an airplane with rows of seats

With devaluation comes clarity…

Earlier this week, yet another shoe in the cinderella story of points and miles dropped. Japan Airlines announced devaluation of their enticing Mileage Bank program, requiring travelers to spend more credit card points or airline miles for flights on Japan Airlines, and their partners all over the world. No devaluation is better than any devaluation, but Japan Airlines remains a great choice for banking miles – and after this devaluation, perhaps even more so. Here’s what happened and why they should remain on the radar of any points collector.

a white airplane on a runwayHow To Collect Japan Airlines Mileage Bank Miles

Despite the devaluation, which will take effect November 20th, 2018, Japan Airlines Mileage Bank is an excellent choice because creating points isn’t quite as easy as with other programs. You can earn Japan Airlines Mileage Bank miles by flying on Japan Airlines and all OneWorld partners for your flights, but other options are more limited than other programs. The only main viable ways to transfer points into Japan Airlines Mileage Bank are from Marriott (and SPG) Rewards and from Barclay’s Arrival Premier U.S. credit card. Japan Airlines does also offer their own credit card in many markets.

20-30% More Miles In November

For any flights prior booked with Japan Airlines Mileage Bank prior to November 22nd, current rates will apply. For all flights booked thereafter, the new charts will kick in. In the devaluation we’re seeing increases in the price of miles required by between 20-30%. This applies to all airline partners such as Emirates, Qantas, Cathay Pacific, American and more. A flight which currently costs 100,000 points will require 130,000 points, which is no fun for anyone, but the way you actually use points remains very generous. Why? The chart is distance based and does not care where you’re going – only how far.

a city skyline with many lightsJapan Airlines Distanced Based Chart

Japan Airlines only cares how far you’re going, which allows for exciting around the world potential, or quite a few flights within a region – all at one great price. For example, any partner flights in business class up to 20,000 miles of actual distance will cost just 130,000 points. You can start anywhere, and finish anywhere. To put that into perspective, you could fly from San Francisco to Tokyo – stopover for a few days, carry on to Sydney – spend as long as you like, fly onto Hong Kong – enjoy the city for a few days and then jet on to Vienna. This would all run just 130,000 points. Of course if you can book it before November 22nd, you can get it for 100,000 points.

Other Cool JAL Mileage Bank Ideas

On these tickets a maximum of six segments and three stopovers is allowed. What this means is you can take six flights and spend more than 24 hours in three destinations, in addition to your departure and final destination. Any connections under 24 hours don’t count as a stopover, and can be a great way to sample a city. You could do a U.S. to South America multi city trip, like this one, for 100,000 points – or an intra Asia (or Europe) one like this for 80,000 points. Chart details can be found here. And yep, First class or economy is available too for more and fewer points, respectively! And always remember, if you start your flight in certain countries or cities, you won’t pay any fuel surcharge – regardless of airline.

an airplane with rows of seatsFinal Points

Devaluations suck – full stop. But unlike some airlines, Japan Airlines is giving points collectors six months to get their bookings in at the current, inimitable rates. Going forward the rates won’t be as enticing as before, but still remain amongst the lowest in the world – especially considering that Delta would charge more than 140,000 points for a simple flight between New York and London round trip. The ANA Mileage Club chart also remains a fantastic around the world option, as does Cathay’s AsiaMiles. And lest we forget about Asiana’s 50,000 point first class flights on Lufthansa!

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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