Great news for West Coast travelers!
Alaska Airlines has just added JAL (Japan Airlines) as a Codeshare partner as well as a partner to its rewards program, Alaska Airlines MileagePlan. In a nutshell, this means that starting June 29, you can use Alaska miles to book award travel on Japan Airlines (and vice versa), which has long been coveted as one of the best airlines in the sky to take travellers from the west coast to Japan.
Here are some of the other benefits of the codeshare agreement:
- One stop reservations and ticketing @ Alaskaair.com
- One-stop check-in, seating assignment, boarding pass issuance, and baggage check to final destination at the airport kiosks
- Better search on coordinated flight schedules providing more flight choices with quick and easy connections to Japan (especially from the west coast!)
- Earn Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles on JAL flights
People who are new to the game might overlook Alaska miles easily. This is definitely understandable as the average traveler really only thinks about Alaska Airlines when they have a desire to go to Alaska, Seattle, Portland, and sometimes Hawaii. I’ve been a long-time fan of Alaska miles, not just because they offer great flight redemptions and availability from the Bay Area/Los Angeles to my favorite Hawaiian islands, but also because their 17 international partner airlines made available to you to redeem travel on are incredible. Alaska’s partner network includes Emirates, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and now Japan Airlines, which means your miles can take you pretty far and for not that many miles.
JAL operates a fairly new fleet of Boeing 777-300ERs and 787-800s from North America to Japan. Be careful when booking, though, if you have a desire to fly their new SkySuites product. The newly sought after “Sky Suites” in business and first class are somewhat limited and for the most part only available on the 777–however, JAL is working to expand SkySuites to nearly all their planes. Be sure to be on the lookout for the actual plane model when booking. Here is a guide that you can use to see which routes JAL is bringing the SkySuites remodel to.
All in all, a solid addition for Alaska MileagePlan, which now boasts 17 international partner carriers that can get you to over 900 destinations. Alaska miles are actually pretty easy to generate, and one should keep in mind that you can also transfer SPG points into Alaska points on a 1:1 basis, or and even better 1:1.25 basis when transferring in increments of 20,000 (yet another reason I love SPG).
Happy travel hacking!