Japan Airlines Mileage Bank Partner Award Chart Devaluation As Of November 20, 2018

Well this is rough. Japan Airlines Mileage Bank is a useful niche frequent flyer program. They partner with Marriott Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest, and Barclays, and they have a pretty lucrative distance based award chart that’s valid for travel on both oneworld airlines as well as some other partners.

In addition to being able to redeem miles for travel on their oneworld partner airlines, they also have some other partner airlines that are potentially useful, like Emirates. Back in the day booking Emirates tickets through Japan Airlines was the best value for securing those seats, though last November they added fuel surcharges to most Emirates redemptions, which can be as much as $1,600+ roundtrip in a premium cabin, so it’s not nearly as lucrative as it used to be. There’s now more bad news.

As of November 20, 2018, Japan Airlines Mileage Bank is adjusting their award rates for travel on partner airlines. This is the book by date rather than fly by date, so you can book travel by that date for travel on subsequent dates at the old mileage levels. On the plus side, at least they’re giving about six months notice of the changes, which is generous. That’s about the only good news, as this devaluation is rough.

Here’s a comparison of the old and new chart:

To look at the price increases in some of my favorite regions:

  • For travel of 8,001-10,000 miles, we’re seeing prices go from 65,000 to 85,000 miles in business class, and from 105,000 to 135,000 miles in first class (this includes a roundtrip Emirates ticket from New York to Athens or Milan)
  • For travel of 10,001-12,000 miles, we’re seeing prices go from 80,000 to 100,000 miles in business class, and 115,000 to 145,000 miles in first class (this includes a roundtrip American ticket from Los Angeles to Tokyo)
  • For travel of 12,001-14,000 miles, we’re seeing prices go from 85,000 to 110,000 miles in business class, and from 135,000 to 165,000 miles in first class (this includes a roundtrip Emirates ticket from London to Dubai to Bangkok)
  • For travel of 14,001-20,000 miles, we’re seeing prices go from 100,000 to 130,000 miles in business class, and from 155,000 to 190,000 miles in first class (this includes a roundtrip Emirates ticket from New York to Dubai to Bangkok)

These are some pretty significant cost increases, especially when you consider how hard it is to rack up JAL Mileage Bank miles, and when you consider that they imposed fuel surcharges on most of their partners.

I don’t want to say the JAL Mileage Bank program is now completely useless, but it’s certainly not the program it used to be.

It can still make sense to credit to Japan Airlines’ program if you’re a frequent flyer with the airline, but as a transfer partner I don’t view the program to be especially useful anymore.

It’s a real shame to see this devaluation, especially just days after Cathay Pacific Asia Miles announced changes to their award chart.

Will JAL Mileage Bank’s devaluation impact whether or not you earn miles with them?

(Tip of the hat to Dan’s Deals)

Comments

  1. The business strategy of JAL makes the guys at AA look like a bunch of super-stars. They created a marginal airline out of the biggest airline in the world, couldn’t capitalize on a great product because they couldn’t manage a remotely uniform fleet, and they still haven’t figured out this frequent flyer mileage thing after 20 years — probably isn’t an airline half its size in the world that has done less to capitalize on mileage programs. Truly a backwards bunch, so no surprise.

  2. They are already charging huge amount of YQ to EK tickets from US to UAE and vice versa…

  3. @ sil — Nope, haven’t heard anything, though also can’t rule it out at some point in the future.

  4. The one small bright spot of the new charles barkley arrival miles card has just been made much worse. With the demise of spg points, it would have been pretty decent for JAL miles. Now a bit less decent. Still could be useful, but RT J ~dtw-cdg-waw on AF has been 65k pts without fuel surcharges for a while, an odd partner of JAL but I’ll take it.

  5. With looming recession becoming more of a reality every day, it will be interesting to see all these devaluations unwind, (in the best face-saving way possible, of course) as airlines are confronted with swathes of empty seats across the board. Think it won’t happen? If you’re too young to know about past doozies, get out the economics books and skip to “Recessions” for an insight to what happens, and how.

  6. next in line will most certainly be Alaska devaluing JAL and CX. it was too good to be true. well. better book that F using AS miles from JFK to HND to DEL while it lasts. thats crazy hrs in F for 70k only.

    Once AS devalues their mileage plan partner awards, I think then there will be random sweet spots left on a few programmes, like Krisflyer EU to ME, using AA for QR tickets, EY for certain partner awards, but basically random things here and there.

    Gone are the good old days. I will change strategy and start booking cheap J fares rather than think of tiers and loyalty. can’t be bothered. just not worth it anymore for infrequent premium leisure travellers like my family.

  7. @Lucky, can you do some follow-up to this post to include more route examples? Other sites have mentioned how the changes didn’t seem too bad.

  8. but we still have 6 months to book before it happens, right?
    speaking of which, how much does JAL charge for fuel fees on a one way F award from the Milan to NYC? And is it the same as from NYC to Milan?

  9. Aw maaaan! This really sucks. I sure am glad I milked JMB for award travel on EK F and J all the way to JNB before surcharges kicked in. But now this makes JMB pretty useless, except for travel on JAL. NYC to TYO on J for 80K RT is phenomenal.

  10. You can now book Emirates award tickets using JAL website:

    Notice
    Award booking for the Malaysia Airlines and Emirates are available through JAL website from following dates.
    Malaysia Airlines Award Tickets: on/after May 10, 2018
    Emirates Award Tickets: on/after June 12, 2018

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