Vistara Expands Its Codeshare With Japan Airlines – What That Means

Vistara has expanded its codeshare agreement with Japan Airlines, allowing members of each airline’s frequent flyer programs to earn miles on flights operated by either carriers. The agreement comes as Vistara delays its international expansion, meaning its possible Japan flights are not happening. Vistara flyers can now credit miles to three different airlines in two alliances.

Vistara First A321neo
Vistara was considering flying to Japan as one of its long-haul first international routes. Photo: Airbus

Increasing ties with JAL

Vistara signed a codeshare agreement with JAL just last year, opening up more opportunities in East Asia. The airlines have had a Memorandum of Understanding since 2017, even before Vistara started international flights, signaling their ambitions.

Currently, the codeshare extends to JAL flights from Tokyo to Delhi and Bangalore, and Vistara and JAL connecting flights in India and Japan.

Japan Airlines
Vistara and JAL have a codeshare agreement on connecting flights in both countries and flights between the two countries. Photo: Getty Images

This expansion in the agreement means that members of JAL Mileage Bank and Club Vistara, the airlines’ frequent flyer programs (FFP), can credit miles to either FFP when flying with JAL or Vistara. This further strengthens the partnership between both carriers and signals a broader interest in the region.

Vistara to Japan?

The start of this year saw a flurry of excitement for Vistara with the delivery of its first 787-9. Among the first possible long-haul routes was Tokyo, a market with an opportunity for expansion from India. With the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo ready to go, Vistara could have jumped in on the rise in demand.

Of course, 2020 happened and the carrier was forced to ground flights. This also impacted the airline’s long-haul plans and aircraft delivery schedule, slowing down the overall expansion. However, with the Olympics possibly happening in 2021, could Vistara choose to start flights to Japan too?

Vistara 787
Vistara was considering starting flights to Japan in time for the 2020 Olympics. Photo: Vistara

For now, with border restrictions still in place across Asia, its unlikely Vistara is considering expanding to new markets in the region. However, the airline may add Japan to its route map in 2021, assuming some semblance of normalcy returns.

More options for Vistara customers

With the agreement with JAL now in place, Vistara frequent flyers have the ability to credit miles to three different programs: Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, United MileagePlus, and JAL Mileage Bank.

While the first two carriers are Star Alliance members, JAL is a member of the oneworld alliance. This allows frequent flyers to fly with Vistara and collect miles with whichever alliance they choose.

Vistara Dreamliner 787
Vistara now gives passengers the option to credit miles to four frequent flier programs in two alliances. Photo: Getty Images

Japan Airlines now also has a firm partner India, something that competitor ANA has had with Air India through the Star Alliance. This will allow better connectivity through India and give business class passengers a premium experience. All of this will make a difference once regular flights resume in India, which could be a while.

What do you think about Vistara’s new agreement? Would you fly Vistara to Japan? Let us know in the comments!