How to Book Business Class RETURN to Japan for Just 90,000 Amex Membership Rewards Points / Asia Miles

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Late last year, I published a series of posts explaining how to make the most of Cathay Pacific Asia Miles – it’s a programme that offers incredible value if you know how to take advantage (and you can transfer Amex Membership Rewards Points at a 1:1 rate!):

Rather than going over the award rules again (all the relevant info can be found in the posts above), I thought I’d just quickly share another example of the sort of trip you can take – this time with Cathay’s Japanese oneworld partner JAL.

Paris – Tokyo (stopover) – London in Business Class for 90,000 Asia Miles / Amex Membership Rewards Points

Asia Miles allows stopovers on one way redemptions and ‘backtracking’ isn’t a problem. What that means is that (assuming you can find award space, which isn’t always easy), you can book Paris (CDG) – Tokyo (HND) – London (LHR), with a stopover in Tokyo for as long as you want (within the booking schedule), all as a single one-way award.

A Business Class redemption therefore totals just 90,000 Asia Miles!

Taxes/surcharges should be about £240 starting in Paris and returning to London, or about £350 if you would prefer to start in London and end in Paris.

Note that you could book First Class instead for 135,000 Asia Miles.

Bottom line

A lot of bloggers (quite rightly!) get very excited about using Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Miles to fly ANA Business and First Class to Japan. Virgin charges 90,000 miles Return in Business Class and 120,000 miles Return in First Class, which is an incredible deal.

Being able to book JAL with Asia Miles (for very similar prices) opens up a completely different set of award availability for anyone who wants to fly to Japan in comfort without breaking the miles (or traditional) bank. For context, if you booked the same flights with JAL using British Airways Avios, you would need 180,000 for Business Class!

What’s your favourite Asia Miles redemption?


  1. cinereus says

    Is this better than a Virgin redemption (seeing as Virgin miles are probably valued at much less than Amex MR)?

    • Joe Deeney says

      Nope – I’d say the Virgin deal (even for Business CLass) is a little better for a few reasons – not least that I value Amex higher than Virgin Miles. But, it’s still a cracking deal in its own right and obviously opens up a completely different set of availability as its JAL rather than ANA.

    • Craig Sowerby says

      I’m having a really hard time finding ANA award space these days. So in that sense JAL is at least a different option.

      Both are obviously leagues better than BA, etc. for quality of hard and soft product…

    • Spk says

      I struggle to get 2 award seats on ANA for most flights. Either they are all taken or the availability is restricted.

  2. Andrew M says

    Am I right in thinking that it’s possible to combine one partner with Cathay for the same 90,000 (J) / 130,000 (F) single partner award chart rates? So something like FRA-HKG-JFK with FRA-HKG on LH and HKG-JFK on CX would be 135,000 Asia Miles in First? It might be in interesting way to sample the fabled Lufty First Class and also trying Cathay’s not too shabby F offering at the same time. LH availability is always the issue though. Close in availability in LH First IS there from FRA to HKG but you need to be available to travel at really short notice, possibly within 48 hours! I think a phone call to Asia miles would be required to book this – if in fact it is possible to do.

    • Joe Deeney says

      For oneworld partners there’s a different award chart for mixed bookings, and for non oneworld partners the rules vary depending on the airline. AFAIK, you can only fly certain Lufty routes, and it’s not possible to redeem Asia Miles for Lufty First Class. I could well be wrong though!

      • Andrew M says

        Thanks for that. I found the Lufthansa page on the Asia Miles website and as you say, there’s a limited number of routes offered for redemption on Cathay. FRA/MUC-HKG is one of the valid routes, however that page implies that First redemptions on Cathay are not possible. Elsewhere on the Asia Miles site however, it lists all four classes as available for CX redemptions so who knows…

        • Joe Deeney says

          Yeah – the non-oneworld partner stuff is really confusing (and sometimes seemingly contradictory). Let me know if you manage to work out any gems! 🙂

      • Joe Deeney says

        Sorry, just to clarify in case anyone reads the above and gets confused: Mixing 1 oneworld airline and cathay itself is fine (normal award chart), but mixing 2 (non Cathay) oneworld partners prices off the multi chart.

        Non-oneworld partners are basically still a mystery to me.

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