Back in May, Japan Airlines (JAL) and Alaska announced a frequent flyer/codesharing partnership. While mileage earning rates for both airlines’ frequent flyer programs were published immediately, redemption rates took much longer to come out.
However, today Alaska released mileage redemption rates for travel on Japan Airlines. The rates can be found here.
While the premium cabin rates to Japan aren’t as good as on some other AS partners (such as 50,000 miles one-way in business class from the US on Cathay Pacific), they are still pretty great and totally blow the competition (such as American) out of the water. It is also worth noting that 35,000 miles in economy from the US to Asia is total bargain, and that first class on JAL (an awesome product) for 70-75000 is also a great deal and far better than what the competition offers. The fact that JAL releases a good amount of award space makes it very easy to take advantage of these great rates, so there’s another huge bonus.
Add to that that they have a great premium cabin product, and I think it’s clear these rates are super tempting. I recently took four flights in JAL business class and really enjoyed all of them: the seats were comfortable and the service and food were excellent. Though some 787-8’s, 777-200’s, and 767’s have angled flat seats in business class, these are being phased out and should be gone in the near future. Also, JAL’s new Apex Suite business class on 787-9’s, refurbished 787-8’s, and 777-300ER’s is really awesome, and their 767 staggered seats are also really comfortable. If you are on an older aircraft, though, the great soft product more than makes up for some of the outdated seats.
Additionally, these awards are bookable on Alaska’s website, making them much easier to book (when booking an award on other airlines, such as Cathay Pacific, you have to call the airline to make the booking, which can often take quite a while). A lot has been made of this, with some suggesting that it will make JAL award tickets harder to book. If you’re really determined to book an award, you would just call the airline if the awards weren’t bookable online, so it’s not like being able to book JAL awards over the internet will be bringing in tons more people who otherwise wouldn’t be trying to get those seats. While it will be easier to book these awards and therefore seats might disappear a tad quicker than they otherwise would, I don’t think we’ll see anything catastrophic in terms of award space.
This is a super exciting addition to the Alaska partner ‘family.’ JAL is a really great airline, with a modern fleet and an international reputation for excellent food and service. This partnership is just another thing which makes Alaska Mileage Plan great. Who knows, I may be taking advantage of these rates in the future…