Details Of The New Alaska & Japan Airlines Partnership

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In early May, Alaska Airlines and Japan Airlines announced that they’d launch a partnership as of June 29, 2016.

JAL-787

I love Alaska Mileage Plan, largely thanks to the variety of partner airlines they have. It’s a great way to earn a mileage currency which can be accrued and redeemed for travel on airlines spanning the alliances.

Alaska-Partners

At the time we knew that there would be a reciprocal frequent flyer relationship, as well as codesharing agreement, pending government approval. That seems to have been successful, as the partnership will indeed be launching as of tomorrow. Here’s the information we have so far about their reciprocal frequent flyer agreement:

We don’t yet know the Alaska Mileage Plan redemption rates for travel on Japan Airlines, and it may be a while before we do. When the partnership was first announced, we were told that reciprocal mileage redemptions would only be possible as of “late 2016.” So it could very well be several more months before you can redeem Alaska miles on Japan Airlines. Then again, that might not be the case, given that Japan Airlines has already published redemption rates on Alaska.

Alaska-Rebrand

Earning miles with the Alaska & JAL partnership

Alaska Mileage Plan members can earn miles (both elite qualifying and redeemable) for travel on Japan Airlines at the following rates:

AS-JL-1

Meanwhile Japan Airlines Mileage Bank members can earn miles for travel on Alaska at the following rates:

AS-JL-2

Both of those accrual rates are pretty average, though regardless it’s great to have such a unique partnership, since presumably some Mileage Plan members will get value out of being able to earn elite qualifying and redeemable miles for travel on Japan Airlines, and vice versa.

Redeeming miles with the Alaska & JAL partnership

We don’t yet know what Alaska’s redemption rates on Japan Airlines will look like. I’m curious if they’re in line with their excellent redemption rates on Cathay Pacific (particularly in first class), or if they’ll have slightly more devalued redemption rates, given the direction international first class awards are headed in general.

Alaska-Cathay

I hope the costs are reasonable, because I love Japan Airlines first class.

Japan-Airlines-First-Class-01

Japan-Airlines-First-Class-07

Meanwhile Japan Airlines Mileage Bank has published their award charts for travel on Alaska, which are quite lucrative.

Here are the redemption rates for travel in Alaska Airlines economy:

Japan-Airlines-Award-1

Meanwhile here are the redemption rates for travel in Alaska Airlines first class:

Japan-Airlines-Award-2

As you can see, the chart is distance based, and the best part is that you can have up to three stopovers on one award, which is great for those looking to hit multiple destinations on one trip. Given all the shorthaul destinations that Alaska serves within the Pacific Northwest, I’m guessing some people will get a ton of value out of that.

Japan Airlines Mileage Bank is a Starwood transfer partner, meaning you can transfer Starpoints at a 1:1 ratio, with a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 points transferred. So you can easily rack up these miles through the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express. Starwood is also selling points at the moment for a 30% discount, which is an opportunity to pick up Japan Airlines miles for under two cents each.

Starpoints-Discount

Personally the process of booking through Japan Airlines is a bit too cumbersome for it to make sense for me. You have to book by phone, and have to lock in all the flights at the time of ticketing, and then can’t change the route. That’s rather complicated for shorthaul flying, though I know for some it will be useful. I’m just more of a last minute planner…

Bottom line

It’s great to see this partnership officially kicking off, though personally what I’m most curious about are the Mileage Plan redemption rates on Japan Airlines. Hopefully a reciprocal redemption partnership comes sooner rather than later. I love Japan Airlines first & business class, and Mileage Plan may be the best program through which to book those awards, given the recent devaluation at American AAdvantage.

Are you excited about the new partnership between Alaska Airlines & Japan Airlines?

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Comments

  1. So one would be able to fly PHX-SEA-SDJ-SAN-PHX with stopover in SEA,SDJ and SAN in FC for 42K miles PP?

  2. What does award availability typically look like, right after redemptions on JAL are available with Alaska miles? I’m wondering about the possibility of snagging an award ticket over a high-demand time (weeks around Christmas), if I’m ready with the miles required right after redemptions become possible.

  3. Quick question – if I would like to use the miles in my Japan Airlines Milage Bank account for myself AND a travel partner, is there a function like on SQ and Asiamiles where I’d first have to register that person, or would I be prompted at booking? Am Planning to burn some miles on EK, but since I can only book this via phone, I wanted to make sure I knew beforehand what to ask for, if I wanted to book an award ticket for 2pax. Cheers.

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