Last updated on April 15th, 2020
If hard times bring us closer together, then the reinvigoration of the Alaska and American Airlines partnership makes perfect sense. The rapid spread of the coronavirus continues to send shockwaves through the airline industry, leading to layoffs, cutbacks, and talks of corporate bailouts. Yet in the midst of all this, these airlines recommitted to their codesharing partnership and also launched a reciprocal initiative. This initiative allows members of both loyalty programs to reap shared benefits and earn points when flying with either airline. Moreover, Alaska Airlines has announced plans to join American in the oneworld alliance in 2021. These moves could not only bolster both companies, but also give their frequent flyers something to look forward to when the travel bans lift and feelings of normalcy return.
How Does the Alaska Airlines and American Airlines Reciprocal Program Work?
Prior to this new reciprocal deal, Alaska Mileage Plan members could earn rewards on American Airlines flights booked with Alaska numbers. They could also redeem Alaska miles on American flights. Meanwhile, AAdvantage members could earn and redeem points on Alaska flights within the U.S., as well as to and from Canada, Mexico, and Central America. This also required the Alaska flights to have American Airlines booking numbers. Members of both loyalty programs could earn points on codeshared flights between the two companies as well. Under the new Alaska Airlines and American partnership, frequent flyers can earn rewards on all flights with either airline. The only requirement is that the flights must be entirely marketed and operated by that airline. In other words, flights marketed through American Airlines but flown with another partner do not qualify, and vice versa. Codesharing operations between the airlines will also expand to include international flights from Los Angeles and Seattle. This the terms of this renewed partnership officially went into effect on Apr. 1.
What This Means for AAdvantage and Alaska Mileage Plan Members
Both of these airlines have made significant policy changes in recent weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet this is the first major decision that seems solely focused on the future, when travel for pleasure is no longer prohibited. Overall, this new partnership seems to benefit frequent Alaska flyers the most. Members of this loyalty program will gain more opportunities to earn rewards not only with American Airlines, but eventually through the oneworld alliance as well. Though airline travel is at an all-time low, you can still rack up miles using a cobranded travel rewards card. That way, you’ll be ready to take advantage of this expanded partnership when the time comes. There are a number of credit cards that offer American Airlines AAdvantage miles on essentials like groceries and gas. Though the Alaska Airlines Visa® Credit Card rewards the most for airline purchases, you can still earn 1X miles on everything else to put toward your first post-pandemic flight.