I recently uncovered the 5 lesser known stopover cities for Alaska Mileage Plan award tickets on Cathay Pacific. In this post, I will continue with Alaska Airlines partners and reveal another jaw dropping tip on an award ticket, literally 🙂
Let’s start by explaining JAL stopovers and what that may look like on a trip.
Stopovers on JAL
First of all, Alaska Mileage Plan allows one stopover per one way ticket on JAL, which is the norm with Alaska’s partners. If you are flying internationally on JAL your stopover city will almost always be limited to Tokyo. Unlike Cathay Pacific’s 5 stopover cities, there are currently no international stopover cities for JAL.
For example, you can fly Vancouver (YVR) to Tokyo (NRT) to Bangkok (BKK) with a stopover in Tokyo. Stopovers can be up to 364 days.
Trip Planning with a Stopover
So let’s say you are planning a trip to Tokyo and Bangkok.
An Alaska award on JAL with a stopover in Tokyo sounds perfect. You also like that the stopover length is not restricted to a few days so you can have more time to explore another city in Japan after landing in Tokyo.
You wish to also visit Osaka and you’ve heard it’s convenient to take the train there.
So your trip will consist of a flight to Bangkok with a stopover in Tokyo, and during the stopover, a roundtrip journey to/from Osaka on rail.
Now before you book this itinerary with the stopover, let’s explore if you can adjust the itinerary as an open jaw.
What is an Open Jaw?
An open jaw ticket is when you fly into one city and fly out of another city. Separate from an open jaw ticket, you would arrange your own transportation between the two cities whether it’s by car, train, boat or plane. For example, a ticket that has flights, Vancouver to Tokyo, and Osaka to Bangkok, is an open jaw itinerary.
Open Jaw on JAL
On an one-way Alaska-JAL awards, you are allowed one open jaw instead of a stopover. To build an open jaw ticket you need to know which cities you are permitted to fly into and fly out of. Remember, on an Alaska award ticket, you cannot mix partner airlines which means your open jaw ticket options will be limited.
For JAL, there are three cities in Japan that fly internationally … Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya.
Since most of JAL’s flights (and almost all from North America) land in Tokyo, let’s explore open jaw options that depart from the other two JAL hubs.
JAL operates four international flights from Nagoya to Tianjin, Shanghai, Taipei, and Bangkok.
Not a great variety, JAL has three international flights from Osaka to Shanghai, Taipei, and Bangkok. With the exception of Tianjin, the destinations are identical to the flights out of Nagoya.
Trip Planning with an Open Jaw
So back to our trip plan to Bangkok with a stop in Tokyo and return train tickets to Osaka, we now identified that JAL also operates a flight from Osaka to Bangkok.
Instead of a stopover in Tokyo and then a flight from Tokyo to Bangkok, we can book an open jaw flying into Tokyo and flying out of Osaka onwards to Bangkok. This would save a one-way journey from Osaka back to Tokyo to catch the connecting flight to Bangkok.
Booking an Open Jaw ticket
Very straightforward. Open the desktop version of alaskaair.com, check off “Use miles” and select the Multi-city search option to piece together an open jaw itinerary. Surprisingly enough, you do not need to call in to book this somewhat complex ticket!
An open jaw ticket on Japan Airlines is just another reason why I love Alaska Mileage Plan and will speculatively hoard Alaska miles. JAL is a fantastic carrier and if you haven’t visited Japan, a free stopover/open jaw to Tokyo, Nagoya, or Osaka is definitely required on an Alaska-JAL award ticket.
The free stopover/open jaw rule extends to intra-Asia award redemptions which starts at only 15,000 in economy and 25,000 in business so get approved now for 25,000 Alaska miles with the MBNA Alaska Mastercard.
With the 25,000 bonus miles you could fly an open jaw ticket from Bangkok to Osaka then Tokyo to Seoul in business class … which you earn for just $15. That’s a crazy deal!
Great tip! This was news to me.
I got to thinking, JAL flies LAX-KIX as well, so it seems like you could book that flight and then open-jaw between Osaka and Tokyo, thus taking advantage of the rest of JAL’s regional route network out of Tokyo.
If I’m flying one way from Tokyo to JFK how can i use this free stopover to my advantage if i want to fly direct Tokyo to JFK?
Yes, if you plan on visiting another city in Asia before your Tokyo to JFK flight.
If a reader wants to travel only to Japan:
Flying CX from YVR-HK-NRT for 30,000 Alaska Miles seems like a better deal to me than JAL from YVR-NRT for 40,000 Alaska Miles.
What do you think?
I think YVR-HKG-NRT is quite a detour so focus on YVR-NRT which you can book on JAL with BA Avios for only 25,000 one way.