The Japan Airlines Guide

If you are planning to travel to Japan, and especially if you want to pay for your ticket with miles, Japan Airlines can be a great choice. Known as JAL, the Japanese national carrier offers four classes of service: economy, premium economy, business class and first class. As for the US connections of Japan Airlines, you will find direct JAL flights to Japan from the airports of : Boston, New York, Chicago, Dallas, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Honolulu, Kona and Guam.

JAL has four hub cities: Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Okinawa. But depending on your departure point in the United States, you can book a nonstop flight to Tokyo-Narita, Tokyo-Haneda, or Osaka-Kansai, with plenty of places to connect from there.

JAL isn’t Japan’s biggest airline – that honor belongs to ANA – but with over 200 planes flying over 180 routes, there are plenty of reasons some consider it the best airline to travel to Japan. .

This guide from Japan Airlines should help you harness the power of the airline’s frequent flyer program, called Mileage Bank, and understand all your other options for traveling with this popular carrier.

If you are redeeming miles, first check if you have enough to book your first class or business class flight from JAL.

The first class seats are called , and although they are not fully enclosed suites, they are still private and very luxurious. JAL suites are available on the following US routes:

JAL business class seats are also excellent, especially on long-haul flights. They are comfortable and innovative, and the window seats also provide a lot of privacy.

There are two ways to get this coveted JAL Reward Seat:

JAL is a member of , which means you can reserve a JAL award seat using your frequent flyer miles from any of the Oneworld member airlines. JAL also has non-alliance partners, such as , and you can also use their miles to book JAL flights.

Typically, when you want to use miles to travel with a specific airline, you will find more seats available if you pay with that airline’s miles instead of partner airline miles, especially in classes. premium.

The best way to earn Mileage Bank miles is to fly regularly with JAL. You earn miles based on the physical distance you travel, which the airline calls “sector mileage,” plus the booking class of your ticket.

For example, if you are traveling in Premium Economy Class with a Class W ticket or if you are traveling in Economy Class with a Class Y ticket, you will receive a 100% mileage refund. This means that you will earn 1 Mileage Bank mile for every physical mile traveled. Some first class tickets will pay you 150% of the mileage driven. If you are traveling at a greatly discounted economy fare, you might only earn 30%.

A one-way flight from Boston to Tokyo at the cheapest economy fare will likely earn you only 2,010 Mileage Bank miles (plus 2,010 Fly On points, which apply to Elite status).

You can also earn Mileage Bank miles when you travel on any of its partner airlines, including Hawaiian Airlines, Korean Air, and Emirates, and credit your flights with JAL Mileage Bank.

There are two JAL USA credit cards, but the earning potential with either is limited. Both versions only get a 5,000 mile welcome bonus and both have an annual fee. The cheaper card, with an annual fee of $ 20, allows you to earn 1 mile for every $ 2 spent, while the version with an annual fee of $ 70 allows you to earn 1 mile for every $ 1 spent.

Several hotel brand credit cards offer signup bonus miles that you can convert to JAL Mileage Bank miles. If you maximize the welcome bonus of the card and then transfer the hotel points you earn to JAL, these cards may offer a faster way to collect JAL Mileage Bank miles than the JAL USA card.

: Plus, earn up to 14 points per dollar spent at Marriott family properties, 2 points per dollar on travel, and 1 point per dollar on other purchases.

: Earn 6 Bonvoy points per $ 1 spent at Marriott hotels and 2 Bonvoy points per $ 1 on other purchases.

: Earn 6 Bonvoy points for every dollar spent at Marriott hotels, 3 Bonvoy points at US restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines, and 2 Bonvoy points on all other qualifying purchases. Conditions apply.

: Plus, earn 7 points per dollar spent at Hilton hotels and 5 points per dollar at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations. Earn 3 points per dollar on all other purchases. Conditions apply.

: Plus, earn up to 9 points per dollar on qualifying Hyatt purchases, and 2 points per dollar on transit, commute, dining, flights purchased directly from airlines, and subscriptions to sports halls. You will get 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.

You cannot earn JAL miles by transferring points from major programs like American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards®, or Citi ThankYou. But you can transfer points from some hotel loyalty programs, including , and .

For example, Marriott points are transferred to JAL Mileage Bank at a 3: 1 ratio, and you get 5,000 additional bonus miles for every 60,000 points you transfer. In other words, you will get 25,000 JAL miles for every 60,000 Marriott Points you transfer into the program.

You can transfer Hilton Honors Points at a 10: 1 ratio. Transferring 10,000 Hilton Points will earn you 1,000 JAL Mileage Bank miles.

Don’t have Marriott, Hilton or Hyatt points? You may still have options to earn JAL Mileage Bank miles. can be converted into Marriott points, which can then be converted into JAL miles. Chase Points are transferred to Marriott at a 1: 1 ratio.

can be converted into Marriott points or Hilton points, which can then be converted into JAL miles. Choose Marriott points. They offer you a much better value for money: 1 JAL mile for 3 Marriott points, compared to 1 JAL mile for 10 Hilton points. So convert your AmEx points to Marriott points at a ratio of 2: 3, and then convert those Marriott points to JAL miles at a ratio of 3: 1. Conditions apply.

The airline has a chart showing . In this region-based table, “base miles” are the equivalent of saver bonuses in US-based frequent flyer programs. These are the cheapest rewards, and you should try to find the availability of base miles where possible.

When you search for Partner Rewards, the prizes you see will be based on one of two different tables. The is a distance-based graph that tells you how many JAL miles you need for a flight on almost all partner airlines, including Oneworld and other partners (but with the exception of Jetstar Japan, which has its own graphic). When you book an award whose price is based on this table, all segments of your trip will be on the same airline.

There is also the . When you book Partner Rewards priced based on this table, your choices will include routes on at least two airlines from the Oneworld table. This means that you can have some options to mix and match carriers. You can also add Japan Airlines when your itinerary includes Japanese domestic sectors.

Just like other airline programs, JAL Mileage Bank offers you several options for redeeming your miles for non-flight items and services. You can redeem miles on that allow you to pay for plane tickets and organized trips. However, that doesn’t give you good value for your miles.

You can also redeem Mileage Bank miles for Where . You can even redeem miles for , but that doesn’t give you the best bang for your buck either.

When you enroll in the Mileage Bank program and take an eligible flight, you earn points toward Fly On Elite status. If you travel often enough, you will be invited to join a more exclusive paid elite program called JAL Global Club. The two programs have different levels with different benefits.

Fly On has three elite levels: Crystal, Sapphire and Diamond. Here are the most notable perks you get at each level.

Crystal and Sapphire advantages, plus:

You can achieve elite status by traveling with JAL Group and Oneworld Alliance airlines. Here are the levels and how to reach them.

Meet one of the following conditions in the previous calendar year:

Meet one of the following conditions in the previous calendar year:

Meet one of the following conditions in the previous calendar year:

Membership of the JAL Global Club is available through members who have met the Mileage Club Sapphire or Diamond requirements. There are fees, which you can pay in miles. The initial and renewal fee for most members is 5,000 miles, but the renewal fee will be waived if you earn at least 35,000 Fly On points or fly at least 14 qualifying JAL international flights.

For most people, a plane ticket equals a destination. If you want to see more places during your trip, you usually pay extra tickets. But a unique feature of award travel over purchasing tickets with cash is that airlines often allow you to include multiple destinations in your award itinerary.

Japan Airlines has incredible layover compensation, and unlike many other airlines that don’t exactly advertise their layover policies, JAL.

With a JMB Partner Airline Award, you are limited to one partner airline, but you can make three free stopovers on the way to your destination. Here is an example from the JMB site: London to Paris to Helsinki to Los Angeles to New York.

With a Oneworld reward, you can make up to seven stopovers, which is almost unheard of in the world of reward travel.

JAL is one of the best airlines to serve Japan, and its miles can help you travel all over the world through its partnerships. JAL’s first and business class cabins are also among the best in the world.

Earning Japan Airlines Mileage Bank miles isn’t easy. But using the right credit card or partner airlines can help you collect JAL miles for unique perks, including JAL’s extremely generous stopover policies.

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our choices for the , including those that are best suited:

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