American Airlines miles are ideal for super cheap economy awards and ultra-luxury First Class awards. The cheap economy awards rely on American Airlines’ off peak award pricing. At the moment, we are just a few days from the start of a seven-month off peak window to Asia 1, which is basically Japan and South Korea.

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 2.42.52 AM

If you fly any American Airlines partner to Japan, South Korea, or Mongolia between October 1 and April 30, you pay only 25,000 American Airlines miles each way.

For a limited time, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® offers 75,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $7,500 in the first three months. That means you’ll have 82,500 American Airlines miles after meeting the spending requirement.

Those 82,500 miles are more than enough for three one ways to Japan or Korea.

 

I checked award space on just one route to show you how wide open the space is.

Los Angeles to Tokyo

Los Angeles to Tokyo is served by American Airlines and partner Japan Airlines. (It is also served by United, Delta, Singapore, and ANA, but none of those flights can be booked with American Airlines miles.)

American Airlines award space is searchable on aa.com, but Japan Airlines space is not. Both airlines’ space shows up on ba.com, so I searched there for award space in October 2015 and April 2016, the parts of the off peak window with the best weather in Japan. (Searching ba.com for a month at a time is very slow, so I actually paid Award Nexus to search ba.com for me and produce a calendar.) These calendars are for one person only, but award space is available on many of these flights for 2, 3, or more people.

In October 2015, 11 of the first 29 days have economy award space from Los Angeles to Tokyo.

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 2.13.33 AM

On the return, 10 of the first 29 days have award space.

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 2.52.52 AM

For April 2016, award space is much better. 27 of the first 29 days have economy award space that would cost 25,000 miles.
Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 2.28.05 AM

The return shows 23 of the first 29 days with economy award space.Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 2.38.25 AM

Connections

You don’t need to live in Los Angeles or want to go to Tokyo to take advantage. There are other American Airlines and Japan Airlines routes to Japan and Korea. Plus you can connect from anywhere in the United States to the transpacific flight for zero extra miles if you find Saver economy award space. You can also connect anywhere within Japan, Korea, and Mongolia for zero extra miles.

Booking

If your award has only American Airlines flights, book on aa.com. If it has Japan Airlines flights, book by calling American Airlines at 800-882-8880. Confirm that the phone agent is waiving the phone fee, since Japan Airlines award flights can’t be booked on aa.com.

One way for three people would be 75,000 American Airlines miles + $17. The return would be the same number of miles and about $50 in taxes per person.

Bottom Line

Off peak awards to Japan and Korea with American Airlines miles are super cheap.

For a limited time, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® offers 75,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $7,500 in the first three months. That means you’ll have 82,500 American Airlines miles after meeting the spending requirement.

Those 82,500 miles are enough for three one ways to or from Japan, Korea, and Mongolia during off peak dates.