Did You Know That You Can Earn Flying Blue Miles On JAL?

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I rarely fly with Air France or KLM and my Flying Blue account balance shows that I have a grand total of zero miles so it’s not all that surprising that I don’t consider myself to be an authority on Flying Blue or its partners.

When I discover something I didn’t previously know about a loyalty program I rarely use I’m generally not very surprised because modern-day loyalty programs have so many nuances that it’s almost impossible to keep on top of all of them…but today’s discovery genuinely caught me off guard – I had no idea that you could credit Japan Airlines (JAL) flights to the Flying Blue program (and vice versa) and this is something I would expect myself to know.

Flying Blue is the loyalty program for, amongst others, Air France/KLM and Air France/KLM are part of the SkyTeam alliance (alongside the likes of Delta, Korean Air, etc…).

JAL, on the other hand, is a notable member of the oneworld alliance (American, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, etc…) and, as well as being a member of the oneworld alliance, also has significant joint business agreements with a number of its fellow oneworld members (BA, Finnair, Malaysia Airlines, American Airlines etc…).

Flying Blue and JAL don’t appear to have all that much in common and although it’s certainly not unheard of for airlines to cooperate across alliances it’s unusual to see two major members of separate alliances codesharing and offering reciprocal mileage earning and burning opportunities….but that’s exactly what we have here.

Earn Flying Blue Miles With JAL

Flying Blue members can earn miles (based on distance traveled) on flights marketed as Japan Airlines (JL) and operated by Japan Airlines, Air France or KLM.

Not all flights qualify (see below for more details) but the earning rates aren’t too bad

International Flights

Flights between France and Japan, using a fare with a booking class of H, K, M, V, S, O, G or R (most Economy Class fares) aren’t eligible for mileage accrual but all other international flights will earn Flying Blue miles based on this table:

Domestic Flights

All domestic JAL flights qualify for Flying Blue mileage accrual based on the following table:

Link to the Flying Blue JAL page

Spending Flying Blue Miles On JAL

This is where things get a lot less clear…and that’s because Flying Blue no longer publishes award charts so you can’t see how many miles a journey will cost without actually pricing up individual itineraries.

A cursory glance would appear to indicate that Flying Blue awards on JAL cost more than Flying Blue awards booked on Air France or KLM….even if JAL’s options are non-stop and AF/KLM require a stopover.

As an example, a non-stop one-way Business Class award (on JAL) between Frankfurt and Tokyo prices up at 115,000 miles……while a Flying Blue award for travel on Air France between Frankfurt and Tokyo (via Paris) costs just 90,000 miles (albeit with higher taxes and fees):

I assume that other routes will offer up similar results (there’s no reason to think otherwise).

Bottom Line

Presumably, anyone who uses the Flying Blue program with any frequency knows all about the relationship with JAL but I was surprised when I noticed it earlier today.

A downside to crediting JAL flights to Flying Blue is that they don’t appear to offer any elite status credits (which you would get if you credited the flights to one of the oneworld loyalty programs) but, if earning Flying Blue miles is more important to you than earning status credits (and miles) in a oneworld loyalty program, this partnership may be one for you to consider.

Is this news to anywone else or have I been living a life of blissful ignorance all on my own?