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Hawaiian Airlines and Japan Airlines to Extend Reciprocal Frequent Flyer Benefits

Sept. 18, 2018
2 min read
Hawaiian Airlines and Japan Airlines to Extend Reciprocal Frequent Flyer Benefits
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First comes the meeting, then comes the codeshare. And now, there's reciprocity of frequent flyer benefits. Hawaiian Airlines and Japan Airlines have elevated their relationship status yet again, announcing on Tuesday that JAL Mileage Bank and HawaiianMiles members will "enjoy reciprocal frequent flyer benefits effective Oct. 1 as the carriers grow their comprehensive partnership to offer more value to travelers."

Under the enhanced program, HawaiianMiles members will be able to earn and redeem miles on all international and Japan domestic flights in JAL’s network, while JAL Mileage Bank members will earn and redeem JMB miles on Hawaiian’s neighbor island and international network. Until now, JAL Mileage Bank and HawaiianMiles members have earned miles on codeshare flights only.

In June, Hawaiian and JAL filed an application with the US Department of Transportation and Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism seeking immunity from antitrust laws to create a joint venture. While we're waiting for that to clear, mileage aficionados will no doubt appreciate the olive branch in the interim.

Even if you don't routinely fly these carriers, the news has positive implications for those looking to book aspirational travel — particularly within Japan Airlines' route network. Though neither company offers co-branded credit cards with lucrative sign-up bonuses, you can transfer Amex Membership Rewards points to your Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles account instantly at a 1:1 ratio. Up until October 1, 2018, that's only useful for booking awards within Hawaiian's network. After that date, however, you'll be able to book Japan Airlines award tickets using those same HawaiianMiles.

Securing an award ticket within JAL's network has not been simple, historically speaking, and there's no promise that will change based on this deal. Still, it's possible that new sweet spot redemptions will emerge now that it's essentially possible to transfer Amex MR points to Japan Airlines by way of HawaiianMiles.