Japan Airlines Awards Now Bookable Through Alaska Mileage Plan!

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Earlier this year Alaska Airlines and Japan Airlines announced a partnership, with a reciprocal frequent flyer relationship and a codesharing agreement.

JAL-787

Some of the mileage earning and redemption rules were published right away, including:

After months of anticipation, we finally know the Alaska Mileage Plan redemption rates for travel on Japan Airlines. There are some surprises in the chart, but the prices in general are at least as good as we’d expected!

Alaska’s award chart for JAL

Alaska Mileage Plan is unique in that they have a separate award chart for each partner carrier. Both the origin and destination country have to be listed on the award chart for that specific carrier, otherwise it’s not a valid redemption. That’s why you can’t use Alaska miles to fly Emirates between Australia and New Zealand, for example.

Japan Airlines awards will be available as either a one-way, or a round trip, and as usual you’ll be able to have a stopover at the partner hub (Tokyo, in this case). The one-way rates are as follows:

One-way award priceEconomyPremium EconomyBusinessFirst
US to/from Asia

(Japan, South Korea, and India)
35,00040,00060,00070,000
US to/from Southeast Asia

(Technically Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Thailand, Philippines, and Cambodia, but in practice China and Taiwan as well)
40,00045,00065,00075,000
Intra-Asia

(all regions)
15,00017,50025,00030,000

That’s right, somehow India and Japan are in the same region as far as this partnership is concerned.

Which is great, because that means you can fly business class from Delhi to San Francisco with a stopover in Tokyo for just 60,000 miles per person and no fuel surcharges.

del-nrt-sfo

I’m a bit disappointed that Australia and the South Pacific aren’t included on the chart, as Japan Airlines has some of the best first class availability to Australia, but that is an incredible price for India, so I guess it balances out?

There are no fuel surcharges on these awards, and it looks like most awards should be bookable online.

Award availability on Japan Airlines

JAL is less consistent than other carriers in terms of when they release award space. Sometimes you’ll see space right at the window, and sometimes you’ll see them release additional space about a week before departure, but for the most part it’s fairly random.

If you don’t mind angled-flat seats in business class, however, availability is fantastic out of Vancouver, San Diego, and on the Los Angeles to Osaka route. It’s not uncommon for us to see 4+ seats on those flights.

Japan-Airlines-Business-Class-767 - 3
Japan Airlines 767 business class

JAL also tends to make a generous amount of space available on short-haul flights, which is particularly nice when combined with Alaska’s stopover rules. I typically prefer to take the train within Japan, but if you’re continuing on to elsewhere in Asia this could be a great option.

Earning Alaska Mileage Plan miles

Alaska Mileage Plan 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 mystery discount of up to 50%, which is potentially a good opportunity.

Beyond that, Alaska frequently offers a bonus on purchased miles. Through December 31, 2016, for example, Alaska Mileage Plan is offering up to a 40% bonus on purchased miles. At that rate you’ll end up paying ~2.11 cents per mile, making a round-trip first class ticket between the US and Asia ~$2900, with the option to have a stopover in Tokyo both directions.

That’s a very good value, though I still wouldn’t make a speculative purchase.

Japan-Airlines-Lounge-Tokyo-Haneda - 21
Japan Airlines lounge Haneda

Bottom line

Overall, I think these prices are the best we could have hoped for.

Business class awards are slightly more expensive than what Alaska charges for Cathay Pacific awards, and there’s a bit of a premium for flights to “Southeast Asia,” but in general I think these are great rates. Being able to book online is fantastic, and this definitely improves the value proposition of Alaska Mileage Plan as far as I’m concerned.

What do you think about the new JAL redemption options?

About Tiffany

Tiffany Funk is a passionate traveler who splits her time between California and Italy (when she’s not traveling elsewhere!) Her posts offer a different perspective on earning miles, tricks for balancing multiple household accounts, and break down the basics of redeeming miles for aspirational travel -- whatever those aspirations may be!

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Comments

  1. This is FANTASTIC!! Absolutely blew AA out of the water. Only issue is that space is searchable online, making scarce award space tougher for us…

  2. Good.
    I’m searching now, continental U.S. to India, and the only options are: Air France/KLM, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Delta, British and Korea Air. I couldn’t see the options and fares for JAL :/
    I’m on Alaska, Mileage Plan page.

  3. @LS You will have to try to book and find out, there is no India award on JAL using AS miles. DEL is just falling under Asia. although JALs own chart considers it same as SE Asia.

  4. Do you know if Alaska and JAL both have the same award availability on Emirates? Is one better than the other?

  5. What about Australia? I have an alaska card I’m working for points and am currently doing the US to AU in a few weeks. I would LOVE to do that several more times, either on the way to Oz or back. What would points/stopovers be like for that?

  6. I am seeing NRT-DEL fall under “intra-asia”. That mean’s a 10 hour flight in business class is just 25k Alaska points, very nice!!!

  7. @ Marvin Rojas — As I mentioned above, it wouldn’t be possible flying JAL, but is certainly an option if redeeming on Cathay Pacific (pending availability).

  8. AS is allowing stopovers on intra-Asia itineraries. CGK-NRT(stop)-DEL prices out at 35k and $68 for F (on the CGK-NRT segment, and 789 SkySuite C on the NRT-DEL segment).

    Whoo boy.

  9. JALs where we fly page on the image may show codeshare cities. You need to look at the text list below it. anything with a (c) like MLE, CMB are codeshare routes not operated by JAL

  10. @ John — With very very very very few exceptions (I can actually only think of one instance where this isn’t the case, though there might be more), you can’t book codeshare flights with partner miles. Just native metal.

  11. Just booked PDX-SFO-HND(Stopover)-GMP. There is a still some(although very little) F availability in prime months. BOOK FAST PEOPLE.

  12. What is the general availability of JAL First Class for 2 people? I am doing some searches and finding zero availability for 2 from SE Asia to US. Curious if the space is actually there or not?

  13. @Asim Moscow is part of the European region (at least on award charts). So you can’t redeem Alaska miles for travel on JAL between Moscow and Tokyo.

  14. @ Asim — No, despite what the map makes it look like, Mileage Plan definitely considers Russia to be Europe, and not eligible for award travel on JAL.

  15. Is it me, or did Alaska just jacked up the price of Intra-Asia Business and First Class for Cathay Pacific?

  16. Yeah, Tiffany, check out the new mileage rates for intra-Asia flights on CX in J and F. I’m guessing it’s a mistake, seeing as they’re now charging as much for flights in J within Asia (50,000/100,000 miles ow/rt) as they do for a TPAC. Massive devaluation if it’s not a mistake.

  17. Hi Tiffany, thanks so much for bringing up this post. As a Japanese living in Delhi this is just a fantastic opportunity. I’ve just purchased the miles to book this ticket – however, I have to note that I got a bit panicked that after the purchase the miles didn’t immediately transfer to my account – later I found out that as per their T&C it’d take up to 72hrs for the miles to be credited in the account. Since it was the last remaining seat on the date I wanted to travel I’m just hoping that it’ll stay! 10 days wait for the fresh account to purchase miles and another (up to) 72hrs seem a lot of waiting 🙂

  18. @ Kevin @ John — Not just you, those rates have been wrong since Alaska redid their website. They’ve confirmed it’s incorrect, and awards price properly, but fixing the site is apparently not a priority. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  19. Hello Tiffany & Other Readers,

    Do you know what first class availability looks like? When does it usually appear, assuming for example a one way HKG to NYC one-way?
    Thanks a lot in advance for the info.

  20. @Joe it’s quite scarce, do a BA search and it could be easily checked.

    P.S. Alaska only have limited access to those inventories, so not all redemption space available shown on BA is bookable through Alaska. For instance, I booked a FCO-HKG flight in business where it was shown an availability of 7 redemption seats on BA but Alaska only had access to 2 seats. Make sure to call in advance and do a double-confirmation with Alaska agents before you buy your miles.

  21. HOT DAMN! Now if I can figure out a way to move my worthless 300K+ AA miles over to Alaska, I can finally take the trip I have been planning for over 5 years. AA’s constant devaluations and limited availability have prevented me from traveling. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!

  22. Utilized the current Alaska Mileage 40% purchase bonus, then snagged 5 biz seats from SIN – KIX, stopover HND. Super pleased!

    Separately, does anyone know if CX awards are still bookable on Alaska and any special steps? I’ve been searching SIN – HKG (flexible on dates) and CX is conspicuously missing.

    Thanks!

  23. Hi. I am looking for the best way to travel to Vietnam with a stopover in Japan and I would like to use miles for business class if possible. Which credit card do you recommend to get the miles that will work with JAL?

    Thanks,

    Jenn

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