You Can Now Book Etihad and JAL Awards on the AA Website

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American Airlines (AA) has just added the ability to book Japan Airlines partner awards to its website. A few months ago, Etihad awards were added to the AA site as well, making this the second major partner added in 2019. While this improvement will make it far easier to use American miles for international travel without a phone call, it will also make these awards more accessible to millions of frequent flyers, meaning more demand for a small and finite number of award seats.

Booking Etihad Awards

Like many frequent-flyer programs, Etihad makes more award seats available to its own members than it offers to partner programs like American AAdvantage. Prior to this change on AA.com, the best way to find award availability that could be booked by partners was to search for Saver Guest awards on the Etihad website. Now, it’s possible to search for the award space available to AA and other partners on the American website, which offers a convenient calendar view to see availability for up to an entire month at a time.

Although AA miles can be one of the cheapest ways to book Etihad flights, there are some unique restrictions when you connect in a part of the world that is in a different region on American's partner award chart than your origin or destination. Put simply, unless your connection is on a specific list of AA “third region exceptions”, you may pay for two separate awards instead of a single price from origin to destination.

For example, if you fly from North America to Europe via Abu Dhabi, you'll pay separately for North America to the Middle East and from the Middle East to Europe—adding a significant number of miles to the price tag. Fortunately, an exception has been added to this list for many of the other logical region pairs for which you might transit Abu Dhabi. If you're traveling from North America to Africa, you'll pay a single award price as long as you're flying with Etihad on both segments.

Booking Japan Airlines (JAL) Awards

Booking award space on JAL is straightforward. Typically, from the U.S. to Korea or Japan will set you back 35,000 miles in economy, 60,000 miles in business class, or 80,000 miles in first class. Travel from the U.S. to Asia 2, which includes Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam and Indonesia, will set you back 37,500 in economy, 70,000 miles in business class or 110,000 miles in first class.

Asia 1 is a third region exception for travel to Asia 2, which means you can connect for 24 hours or less in Japan (or Korea) on the way to Southeast Asia without paying extra.

Our Take

The ability to book Etihad and JAL awards online is welcome news and should make searching for the award you want easier. Both airlines are among the best in the world for business and first-class products, so they are a great choice to get maximum value from your American miles. It remains to be seen whether the additional exposure of these previously phone-only awards will have a meaningful impact on the number of seats available. Since the majority of American frequent flyers redeem miles domestically, concerns about the additional demand could be overblown.

Still, it's wise to start your award search as soon as you have dates in mind. Unlike most programs, American generously allows you to hold an award ticket for up to 5 days and doesn't charge a fee if you change the dates on an award ticket—so long as your origin and destination airports remain the same. These two benefits make it less risky to snag a seat as soon as you see it, and beat the less-informed award travelers to the punch.

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  • A 25% discount on inflight food, beverage, and Wi-Fi purchases
  • Reduced Mileage Awards can save you 7,500 miles on roundtrip MileSAAver Awards
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Source: One Mile At A time

You Can Now Book Etihad and JAL Awards on the AA Website
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Comments

  • I am very pleased that Etihad awards can be booked online now. Great airline that has a great product.

  • Steven William Van Meter says:

    I generally redeem my miles domestically, but this may come in handy for future endeavors.

  • Definition of double-edged sword!

    • Indeed. And, I’m afraid I think that the opening up of access will turn out to be the sharper side of that sword.

  • That was precisely why I never found the JAL awards on the AA award booking engine.

  • Hopefully AA will initiate more enhancements soon. Thank you.

  • Making it easier for yourself to book online, also means that it’s easier for millions of other people to grab award space. Be careful what you wish for…

  • Good but old news(post)

  • Does pricing out say, Europe-Africa via Abu Dhabi count as an exception as well? I seem to recall it not working with Qatar. As a European based flier with AA miles, I’m much more interested with Europe as a taking off point.

  • Great news! And hopefully this will be actual space, instead of the ghost space I often find when seeing Qatar availability on aa.com.

  • I wonder how Etihad Biz will stack up against Qatar air Q-Suites

    • I’ve flown it a couple times, but never in a suite. It’s been a few years and was pretty high quality when I did fly it.

  • As I posted in another thread I am interested in what success others have had in booking JAL award flights in business from the US to Japan on the AA website. Also from Japan to Australia if possible. Thanks.

  • Steven William Van Meter says:

    This will definately help for travel to Indonesia or Vietnam, what with the average of 37,500 points in economy…

  • I’m very interested to see how this all plays out for everyone. Could be a good thing. Could end up being just meh.

  • Pumped about JAL. Only concern is, now that it’s easier, it will be more accessible for everyone else

  • One downside to ability to book Etihad and JAL online: If you need or want to book AA awards with these carriers through a phone agent, now there will be a fee. Previously, since you couldn’t book them online, booking with a phone rep was free.

  • Hopefully this won’t result in increased competition for EY award seats.

  • Now if there was enough award space for everyone to enjoy!

  • Not necessarily a good improvement. Always good to have some “secret” airlines to book over the phone.

  • This is excellent news. American Airlines has got to be my favorite. I hope they continue to add more airlines as booking options directly from their website.

  • I prefer the online booking option for convenience. Will have to see how it works in practice though. I have booked a JAL business Delhi to Tokyo over the phone earlier this year and it was a smooth process.

  • I would almost rather have the awards harder to book than having them easier to book and increasing competition for award space.

  • I haven’t had any problem in booking on the telephone after checking the availability in the Etihad website.
    Maybe now the availability will be a little limited.
    Anyway, what annoy me more is the fact that the online check-in is not possible for a codeshare flight (not booked directly with Etihad).
    Of course this is not always true but if I have a problem on the online check-in the Etihad customer service tells me that I have to do the check-in at the airport.

  • I hope that does not led to less award space.

  • It’s great news for the regular travelers who are not savy as some of us.l
    Let’s share the availability 🙂

  • Michaelj1 says:

    Adding to the ease of online award booking is always a good thing. If only AA would loosen the restrictions on the number of award seats per flight it would make my day.

  • This is a great idea and hopefully it opens up options for UK-based travellers with American.

  • Always better to be able to book these online!

  • This is great news!

  • Don’t forget that JL worked on AS miles online for a long time – and it’ll definitely be an improvement to book EY online instead of calling Aus/Fiji call centres…

  • Great news!

  • Note that if you add infants on EY they charge 20% of full price, and not 10% as all others.

  • This is great news to hear, gives some more options to fly to europe from the south pacific via the far east rather than the US if required

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