13 Best Ways To Redeem Japan Airlines (JAL) Mileage Bank Miles for Max Value

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Japan Airlines (JAL) is Japan’s original and largest international airline. JAL’s international hub is at Tokyo-Narita (NRT), and it has a domestic hub at Tokyo-Haneda (HND).

JAL is a member of the Oneworld alliance and has additional partners such as Bangkok Airways, Emirates, and Philippine Airlines.

Members of JAL Mileage Bank (JMB) can use miles for JAL and partner airlines flights. JMB is a distance-based mileage program that has interesting values compared to traditional zone-based programs.

Table of Contents

How to Earn Japan Airlines Mileage Bank Miles

You can earn JMB miles by flying Japan Airlines and its partner airlines like American Airlines and Alaska Airlines.

Marriott Credit Cards

You can earn Marriott points and transfer those to Japan Airlines, American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and Cathay Pacific at a transfer rate of 3:1. Plus, for every 60,000 Marriott points that you transfer, you’ll receive an extra 5,000 miles bonus.

Recommended Marriott Cards

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles can be transferred American Express Membership Rewards and Citi Thank You Rewards (both at a rate of 1:1) or from Marriott at a transfer rate of 3:1.

Recommended Amex Cards (Personal)

Recommended Amex Cards (Business)

Recommended Citi Cards

JAL USA Credit Cards

The JAL USA MasterCard earns miles and discounts on in-flight purchases. This $20 annual fee card only earns 1 point per every $2 spent, though, and is a poor value compared to alternate cards. You can choose the $70 annual fee version to earn a better 1 point per $1.

The 13 Best Ways To Use Your JAL Mileage Bank Miles

Following are what we believe are some of the best ways to use JAL miles. These, of course, aren’t the only ways, so once you’ve learned a few, feel free to get creative and come up with your own!

1. JAL First Class to Japan

Rest easy in your pod in the sky with Japan Airlines. Image courtesy of jal.co.jp.
Rest easy in your pod in the sky with Japan Airlines! Image courtesy of jal.co.jp.

This has to be the #1 option: experience the exquisiteness of JAL first class on a flight to its home city of Tokyo.

For 140,000 miles round-trip, you can fly to Japan in ultimate style. With limited discounts on certain days of the week, you can reduce that to 110,000!

Need help booking? See our step by step guide for booking Japan Airlines first class.

What’s all the fuss about? Check out this JAL 777 FC Review – Tokyo to LA.

2. Upgrade to JAL Premium Economy, Business, or First

JAL, J Class Seat
JAL J class seats are the peak in luxury and comfort, made with real leather and including leg rests when reclined! Image courtesy of jal.co.jp

Paid tickets on JAL can be upgraded for reasonable miles price.

North America to Japan from economy to premium economy/business is 20,000/30,000 miles each way. If seats are available, you may be offered those upgrades at the airport for 15,000 and 24,000 miles, respectively.

You have to be in paid business class to upgrade to first for 45,000 miles in advance (30,000 at the airport).

3. Save on JAL First or Business With the Limited Days of the Week Discount

You can save year-round on JAL first or business to Japan just by flying certain days of the week. Only certain flights to/from Japan are eligible, and not connecting itineraries.

To take advantage, depart the U.S. Monday-Thursday, and schedule your return departing Japan Tuesday-Friday. Round-trip to Japan at these saver rates is just 80,000 miles in business or 110,000 in first.

Only a few dates are blacked out each year.

Check details here.

Need help booking? See our step by step guide for booking Japan Airlines business class.

Hot Tip: Want to know more about JAL biz? Don’t miss this review: Japan Airlines 777 Business Class Review — Los Angeles to Tokyo

4. JAL Off-Peak Economy to Japan

JAL Economy Class Meal
JAL economy class meals come in Japanese bento box style! Image courtesy of jal.co.jp

JAL off-peak awards are just 40,000 miles round-trip from the U.S. to Japan in economy. For only a few miles more, you can continue to JAL’s many Asian destinations.

For being in the back of the plane, economy on JAL is a one of the best in the world!

Here are the North America dates for 2018:

  • Apr 1-May 31, 2018 (excludes Apr 27-May 8)
  • Other days may be announced

See JAL International Award Tickets Discount Mileage Promotion for more. These are economy only.

5. JAL Domestic Flights From 5,000 Miles

One-way awards on JAL’s domestic flights are periodically reduced by 50% round-trip prices. With seasonal discounts, these can get low as 5,000 miles one-way.

2018 dates are:

  • Apr 1-May 31, 2018 (excludes Apr 27-May 8)
  • Dec 1, 2018-Feb 28, 2019 (excludes Dec 22, 2018-Jan 06, 2019)

Use them to island hop around Okinawa!

6. 3 Stopovers on Partner Awards

Partner award tickets are distance-based for up to 6 flight segments, meaning you’ll pay for the total distance you fly.

There are some fantastic possibilities for tickets with stops in up to 3 cities. Remember these are stops, not connections, meaning you can stay in each place as long as you want within the ticket validity. Add many partner-specific discount promotions, and you have some of the best mileage deals anywhere!

To learn how this works, you can practice online with the group of partners available on the JMB website: Air France, American, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, and Qantas.

Go to JMB Partner Airlines Award Ticket Reservation and scroll down to Other Itineraries.

JMB Partner Other Itineraries Search
Using the Other Itineraries search you can get up to 3 stopovers on the way to your destination!

7. Hop Around the U.S. East Coast (American Airlines)

Let JAL inspire your trip around the U.S. East Coast on its partner American Airlines:

JMB American East Coast
Using JAL’s stopovers, you can explore many cities on the East Coast of the U.S. before returning home!

8. Hop Around the U.S. West Coast (Alaska Airlines)

With Alaska Airlines you can book ultra-cheap multi-city trips around the West Coast on Alaska. You can also mix Alaska with American Airlines flights on the same ticket.

JMB Alaska Award Chart
Now that Alaska Airlines is a JAL partner, you can redeem for mixed award flights between the airlines.

9. Save Big Touring South America (LATAM)

Flights in South America are expensive, meaning this is a great chance to use your miles.

LATAM does not have the best award availability, but if you can find it you can create some incredible trips around the continent.

Trips up to 1,000 miles start at 15,000 miles You can have up to 3 stopovers…think Easter Island, Iguazu Falls and more!

10. Thai Beaches and Angkor Wat (Bangkok Airways)

Bangkok Airways is not a Oneworld airline. Fortunately, with their partnership with JAL, you can book awards on the with your miles.

Flights up to 1,000 miles in distance are just 15,000 miles. That is enough for a roundtrip Bangkok to any of Koh Samui/Chiang Mai/Krabi/Phuket/Siem Reap/Phnom Penh/Yangon.

You can even have stopovers! How about Bangkok→Phuket→Siem Reap→Bangkok for just 20,000 miles?

Even flying from Bangkok all the way to the Maldives tops out at a paltry 21,000 miles.

11. Cheap way to Maldives (Sri Lankan)

The Sri Lankan Colombo-Maldives shuttle is 15,000 miles, and starting all the way from London, Paris or Frankfurt is only 50,000 miles in economy, 80,000 miles in business.

12. Russia on Discount (S7)

S7 is aJAL partner with no fuel surcharges. So in addition to prices as low 15,000 miles in economy, 25,000 miles in business for trips up to 1,000 miles, you won’t be paying high cash fees on your award.

13. Hawaii to Japan, Tahiti, or Australia (Hawaiian)

Hawaiian is now a full partner with JAL. Short-distance flights cost a relatively high amount of miles. There are interesting values on longer flights:

  • Honolulu – Tahiti (Papete) for 37,000 miles economy / 60,000 miles business (roundtrip)
  • Tokyo (Haneda/Narita)/Sapporo (New Chitose) – Honolulu – Kauai (Lihue) or Maui (Kahului) for 39,000 miles economy / 63,000 miles business (roundtrip), from November 20, 2018 will change to 45,000 miles economy / 80,000 miles business (roundtrip)
  • Honolulu – Sydney for 50,000 miles economy / 80,000 miles business (roundtrip), from November 20, 2018 business will change to 100,000 miles (roundtrip)

Japan Airlines Mileage Bank Program (JMB)

Join JMB Frequent Flyer Program

Sign up for JAL Mileage Bank (JMB) to earn miles and redeem for award flights.

JAL JMB Loyalty Program
You must join JAL Mileage Bank before you can earn any miles or transfer them from partners.

JAL Family Club

JAL Family Club allows families to pool miles for awards. This program is only available to families residing in eligible regions outside Japan. Register here.

JAL Family Club
The JAL family club allows you to share your miles between members of your family (up to 9).

A family can register up to 9 members, including the primary member’s spouse, children, parents, and spouse’s parents. Each member must be age 12 and above with their own JMB account.

JAL Family Club fees:

  • 1,000-mile initial registration fee, credited back once the primary member flies a paid JAL international flight (accounts with no miles are allowed to be set up, then the 1,000 miles deducted once earned by any means).
  • 1,000-mile renewal fee charged every 5 years, also credited back once the primary member flies a paid JAL international flight in the following year.
  • 1,000-mile fee to add new family member

Hot Tip: JAL Family Club is not only for pooling miles – there are regular bonus mile offers, too! Until March 31, 2017, every member earns 300 bonus miles for international flights. Register here.

JMB Award Booking Guidelines

Award tickets can be booked up to 360 days in advance.

You must book awards online 4 days prior to departure; by phone you can book up to 2 days prior to departure.

How Much Do JMB Domestic Awards on Japan Airlines Cost?

JAL Domestic Award Tickets start at 12,000 miles round-trip. Off-peak periods throughout the year bring that down to as low as 10,000.

All domestic one-ways will be half the round-trip price. Until then, one-ways are slightly more than the half the round-trip price.

Japan is categorized into Zones A-C; see the domestic award chart.

Booking Guidelines for JMB International Awards on Japan Airlines

JMB Partner Airlines Award Tickets
There are a few rules for using JMB internationally, but they shouldn’t prevent you from booking an award flight!

One-way awards are allowed, and since 2014 have been charged at half the round-trip price.

Mixed cabin awards are also allowed; these are priced to match the highest cabin on the itinerary.

Round-trip flights must return to same country as your departure, but they can arrive in a different city (book 2 one-ways if you’re planning to return to a different country). Also note the following country definitions:

  • U.S. and Canada counted as same country area
  • U.K. and Europe counted as same country area
  • China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan not counted as same country area

A maximum of 3 flight segments are allowed each way, and no stopovers are permitted within Japan.

Generally, you’ll find better JAL availability for JMB members than on partner airlines.

How Much Do JMB International Awards on Japan Airlines Cost?

JMB has multiple pricing options for international awards on Japan Airlines. A great place to start is the Mileage Calculator, and you can also study the full JAL International Award Ticket Chart.

Here’s the award chart from North America to Japan:

JMB North America Award Chart
North America to Japan’s award chart. Note that discount mileage is not widely available.

Standard Mileage:

  • Available year-round on all routes

Discount Mileage:

  • Specific dates and routes
  • Must book online
  • North America routes:
    • Apr 1-May 31, 2018 (excludes Apr 27-May 8)
    • Other days may be announced
    • Check offers for all regions here

Limited Days of the Week Discount:

  • Available year-round
  • Depart Japan Tue-Fri
  • Depart outside Japan Mon-Thu
  • Excludes:
    • Apr 27-May 6, 2018
    • Jul 27-Aug 31, 2018
    • Dec 21-Jan 6, 2019
  • Check offers here

International Upgrades on Japan Airlines

Paid tickets on JAL can be upgraded using miles. Upgrades are offered in advance, and at the airport for a discount (subject to availability).

Economy tickets can upgrade to premium economy or business, but you can only upgrade to first from a paid business class ticket.

JAL runs upgrade discount promotions on select routes. See upgrade discount routes upgrade discount routes April 1, 2018-March 31, 2019

See the full JMB upgrade chart for other regions.

Hot Tip: See our article on earning JAL miles if you need more miles to earn an upgrade!

Booking Guidelines for JMB Partner Airlines Awards

JMB Partner Airlines Award Tickets
Some general booking guidelines will help make sure are redeeming your miles for the highest value!

JMB Partner Airline awards are distance-based and incredibly flexible!

Instead of thinking of these in traditional one-way/round-trip terms, think of this as an additive trip: the more distance you fly, the more you pay.

You can have up to 6 flight segments per ticket, and you are allowed up to 3 stopovers per ticket (stops of 24+ hours).

If you seek to visit multiple destinations in a single trip, this is one of the best mileage values available: 3 destinations for the price of 1!

There are some key rules:

  • No requirement to return to origin country
  • Cannot backtrack or return to country of origin mid-trip
  • One city can be transited a maximum of 3 times
  • Maximum 1 stopover per city
  • No domestic China, Hong Kong, or Macau stopover allowed on tickets originating in China
  • China Eastern: maximum 4 segments per ticket
  • Korean Air: maximum 2 segments per ticket
  • Non-Oneworld partner airlines cannot be mixed
  • Mixed cabin awards price at the highest cabin of the itinerary, meaning even just 1 of 6 segments in business and the rest in economy will price the whole ticket as business

Fuel surcharges are charged on some carriers and can be substantial. Alternate carriers may fly the same route and save you cash. The highest fuel surcharges are usually on Air France, British Airways, Emirates, Finnair, and Qantas. Other carriers on most round-trips should be under $200.

Hot Tip: For more information, check out our article dedicated to the topic — The Ultimate Guide to Airline Fuel Surcharges (Including Those That Charge The Most & The Least)

How Much Do JAL Mileage Bank Awards on Partner Airlines Cost?

The JMB Partner Airline Award Chart is:

JMB Partner Award Chart

Book Flights on JAL Partner Airlines

JAL is a Oneworld alliance member and has several additional airline partners.

JAL JMB Partner Airlines
JAL is part of Oneworld, which includes all the airlines listed above.

Oneworld Airline Partners

JAL Partner AirlineAward Bookable Online?
American AirlinesYes
British AirwaysYes
Cathay PacificYes
FinnairNo, search britishairways.com
IberiaNo, search britishairways.com
LATAMNo, search britishairways.com
MalaysiaNo, search britishairways.com
QatarNo, search britishairways.com
Royal JordanianNo, search britishairways.com
S7No, search britishairways.com
Sri LankanNo, search britishairways.com

Other Airline Partners

When booking non-Oneworld partner airlines you cannot mix multiple airlines.

JAL Partner AirlineAward Bookable Online?
Air FranceYes
Alaska AirlinesSearch aa.com
Bangkok AirwaysNo, call JAL
China EasternNo, search airfrance.com
Jetstar JapanNo, call JAL
Korean AirNo, search airfrance.com

Fees, Changes and Cancellations:

JMB has reasonable award fees:

  • Telephone ticketing service fee: ¥2,000 (≈$17), applicable to phone bookings except partners/itineraries not available online
  • Change: no fee to change flight or date, except bookings that were originally subject to a ticketing service fee will be charged again for each change; can be processed up to 4 days prior to departure.
  • Refund: ¥3,100 (≈$26); can be processed up to 24 hours prior to departure.

Mileage Expiration in JAL Mileage Bank

JMB miles expire the end of the 36th month from when they were earned, regardless of subsequent activity.

The Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan/JAL Partnership

JAL and Alaska Airlines became partners in 2016, adding another excellent option for award flights on JAL.

The way Alaska Airlines works with partners is that only routes published on their award chart are available for booking with Alaska Mileage Plan. For example, you can book U.S. to Japan but not Europe to Japan.

The award chart is:

US <-> Northeast Asia35,00060,00070,000
US <-> Southeast Asia40,00065,00075,000

The American Airlines AAdvantage/JAL Partnership

American Airlines AAdvantage is a strong alternate to JMB for booking award travel on JAL.

You can redeem for economy, business, and first, but not premium economy.

On these awards you cannot mix multiple partners, but you can add connections.

From the continental U.S., the one-way award chart is:

Continental U.S. to:EconomyBusinessFirst
Asia 135,00060,00080,000
Asia 237,50070,000110,000

The British Airways Executive Club/JAL Partnership

British Airways is not just a great tool for checking online award availability; the Avios distance-based chart also has the cheapest short-distance awards available on JAL. Most Japan domestic flights are 4,500 Avios.

British Airways Avios JAL HND-CTS
Use the British Airways search engine for greater visibility into available award travel on JAL.

Give British Airways a pass for long-haul fares, though, which are non-competitive.

Hot Tip: Earn additional Avios by transferring from Chase Ultimate Rewards using the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or from Amex Membership Rewards using the American Express® Gold Card.

The Cathay Pacific Asia Miles/JAL Partnership

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles is a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards and Citi ThankYou Points.

The Asia Miles award chart is distance-based and has some competitive values for short and long-haul flights.

You must be traveling round-trip on JAL and cannot mix with airlines other than Cathay.

An award to Japan from the continental U.S. is in Award Zone D, meaning round-trip is 60,000/120,000/180,000 in economy/business/first.

Asia Miles Awards Chart
Asia Miles is a great award program and allows you to book flights on JAL!


Japan Airlines Mileage Bank is a niche program little-known outside Japan. There are tremendous award values both on Japan Airlines and partner airlines, and we gave you what we think to be some of the best ways to use JAL miles.

Distance-based awards with 3 stopovers is one of the greatest mileage values in the world. Why visit 1 destination when you can visit 3 for the same price!

Find Out How to Earn JAL Mileage Bank Miles >

Photo Credits:
Japan Airlines Featured Photo: image courtesy of CNN.com


What is Japan Mileage Bank? Why should I join?

Japan Mileage Bank (JMB) is the free loyalty program of Japan Airlines (JAL).

Members earn miles from flying JAL, traveling with their airline and hotel partners, and utilizing various credit cards and shopping offers.

JMB miles can be used for flights and upgrades on JAL or its partners.

How can I join JMB?

Do JMB miles expire?

Miles earned in the Japan Mileage Bank program are valid for 36 months.

Is Japan Airlines a member of an airline alliance?

Japan Airlines is a member of Oneworld and has additional airline partners Emirates, Air France, Jetstar Japan, China Eastern Airlines, Bangkok Airways, and Alaska Airlines.

JAL is also a member of Asia Miles.

How can I contact Japan Airlines from the U.S.?

From the U.S., call the JAL Mileage Bank Center at 1-800-JAL-FONE (1-800-525-3663).

What is the login for JMB?

Is there a credit card to earn JMB Miles?

Earn up to 2 pts/$1 spent with the JAL USA MasterCard (depending on which annual-fee version you choose).

You can also transfer points to Asia Miles for use on JAL through American Express Membership Rewards cards like The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express or American Express® Gold Card.

Alex Miller

About Alex Miller

Alex has been traveling for over 25 years and from a young age was lucky enough to set out on numerous family trips all over the world, which gave him the travel bug. Alex has since earned millions of travel points and miles, mainly through maximizing credit card sign-up bonuses and taking every opportunity to earn the most points possible on each dollar spent.


Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.


  1. Chuck Hong · March 8, 2019 · Reply

    Didn’t Alaska Airlines kill redemption of their points for JAL premium economy back in mid March of 2017? Just checked the Alaska Airlines website and it still shows redemption for only First, Business and Economy. You may want to update your table in this article.

    • Toby Plumb · March 13, 2019 · Reply

      Hello Chuck and thank you for spotting that. You are correct. We have updated the table.

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