Alaska Mileage Plan Members Will Soon be Able to Earn and Redeem Miles on JAL
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
Update 2: Alaska is offering double redeemable miles on select JAL flights between the West Coast (Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, or Vancouver) and Japan between July 7 and September 30, 2016. Double miles will be awarded for tickets issued in the following fare classes: A, F, C, D, J, I, X, E, W, B, H, K, M and Y. There's no limit, but you do need to register here before your first flight.
Update: Alaska published the earning rates for JAL flights. Note that the base miles and premium-cabin bonus miles will count toward Alaska elite status:
Earnings are nearly identical to what you'll get with American Airlines:
While Alaska Mileage Plan isn't quite as rewarding as it once was, following the recent (and sudden) devaluation of Emirates business and first-class awards, you can still get a lot of value from the program. For example, you can book Cathay Pacific first-class award flights to Asia for 70,000 miles each way, compared to 110,000 when booking with American AAdvantage — and Alaska allows you to book a free stopover, even on one-way flights.
It's great to hear, then, that Alaska will soon partner with Japan Airlines (JAL), letting Mileage Plan members earn and redeem miles on JAL flights. The airlines will also launch a codeshare agreement, which goes into effect on June 29, 2016.
Members of Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan will be able to begin earning miles on JAL early this summer. Redemption for award travel will begin later in 2016. JAL's codeshare will be on Alaska Airlines routes from JAL's California gateways, plus Vancouver.
As Alaska has different rates for each partner, we don't know exactly how many miles you'll need for JAL redemptions once they become available, but there's a good chance Alaska will price awards at or below the rates used for Cathay Pacific redemptions:
As the press release states, Alaska members will be able to earn miles on JAL flights beginning this summer, with redemptions coming later this year. JAL tends to have fairly decent award availability, especially in business and premium economy, and it's easy to find award space using Oneworld partners. It's possible that JAL flights will be searchable (and bookable) via Alaska's site, making it easier to search for flights — even if you don't plan to redeem Alaska miles to book.
If you’re looking to build your Mileage Plan balance, consider signing up for the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card, which is currently offering 30,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 within the first 90 days. You'll also get an annual coach companion fare, and you'll earn 3 miles per dollar on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases.
Are you excited about Alaska's new partnership with JAL?