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Award Redemption Japan Travel

Discussion in 'questions. answers. conversations.' started by John Kammerer, Feb 9, 2016.

  1. John Kammerer

    John Kammerer New Member

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    Hi-
    My job is requiring me to travel to Japan 4X per year. As I work for the government, I have to use the contract carrier from San Diego to Tokyo. Contract carrier is AA (codeshare on JAL flight). We also will be staying at the Intercontinental in Tokyo, 6-7 nights per trip. My goal is to earn enough miles to fly the family (2 adults one child) to Japan for vacation, preferably on Business Class. My question is what credit card should I get (have to use the gov card for airfare) andwhich airline program should I use (JAL or AA)? Any thoughts appreciated!
     
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  2. MidSouth Skier

    MidSouth Skier Well-Known Member

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    Welcome @John Kammerer - the JAL award chart is distance-based so you'll want AA.

    Do you know if you'll be flying economy vs. business class? If in economy you may want the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® as it will give you lounge access - though it carries a $450 annual fee. If you'll be flying business class (which comes with lounge access) you might consider the cheaper Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® as it offers a 10% rebate when you redeem miles.
     
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    No Name and Tiffany like this.
  3. Gaurav

    Gaurav Well-Known Member

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    @John Kammerer -- I might also consider the Citi Prestige card. It also has a $450 annual fee but that is more than offset for the first year by annual flight credits of $250 per year. The card will also give you access to AA lounges plus it has a very attractive earning structure for airfare, hotels, entertainment and dining out. The points earned are worth 1.6cpm for travel on AA so it gives you some flexibility to buy a cash ticket if award tickets are not available if you want to take your family with you on one of your trips. I'd consider pairing this card with the AA Platinum Select MC that @midsout skier suggests above for a mileage boost with AA miles and the 10% (10k max) redemption discount).

    If you are open to more cards, I'd also consider the Premier to boost your TYP balance and if you have any kind of small business, the Citi AA business card. Remember, your wife can sign up for all of these as well to double your points!

    With regards to your mileage crediting JAL charges 100,000 miles RT in business while AA charges 120,000 miles post devaluation. I believe JAL does have fuel surcharges although are supposed to be coming down for Japanese airlines with the low price of gas. On the other hand JAL might allow more availability on its own metal than AA can use. Both are transfer partners for SPG. Might be worth it to look at the fare class your govt fares put you in and see what your mileage earning will be for crediting with either airline.

    Good luck and safe travels!
     
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  4. MidSouth Skier

    MidSouth Skier Well-Known Member

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    @Gaurav - do I remember correctly that with the Prestige card you only get access to the lounge if you're traveling AA that same day? I *guess* a codeshare would count? Or does it have to be on AA metal?
     
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  5. Gaurav

    Gaurav Well-Known Member

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    @MidSouth Skier, interesting question. I guess my assumption was that these tickets would be issued by AA and that the codeshare would count as being an AA flight. @Tiffany--thoughts?
     
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  6. John Kammerer

    John Kammerer New Member

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    Thanks for the feedback! I don't know if this changes things but I have about 42K miles in our JAL family account. Like @Gaurav says, I think it is somewhat easier to use JAL miles to upgrade but I am not sure on this...I don't really want to pay $450 for a cc--but I understand the flight credits offset this, it would be nice if that card offered a free year (like the United Chase card) ;-) . The other thing is that JAL seems to have well hidden their awards chart, I can't find it. Anyway, again, thanks for the feedback, not as simple to optimize to make reaching our goal easier.
     
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  7. No Name

    No Name Well-Known Member

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  8. JoeWilliams

    JoeWilliams New Member

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    I really recommend JMB (JAL Miledge Bank) because it is cheaper in terms of award tickets. You can book award tickets for EK, OneWorld .... you can go virtually anywhere. San Diego-Tokyo is a unique route, you can route through LAX to get the best result of product on JAL, I really recommend it. (AA award point change is a pain for some people)
     
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  9. JoeWilliams

    JoeWilliams New Member

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    even if its not a codeshare it will count as a oneworld miledge
     
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  10. Gaurav

    Gaurav Well-Known Member

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    @JoeWilliams, that's accurate but we were just focusing on the nuances of AA lounge access on a codeshare flight with the Citi Prestige card.

     
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  11. JoeWilliams

    JoeWilliams New Member

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    but wouldn't the oneworld status get you in anyways?
     
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  12. Gaurav

    Gaurav Well-Known Member

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    Yes, it would but not clear if the OP currently has status.
     
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  13. John Kammerer

    John Kammerer New Member

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    Joe-
    Have you tried to redeem AA miles for an upgrade on JAL? I am thinking it is harder that way than using JAL miles, so I am leaning towards our suggestion.
     
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  14. John Kammerer

    John Kammerer New Member

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    I just got off the phone with JAL MB and they let me know that that I can not use AA miles to upgrade a JAL metal flight. So it looks like I'll be going with the JAL mileage plan. Now on to credit cards. I am looking at the IHG card as I will be staying at the Intercontinental.
     
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  15. JoeWilliams

    JoeWilliams New Member

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    There we go
     
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