Japan Airlines JAL Mileage Bank One-Way Awards

Until last year, Japan Airlines’ JAL Mileage Bank program was the best way to redeem miles for Emirates first class.

That’s because they didn’t impose fuel surcharges for award redemptions on Emirates, and had an extremely lucrative distance based award chart. For example, a roundtrip first class award between New York and Dubai would cost you 85,000 miles in business class or 135,000 miles in first class, which is an absolute steal.

That being said, a few things have changed since then. First of all, JAL Mileage Bank began imposing fuel surcharges for award redemptions on Emirates, which wasn’t historically the case, since Emirates didn’t impose fuel surcharges on their own members. That being said, due to their tie up with Qantas they began imposing them last year, and then Japan Airlines matched.

Beyond that, as of last year it’s possible to redeem Alaska miles for travel on Emirates, which is another great option for redeeming on Emirates.

Anyway, back to JAL Mileage Bank. One frustrating thing about their award program is that they didn’t allow one-way award tickets. However, as of today, April 30, 2014, that has changed.

Per an update on their website:

1.One-way trips are permitted.

2.”Point of origin” and “Final returning point” may be different and those cities may be located in different countries.

* Please note that one-way itineraries and itineraries in which the “Point of origin” and “Final returning point” are located in different countries cannot be booked from the JAL website. For such bookings, please contact the appropriate call center.


So it’s now possible to redeem Japan Airlines miles for one-way travel on all their partners. In most cases it’s still more efficient to do a roundtrip since proportionally the cost per flown mile goes down the further you travel, but it is certainly nice to have the option.

Of course the implications of this go beyond redemptions on Emirates. Japan Airlines also has a fairly lucrative distance based award chart for travel on oneworld. Best of all, they allow up to eight segments and seven stopovers.


The major challenge with Japan Airlines miles is how tough they are to accrue. The only major transfer partner they have is Starwood Preferred Guest, so it’s tough for the average person to rack up a meaningful number of miles with them.

Regardless, I’m very happy to see this change.

(Tip of the hat to LoyaltyLobby)

Filed Under: Awards, Japan Airlines
  1. Was looking for HKG-USM on Thai Airways, so this is great news. Unfortunately, wasn’t able to find any award availability for all of Dec 2014 when I called into JAL. Any idea if they just haven’t released award space yet?

  2. @ Tony — Thai Airways is unfortunately really stingy with releasing award space to Koh Samui. There’s a chance they’ll release more, though I wouldn’t count on it since they don’t have much service there and December is a fairly busy time.

  3. Do they allow mixed OW/non-OW routings and do they have any rules other than 8 segments? Can you combine multiple trips within a one year timeframe into one award so long as it’s 8 segments or fewer?

  4. @ Justin — You can’t combine oneworld with non-oneworld carriers. You can mix oneworld carriers, though if you do a partner award you can’t mix airlines.

  5. What about one way awards using JL miles on JL metal? Did that rule change as well or is this only for partners?

  6. @ italdesign — If the carriers impose fuel surcharges on revenue tickets then JAL passes them on for awards.

  7. In looking at the JAL website, JAL metal-only redemptions remain subject to the old rule of round-trip redemptions only (or, more specifically, one-way redemptions are permitted but at the same price as round-trip.

  8. @Kane – Thanks for the clarification and just to satisfy my own curiosity, I called JMB and they did confirm that the new policy does not apply to JL metal.

  9. Lucky, does JL charge YQ surcharges on their own metal award flights to the US using AA miles? For ex, NRT->JFK using AA miles?

  10. Lucky, their yq charge in j/f is obscene about $1500 to asia/africa/me… also what number do you use to call JAL to redeem please? thanks

  11. @ CDO — The phone number is 1-800-JAL-FONE, though Mileage Bank only has standard business hours.

  12. Lucky, since SPG points don’t transfer immediately to JMB will they hold your reservation on emirates metal award or is it a gamble? Thx

  13. Actually the YQ is not that brutal down in the far east and down under. Only bad YQ I spotted was SIN-MLE at $432.20. How difficult is it to find JAL Emirates FC HKG-BKK-SYD-AKL? And what is the difference in redemption FC vs Suites?
    But another diamond in the rough post…………

  14. @ JustSaying — Shouldn’t be too tough to find space for one person with a bit of flexibility. Emirates only has first class, which are fully enclosed suites. There’s not a separate “suites” cabin.

  15. Lucky, I can see award space for a JAL flight on JAL and also for the same flight on British Airways, then I go to AA to book and the flight doesn’t show up. I even checked all award levels just to make sure? any ideas, Do I have to call AA to request the JAL flight?

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