Alaska Airlines partnered up with Japan Airlines (JAL) back in May of this year. Just last week Alaska published their prices for redeeming Alaska miles on JAL flights between the continental United States and Asia, Southeast Asia, and intra-Asia.

Here are the prices in Alaska miles to fly Japan Airlines from the continental United States:

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In this case Alaska defines “Asia” as Japan, South Korea, and India, andSoutheast Asia” as Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Thailand, Philippines, Cambodia, China, and Tawain.

JAL obviously flies other places but only those redemption rates for US <> Asia/Southeast Asia and intra-Asia are listed on alaskaair.com, therefore they’re the only flights you are allowed to redeem Alaska miles on.

I personally love Alaska miles–I just recently opened another Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card— because you can book a free stopover on one way awards, book pre-American Airlines devaluation prices for American Airlines flights, and even book United States > Fiji > New Zealand or Australia with a free stopover in Fiji for only 55,000 miles one way in Business Class. Now we have yet another reason to highly value Alaska miles as they are cheapest way to book JAL First Class.

How The New Prices Stack Up

Before Alaska published these new redemption rates to fly their newest partner, the cheapest way to fly JAL First Class was with American Airlines miles:

  • 80,000 American Airlines miles United States > Japan/South Korea
  • 110,000 American Airlines miles United States > the rest of East and Southeast Asia

Now you can fly JAL First Class to Japan, South Korea, and even India (yes, Alaska’s definition of Asia when it comes to redeeming JAL miles includes India!) for 70,000 Alaska miles, or to Southeast Asia for 75,000.

Japan Airlines serves the United States with 777s and 787s. Japan Airlines First Class on its 777-300ER is a world class flat bed enclosed in a suite.

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As for Business Class, it’s still cheaper to redeem Alaska miles to Asia on Cathay Pacific, but only by 5,000 miles. Same goes for economy redemptions.

Intra-Asia prices for Business Class and First Class are super cheap. It costs 25,000 miles one way in Business and 30,000 one way in First Class. To fly Cathay Pacific intra-Asia it would run you twice that for Business and more than twice that for First Class.

Where JAL Flies

Japan Airlines flies from eight American cities to three Japanese cities with connections throughout Asia.

  • Dallas to Tokyo (NRT)
  • San Diego to Tokyo (NRT)
  • Los Angeles to Tokyo (NRT) and Osaka
  • San Francisco to Tokyo (HND)
  • New York City (JFK) to Tokyo (NRT)
  • Chicago to Tokyo (NRT)
  • Boston to Tokyo (NRT)
  • Honolulu to Tokyo (NRT and HND), Osaka, and Nagoya (but it appears that you can’t redeem Alaska miles on JAL flights from Hawaii)

One of the rules of redeeming Alaska miles is that you can only fly Alaska + one partner maximum, so the only way you’ll be able to add a connection from one of the eight cities above to your hometown and maintain the award price above is if the connection’s on an Alaska Airlines flight.

Cool Features of Redeeming Alaska Miles on JAL

  • NO FUEL SURCHARGES 😀
  • Free stopover in Tokyo (for however long you want) on a one way award. This means two free stopovers on a roundtrip are possible.
  • Can redeem them on JAL Premium Economy (many mileage programs don’t allow you to redeem miles on premium economy, only economy, Business, and First).

Award Space

You can search JAL award space right on alaskaair.com.

This is the part of the post where I get a little less excited. No matter how good award prices are, they don’t matter if there’s not award space. JAL First Class award space does exist, and occasionally you’ll see spurts. It tends to be easiest to find within a week to a month of your departure date. If you can’t wait that long to book, you might have a hard time finding a premium cabin award seat. Random seats pop up from time to time but it’s not a consistent supply.

For example, here’s the December calendar for one traveler between Chicago and Tokyo (70k days have First Class award space):

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One Mile at a Time reports that Business Class Award space is consistently good between Vancouver, San Diego, Los Angeles and Osaka as long as you don’t mind angled-flat Business Class seats.

How to Get Alaska Miles

Credit card links have been removed from posts and added to the menu bar at the top of every page of MileValue under the heading Top Travel Credit Cards.

SPG points transfer 1:1 to Alaska miles. The Starwood Preferred Guest Card from American Express comes with 25,000 SPG points after spending $3,000 within three months. The business version of the card comes with 25,000 SPG points after spending $5,000 within three months. Both cards have $95 annual fees but both also waive it the first year of card membership.

The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card comes with 30,000 Alaska miles after your first purchase. The only catch with this card is that the annual fee of $75 is not waived the first year. The Alaska Airlines Business Visa has pretty much the same sign up offer as the personal card. It seems that the Alaska cards are still churnable.

You can also buy Alaska miles, sometimes with pretty decent discounts. Right now if you buy 30k to 60k Alaska miles, you’ll get a 40% bonus, which is like buying them for 2.11 cents each (you have to sign into your Mileage Plan account to access that promotion). Don’t buy them speculatively but if you have a high value award in mind–like First Class to India with a stopover in Tokyo–and need a top off, then it could be a good idea.

Bottom Line

Redemption rates for Alaska Airlines’ newest partner, Japan Airlines, have been published on alaskaair.com. First Class prices to Asia are unbeatable, as are Business and First Class prices on intra-Asian JAL flights. Economy and Business Class prices are still a little cheaper when redeeming Alaska miles Cathay Pacific, but only by a bit. You can get free stopovers in each direction in Tokyo. You have an entirely new and dirt cheap way of getting to India in a premium cabin, which can be a very hard place to get to with miles.

The only downside is that JAL premium cabin award space isn’t highly available. You’ll have to be flexible with your travel plans/vigilant in checking for space that could randomly pop up. You can always hire our award booking service if you’d rather not put in the legwork yourself!

Overall this is great news and in my opinion increases the value of Alaska miles, especially if you travel to and within Asia often.

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