Japan Airlines’ Mileage Bank is running a promotion for award redemptions on US Airways. They’re basically offering a discount of 5,000-10,000 miles for select economy awards on their distance based award chart for travel through October 3, 2014.
Discount of up to 10,000 JAL miles for awards on US Airways
Here’s their discounted award chart through this promotion:
- Flying up to 1,000 miles costs you 10,000 miles (5,000 mile discount)
- Flying 1,001-2,000 miles costs you 15,000 miles (5,000 mile discount)
- Flying 2,001-4,000 miles costs you 16,000 miles (5,000 mile discount)
- Flying 4,001-6,000 miles costs you 27,000 miles (10,000 mile discount)
Theoretically there’s quite a bit of value to be had through this promotion. They give the example of a roundtrip between Los Angeles and Phoenix for 10,000 miles. Ultimately that’s not so great of a promotion, given that British Airways would charge 9,000 Avios for the same roundtrip, and British Airways Avios are much easier to come by than Japan Airlines miles.
But they also highlight the ability to redeem 10,000 miles for a circle trip from New York to Boston to Washington to Philadelphia. It is pretty cool that they have a distance based award chart based on the total distance flown, and also allow near unlimited stopovers on oneworld awards (you’re allowed up to eight segments, and up to seven stopovers).
As I said above, this promotion is valid for travel through October 3, 2014, and reservations have to be made at least four days prior to departure.
Accruing JAL Mileage Bank miles
The biggest challenge here is that Japan Airlines miles aren’t especially easy to come by. They don’t partner with American Express Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards, though do partner with Starwood Preferred Guest. And they don’t exactly have a lucrative US credit card — I mean, it offers a stuffed animal as a sign-up bonus.
So that is somewhat of a limiting factor.
Booking JAL Mileage Bank tickets on US Airways
The other challenge with Japan Airlines miles is that all bookings for partner airlines have to be made by phone, and that’s a bit of a pain given how easy it is to book British Airways Avios tickets on ba.com. On the plus side, Japan Airlines doesn’t impose fuel surcharges for domestic US Airways awards.
Under a very specific set of circumstances this promotion could be worth taking advantage of, though generally you’re still better off redeeming British Airways Avios for domestic flights on US Airways. That’s both due to the ease of accruing Avios (thanks to all their transfer partners) and the ease of booking these tickets directly on their website.
(Tip of the hat to LoyaltyLobby)