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Unsure of award choices to Japan. AA or JL / JAL?

Unsure of award choices to Japan. AA or JL / JAL?

Old May 1, 20, 3:02 pm
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Unsure of award choices to Japan. AA or JAL?

Hello,all, AA is running web specials to Japan .I have 3 options for next year Sakura season,AA in J at 45k ,AA in F at 55k or JAL at 80k in F.I do not have a ton of miles so I do care what I pay for the trip.That said I have never flown JAL so I am intrigued.Any thoughts??

Last edited by Tilto007; May 1, 20 at 3:10 pm
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Old May 1, 20, 3:25 pm
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Originally Posted by Tilto007 View Post
Hello,all, AA is running web specials to Japan .I have 3 options for next year Sakura season,AA in J at 45k ,AA in F at 55k or JAL at 80k in F.I do not have a ton of miles so I do care what I pay for the trip.That said I have never flown JAL so I am intrigued.Any thoughts??
JAL F is a special experience: the meticulous service, the food/beverage (especially from JAPAN) and the hard product is top notch, and really gets you a feel of Japan before you get there.

For AA J you get just paying for a flat bed. AA F gets you a bigger flat bed + Flagship First Dining in DFW/LAX. The AA service is a hit or miss. The food is generally a miss (though they are apparently doing a collaboration with JAL chefs for the Japanese meal).

Everyone has a different value towards things, so it is hard to say which is the best. That being said I would personally choose AA J, but I think all three options are reasonably priced with respect to their value.
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Old May 1, 20, 4:20 pm
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If you are on a miles budget, then AA J is the way to go. AA F is not worth the 10k premium IMO (in fact, you'll find some folks on here saying that they prefer J to F in some cases).

However, if you are up for a splurge, I echo shd9 that JL F is a special experience and well worth the 80k in absolute terms. Relative to AA J at 45k? Maybe not, however.

Assuming you are looking at a RT and availability/mileage balance permits, I'd do AA J on the way there and JL F on the way back, for a total cost of 125k (just over the standard RT saver J price of 120k). That way, you get the JL F lounge at NRT/HND and the slightly superior ex-Japan catering, albeit at the cost of slightly less time on board in F.
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Old May 1, 20, 7:00 pm
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Originally Posted by dkc192 View Post
Assuming you are looking at a RT and availability/mileage balance permits, I'd do AA J on the way there and JL F on the way back, for a total cost of 125k (just over the standard RT saver J price of 120k). That way, you get the JL F lounge at NRT/HND and the slightly superior ex-Japan catering, albeit at the cost of slightly less time on board in F.
I agree with this - the best way to experience any given carrier is by departing from their home country and hub airport. JL F ex-Japan is a must-do experience!
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Old May 1, 20, 7:59 pm
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I've done AA and ANA many times TPAC. AA is what I take if that's all that's available. I've heard JL F is on par with ANA F (I have JL F booked for September round trip to HND). I'll take any Japanese carrier any day over AA. Only reason I take AA J over AA Y is because of the flat bed seat and a bit more food/alcohol. Service-wise it's not any better than Y IMHO. JAL/ANA service is miles above AA, and even more so in J/F, but F is an experience that you have to do if the seats are available, totally worth the extra 20k points per direction.
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Old May 1, 20, 8:11 pm
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Originally Posted by seigex View Post
Only reason I take AA J over AA Y is because of the flat bed seat and a bit more food/alcohol. Service-wise it's not any better than Y IMHO.
Maybe it’s just me, but pretty much all I care long-haul to Asia etc. (which prior to this nonsense I’ve been doing essentially every month) is the flatbed. I just want to be comfortable and able to sleep, first and foremost. If I can work a little, eat a decent meal, maybe watch a movie or two... bonus.

Personally, I find the bed in AA J on the 787-9 or the 777-3 (if I’m not lucky enough to upgrade to F) to be great. I do like the window “sky suites” on JAL from a privacy standpoint, but even at 5’ 10” and 160lbs it is a bit tight/claustrophobic for me.

But you’re seriously saying that AA J and Y are comparable??
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Last edited by razzaba; May 1, 20 at 8:27 pm
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Old May 1, 20, 8:19 pm
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Originally Posted by arlflyer View Post
I agree with this - the best way to experience any given carrier is by departing from their home country and hub airport. JL F ex-Japan is a must-do experience!
Agreed, and it appears I'm not the only one.
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Old May 1, 20, 8:42 pm
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Originally Posted by moondog View Post
Agreed, and it appears I'm not the only one.
AA would be my last choice. I think someone else said "if it was the only carrier available" they would book it, but no sure I would. I would book JL F over CX F anyday. CX are inconsistent in service delivery and catering and the CX lounges, in my opinion, are overrated. JL F is always a consistently great experience with great attention to detail. While I am not wowed by their F lounges in NRT/HND, they excell over CX.

James
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Old May 1, 20, 8:58 pm
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Thanks for all the advice.I only have 273k AA miles so I ended up holding the 2x45K AA seats in J.To be honest it was the best connection by far flying out of FLL.Just a 90 min connection in Dallas.I will definitely try for the JAL seats in F for the return trip.I will have enough miles to do that.
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Old May 1, 20, 9:24 pm
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Originally Posted by razzaba View Post
Maybe it’s just me, but pretty much all I care long-haul to Asia etc. (which prior to this nonsense I’ve been doing essentially every month) is the flatbed. I just want to be comfortable and able to sleep, first and foremost. If I can work a little, eat a decent meal, maybe watch a movie or two... bonus.

Personally, I find the bed in AA J on the 787-9 or the 777-3 (if I’m not lucky enough to upgrade to F) to be great. I do like the window “sky suites” on JAL from a privacy standpoint, but even at 5’ 10” and 160lbs it is a bit tight/claustrophobic for me.

But you’re seriously saying that AA J and Y are comparable??
Service-wise? Yes, absolutely. But you seemed to have missed the part of my comment where I said the layflat seat (sorry I called it flat bed instead) is the only reason I choose J, which seems to be exact what you're saying. So I'm not sure what your confusion is.

Originally Posted by seigex View Post
Only reason I take AA J over AA Y is because of the flat bed seat and a bit more food/alcohol.
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Old May 1, 20, 9:52 pm
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Originally Posted by Tilto007 View Post
Thanks for all the advice.I only have 273k AA miles so I ended up holding the 2x45K AA seats in J.To be honest it was the best connection by far flying out of FLL.Just a 90 min connection in Dallas.I will definitely try for the JAL seats in F for the return trip.I will have enough miles to do that.
Good call. The "from Japan" qualifier is what completely tips the scales for me. US catering in JL F ranges from good to excellent, whereas I've never encountered anything short of outstanding++ on flights from Tokyo. I would also be inclined to use AA on the outbound in order to save miles.
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Old May 2, 20, 3:15 pm
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I'm doing a JAL F award RT next February and our tier was JAL F >JAL J > AA F > JAL J. We were originally going for JAL J ex-US and JAL F ex-Tokyo for the same reasons. Every review/FT thread agrees that ex-Tokyo JAL service is the among the best in the sky.

The F awards are VERY hard to get for that time of year so be sure to be ready at T-330
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Old May 2, 20, 4:39 pm
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Originally Posted by MSYtoJFKagain View Post
I'm doing a JAL F award RT next February and our tier was JAL F >JAL J > AA F > JAL J. We were originally going for JAL J ex-US and JAL F ex-Tokyo for the same reasons. Every review/FT thread agrees that ex-Tokyo JAL service is the among the best in the sky.

The F awards are VERY hard to get for that time of year so be sure to be ready at T-330

I was able to find the tickets in F on JAL for my dates in late March 2021 reasonably easily.Im sure the Covid 19 was a factor.I gave up my JAL F out of ORD to switch into AA J from Dallas.Definitely a downgrade but the 70K miles saved is worth it for me.This is a rescheduled trip from this year and I hope to finally get over there in 2021.
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Old May 3, 20, 7:29 am
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Originally Posted by Tilto007 View Post
I was able to find the tickets in F on JAL for my dates in late March 2021 reasonably easily.Im sure the Covid 19 was a factor.I gave up my JAL F out of ORD to switch into AA J from Dallas.Definitely a downgrade but the 70K miles saved is worth it for me.This is a rescheduled trip from this year and I hope to finally get over there in 2021.
Oh, I was assuming you were looking at the JFK->HND route, sorry. We are still leery on whether Feb 2021 will be late enough that Japan has fully reopened for international visitors. As of now we're fully booked with refundable reservations everywhere. I hope you get over there for the sakura, the scheduling just didn't work for us but was our first choice.
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Old May 3, 20, 7:54 am
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Originally Posted by moondog View Post
Good call. The "from Japan" qualifier is what completely tips the scales for me. US catering in JL F ranges from good to excellent, whereas I've never encountered anything short of outstanding++ on flights from Tokyo. I would also be inclined to use AA on the outbound in order to save miles.
+1. My experience with JL J catering from Boston is pretty terrible; food quality is somewhere between fair and awful across several flights in the last 2 years. I take the flight because it's the only nonstop but if I had another choice (even AA), I'd probably go with something else.
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