Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Has (Finally) Fixed Their Availability Issue For Japan Airlines First Class Awards

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For several months Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan had an issue that Japan Airlines First Class was no longer bookable through their systems due to a change in inventory code.

This problem appears to have now been fixed and JAL First Class can once again be booked with Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles at rather favorable rates.

Alaska Airlines and Japan Airlines have a frequent flyer partnership since 2016, preceding the oneworld membership of Alaska by several years as Alaska formed a group of airlines to make the program attractive which worked very well.

A few months ago Japan Airlines made a change in their inventory code for First Class awards:

  • Before: Z Class
  • New: A Class

Here an example from American Airlines AAdvantage:

Traditionally A has been a paid First Class inventory code so this required a change in the frequent flyer programs system to be able to identify and book award availability properly.

While pretty much all programs have processed this change almost immediately Alaska Mileage Plan took it’s sweet time getting this implemented which caused significant frustration with people who had flights booked and weren’t able to change the dates or found themselves unable to book new ones in First Class.

Finally they got it done however and you can now book JAL First Class awards again with Mileage Plan:

After selection it prices out properly and is bookable as well:

The seats will still have to be selected on the JAL website following the reservation:

Let’s hope no further issues develop and that these redemption options go forward without any more complications from now on.

Flights between North America and Asia have long been a sweet spot on the Alaska Mileage Plan award chart, using both Japan Airlines and Cathay Pacific – especially in First Class. The fact that it took them (AS) several months to fix such a simple thing wasn’t their finest hour.

Alaska still has plenty within their system to fix, for example to allow several partner airlines on the same itinerary now that they are a full oneWorld member.

Conclusion

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan members are finally able to use their miles again to book Japan Airlines First Class which recently change the award code from “Z” to “A” that was the source for this cabin class no longer being displayed in Alaska Airlines reservation systems.

Despite numerous complaints it didn’t appear to be high on the priority list for Alaska Airlines to fix which is really unacceptable considering the frequency they are selling Mileage Plan miles at. When you hawk your frequent flyer miles on a constant basis then you should take proper care of the infrastructure to allow customers to redeem their miles at liberty.

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