Now a oneworld Frequent Flyer Program Announces a Devaluation

On top of a new Star Alliance program devaluation, oneworld member Japan Airlines Mileage Bank — one of the surprisingly most useful frequent flyer programs out there — has announced their own devaluation.

Americans care about the JAL program because:

  • You can transfer Starwood points to JAL
  • JAL has a reasonable distance-based award chart
  • They partner with airlines like Emirates (and can be a cheaper way of getting Emirates awards than even Alaska Airlines) in addition to their oneworld partners.

Fortunately, the devaluations aren’t bad.

Awards business and first class awards on JAL itself rather than on partner airlines will be going up in price effective November 2015. That’s nearly a year’s notice.

Here’s the new US-Japan pricing:

Business class goes from 80,000 to 100,000 miles roundtrip (one-way awards will be half the cost of roundtrip), while 80,000 mile awards will still be offered on certain days. First class goes from 110,000 miles roundtrip to 140,000, again continuing to offer 110,000 mile roundtrips on certain days. These prices remain a fantastic value.

This does not change JAL’s distance-based partner award chart which will allow me next year to book New York JFK – Dubai – Bangkok in Emirates first class for 77,500 miles one-way.

Meanwhile, JAL is reducing the advance reservation requirement for awards from 4 days to 2 starting in April.

Also starting in April, award tickets booked or changed by phone will incur a telephone service fee.

The award chart devaluation is truly modest, and offered with substantial advance notice, in contrast to how things are done elsewhere such as United and United and United as well as American and Delta and Delta and Delta.

That’s why JAL’s Mileage Bank remains a part of my devaluation plan B.

(HT: Frequent Flyer Bonuses)

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, 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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  1. Hi Gary,
    The partner chart link says that your routing would be 100.000 miles. Was there a huge devaluation?

  2. @Christian – you’re looking at the price for business class, and I’m talking about the price for first. (Still, business class 20,000 miles flown for 100k roundtrip, not bad eh?)

  3. That is an awesome redemption… if you consider 1 AS mile equal to 1 JL mile. 😉 Considering it is so much easier for the average American to earn AS miles, paying 100,000 AS miles one-way JFK-DXB-BKK may be easier than paying 77,500 JL miles. Regardless, kudos to you on an awesome redemption!

  4. @Christian – I think Gary’s award to Bangkok is based on the 14,001 – 20,000 bracket which cost 155k miles or 77.5k miles each way.

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