After a long hiatus of First Class awards not being available for Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan partners, Mileage Plan members can once again redeem miles for First Class travel on JAL. There has been some ups and downs with phantom award space, but these too seem resolved. Mileage Plan members can once again book JAL first class awards to Japan and beyond. Awards start at 70,000 miles and are an excellent value for those traveling to Asia.
Japan Airlines has been one of my favorite airlines for years. They have amazing food and a decent hard product. I’ve flown Japan Airways from the San Francisco to Haneda and was in heaven. The only down side was the JAL lounge in SFO and to and from NYC. Never have I been disappointed flying JAL. Japan Airlines offers courteous and attentive service and amazing onboard food. Even when flying JAL First Class from Los Angeles to Narita, the western food was amazing. Not to mention their high end Sake and Champagne is delicious.
JAL First Class Award Space Issue
The issue started way back in August of 2020. Japan Airlines (JAL) changed their award booking code from Z to A. In doing so, this caused confusion for many partners because A is actually a bookable fare class on JAL. When JAL did this, flights that use to book in “Z” class appeared as a revenue ticket. Many of JAL partner airlines didn’t have a way to decipher between revenue ticket space and award space. During the last several months, American Airlines showed award space on JAL nearly ever day. Yet when trying to book it, it would error now. Alaska showed zero award space.
The issue persisted and even calling in the Alaska Airlines reservations center did not help. Awards were just not available. A few agents tried reaching out to supervisor and the partner award desk, without luck. Tickets were just not available. During this last few months, this has been an issue with nearly every partner’s of Japan Airlines.
Thankfully, I can now confirm that I have booked a First Class award for travel to Japan in 2022 in A space, which is an award.
Now, if only Alaska would gain access to JAL domestic business and first, we’d all be happy. Yet for now, only Coach flights are available for intra-Japan travel.
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan members could not book Japan Airlines first class award tickets for several months. As of recently, First class space is available again via Alaska Airlines reservation desk and website.
If you’re looking to book your Japan Airlines flight, head over to Alaska Airlines and use the calendar search function. Japan Airways First class shows up as 70,000 miles each way.