JGC Sapphire In 3 Days? Possible??

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Old May 15, 19, 6:13 pm
  #1  
koi
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JGC Sapphire In 3 Days? Possible??

I live in North America, and being collecting AA, and I recently heard about this JGC. I'm thinking about switching to JMB, if I can get JGC Sapphire.
I'm planning to go to Japan in October, but I have a week or so where I could just focus on getting legs.
Now, I wanted to ask... what's the shortest amount of time I can qualify for JGC?
I saw somewhere that max I can do is 12 legs in one day, so that would mean I need 4 days.
Is this the shortest I can do? If I didn't care about how enjoyable the flights are, is there a better way of accomplishing this with fewer days??
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Old May 15, 19, 7:20 pm
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Assuming that you fly One World to Japan, you would indeed need to add 48 legs in mileage runs to hit Sapphire.

I don't know if you can practically manage to do 12 legs per day for 4 days in a row, or even 16 leg per day for 3 days, but if you find a routing that allows either, and there are no delays to make you miss the flow, it would be a perfectly valid way to qualify.

Just note that for domestic use in the US, AA generally requires you to post the miles to the account that you get the elite benefits from, so in the future you might need to either continue to accrue to JAL or go through hoops to get your sapphire benefits but the miles to AA. JMB is not the most attractive program to accumulate miles to unless you live in Japan and hit JGC Premier or Diamond.
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Old May 15, 19, 7:35 pm
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koi
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Originally Posted by CPH-Flyer View Post
Assuming that you fly One World to Japan, you would indeed need to add 48 legs in mileage runs to hit Sapphire.

I don't know if you can practically manage to do 12 legs per day for 4 days in a row, or even 16 leg per day for 3 days, but if you find a routing that allows either, and there are no delays to make you miss the flow, it would be a perfectly valid way to qualify.

Just note that for domestic use in the US, AA generally requires you to post the miles to the account that you get the elite benefits from, so in the future you might need to either continue to accrue to JAL or go through hoops to get your sapphire benefits but the miles to AA. JMB is not the most attractive program to accumulate miles to unless you live in Japan and hit JGC Premier or Diamond.
Good point about JMB, not being attractive, and I think the only thing I would be giving up is the 48 hour upgrade window, no? Everything else, check-in/lounge, I can enjoy even if I continue to accumulate miles through AA? The only thing I have to make sure is I need to have enough miles for JGC payment.
Do I understand it correctly??

BTW, any tips on the route??
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Old May 15, 19, 8:05 pm
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Originally Posted by koi View Post
Good point about JMB, not being attractive, and I think the only thing I would be giving up is the 48 hour upgrade window, no? Everything else, check-in/lounge, I can enjoy even if I continue to accumulate miles through AA? The only thing I have to make sure is I need to have enough miles for JGC payment.
Do I understand it correctly??

BTW, any tips on the route??
https://www.aa.com/i18n/aadvantage-p...conditions.jsp
  • You cannot accrue partner airline miles with your partner frequent flyer number if you have already used your AAdvantage® number to obtain AAdvantage®program benefits such as First or Business Class upgrades, baggage fee waivers or complimentary access to Preferred/Main Cabin Extra seats. Additionally, you cannot redeem partner airline miles with your partner frequent flyer number and obtain AAdvantage® program benefits such as priority boarding and access to preferred seats.
AA wouldn't allow you to credit to other programs if you've used elite benefits from AA status. Whether they will allow you to use partner status and credit to AA is unclear. But they wouldn't let you enjoy elite benefits using AA status when partner redemption. So good luck.
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Old May 15, 19, 10:09 pm
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mhy
 
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If you use JAL to fly to Japan and back, that'll give you a head start on FOP (assuming you book fares with 100%+ FOP accrual) so you could also do the 50,000 FOP (with 25,000 on JAL metal) route rather than do 12 legs a day for 4 days, which sounds incredibly exhausting. JGC via 50,000 FOP is what I am doing this year, using JAL / LATAM / BA.

Assuming you fly JAL to Japan and credit your round trip to Japan to JMB (and you have at least 100% FOP accrual) that alone will get you >10000 FOP < 20000-ish FOP depending on your location in North America and class of service. While in Japan you can do a few days of round tripping between Tokyo and Naha / islands (round trip Haneda to Okinawa will get you about 4500-5000 FOP in Y/Class J or 6500 in F. You can either do two round trips in a day (a bit risky) or spread them over more days. Easy to do 14,000 FOP in 3 days.

For the remaining FOP you could do a quick turnaround mileage run within Asia (see below), or fly AA or some other Oneworld airline for the remainder (assuming you've reached 25,000 FOP on JAL metal).

If you are eligible for Japan Explorer Pass this can be very cost-effective; you'll pay significantly less than regular domestic flight prices (10,800 yen one-way, 21,600 yen round trip between Tokyo and Naha) and still get 100% FOP accrual. Downsides are they only set aside certain number of seats, you can only book economy (can upgrade at airport if there's space) and there is no ability to select a seat at booking. Also I wasn't able to book more than 2 segments (on the same day) at a time per booking and they only accept online booking. Didn't have an issue booking >2 segments on the same day on 2 separate tickets/bookings. You will want to check your eligibility.

Example:
* I fly from JFK-NRT in Premium Economy. That gets me 14,246 FOP right off the bat, round trip.
* 4 days of Tokyo <-> Naha using Japan Explorer Pass, in Y (100% FOP accrual) - 4736 FOP per round trip; almost 20,000(18,944) if I do this four times. Fare would be around $800 total. This gets me to 33190 FOP (JMB Crystal at this point)
* 2 days mileage run: For the remaining 16810 FOP : I book a mileage run from Tokyo to Singapore and back in business class and tack on a Tokyo - Okinawa - Tokyo round trip in front. This is famously called OKA-SIN and it is possible to do it in 1 night / 2 days with the tightest schedule. It is also possible to do it in Premium Economy but that needs more legs tacked on at the end (which I'd rather not do after flying from Singapore)

This last trip would get me over the edge (13220 FOP for Singapore round trip, and 4736 FOP for the Okinawa round trip = 17956 total) and even with the business class fare the total will probably be cheaper than doing 48 flights (probably doable sub-$2000, depending on dates). Total FOP is 51146.

So 6 days. Or 4 days if you pack 2 Tokyo <-> Naha round trips in two days.
Obviously the details depend on your routing, for example if you're flying JFK-NRT in business class, you would get 17600 FOP from that; if flying from LAX you would get closer to 12,000 (Premium Economy) or 14,000 (Business).

Beware of the weather, October is still semi-Typhoon season in Asia! I was in Kansai last year when Jebi hit (I landed at Kansai airport less than a week before it was completely flooded & rail bridge went out of commission due to the typhoon), and it ain't pretty.

Personally, I'd travel around Japan for a week via Shinkansen and eat lots of food rather than spend 80% of my time in airplanes :P but it's certainly doable, and double FOP for domestic flights and 1.5x FOP for intra-Asia flights really helps a lot to accelerate it.

Note 1) NB JALPak's comment above. You may want to check if you're eligible to accrue JAL miles on AA flights. That's a crap rule!
Note 2) If you can tack on a domestic connection onto your international flights to/from Japan, this adds good value since they also accrue FOP at 100% and I *think* you get the 400 bonus FOP

Last edited by mhy; May 15, 19 at 10:19 pm
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Old May 15, 19, 10:43 pm
  #6  
koi
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Originally Posted by mhy View Post
If you use JAL to fly to Japan and back, that'll give you a head start on FOP (assuming you book fares with 100%+ FOP accrual) so you could also do the 50,000 FOP (with 25,000 on JAL metal) route rather than do 12 legs a day for 4 days, which sounds incredibly exhausting. JGC via 50,000 FOP is what I am doing this year, using JAL / LATAM / BA.

Assuming you fly JAL to Japan and credit your round trip to Japan to JMB (and you have at least 100% FOP accrual) that alone will get you >10000 FOP < 20000-ish FOP depending on your location in North America and class of service. While in Japan you can do a few days of round tripping between Tokyo and Naha / islands (round trip Haneda to Okinawa will get you about 4500-5000 FOP in Y/Class J or 6500 in F. You can either do two round trips in a day (a bit risky) or spread them over more days. Easy to do 14,000 FOP in 3 days.

For the remaining FOP you could do a quick turnaround mileage run within Asia (see below), or fly AA or some other Oneworld airline for the remainder (assuming you've reached 25,000 FOP on JAL metal).

If you are eligible for Japan Explorer Pass this can be very cost-effective; you'll pay significantly less than regular domestic flight prices (10,800 yen one-way, 21,600 yen round trip between Tokyo and Naha) and still get 100% FOP accrual. Downsides are they only set aside certain number of seats, you can only book economy (can upgrade at airport if there's space) and there is no ability to select a seat at booking. Also I wasn't able to book more than 2 segments (on the same day) at a time per booking and they only accept online booking. Didn't have an issue booking >2 segments on the same day on 2 separate tickets/bookings. You will want to check your eligibility.

Example:
* I fly from JFK-NRT in Premium Economy. That gets me 14,246 FOP right off the bat, round trip.
* 4 days of Tokyo <-> Naha using Japan Explorer Pass, in Y (100% FOP accrual) - 4736 FOP per round trip; almost 20,000(18,944) if I do this four times. Fare would be around $800 total. This gets me to 33190 FOP (JMB Crystal at this point)
* 2 days mileage run: For the remaining 16810 FOP : I book a mileage run from Tokyo to Singapore and back in business class and tack on a Tokyo - Okinawa - Tokyo round trip in front. This is famously called OKA-SIN and it is possible to do it in 1 night / 2 days with the tightest schedule. It is also possible to do it in Premium Economy but that needs more legs tacked on at the end (which I'd rather not do after flying from Singapore)

This last trip would get me over the edge (13220 FOP for Singapore round trip, and 4736 FOP for the Okinawa round trip = 17956 total) and even with the business class fare the total will probably be cheaper than doing 48 flights (probably doable sub-$2000, depending on dates). Total FOP is 51146.

So 6 days. Or 4 days if you pack 2 Tokyo <-> Naha round trips in two days.
Obviously the details depend on your routing, for example if you're flying JFK-NRT in business class, you would get 17600 FOP from that; if flying from LAX you would get closer to 12,000 (Premium Economy) or 14,000 (Business).

Beware of the weather, October is still semi-Typhoon season in Asia! I was in Kansai last year when Jebi hit (I landed at Kansai airport less than a week before it was completely flooded & rail bridge went out of commission due to the typhoon), and it ain't pretty.

Personally, I'd travel around Japan for a week via Shinkansen and eat lots of food rather than spend 80% of my time in airplanes :P but it's certainly doable, and double FOP for domestic flights and 1.5x FOP for intra-Asia flights really helps a lot to accelerate it.

Note 1) NB JALPak's comment above. You may want to check if you're eligible to accrue JAL miles on AA flights. That's a crap rule!
Note 2) If you can tack on a domestic connection onto your international flights to/from Japan, this adds good value since they also accrue FOP at 100% and I *think* you get the 400 bonus FOP
Thanks for the information!! Unfortunaly I screwed up and planned it too late. I already asked for AA upgrade. From what I'm reading if I requested and got upgrade, I can only use aadvantage?
So unfortunately I have to start from scratch when I get to Japan. I like the naha approach, are there anyway I can squeeze more than 2 round trips/ day??
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Old May 15, 19, 11:09 pm
  #7  
mhy
 
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Originally Posted by koi View Post
Thanks for the information!! Unfortunaly I screwed up and planned it too late. I already asked for AA upgrade. From what I'm reading if I requested and got upgrade, I can only use aadvantage?
So unfortunately I have to start from scratch when I get to Japan. I like the naha approach, are there anyway I can squeeze more than 2 round trips/ day??
Are you flying on AA to Japan? If yes, then you might not be able to credit your flight to JAL (as JALPak posted). If you really want to do this, and your ticket is refundable, maybe consider rebooking the whole thing in JAL.

It's probably not possible to do more than 2 RT / day to Okinawa. This is a 2h40m flight and if you do 2 round trips you're flying over 10 hours a day.

If you do 2 round trips to Okinawa per day for 3 days (all in economy) then 1 round trip on day 4 you will get 33152 FOP; then you need another 16848 to reach Sapphire, you could do the Tokyo-Naha-Tokyo-Singapore-Tokyo mileage run I mentioned above (business class) and you'll hit Sapphire. That'll take 6 days. Or do 2 round trips for 4 days then do a simple quick turn of Tokyo <->Singapore on day 5/6.

Obviously, doing 2 round trips between Tokyo and Naha in one day carries a certain level of risk (e.g. delays / cancellations)

P.S. Thanks for the valuable post JALPak. After I read the rule you posted, I'm never even going to consider getting AA status in the future. That's a pretty ridiculous rule they have!
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Old May 16, 19, 12:44 am
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Going by segment is usually a bad value compared to trying to go by FOP, but if you want to rush them there's a plan where you do a bunch of island hops around Okinawa and Kyushu and you get a bunch of segments in a short period of time. It's actually offered by JAL itself and you can see the details here: https://www.jal.co.jp/domtour/kyu/amaminosora/

You can get 14 segments in 2 days this way. I'm not sure how you could do 12 segments in a day, maybe if you flew to Nagoya and back 6 times but I can't imagine the schedule will line up so perfectly. But yeah your best bet is just to get the metal requirement out of the way with a bunch of HND-OKA flights in F and then do the rest of it on partner airlines.
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Old May 16, 19, 7:38 am
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I can offer some insight as I just came back from Japan and spent a chunk of that time doing mile runs. I grabber over 32K fops over the two weeks I was there.
  • You're going to need the trips back and forth between US/Japan to give you a good head start. It 14,246 FOP if you get 100% miles from JFK<->NRT (Which according to the factory tour is their longest and toughest flight)
  • I found when booking Global explorer fares on the JAL Site, JAL will not let you book more than 2 legs on the same day, even if you try to break it into 2 different trips. I was going to originally do HND->FUK->SAP->FUK-HND in one day, but JAL said no to that.
  • As someone pointed out, Tokyo<->Naha is the most miles you can ding in a domestic flight there, but be advises that not all flights have 1st Class.
  • Always grab for J upgrade if you can't get F. The 10% bonuses add up.
  • Also, make sure your time there doesn't overlap over any major holidays :P. While I was in Japan over 2 weeks, I only had 5 days I could actually book flights on as every other day fell during Golden Week and good f'ing luck booking then (Before anyone asks, yes I was aware of it and had wanted to sync up with Golden Week to match my friends in Japan who were of those 10 days.)
Good luck, I've been JGC over 10 years, would not trade it for the world and especially not for an AA Elite status.
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Old May 16, 19, 10:05 am
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mhy
 
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Originally Posted by NYCBunny View Post
I can offer some insight as I just came back from Japan and spent a chunk of that time doing mile runs. I grabber over 32K fops over the two weeks I was there.
  • You're going to need the trips back and forth between US/Japan to give you a good head start. It 14,246 FOP if you get 100% miles from JFK<->NRT (Which according to the factory tour is their longest and toughest flight)
  • I found when booking Global explorer fares on the JAL Site, JAL will not let you book more than 2 legs on the same day, even if you try to break it into 2 different trips. I was going to originally do HND->FUK->SAP->FUK-HND in one day, but JAL said no to that.
  • As someone pointed out, Tokyo<->Naha is the most miles you can ding in a domestic flight there, but be advises that not all flights have 1st Class.
  • Always grab for J upgrade if you can't get F. The 10% bonuses add up.
  • Also, make sure your time there doesn't overlap over any major holidays :P. While I was in Japan over 2 weeks, I only had 5 days I could actually book flights on as every other day fell during Golden Week and good f'ing luck booking then (Before anyone asks, yes I was aware of it and had wanted to sync up with Golden Week to match my friends in Japan who were of those 10 days.)
Good luck, I've been JGC over 10 years, would not trade it for the world and especially not for an AA Elite status.
How has your experience been as a JGC in the US (I see we are based in the same city)? Do OW benefits do anything for domestic flights? I'm aiming to hit Sapphire/JGC this Fall. I take at least two round trips a year to Japan/Asia so figured I'd try it this year.
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Old May 16, 19, 5:07 pm
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Originally Posted by mhy View Post
How has your experience been as a JGC in the US (I see we are based in the same city)? Do OW benefits do anything for domestic flights? I'm aiming to hit Sapphire/JGC this Fall. I take at least two round trips a year to Japan/Asia so figured I'd try it this year.
If you're based out of NYC and fly out of JFK it's totally worth it. You will get access to the Flagship lounge versus Admiral's club (but you can also access any Admiral's club). I'm lucky that the company I work and travel for has offices by LAX and ORD where they also have Flagship lounges.

The only thing I will say is a knock against it for flying in the US is if you do fly American a lot and qualify for their elites, you are not gonna get any upgrades on their flights. It's not a big deal for me, but there have been flights with empty biz seats I would have easily upgraded with miles, but no can do.
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Old May 18, 19, 10:49 am
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mhy
 
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Originally Posted by NYCBunny View Post
If you're based out of NYC and fly out of JFK it's totally worth it. You will get access to the Flagship lounge versus Admiral's club (but you can also access any Admiral's club). I'm lucky that the company I work and travel for has offices by LAX and ORD where they also have Flagship lounges.

The only thing I will say is a knock against it for flying in the US is if you do fly American a lot and qualify for their elites, you are not gonna get any upgrades on their flights. It's not a big deal for me, but there have been flights with empty biz seats I would have easily upgraded with miles, but no can do.
Ah, awesome, thanks. It seems I get access to Flagship/Admirals club even for AA domestic flights. But somehow, AA elites do not. That's ridiculous!

I don't fly that much domestically as I am a "heavier" leisure traveler (3-4 international trips and 4-5 domestic trips per year) but I'll definitely be using AA (and crediting to JMB)
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