New Best Program for Domestic Airline Redemption Pricing

Japan Airlines already has one of my favorite programs, allowing redemption not just on oneworld airlines like American, Cathay Pacific, and Qatar but on other partners like Emirates, Bangkok Airways, and Air France as well as Alaska Airlines.

Japan Airlines Mileage Bank is a Starwood transfer partner. 20,000 Starwood points transfer to 25,000 JAL miles.

An Emirates first class award New York JFK – Dubai – Bangkok and return is just under 20,000 flown miles so costs 155,000 miles in the Japan Airlines Mileage Bank program. (New York – Dubai roundtrip in first class is 135,000 miles.)

Now the Japan Airlines award chart for redemption on Alaska Airlines is available, and it’s really good.

The new chart for Alaska Airlines travel:

  • Is a distance-based chart
  • Takes fewer JAL miles than Alaska miles to redeem most trips, starting at 15,000 miles roundtrip for economy and 35,000 for first class.
  • Lets you can fly multi-city itineraries in first class up to 2000 miles total for 35,000 JAL miles.
  • Allows “[m]aximum of 3 stopovers (a stay of more than 24 hours) are permitted” – wow.

For pretty much any award besides a simple transcon roundtrip in economy, where you’re flying over 2000 miles each way and not making stopovers, JAL’s redemption chart is going to beat any US airline program.

Where this really shines though is in first class, and with multi-city trips.

Here’s the first class redemption chart:

Alaska Airlines Award Tickets First Class
Total trip distance(miles) Required mileage Sample itineraries (round-trip)
*1 Multi-city itineraries
*2 Maximum of 3 stopovers (a stay of more than 24 hours) are permitted
1 – 1,000 35,000 Vancouver-Seattle/Portland
San Francisco-Palm Springs
Los Angeles-Mammoth Lakes
San Diego-Monterey/Fresno
1,001 – 2,000 35,000 San Francisco-Portland/Salt Lake City
Los Angeles-Salt Lake City/Boise/Medford
San Diego-Protland/San Jose del Cabo
2,001 – 4,000 42,000 Vancouver-Los Angeles
San Francisco/Los Angeles-Puerto Vallarta
Los Angeles-Guadalajara
San Diego-Seattle
4,001 – 6,000 60,000 Vancouver-Seattle-Cancun
San Francisco/Los Angeles-Anchorage
Los Angeles-Washington D.C./Baltimore
San Diego-Orland/Honolulu/Kona
6,001 – 8,000 63,000
8,001 – 10,000 65,000
10,001 – 12,000 80,000
12,001 – 14,000 85,000
14,001 – 20,000 100,000
20,001 – 25,000 125,000
25,001 – 29,000 160,000
29,001 – 34,000 190,000
34,001 – 50,000 210,000

Here’s the economy redemption chart:

Alaska Airlines Award Tickets Economy Class
Total trip distance(miles) Required mileage Sample itineraries (round-trip)
*1 Multi-city itineraries
*2 Maximum of 3 stopovers (a stay of more than 24 hours) are permitted
1 – 1,000 15,000 Vancouver-Seattle/Portland
San Francisco-Palm Springs
Los Angeles-Mammoth Lakes
San Diego-Monterey/Fresno
1,001 – 2,000 20,000 San Francisco-Portland/Salt Lake City
Los Angeles-Salt Lake City/Boise/Medford
San Diego-Protland/San Jose del Cabo
2,001 – 4,000 21,000 Vancouver-Los Angeles
San Francisco/Los Angeles-Puerto Vallarta
Los Angeles-Guadalajara
San Diego-Seattle
4,001 – 6,000 37,000 Vancouver-Seattle-Cancun
San Francisco/Los Angeles-Anchorage
Los Angeles-Washington D.C./Baltimore
San Diego-Orland/Honolulu/Kona
6,001 – 8,000 39,000
8,001 – 10,000 40,000
10,001 – 12,000 50,000
12,001 – 14,000 55,000
14,001 – 20,000 60,000
20,001 – 25,000 85,000
25,001 – 29,000 110,000
29,001 – 34,000 130,000
34,001 – 50,000 150,000

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. This is great to hear about. My family are all Ex. Plat and want to know where we should credit our miles. So JAL looks like the way for me to go. Our next next is on Qatar so I just need to add the JAL FFlyer number? Thanks Again

  2. @jason have a look first at The JL ffp before you start banking the miles there. It’s not as easy as it appears. Ready carefully which fares earn 100 percent miles, etc, etc.

  3. @Gary – FYI I’m getting the short (with break) and full versions of your articles in my RSS feed right now. I’m subscribed to the full length version.

    As ever, a great blog. Have a great day, Gary!

  4. So if I want to go ABQ – BOI, but I have to connect in SEA, because Alaska only flies to SEA from ABQ, would I be charged the ABQ-SEA-BOI mileage, or just the ABQ-BOI mileage?

  5. I think looking at the JAL site answers my question – “The mileage required for an award is determined based on the total itinerary distance (calculated as the sum of the actual miles traveled for each sector) and the class of service traveled.” I guess ABQ-SEA + SEA-BOI is the mileage they’re calculating. It looks like open jaws are not good value – “The distance of a surface sector between two intermediate cities will be included in the total itinerary distance.”

  6. So for 42K points RT in FC, one could do, PHX-SEA (stopover)-Cabo (stopover)- SAN (stopover)-PHX if so this is pretty amazing.

  7. Thanks for sharing, Gary! This does look great for multi-destination trips with multiple stops, especially when flying First. Two questions:

    1) On a multi-city itinerary (i.e. SFO–SEA//SEA–YVR//YVR–PDX//PDX–SFO), does the destination (YVR in the example) count as a stopover? So, in the given example, would that count as two or three stopovers?

    2) Does all travel need to be on Alaska Airlines to take advantage of this chart? If not, what other airlines can be included in an itinerary?

  8. I just wish there were an easier way to accumulate JAL miles. Transferring from SPG is basically the only way and I normally like to keep my SPG points for hotel stays.

  9. Theoretically interesting — I remember taking advantage of Avios’ old award chart with Alaska that allowed lots of stopovers. But it’s not terribly useful because almost no one reading this blog would have enough JAL miles. Ginning up enough SPG miles to transfer would seem to be an impossible task — and would cost you the opportunity of using them for good hotel redemptions.

  10. JAL’s three stopover is actually 2 stopover with an open jaw. So you can only fly 3 segments and not four, with one of the “stopover” city being the the open jaw. And it seems like they do not allow you to leave and then reenter the same country twice, e.g. prevent zigzag double roundtrip routes.

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