I so rarely get to search award space these days that when I do it’s a treat. I’ve been monitor Japan Airlines first class space and thought I’d share what I found. I’m sure it will be helpful to a few of you out there. TL;DR: Japan Airlines first class space opens up pretty consistently two weeks from date of departure.
In my process of searching for award flights, I often like to see how many seats are actually for sale, especially when looking at forward cabins. That’s because I can get a feel for how crowded the cabin will be (if I’m already booked) or how many seats might possibly open up for award alerts.
I noticed an interesting pattern with JL first class seats. 13 days before departure, the number of Japan Airlines first class seats were always one less than the number of seats for sale, as long as 3 or more seats were available for purchase. So, if six first class seats were for sale, five would be available for awards.
To search award space, I used British Airways website. To search number of seats for sale, I used Expertflyer although you could just use Google Flights or Kayak and keep increasing the number of seats you’re trying to buy.
Here are some screenshots of my findings. I searched 13 days out every day for three days so I feel pretty good about the pattern.
So as you can see, the pattern is pretty reliable. Business class seems to open up as well, though to me it only seemed to happen if there were 9+ business class seats for sale. I didn’t look too deeply into that though. The patterns held for the outbound as well.
If you’re looking to book these awards, they’ll cost you 80K AA miles each way or 70K AS miles. Those are the two main ways I’d book them although of course there are other options. While I don’t like leaving awards to the last minute, if you already have a business class award on AA this might be a nice way to upgrade your flight (remember, AA changes are free if you keep the same city pairs and do the same or higher class of service).
Hopefully this is helpful to some of you out there looking to get to Asia!
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