Japan Airlines is updating/simplifying their award chart as of October 1, 2012, and the changes look pretty positive overall.
I don’t understand all the implications of these changes since I’m no expert on the Japan Airlines Mileage Bank program, though there are a few things that struck me as interesting. One of the valuable aspects of the Japan Airlines Mileage Bank program is that they partner with Emirates, which is by many considered to be the “holy grail” of award redemptions. Both United and Continental used to partner with Emirates, though they both ended those relationships with the merger.
Previously Japan Airlines had a special award chart for travel on Emirates. While the prices weren’t exorbitant, they weren’t cheap either. For example, first class between New York and Dubai cost 180,000 miles roundtrip.
Well, if I’m reading the new award chart correctly, Emirates will be included on the new distance based award chart, and that translates to some pretty lucrative award redemption opportunities.
Here’s the new distance based award chart:
New York to Dubai roundtrip in first class is 13,697 flown miles, putting it in the 12,001-14,000 “total trip distance” category. That means Emirates business class roundtrip would cost you only 85,000 Mileage Bank miles, while first class would cost you only 135,000 Mileage Bank miles, both of which are huge decreases in the number of miles required.
Keep in mind that Japan Airlines Mileage Bank is a transfer partner with Starwood Preferred Guest, meaning a business class ticket on Emirates between New York and Dubai would run you only 70,000 SPG points, while a first class ticket between New York and Dubai would run you only 110,000 SPG points.
Anyway, while this will only kick in about three months from now, I see a lot of potential with this new award chart. I’m also curious to see what Alaska’s award chart will look like for redemptions on Emirates, which is supposed to be released later this year.
(Tip of the hat to The Wandering Aramean)