Fly Boston – Beijing Business Class From $2,327 (JAL/American)


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Last week I wrote about a good JAL Business Class fare from New York to Tokyo and Taipei and now it looks like the airline has posted another good fare for travel between Boston and Beijing with prices starting at around $2,327 for roundtrip travel.

Headline Fare Rules

  • Tickets must be issued on/before 31 October 2019
  • Tickets must be issued on JL or AA
  • Reservations needed at least 3 days before departure
  • Minimum stay is 3 days
  • Maximum stay is 3 months
  • 1 stopover permitted in each direction at $400 each

Fare Availability

I suggest using a combination of ITA Matrix and Google Flights to make sure you see all the options open to you (I’ll post my search parameters later in this article) but, purely for the purposes of seeing dates on which good fares are available, Matrix works best.

The better fares that I’ve found are available primarily between November 2019 and April 2020 (click on images to enlarge).

Don’t be tempted to focus on the numbers in orange as, although they may be the very cheapest fares on offer, if you look carefully you’ll see that there are plenty of other dates on which similar very good fares can be found.

Routing & Aircraft

There appear to be 2 primary routings available with this fare:

  1. One routing involves a stopover in Tokyo (Narita or Haneda) in either direction (all flights on JAL)
  2. One routing involves a stopover in Dallas (some flights on American)

Personally, I would do my best to ensure an all-JAL routing.

JAL is a vastly superior airline to American Airlines and although the Business Class seats American offers between Tokyo and Dallas are very good the service is likely to be poor and the premium cabin seats on offer between Dallas and Boston are mostly just regular domestic First Class seats.

The long-haul flights are operated by JAL Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners…

Image courtesy of JAL – Click to enlarge

…and the Business Class cabins come equipped with JAL’s SKY Suite III product:

Image courtesy of JAL
Image courtesy of JAL
Image courtesy of JAL

The shorter flights (Tokyo – Beijing) are operated by JAL’s 767 aircraft…

Image courtesy of JAL – Click to enlarge

…which come equipped with the airline’s SkyLuxe seat (which does not lie flat):

Image courtesy of JAL

These seats aren’t nearly as good as what you’ll find in the Dreamliners but they’re still very comfortable and more than adequate for the shorter flights between Tokyo and Beijing.

Finding & Booking The Fare

I found that ITA Matrix was the best way to see what fares and flights were available – here’s an example set of parameters that I used:

Matrix won’t actually let you book the fares themselves so, once you’ve found dates which work for you, I suggest using Google Flights or the JAL website to book the fares.

A fare priced up on Google Flights

Use The Right Credit Card

Don’t forget that some credit cards will offer more bonus points than others for travel bookings and airfare bookings made directly with airlines and some credit cards will offer considerably more travel protection benefits than others…so make sure you choose wisely.

Personally I’d probably book this fare using my Platinum Card from American Express which would earn me 5 points/dollar but the Chase Sapphire Reserve card (3 points/dollar) may be a better option if you’re looking to ensure that your booking is covered for trip delay/interruption/cancellation.

If you’re looking to rake in ThankYou points there’s always the option of using the Citi Prestige Card (5 points/dollar) or the Citi ThankYou Premier card (3 points/dollar) but, just like the Platinum Card from American Express, these cards will not offer you any travel protection benefits.

Earning Miles

I’m going to guess that the overwhelming majority of readers who would consider booking this fare will be looking to credit the flights to the American Airlines AAdvantage program.

The total distance of this particular trip is approximately 16,061 miles (assuming a routing through Narita in either direction)…

…so this is what AAdvantage members can expect to earn (excluding elite status bonuses):

  • Base AAdvantage Miles – 16,061 miles
  • Cabin Bonus AAdvantage Miles – 4,015 miles
  • Elite Qualifying Miles (EQM) – 32,122 miles
  • Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQD) – $4,015
  • Elite Qualifying Segments – 4

Essentially, this fare will earn an AAdvantage member 32% of the EQM and ~27% of the EQD needed for top-tier Executive Platinum status.

Bottom Line

This fare may not be “mind-blowing” or “incredible” but it’s still very good indeed and it would allow someone chasing AAdvantage status the chance to ear a considerable number of Elite Qualifying Miles and Dollars while, at the same time, visiting a pretty extraordinary city.

Let me know if you decide to book this fare and what routing you chose.

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