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Flying to Tokyo for the 6th time in 18 months Sunday....upgrade?

Flying to Tokyo for the 6th time in 18 months Sunday....upgrade?

Old Mar 28, 18, 12:03 pm
  #1  
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Flying to Tokyo for the 6th time in 18 months Sunday....upgrade?

So I've been flying to Tokyo for work for the past 18 months. This will be my 6th trip. I'm an American flyer in the US, so I use my JAL flights to accrue AA miles. I'm Platinum for the 2nd year in a row. I was surprised that there's no upgrade courtesy with AA upgrades / miles when flying on JAL despite the fact that I accrue many of my miles flying JAL. I always buy Premium Economy which is quite nice on JAL: anyway. I typically politely ask at check-in if there are any upgrades available, and they always say no. Is there any trick or anything I can do to get upgraded in one direction? It's such a long flight and I'd love to be able to catch some more sleep. They're always very nice on JAL and I'm loyal to them for these trips...just not very liberal with upgrades. Any tips are greatly appreciated.
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Old Mar 28, 18, 12:09 pm
  #2  
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JAL only occasionally provides complimentary upgrades for operational reasons only. Don’t expect to get upgraded simply by asking or flying a lot.
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Old Mar 28, 18, 12:26 pm
  #3  

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Since you accrue to AA, JAL does not track your number of flights. They will of course notice your status as they pass through the passengers in the rare cases that they need to upgrade someone. As an AA Platinum you are pretty far down the list of potential people. As a JAL Diamond, I don't get many upgrades either. There are a few routes with a reasonable success rate, but those are Intra Asia .
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Old Mar 28, 18, 5:37 pm
  #4  
 
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AA Platinum is far down the list of upgrade priority. Far too many JAL Diamonds and corporate folks on full fare economy tickets.
6 times in 18 months isn't even frequent!
6 times a week (3x japan domestic returns) is common for us Japan based corporate travelers. JAL will then notice you as a special JAL Diamonds and might offer an upgrade.
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Old Mar 28, 18, 10:13 pm
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Originally Posted by Tokyoite View Post
AA Platinum is far down the list of upgrade priority. Far too many JAL Diamonds and corporate folks on full fare economy tickets.
6 times in 18 months isn't even frequent!
6 times a week (3x japan domestic returns) is common for us Japan based corporate travelers. JAL will then notice you as a special JAL Diamonds and might offer an upgrade.
Thanks....there are a few at my company that might fly that much....I'm in the US corporate office of a Japanese company, so a few of us go back and forth....some more frequent than others. Unfortunately my company has put it's foot down and will not allow those of us below a certain title to fly business...bummer since they want us to be productive in meetings.
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Old Mar 29, 18, 8:31 am
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Originally Posted by fotomatt1 View Post
Thanks....there are a few at my company that might fly that much....I'm in the US corporate office of a Japanese company, so a few of us go back and forth....some more frequent than others. Unfortunately my company has put it's foot down and will not allow those of us below a certain title to fly business...bummer since they want us to be productive in meetings.
fly in the day before, enjoy some sake and kill the jetlag!
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Old Mar 29, 18, 11:41 am
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As mentioned above, it's best to fly in a day or two before any important meetings, if possible. Gives time for your body and mind to recover, especially when flying economy.

Overall, I fully support JL's stand on upgrades. They're known to be very strict, but it makes flying premium cabins that much more enjoyable, once you get to that point.
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Old Mar 29, 18, 7:33 pm
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I got an op-up on my JAL flight last week from PVG - NRT; but didn't from NRT - SFO. I was in a Premium Economy booking and got upgraded to business on the first leg - because the plane was Y0 in the back (no prem econ on that 787), so clearly an oversold situation. Didn't notice until I checked in and they handed over a J boarding pass. But JAL is known to upgrade it's own elites (incl Ruby) above other OW elites and doesn't do any upgrades unless they need to. I basically got lucky given the loadings, the fare class of the ticket (pretty sure my prem economy fare booked into full fare Y for this leg), and it was a nice surprise for the short-ish flight. I'm pretty sure AA handles op up upgrades the same way (AA elites first; OW follow). CX tends to be more favorable to OW elites than other carriers and BA has a completely wacky system that actually de-priortizes their highly elite passengers for non-elite or low-elite status passengers in W or other OW fliers in W to incentivize future J purchases.

Unlike CX or BA, JAL doesn't allow you to pay for cheaper upgrades to J at check-in - only by using JAL miles (which can be transferred from Starwood). They do, however, allow Y->W paid upgrades and actually publish the rates.

Frankly, service on JAL in economy or W is better sometimes than what I get as an EXP in J on AA and the seats are quite comfortable. The food isn't my favorite but it's usually substantial. It's usually perfectly adequate especially for the relatively short 8-10 hour flights from Japan to the West Coast. If only the cabins weren't as warm!!
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Old Mar 29, 18, 9:42 pm
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I flew to Tokyo from East Coast US approximately 9 times from 01/2016-03/2017...and not once was I upgraded...and I was crediting all those flights to JL. So as others have said, I wouldn't hold my breath for any upgrades. I didn't have much luck clearing upgrades to J with miles either, as there are many others with higher status.

This was partly why, in the latter half of 2017, I impulsively spent my 100k miles on a Y award ticket, and a one way JL F ticket from NRT to JFK. This meant I couldn't renew my Crystal status, and I had to look elsewhere via a status match T_T
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Old Mar 30, 18, 1:59 pm
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I have flew with JAL in the past 2 years and achieved their JGC Sapphire status, haven't receive any upgrade yet... So basically don't even think with the upgrade. For OW in Asia I suppose CX/KA are most easily to get a upgrade if you hold any OWS/OWE status.
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Old Mar 30, 18, 2:05 pm
  #11  
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There is a trick. At check in ask how much it would cost to upgrade to business class. You'll be directed to the ticketing desk. When you produce your credit card you'll be the proud owner of a seat in the forward cabin.
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Old Mar 30, 18, 2:23 pm
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Another DYKWIA moment maybe?

I really want to OP's rationale why OP should be entitled for an upgrade.
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Old Mar 30, 18, 11:04 pm
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This is something that the ...... American airlines need to learn. Don't upgrade people! ANA and JAL have been really stingy with complimentary upgrades, and with good reason. There are so many businessmen on these flights that business class would be full all the time. Another caveat which has been mentioned many times is that AA plat is really far down on the list. They take care of their own members first, so you really have almost no chance of an upgrade.
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Old Apr 1, 18, 8:40 am
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Originally Posted by garykung View Post
Another DYKWIA moment maybe?

I really want to OP's rationale why OP should be entitled for an upgrade.
I don't think it's DYKWIA. It's just that major US airlines give out upgrades to their high-end FF like free candy so many US based fliers expect the same everywhere else.

Obviously doesn't work this way in Asia.
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Old Apr 2, 18, 12:53 am
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Originally Posted by Chromie25 View Post
I don't think it's DYKWIA. It's just that major US airlines give out upgrades to their high-end FF like free candy so many US based fliers expect the same everywhere else.
The problem is OP is not a high-end FF. Just because you flew 6 times on JL does not simply mean you can get an upgrade.

FWIW - as a 1K, I have no expectation of upgrades. And I have never been op-up. I never take upgrade as an entitlement.

Originally Posted by Chromie25 View Post
Obviously doesn't work this way in Asia.
There is an exception - CX.
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