Starting with redemptions issued on October 1, 2012, JAL will be implementing new rules related to frequent flier awards. This policy affects awards on itineraries including JAL and one other partner. The new rules aim to remove a number of variable conditions which depended on the partner which might be involved in the award. The rules associated with multiple partner awards are not changing at this time.
As part of the changes all awards will now be calculated on a "Total Sector Mileage (TPM)" basis, meaning that the actual distance flown (including surface sectors) will define the award cost. The new rules will also remove the ability to redeem for one-way awards (currently available on Iberia and Royal Jordanian) and will allow a single surface sector (open-jaw) to be applied with all partners. This surface sector is permitted in addition to the point of origin and final returning point being different, meaning that two open jaws can be booked from a practical standpoint. Additionally, all itineraries will now permit two stopovers (the surface sector counts as one) as part of the trip; one of those is what would normally be defined as the destination. Finally, most awards will be limited to a maximum of six segments (some carriers are even more limited).
Details from the company are included in this chart (old on the left, new on the right):
The new award chart looks like this:
There are definitely some sweet spots on that chart, such as New York City-London on British Airways or American Airlines for 63,00 points in Business Class. There are also some absolutely brutal numbers, like RTW awards, which will not be so appealing.
There is a 90-day lead-time on these changes so plenty of time to consider what they mean and look at what’s best for you in terms of the options available.