This is the first of a series of articles on some of the more obscure airlines that are transfer partners with Starwood. Special thanks to S.B.S. for his exhaustive research on this topic!
Starwood Starpoints transfer to JAL Mileage Bank at a 1:1 or 20,000:25,000 ratio.
The JAL program is one of the most complicated mileage programs that I have ever seen.
JAL Redemption Options Linky
You can get dizzy just trying to figure out what they’re talking about.
The complicating factor is that they have 2 kinds of awards.
1. Distance based: This is where the required miles is based on the actual distance of the flight.
2. Zone based: This is where the required miles is based on the countries of origin and destination.
To make things worse, in each type of awards there are some partners that are zone-based, and some that are distance based.
Here’s my own shot at simplification of the JAL program:
There are 5 distinct types of mileage awards.
1. Domestic JAL Group (Includes 6 Japanese Airlines) Tickets.
2. International JAL Group (Includes 3 Japanese Airlines) Tickets.
3. JAL+Partner Tickets: Valid for Travel on JAL and AA for a zone based award. Valid for travel on JAL and Finnair, Iberia, Malev Hungarian Airlines, Qantas Airways and Royal Jordanian Airlines for a distance based award.
4. Partner Airlines Tickets: The required mileage differs for each of the following airlines! Valid for travel on any one (and only one) of the following airlines: AA, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Dragonair, Finnair, Iberia, LAN, Malév Hungarian Airlines, Qantas Airways, Royal Jordanian Airlines, Air France, Emirates.
5. One-World Tickets: Valid for travel on at least two different (excluding JAL) OneWorld carriers.
I don’t have the time to sift through every nook and cranny of the program to find gems, but this little nugget stands out:
The Partner Airlines (category 4) award for British Airways is zone-based. It considers Israel to be part of Europe!
The JAL miles cost of a British Airways ticket from anywhere in North or Central America to Israel is as follows:
Coach between 10/15 and 05/15 (a.k.a. World Traveler Class): 40,000
Coach between 5/16 and 10/14 (a.k.a. World Traveler Class): 60,000
Premium Coach (a.k.a. World Traveler Plus Class): 75,000
Business (a.k.a. Club World Class): 80,000
Bear in mind that for every 20,000 Starpoints you will get 25,000 JAL miles, so the actual cost for an off-peak coach award to Israel is less than 35,000 Starpoints!
Feel free to comb through the rest of JAL program and let me know about any more gems that you may find!