Review: AA Business Class A321T JFK-LAX ( written & video )

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Review: AA Business Class A321T JFK-LAX

Upgrades, upgrades, upgrades. Getting an upgrade is like a first kiss. God you want it so bad. All you can think about is that moment when it happens. Your palms are sweaty, heart racing… yeah, you’re eating dinner and having a drink but you’re not actually there, there…you want to 32x fast forward and get to the good stuff. AND….THEN IT HAPPENS!

That’s how upgrades usually happen.

BUT…if you’re using Business Extra upgrades, you can simply search for space, guarantee it ahead of time…and voila. You skip right to the kiss the upgrade, and in this case…a very sweet one. A lie flat seat, across the America, lasting right at 6 hours.

If you want to skip right to the chase…check our our YouTube review. We even give you a tutorial on Business Extra and Same Day Change at the end.


Let’s take a quick look at how we upgraded into an AA Business Class that was divinely supine.

The Background:

The last time I reviewed American’s Business Class from JFK to LAX I’d surprised my girlfriend for a romantic Valentine’s day trip to NYC from LA. This time…we were in NYC as a result of her work, and she had a biz seat as part of the package. We were searching for a flight that had “C” inventory which would allow me to call in, upgrade with a 650 business extra certificate, and voila, lie-flat next to one another.

As luck would have it, within 24 hours of departure, a flight with both “C” and “E” inventory opened up. This is great because it allows you to make great use of AA’s $75 same day flight change, and upgrade all in one fell swoop. This is exactly what we did, and I moved out of the cheap econ ticket I had found, and into a flight with upgrade space, she did the same – fee free.

You can search for this space with ExpertFlyer.

And you’ll hopefully see something like this:

The Deets:

  • When: August 2019
  • Where: JFK-LAX
  • Loyalty: American Airlines Aadvantage
  • Status: Qualified for AA Gold via Hyatt challenge
  • Upgrade: Business Extra ( 650 points )
  • Seat: 8A

Let’s get to it.

Upon Boarding you will pass First Class…which is essentially the same seat featured on American’s 77W business class – I’ve reviewed that several times. You can check out our first class review on this route here as well to see how it compares with the biz cabin behind it.

This is the best use of Business Extra points…in our humble opinion

When an upgrade changes your mood…you know it’s good. American utilizes completely lie flat seats in a 2-2 configuration on this route. It’s absolutely sublime.

Here’s a peek at the business class cabin from the rear of the cabin.

The cabin is comprised of 5 rows or 2-2 seating, or 20 seats that look something like this:

While the seats ( B/E Diamond) aren’t the best for people who don’t know eachother, they work pretty well for couples. Both seats recline fully to lie-flat.  I think the jump from coach to a lie-flat seat is the LARGEST jump you can make in flight. This is a snap of Miles in 6A from a prior flight, but 8A is basically the same.

AA business class jfk to lax lie flat seat
AA business class jfk to lax lie flat seat

Amenity kits and IFE

I think the IFE systems on the retro-fit AA planes that have in-seat tvs are great whether you’re in economy, biz, or first. Is there is difference between Economy and the premium cabins?  The tvs in business are much larger and you receive a remote.

The Bang and Olufsen headphones are great which are different from what used to be given, Bose.

The Food and Service

We had an great crew on board who kept tempting me with Mimosas. I also had multiple cameras out and not once, was there ever a discussion about photographs or video. Amazing.

AA business class jfk to lax
AA business class jfk to lax Mimosa and Nuts

Everything I ate was very good. AA upped their food game back in 2017 and I maintain that it’s still quite tasty. I remember the meal I had in First Class from Tokyo to LA in 2015 and it was terrible. My comparison is ready meals you can buy in the supermarket. There is no reason for airplane food to be worse than what you can buy in the freezer. This was markedly better than anything I’d have from say…Amy’s.

I had the grilled Salmon for a main, an incredibly tasty Burrata salad with roasted tomatoes, and of course, an Ice Cream Sundae with all the fixins’

So how was American’s Transcon Business Class from New York to Los Angeles?

Fantastic. If you have 500 mile upgrades or Business Extra upgrades this would be arguably your best use ( there is a flight from LA to Miami that offers the 77W). If you’re an elite, good luck. I’ve cleared when I was Executive Platinum in the past, but I’d argue this route is the single hardest to clear. Perhaps, if you are flying on a late night redeye, you’d have a better chance, but if you’re lucky enough to catch this upgrade, you’re in for a quite domestic treat.

Affiliate link via CardRatings


The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based. 

Welcome Offer

60k Points after $4k spend in 3 months

80k offer in branch currently – I think this should be online soon

Annual Fee


Points Earned

Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards

Super solid welcome offer.

If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash , Ink Business Unlimited you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners

Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.

  • 3x on dining
    •  including eligible delivery services for takeout
  • 3x on select streaming services
  • 3x on online grocery purchases
    • (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
  • 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards – Chase Travel Portal
  • $50 Annual Credit on hotel stays purchased via Ultimate Rewards/Chase Travel
    • The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
  • 10% Anniversary Bonus
    • Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel Portal and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including primary rental car insurance, purchase protections, etc.
  • Points are transferrable to 13 Ultimate Rewards partners
  • Redeem in the Chase Travel center for 1.25 cents per point
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
    • Primary rental car coverage is my favorite

There is currently an 80k offer after $4k spend in 3 months available in branch, and up to 90k after $6k spend in 6 months. I suspect some version of this will be online soon if you don’t want the hassle of going into a branch.

We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.

Historically 60k is a very, very good offer. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back. .

Main Cast: 

Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.

Supporting Cast:

Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on. 


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