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Alaska Air Has a New Mileage Partner: Japan Airlines

I recently dubbed Alaska Airlines’ loyalty program, Mileage Plan, the “Best Mileage Program for Average Travelers.” It’s a hard-won honor, awarded for two principal reasons. First, Alaska has chosen to retain Mileage Plan’s distance-based earning scheme, even as most other airlines have adopted less generous spend-based earning. And second, Alaska has cobbled together a roster of earning and redemption partners that rivals those of the world’s largest airlines.

Mileage Plan members can earn miles and take award flights on more than 15 airlines, including Air France, American, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Delta, Emirates, KLM, Korean, LAN, and Qantas. It’s an impressive list, and Alaska isn’t finished expanding it.

Today, Alaska announced the upcoming addition of yet another Mileage Plan airline partner, Japan Airlines.

Beginning “early this summer,” Mileage Plan members can earn miles for JAL flights; and Mileage Plan miles will be redeemable for award flights on JAL later in 2016. There’s no word yet on how JAL award flights will be priced, or whether there will be the traditional introductory bonus-mile offer to promote the new relationship.

As is often the case with frequent-flyer tie-ups, this one will be complemented with a code-share agreement, linking JAL’s West Coast gateways with a handful of Alaska Air’s cities, set to take effect on June 29.

Japan Airlines: yet another reason to like Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan.

Reader Reality Check

Is Mileage Plan on your “best programs” list?

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After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

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