The elimination actually happened on Oct 1, 2017, when JAL chose to not renew the generous discount that had been going on for several years. It was a great option for getting around SE Asia, as exemplified by this article from Amol K. The discount page has since been taken down, though Google cache has a copy that reminds us of the deal:
One of the routes I was considering was Chiang Rai – Bangkok – Siem Reap, which would cost merely 5,000 JAL/SPG points. I ended up needing something similar, but was flying after September 30 – the fly-by deadline for the discount. I ended up booking it for 15,000 JAL miles – the new normal price. It was a horrible value for the miles where after fuel surcharge I was getting only about 0.75 cents per mile. It was still worth it for me – the miles were given to me for free (thanks to a malfunctioning in-flight entertainment system on a JAL flight), would expire in a few months (JAL miles have a hard expiration date, like Asia Miles and Singapore miles) and I had no other plan to use it. Better get some value than nothing.
I had been eyeing this sweet spot for a while but hadn’t been able to use it, in part because Bangkok Airways requires two connections in many cases. For example, here’s Kuala Lumpur to Chiang Mai:
So yeah, they’d make me stop in Koh Samui and Bangkok before reaching Chiang Mai. I took the AirAsia direct flight instead. Still, some itins didn’t require an extra stop in Koh Samui, and those were good values, especially given Bangkok Air’s boutique reputation.
In a Nutshell
This was a great redemption value (at least on paper) that I’ll miss. Are you aware of other obscure sweet spots that are still alive?