November 30, 2017
JAL Adds Huge Surcharge to Emirates Award Flights from US

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Emirates First Class is an incredible experience. The seats are massive, the A380 has an onboard bar, passengers can shower at 40,000 feet, and of course the airline serves delicious food. The best way to Emirates First Class using miles has been with Japan Airlines Mileage Bank miles. You can find my full guide on how to acquire JAL miles and book this award here. Unfortunately, it just got a lot more expensive to book awards on flights originating in the US.

JAL uses a distance based award chart. The greater your flight distance, the more points you need to redeem. This opens up great redemption opportunities, like a roundtrip First Class flight from New York-Dubai for just 135,000 miles. It gets even better when you factor in stopovers. JAL lets you book a stopover in each direction. For example, you can fly from New York-Milan, stop there for a few days, proceed to Dubai and then fly back for the same 135,000 miles.

JAL didn’t impose fuel charges on most award tickets…until now. Japan airlines is now charging $1,624 in surcharges for Emirates First and Business Class award flights from New York (JFK)-Dubai (DXB). It’s charging $510 in surcharges for Emirates Economy Class award flights from New York (JFK)- Dubai (DXB). While flights from New York are seeing the largest increase in fuel charges, all Emirates flights originating in the United States are seeing varying levels of increases as well.

So, how do we get around this? You have to originate your flight outside the United States. One-way awards from Asia, Europe, Dubai etc which end in the United States don’t have these insane surcharges. Various regions and cities still have additional fees, but they’re not this high. If you want to avoid all out of pocket costs altogether, flights originating in Japan, Hong Kong, or Colombo are your best option.