Japan Airlines’ Minor Partner Award Chart Changes As Of October 1, 2017

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Earlier I wrote about the best ways to redeem miles for travel on Emirates. The single best mileage program for premium cabin redemptions on Emirates is Japan Airlines Mileage Bank. Unfortunately the catch is that Japan Airlines miles are tough to come by, as they’re only transfer partners with Starwood Preferred Guest.

That means the only decent credit cards that will earn you Japan Airlines miles are the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express or Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express. Starpoints convert into Japan Airlines miles at a 1:1 ratio, with a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 points transferred, meaning you’re earning up to 1.25 Japan Airlines miles per dollar spent.

Anyway, in the comments section of the post, a reader pointed out that Japan Airlines has a new partner award chart for tickets booked as of October 1, 2017. When I first heard that I thought to myself “oh no, there goes the best way to redeem miles for Emirates first & business class.” The good news is that the changes are very, very minor. Like, I don’t remember the last time I’ve seen such a modest devaluation.

Here’s Japan Airlines Mileage Bank’s partner airline award chart for tickets booked as of October 1, 2017:

Specifically, what’s changing is that:

  • Business class on a flight of 1-1,000 miles is going down in price from 35,000 miles to 32,000 miles
  • First class on a flight of 1-1,000 miles is going down in price from 60,000 miles to 55,000 miles
  • First class on a flight of 8,000-10,000 miles is going up in price from 100,000 miles to 105,000 miles

In practice I’d call this a very mild devaluation. I hope not many people are redeeming JAL miles for a business or first class flight covering a roundtrip distance of under 1,000 miles. Meanwhile the above means that the cost of a roundtrip Emirates first class award from New York to Milan or Athens is increasing by 5,000 miles, from 100,000 miles to 105,000 miles

This award chart continues to represent an incredible value, especially for travel in Emirates first class. I think the real sweet spot is a trip covering a distance of 14,001-20,000 miles, which costs 155,000 miles in first class.

For that you could fly from New York to Milan to Dubai to Bangkok to Dubai to New York in Emirates first class, with stopovers in each city. Not bad, eh?

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Comments

  1. Great update Ben. Would love to see more of these kinds of post identifying value in first class points redemption with maximum time in the seat.

  2. Lucky,

    My partner and I have a trip to Europe coming up next year and your last sentence (the 155K miles routing) is intriguing as a way to accomplish the trip, and then some, while (re)experiencing EK’s F product the whole way. Couple of questions:

    1. What’s the best way to search for JL-available award space on EK metal, to include those stopovers? And how do we indicate stopovers versus terminating one “award flight with stopover” and commencing a second “award flight with stopover” as there could be a whole bunch of stopovers as mentioned in your routing above?
    2. Are there limits on how long the stopovers can be? If we wanted way more time in Europe (9 days) than in Bangkok (3 days), how would one go about piecing those dates/flights together? Search individual award availability by segment?
    3. I know you have to book this over the phone, but have you ever done this and/or do you have pointers on getting it done? Like, have flight numbers and dates readily available, call the Australian JAL Reservation line, ask for a supervisor because front-end reservation agents won’t know what you’re talking about, etc.?

    If you have time, a step-by-step guide for this would be super awesome. Especially since AS is now abysmal for EK redemptions unless you randomly have mountains of Mileage Plan miles lying around.

    Thanks!

  3. JAL has a credit card in the USA. It has a 10000 point bonus. Not very lucrative but there is a JAL USA credit card.

  4. Lucky, the chart states “total trip distance” in miles. As such, wouldn’t the total cost be 330K is the total miles would be 39,744

  5. Worth noting very high fuel surcharges for emirates flights outside of the us/Dubai routes.

    I recently booked and then later cancelled two tickets from Dubai to Cape Town (open jaw return was JNB-DXB). Two points about this experience:

    1) They do pass along fuel surcharges on Emirates routes between Dubai and Africa! My charges were $680 for fuel and $67.90 for other airport fees and stuff for each first class seat on the round trip (so $1495.80 total for 2 people round trip). I can’t find it saying this anywhere on their website, and I made the mistake of not realizing that the “maximum fees” chart they have on the JAL website is only for Emirates flights to/from the US. Also note that you can calculate the fuel charge as it showed up on the cash ticket price breakout on ITA matrix.

    2) Change fee was 3100 japanese yen per ticket, so roughly $28 USD. Points were redeposited immediately and expire in 3 years. Refund of the fees to my credit card took two days.

  6. @jake any idea what the surcharges were one way into DXB? I have my eye on JNB-DXB for honeymoon in october and looking at JMB for the surcharge reason (also fewer points to redeem for F)

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