Good Business Class Award Availability: JAL, Aer Lingus, SWISS


There's Good Award Availability for JAL First and JAL Business Class, Aer Lingus Business Class, and SWISS Business Class–a silver lining to the cloud of coronavirus, for those who aren't afraid to travel. As I mentioned in Japan Coronavirus Travel Tips, there are some pros to traveling to Japan right now, apart from the obvious cons, and clients of ours are still traveling there. That said, everyone has to evaluate their own risks. I wouldn't advise travel for those who suffer from respiratory or other chronic conditions that could put them at greater risk with a coronavirus infection, or will worry so much that it negates the enjoyment of travel.

JAL First Class and JAL Business Class Awards

Typically JAL First Class and JAL Business Class awards between the U.S. and Japan book up well in advance for spring break/cherry blossom season travel between mid-March and mid-April, and it was that way this year as well…until the coronavirus came along. What a difference a few weeks make! Days that were previously showing only economy or premium economy awards available now have multiple JAL Business Class awards, and sometimes one or more JAL First Class awards. JAL First and JAL Business (if a window seat) remain two of our favorite first class and business class products respectively; what they lack (no closing suite doors) they more than make up for in terms of sleep quality, thanks to the comfortable airweave mattress pads.

Example routes: NYC to Tokyo, LAX to Tokyo, SFO to Tokyo, BOS to Tokyo, Dallas to Tokyo (keep in mind the Boston and Dallas routes are operated by a 787, so no First Class cabin on those flights)

Here's our JAL First Class YouTube Video Review:


Aer Lingus Business Class Awards

Is Ireland on your wish list? There's great Aer Lingus Business Class award availability this spring and summer, often with 4 award seats per flight.

Example routes: NYC to Dublin, Orlando MCO to Dublin, Philadelphia PHL to Dublin, Boston BOS to Dublin. Note that West Coast Business Class awards are generally not available.

Here's our Aer Lingus Business Class YouTube Video Review:


SWISS Business Class Awards

Switzerland is one of our favorite destinations in Europe, with particular highlights the Park Hotel Vitznau and the superb Pascal Rast, owner of Swisspecial and private guide extraordinaire.

SWISS Business Class on the A330, especially if you reserve one of the “throne” seats such as 4A in the mini cabin, is one of the better business class products to Europe.

Example routes: NYC to Zurich, Miami MIA to Zurich, Chicago ORD to Zurich.

Here's our SWISS Business Class YouTube video review:

Do you plan to travel to Asia or Europe soon, notwithstanding the coronavirus?

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1 year ago

What is the recommended way to book a reward flight with Swiss?

Hilary Stockton
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard

Swiss Business Class can be booked with any Star Alliance miles; since most clients have tons of Ultimate Rewards points from earning them at 3X-5X per dollar, they usually transfer them to United MileagePlus to book. One way between the U.S. and Europe is 70K MileagePlus miles. Or, if you have Aeroplan miles (can transfer from AMEX Membership Rewards), it’s 55,000 Aeroplan miles for the same award.

1 year ago

That’s great news. You’re the only one reporting this hopefully it will not get picked up! I’ll look on all the sites but is it limited to JL mileage bank and Aer Lingus plan only? Or is it available with partner airlines ie using American Airlines points for JAL

Hilary Stockton
1 year ago
Reply to  Dublin

The JAL awards are mainly available for this upcoming spring break / cherry blossom season, since many passengers have presumably cancelled, leaving open seats. The space can be booked via American Airlines AAdvantage and Alaska Mileage Plan, not just JAL Mileage Bank. Alaska charges 70K miles one way for JAL First Class between the U.S. and Asia, and 60K miles one way for JAL Business Class.