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Hawaiian Airlines and Japan Airlines (JAL) have today signed a “comprehensive new partnership agreement that will greatly enhance the ease and comfort of travel for passengers traveling between the two island chains”. The new agreement, which is subject to government approval, will open up new codeshare routes for customers are well as leading to reciprocal lounge access and benefit for frequent flyers.
Hawaiian Airlines and JAL plan to create a joint venture agreement which, in the short-term, will have the following effects:
- JAL guests will have unlimited access to Hawaiian’s vast neighbor island and Japan-Hawai’i network, including non-stop flights between Sapporo and Honolulu.
- Hawaiian Airlines will have full access to JAL’s domestic network, which includes Nagoya, Fukuoka, Sendai and Aomori.
- Hawaiian’s Japan-to-Hawai’i flights will be offered as new options within Japan Airlines’ wholly owned subsidiary, JALPAK, a high reputable package tour operator in Japan.
- JAL Mileage Bank and HawaiianMiles members will be able to earn miles on the codeshare flights. .
- Guests will have access to both airlines’ lounges, and when Hawaiian has completed its planned relocation to Terminal 2 at Tokyo Narita Airport, guests of each airline will be able to seamlessly transfer between each carrier’s networks.
In the longer term the airlines plan to offer “further opportunities for accrual and redemption of mileage“.
This is a very interesting move on the part of Hawaiian considering it’s already a codeshare partner with JAL’s close competitor ANA – it will be left to be seen how this new deal affects that relationship.
From a customer point of view this new partnership could open up some nice redemption options providing the airlines aren’t too conservative when they agree on award costs.
There aren’t very many ways of generating JAL miles if you’re based in the US (Starwood’s Starpoints are probably the best option) but the JAL award chart for partner airline redemptions offers up some very nice sweet spots that are great if you can exploit them.
JAL Partner Award Chart
The award chart is based on the total distance traveled (i.e in both directions) and while partner awards between the mainland and Hawaii don’t look like good value on this chart, if you can build up a bank of JAL miles some of the other redemptions are excellent.
For a traveler like me this could work quite well – I fly to/from Hawaii often enough that I could build up a balance of JAL miles that, when boosted by a transfer from Starpoints, could net me some very nice trips on the likes of Qatar Airways and Cathay Pacific.
The bottom line here, however, is that we don’t yet know when we’ll see the details of new frequent flyer options…but they’ll definitely be worth checking out when they’re revealed.