Sorry for getting your heart beating. You can rest assured that though there was indeed a “devaluation” to the Japan Airlines Mileage Bank loyalty program, it’s basically entirely in tact. All the amazing flights you were hoping to book are still bookable, this is just a reminder to earn and burn, and of a society where devaluations are perhaps handled with care…

a bed in an airplane

Japan Airlines made three changes to the acclaimed loyalty program. When I first logged on to their website  a couple days ago to find “new chart for October 1”- my heart skipped a few beats. So many cunning plans to maximize their award chart, fly first class with Emirates around the world and so forth for fraction of other carriers rates, would they all be gone?!

a table with numbers and text

But then I actually looked at the change. Unlike other players, such as American, Delta and Virgin Atlantic, who recently devalued their programs up to 70%, the three reductions with JAL’s changes were almost comic relief. You’ll now pay an additional 5,000 miles for flights where the total distance comprises 8-10,000 miles. Previously, you paid 100,000 points for First Class anywhere between 6,000 and 10,000. They’ve made a 5,000 mile distinction between the two now. The other two changes? They actually require less miles for first or business class flights on their shortest distances, up to 1,000 miles. They dropped the price 3,000 miles in business and 5,000 miles in first. How kind.

a large white airplane on a runway

The takeaways here? Airlines can (and will) change the rates for how many miles you’ll need for any given flight. The best give notice, the worst take the charts away entirely and raise the rates without notice. If you have a “bucket list” redemption you plan to accomplish with your miles, you’re always advised to get it booked and get the points in place sooner rather than later, because once an opportunity is plugged, it’s over for good.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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