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Everyone had a heartache when Alaska Air suddenly, without warning, devalued their Emirates award chart over night. It was a crap move honestly, but things are looking up. The addition of Japan Airlines to the partner list makes Alaska Air hands down the best reward program. There are rumors that Delta may be leaving, and if they do, so be it, Alaska Air will still have one the best charts to Europe and I’d say the best to Asia now. No they don’t have all the partners of some of the big alliances, but the value of their points is second to none. We shall see what the chart looks like when it’s unveiled, but my guess is it will be comparable to American and Cathay…
Here are the details via Yahoo Finance:
Let’s take a quick look at the products you could fly on JAL 777-300ER
First class ” JAL Suite”
Business class ” Sky Suite”
on 777-300 and retrofit 787
As you can see both forward cabins offer completely lie flat products and aisle access. Aisle access is so key. Who flipping wants to crawl across someone while in business class? Not I!
JAL vs CATHAY
This is the most obvious comparison as both are partners of Alaska and both offer outstandingly good premium classes. Now, the sweet part of JAL is that they offer up gobs of first class and business class availability within a couple weeks of departure. They also offer up lots of availability at the end of the schedule. Cathay used to offer up a lot more first class seats per flight a couple years ago, but in the past year they have dried up availability quite a bit. With this new partnership, getting anywhere in Asia has just gotten much better, especially when you factor in the 1 stopover rule that Alaska affords. This means if you want to go and see the Great Wall of China, you could stop and see Tokyo en route…or Hong Kong if you’re taking Cathay. It also means the likelihood of trying to score a last minute first class or swapping out your current business class seat to sit in the primo cabin has gotten better.
Alaska allows unlimited changes and cancellations up to 60 days in advance. Inside that window you will have to pay a fee of $125 unless you are top tier MVP GOLD 75k – the status I will be shooting for next year… Not a bad gig really, JAL releases a lot of seats at random times throughout the year, and then a lot of availability in those last 10-14 days.
When will I be able to use award tickets on JAL and credit my flights?
H/T View from the Wing
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