How to fly from India to USA using Amex points?

Hey Everyone!

I’ve got about 250,000 points on my amex explorer card. I’d like to use them to fly on Japan Airlines from Bangalore to Las Vegas one way in Premium Economy or Business if possible. I had initially thought I could do this by transferring my points to Asia Miles and booking a flight on there but for some reason the only option on Asia Miles website for that route is with British Airways or Cathay Pacific. Does any one have any ideas how I can still fly on JAL using my points? Or any other airlines that could get me premium economy or business class (one way) on that route with the amount of points that I have?

Any advice is appreciated as this is the first time I’m flying using points


Hi @anooplokkur

Welcome to Point Hacks!

All is not lost. This is what I would do in your situation:

  1. Search for award flight availability on JAL via another Oneworld website such as British Airways, American Airlines or Qantas. If there is availability on one or more of those websites, you should be able to book using Asia Miles. Hopefully.

  2. If you do find availability, note down the flight numbers and dates. I assume you already know that JAL doesn’t fly to Las Vegas so you’ll need to find a connecting flight from somewhere like LA, San Francisco or San Diego.

  3. Then get in contact with Cathay directly, and try to book the flights you have found using Asia Miles. I have found Cathay’s phone service and chat service (they use WhatsApp) to be very good. Personally I’d use WhatsApp.

If that doesn’t work, you’ll need to look into being more flexible in various ways (by, for example, mixing and matching airlines and/or taking less direct routes).

Let us know how you go and if you have any other questions!


@sixtyeight Thanks for the tips! I tried searching on other one world websites but I’m only getting options for Economy on JAL and also only for the rout BLR to Tokyo, no option from Tokyo to LAX or SEATTLE.
I’ve used Cathay’s whatsapp services and they are fantastic. I wonder why I can see flights on JAL from BLR to TOKYO and then TOKYO to LAX but can’t find them on one world reward flights.

Would you recommend any other airlines where I can use my points to fly premium economy or Business for this route and much easier to book?

Hi again @anooplokkur

I’m hearing that reward flights across the Pacific are really difficult to come by at the moment, caused largely by the fact that the Chinese airlines (including Cathay Pacific) haven’t fully rebuilt their networks or schedules yet. So demand is just about what it was pre-COVID, but supply is nowhere near catching up.

The two articles below might give you some ideas; unfortunately the second one hasn’t been updated for yonks but it might nevertheless give you some inspiration.

Meanwhile here’s my random advice:

  • First, keep your AmEx points where they are for the moment, and look for availability on both Oneworld (JAL, Cathay, American etc) and Star Alliance (ANA, EVA, Singapore, United) airlines. You have the luxury of being able to transfer to Asia Miles (or Qatar Privilege Club) for Oneworld redemptions, or KrisFlyer for Star Alliance redemptions. So keep your options open. Could Singapore Airlines be an option to San Francisco or Los Angeles via Singapore?

  • Second, since the trans-Pacific flight will be the hardest one to find, start there. Search, for example, for Singapore to LAX on Singapore, or Taipei to San Francisco on United or EVA, or Hong Kong to LAX on Cathay, etc. Once you’ve found that flight, then plan your itinerary from Bengaluru (and to Las Vegas) around it.

  • Third, consider flying westward to the USA on one of the Middle Eastern airlines (Qatar, Emirates, Etihad) or British Airways.

There’s no silver bullet, I’m afraid. You might find award flights quickly or it might take you many, many hours and days. This is your first ever points redemption, but it’s definitely one of the more difficult ones!