Last week, Dad wrote a post that shared the details of how he used points and miles for a first-class trip to Thailand and Cambodia. Within that post, he mentioned a little-known “sweet-spot” redemption instead of paying for a round-trip flight between Bangkok and Siem Reap that usually costs $250-$350.
Since the post was published, many readers have emailed me asking to elaborate on the Japan Airlines 5,000-mile promo awards on Bangkok Airways, since it’s a high-value redemption.
First things first, if you don’t have Japan Airlines miles, you can enroll in the JAL Mileage Bank program here, and easily get miles by transferring SPG Starpoints over from Starwood stays or from either of these credit cards:
- Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
- Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express
Here are the terms of the promotion:
- Valid for flight dates up until March 31, 2016
- Must book flights at least 4 days in advance
- Trip must start and end within the dates of the promotional period
Next, keep in mind that these are distance-based awards:
- Trip Distance up to 1,000 miles: 5,000 JAL miles (usually 15,000 JAL miles)
- Trip Distance 1,001-2,000 miles: 8,000 JAL miles (usually 20,000 JAL miles)
- Trip Distance 2001-4,00 miles: 18,000 JAL miles (usually 21,000 JAL miles)
The award chart below shows the breakdown and some possible destinations:
Other popular destinations that are within 1,000 miles from Bangkok include Hong Kong, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.
In my Dad’s case, he booked these round trip awards:
Another possible decent redemption from Bangkok is a round-trip award between Bangkok and Male, The Maldives for 18,000 JAL miles. At the moment, Bangkok Airways is the only airline offering a non-stop between BKK and MLE, and the flight regularly sells for $600-$700 round trip, which is a good redemption, in my opinion (~3.6 cents per point).
I visited the Maldives in 2013 with miles and stayed at the Park Hyatt using points. The Maldives still remains one of the top aspirational destinations for “points travelers”.
How to Transfer SPG points to JAL Miles:
- Before initiating a transfer, check with the airlines that there are plenty of award seats available. Starwood transfers to airline miles are not instant (they say it can take up to 10-14 days, but in my experience it’s been more like 5-7).
- Another tip is to always check the purchase price of the ticket before deciding to use points. Since SPG points are “harder” to come by, I typically don’t like to let them go for a value under 2.5 cents per point.
- To book, you’ll have to contact the JMB International Award Reservations Desk (1-800-525-3663) and request the ‘discount mileage promotion’.
Has anyone else taken advantage of these discount awards? If so, where did you go?