via JL miles?

  • Thank you for this. We now travel to Japan 2-3 times each year and JAL is the connection I use to Okinawa – very helpful information.

  • Now for American and Alaska to do the same!

  • Benjamin Tan says:

    This is good news and certainly helps with awards bookings.

  • Could be really useful, but what will availability on those soon-to-be additional days actually look like?

  • Pretty sure the answer is for AA and AS to catch up with the rest – and open their schedules sooner! Not holding my breath, though.

  • Appreciate the update, though with mostly partner miles on American and Alaska, my chances of flying Business or 1st do not appear to have improved.

  • I hope One World and other partner airlines will expand their windows as well.

  • Poor North Americans, poor Spaniards!

  • Positive development as it allows more time for planning and coordinating options. Thanks for the info.

  • This is good news. Being able to book as early as possible has been clutch for me to get the reward flights that I want in the past.

  • Anat-chnid Karnasuta says:

    Hope that Japan airline will open up more award space. It become very diffecult to find award space these day no matter how hard I tried.

  • Good for British Airways and bad for Alaska and American.
    Concerning Iberia you can transfer avios to British and book with this one. Anyway, the price asked for the taxes may be different.

  • I don’t think most travelers will remember to book a year in advance except a select group of frequent travelers who are more savvy than typical travelers anyway.

  • Thanks for the good overview of booking windows by carrier. I had been wondering about this.

  • Too bad it isn’t uniform among airlines to prevent those leftover issues

  • Great to know all of this. Though keep in my mind on the 360th day, not all availability will be offered. They release seats sporadically overthe months before departure. Good article though.

  • why is this good news? same competition will exist to book award seats it will just shift to 360 days from 330 and gets worse from some partner programs.

  • Great stuff! This is the must read travel blog!

  • Good to know. I may consider transferring Marriott points to JAL to take advantage of this for a trip next year. Thanks for the heads up.

  • Not such a bug deal. I just booked 2 JAL First class tix with AA miles, and 2 Qatar Q-Suites Biz. Most folks just don’t understand the awards game. The exception is a small minority such as those that use award wallet….. in short not such a big deal

  • certainly helps with premium reserves, great news.

  • This is a positive for BA bookings when using JAL miles

  • It makes sense how the availability dates will now tie in more closely with the British Airways Avios scheme.

  • One caveat, at least for Qantas awards, when the booking window opens from:
    – 353 days, economy award seats are available to all, but premium seats are only available to gold and above.
    – 297 days, premium seats are available to all.
    and not all routes have award availability.

    Thanks for telling of the upcoming changes, as I consider a new program to join.

  • Although this is welcome news for those who wish to redeem on JL flights.
    The introduction of dynamic pricing for JL member seems to be greatly devaluing the JMB program.

  • Interesting that on AA you can book award seats 331 days in advance, but on its partners (Cathay and JAL) it’s 360 days.

  • Christopher Ryan says:

    Glad to hear this, I’ve been wanting to try JAL F for a long time!

  • Thanks for the update. It’s so hard to keep track of all the release dates!

  • This is good news. Most would already understand at least that if they were using their American miles that it would only be 331 days. I wonder if it’s hard to get seats even within their own programs then? Change to benefit the customer is always good.

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