Japan Airlines Mileage Bank Emirates Award Fuel Surcharges?

Filed Under: Awards, Emirates

Japan Airlines Mileage Bank offers one of the most lucrative award charts for travel on Emirates.

Japan Airlines has a distance based award chart

While I primarily redeem Alaska miles for travel on Emirates (given that those miles are easier to come by than Japan Airlines miles), Japan Airlines has a distance based award chart, which is especially lucrative for select routes out of the US.

Here’s their distance based award chart:


Has Japan Airlines stopped imposing fuel surcharges on Emirates?

For a long time Japan Airlines wasn’t imposing fuel surcharges for travel on Emirates. Then last year Emirates began imposing fuel surcharges for their own members, and at the time Japan Airlines matched that.

Well, looking at the update Japan Airlines made to their Mileage Bank fee page on June 4, 2014, it looks like they may not be imposing fuel surcharges on Emirates anymore (bolding mine):

Following are example of TAXES and FEES and Carrier-IMPOSED FEES (if applicable) charged to the customer in addition to JMB Miles for travel on single carrier departing from U.S. to gateway city on direct flight on round-trip basis (single round-trip, two segments basis).

AIR BERLIN (AB): U.S. to Germany round-trip: maximum US$146.90.
AMERICAN AIRLINES (AA): U.S. to Japan round-trip: maximum US$80.50.
US AIRWAYS(US): U.S. to Europe round-trip: minimum US$85.60 maximum US$365.00.
BRITISH AIRWAYS (BA): U.S. to U.K round-trip: minimum US$594.90 maximum US$962.50.
CATHAY PACIFIC AIRWAYS (CX/KA): U.S. to Hong Kong round-trip: maximum US$296.30.
FINNAIR (AY): U.S. to Finland round-trip: maximum US$415.00.
IBERIA (IB): U.S. to Spain round-trip: maximum US$201.00
LAN (LA): U.S. to Chile round-trip: maximum US$85.00.
QANTAS (QF): U.S. to Australia round-trip: minimum US$827.50, maximum US$945.60.
QATAR AIRWAYS (QR): U.S. to Qatar round-trip : maximum US$74.80
ROYAL JORDANIAN (RJ): U.S. to Jordan round-trip: maximum US$120.10.
TAM AIRLINES (JJ): U.S. to Brasil round-trip: maximum US$95.65.
AIR FRANCE (AF): U.S. to France round-trip: minimum US$643.80, maximum US$1039.00.
EMIRATES (EK): U.S. to U.A.E round-trip: maximum US$78.20.
CHINA EASTERN (MU): U.S. to China round-trip: maximum US$427.40.

Above quotes listed are as of June 4, 2014, and subject to change. Partner Airlines and award travel itineraries not listed above are also subject to TAXES and FEES if applicable. Final quotes are subject to award ticket issuing date.

So it seems like the maximum carrier imposed fees for an Emirates ticket are $78.20, which suggests there aren’t any fuel surcharges.

I called Japan Airlines to confirm that this was in fact the case, and the one agent I spoke with said there shouldn’t be fuel surcharges, though couldn’t give me an exact quote of the taxes and fees, so I can’t guarantee it’s correct. That being said, if push comes to shove and you make a booking, I think showing them that page would do the trick in getting any fuel surcharges waived.

“Sweet spots” for Emirates redemptions through Japan Airlines

When redeeming Japan Airlines miles, there are two “sweet spot” redemptions out of the US on Emirates:

  • New York to Milan roundtrip in business class for 65,000 miles
  • New York to Dubai roundtrip in business class for 85,000 miles

Emirates A380 business class

Those are amazing redemption rates, in particular just 85,000 miles between New York and Dubai.

As I mentioned above the only issue is how tough Japan Airlines miles are to come by. They partner with Starwood Preferred Guest, so you can transfer points at a 1:1 ratio and get a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 points transferred. But aside from that there’s not really a way to transfer miles to them.

Bottom line

It does seem like Japan Airlines may not be imposing fuel surcharges for travel on Emirates anymore, though it may very well be a case of “your mileage may vary,” whereby different agents will tell you different things. This would be a great news for those with Starpoints looking to travel on Emirates.

  1. What about the JAL credit card to generate JAL miles? It has an amazing sign up bonus… 🙂

  2. What is the award space like for JAL Business and First? Is there a lot, or very little?

    I have a AAdvantage card right now, and looking to go back to Japan.


  3. Hmm… perhaps EK is not imposing fuel surcharges for its USA-DXB routes? I just checked for the routes JFK-MXP, JFK-DXB, SFO-DXB, and LAX-DXB and for all those routes, there were $0 fuel surcharges. For BKK-DXB, however, the fuel surcharges were $400!

  4. Ok after digging into this more, I noticed on flights originating in the USA to wherever on Emirates (one-way or roundtrip), there are no YQ. However, on flights from DXB or wherever going to the USA on Emirates (one-way or roundtrip), there were fuel surcharges of roughly $400-$600. I found this by looking at the fare prices for JFK-DXB-JFK and DXB-JFK-DXB on both EK’s site and ita matrix. So I guess this is good for those passengers who starts their trip in the USA!

  5. Can you mix or have multiple airline partners on JMBs partner awards or do you have to stick to one for the entire award? Doesn’t seem to indicate anything on their webpage and I came up with nothing on a google search.

  6. @Lucky, JL’s language states “EMIRATES (EK): U.S. to U.A.E round-trip: maximum US$78.20” which implies that only routes USUAE would be covered for the $78.xx maximum, not ALL EK flights.

    As proof of that, as Joey said above, only the routes ex-USA seem to have $0 YQ and not any flights ex-DXB.

  7. @ Tyson — If you’re flying one of their non-oneworld partners I believe you have to fly them the whole way.

  8. What’s a good way to redeem for JAL award flights? BA miles or AA miles? also for checking Oneworld flight availability, is BA the best tool? Thanks!

  9. @ Jamie — American has the best redemption rates for longhaul premium cabin awards on JAL.

  10. Lucky, how is availability for F/J for JAL via AA? I remember reading that it was pretty bad, is that still the case?

  11. @ K — Haven’t tried myself, because frankly not a good enough value on their Emirates chart to actually book, in my opinion.

  12. Lucky, is there a limitation on how many miles I can transfer from SPG to lets say JAL? If I want to transfer 100K SPG points then there won’t be a restriction right? Would I still get the 5K bonus on every 20K? What other hotel programs allow a one to one transfer to miles?

  13. @ AH — You can transfer as many Starpoints as you want over time, though you’d want to transfer no more than 60,000 Starpoints per day, so you get the 5,000 point bonus per transaction. There aren’t any other hotel programs which allow 1:1 transfers.

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