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Let’s Be an Oka-Miler: Earn Airline Miles Without Taking a Flight

Are you a member of any airlines' mileage/frequent flyer programs?

A mileage program service offers customers miles based on the distance they flew and the customers can take flights for free or at a low price by using the miles they earned. (The program's name varies by airline.)

Some of you may possess lots of miles earned by flying back and forth between your home and Japan or on business trips, and some others accumulate miles without flying and then go on a trip by plane at the lowest price. Those people are called "Riku-miler" or "Oka-miler" in Japan. So, this time, I would like to share some of their tips with you.

0. Sign up for the Mileage Membership of JAL or ANA

Before anything else, register for the mileage membership of a Japanese airline company.

You need to be a member of the mileage program run by Japan Airlines (JAL) or All Nippon Airways (ANA), then your points on Japanese various loyalty programs can be transferred to your mileage account.


How to Earn Miles 【1】 : Transfer Credit Card Points

Most credit cards have a loyalty point program such as the V Point Service of VISA Card Japan and the Oki Doki Point Program of JCB with a yield rate from 0.1 to 0.5 percent of the transaction value. Those points earned on the account can be transferred to miles on JAL or ANA.

Accumulate points on the program of a major credit card company, and …

  • VISA Card Japan (V Point Service): 0.5% of the transaction amount is given as points.

  • JCB Card (Oki Doki Point Program): 0.1% of the transaction amount is given as points.

Transfer points on the credit card to miles.

For example, if your credit card is the gold card of VISA partnered with ANA, you can convert points earned on the credit account to airline miles like this;

Step 1: You will get 500 V-pts by 100k JPY transaction with a credit card.

Step 2: Transfer the 500 V-pts to 1k miles on ANA. (1pt = 2 miles on ANA)

Depending on the type of card, points go to either JAL or ANA. So, make sure which airline to accumulate miles on before getting a credit card.

I have earned 20k miles in a year by paying every month's water, gas, and electricity bills and fare for my commuter pass with a gold card partnered with ANA.


How to Earn Miles 【2】 : Shop Online

Points earned by shopping online can be converted to airline miles, too.

Rakuten Ichiba's point service would be the best if you want to accumulate miles on ANA.

2 pts on Rakuten are equal to 1 ANA mile.

(Note: Points earned through the campaign on the website cannot be transferred.)


How to Earn Miles 【3】 : Shop and get points at Convenience Stores

Many of you may shop at convenient store daily. Points earned at convenience stores can be also converted to miles.

Minimum Transfer Amount:

  • セブンイレブン (7-Eleven) : 500 nanaco pts → 250 ANA miles

  • ファミリーマート (FamilyMart) : 5k pts on the d POINT CLUB → 2,500 JAL miles

  • ローソン (Lawson) : 2 Ponta pts → 1 JAL mile

The airline to be transferred and the minimum transfer amount vary depending on each convenience store's loyalty program. So, make sure which airline company is partnered with the convenience store chain you visit most.

Earning Tip

Join the convenience stores' bonus point campaigns such as the ones that are occasionally held giving 30 pts for a bottled coffee or some other product. That's what I do as much as possible to earn extra points.

< Example >

If you join 7-Eleven's campaign that gives you 30 pts for a 160 JPY bottled coffee;

  • You will get 600 nanaco pts for buying 20 bottles of coffee;

  • 300 ANA miles are given by transferring the 600 nanaco pts.

The total cost is 3,200 JPY (=160 JPY x 20).

Miles you can get for a one-way flight between Haneda and Itami, Osaka are 280 ANA miles, and its basic fare is 27,110 JPY.

This means that you will get more miles for paying only 3,200 JPY than taking a flight that costs 27,110 JPY. So, for oka-milers, there is no reason to skip the juicy campaign.


How to Earn Miles 【4】 : Get points at Reward Sites

Today’s last tip for getting miles is to use reward sites that offer points for shopping, signing up for a service, etc. The major ones are as below:



Points are given also for signing up for a credit card or insurance, or for booking travel as well as shopping. Some sites offer points equivalent to 10k miles for making a credit card.

Each site has its own transfer rate, so find something reasonable for you and make good use of it.


How did you like it?

There are many more tips and ways to earn airline miles while staying on the ground. Lots of Japanese companies offer loyalty programs, and paths to transfer JAL/ANA miles from points are hidden among them. Why not earn miles by transferring points on accounts of shops and services you frequently use and fly cheap or upgrade to a business class?

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