JAL Alaska Airlines New Partner –
Alaska Airlines and Japan Airlines recently announced a new partnership which allows for additional travel destinations via Alaska Air Mileage Plan.
What this means is Alaska is gaining another International Partner which serves Asia. They currently partner with Cathay Pacific, Korean Air and Hainan Airlines. The additional of JAL opens up more non-stop flights to Asia by gaining the two Tokyo Airports as well as Osaka with flights from Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Vancouver.
This means that there can be easy connections from other flights within the Alaska Air network.
The codeshare flights will begin in June 29.
It will soon be possible to redeem Alaska Air Mileage Plan Miles for travel on JAL. The award redemption rates have not been published yet; however, it is likely that they will be similar to Cathay Pacific where you can redeem Alaska Air Mileage Plan Miles as follows:
Economy – 30,000 one way
Premium Economy – 35,000 one way
Business – 50,000 one way
First – 70,000 one way
The business and economy redemptions via Alaska Air are more generous than the recently devalued American Airlines offerings on Cathay Pacific and other carriers. So it is likely the new JAL chart will be more economical than a similar chart on American. The other positive aspect is most flights on JAL will likely earn full credit to Alaska Mileage Plan while on American the discount flights only earn 25% or 50% of the elite qualifying miles.
Alaska Air individually negotiates the rates with each airline, so the Cathay Pacific chart may not be applicable to JAL but it should be a good indication.
Alaska has been in the news lately as it recently acquired Virgin America. By gaining Virgin America, Alaska Air obtains a larger footprint from Los Angeles and San Francisco so these non-stop flights to Japan will be a great addition to the Alaska Network.
I had the opportunity to fly on JAL in Business on their 787 Dreamliner this past year on the flight from San Diego. The service was refined and it was a nice soft product offering. The only drawback was the fact that the seat was angled flat which was surprising given the fact that the Dreamliner is only a few years old. I reviewed my experience on the flight in my post JAL San Diego to Tokyo Narita.
What are your thoughts on the new partner?