Announced Changes to Affect Partnership Between American Airlines and Alaska Airlines

Changes have been announced which will affect the partnership between American Airlines and Alaska Airlines effective as of Monday, January 1, 2018. Alaska Airlines attributes growth and expansion to serve 118 cities as the catalyst for the changes — which includes its acquisition of Virgin America that was approved by the Department of Justice of the United States on Tuesday, .

Alaska Airlines is quick to first assure its customers and members of its Mileage Plan frequent flier loyalty program what is not changing, as they will still…

  • Earn Mileage Plan miles on domestic flights operated by American Airlines flights which has an Alaska Airlines flight number — as well as on all international flights operated by American Airlines
  • Be able to redeem Mileage Plan miles on flights operated by American Airlines globally
  • Access Admirals Club lounges when traveling on Alaska Airlines or American Airlines if they are members of the Alaska Lounge

Announced Changes to Affect Partnership Between American Airlines and Alaska Airlines

…but in addition to the changing of some award levels for travel booked in 2018, what is changing is that you will no longer:

  • Earn Mileage Plan miles on domestic flights with an AA flight number operated by American Airlines
  • Receive elite level status benefits when traveling on flights operated by American Airlines after Sunday, December 31, 2017

Earning on American Airlines

Base miles earned and class of service bonuses on American Airlines count toward Alaska Airlines elite level status.

The following chart applies to flights operated by American Airlines for both:

  • Domestic flights through Sunday, December 31, 2017
  • International flights effective as of Monday, January 1, 2018
Earnings table for flights taken on or after May 1, 2017
Cabin Class of Service Base Miles Earned Class of Service Bonus
First Class F 100 percent 100 percent
First Class A 100 percent 50 percent
First Class X (upgrade) Earning is based on original booking class
Business J 100 percent 100 percent
Business  D, I 100 percent 50 percent
Business  C, R (upgrade) Earning is based on original booking class
Premium Economy W 100 percent 10 percent
Premium Economy  P 100 percent
Economy — Main Cabin H, K, L, M, Y 100 percent
Economy — Main Cabin G, V 75 percent
Economy — Main Cabin N, S 50 percent
Economy — Main Cabin O, Q 25 percent

Qualify for Mileage Accrual

To ensure flight credit, the two-letter airline code (AA) must precede the flight number (for example, AA XXXX) on your ticket receipt or boarding pass.

Mileage earned is based on a percentage of actual flight miles flown and earn 500 minimum miles on flights shorter than 500 miles. No miles will be earned for classes of service not listed above.

Flights must fall within the eligible flight number range below; and your flight must be marketed and operated by American Airlines.

  • 0001–6099
  • 6780–7150
  • 7454–7637

For flights taken on or after January 1, 2018:

Base miles earned and class of service bonuses on eligible American-operated flights count toward Alaska Airlines elite status.

To earn Mileage Plan miles on domestic flights within the United States and Puerto Rico, American-operated flights must be marketed by Alaska Airlines. This includes American Airlines operated flights purchased as Alaska Airlines flights (AS) 4000-4799, 6000-6999, 8001-8199, or 8201-8999.

Base miles and class of service bonuses earned are based on the Alaska Airlines earning chart.

View the chart for earning miles on Alaska.

To add a Mileage Plan membership number to an existing reservation, visit aa.com or call American Airlines Reservations at 1-800-433-7300.

Changes for awards booked on or after January 1, 2018

Off-peak awards for Central America, South America, and Asia will no longer be available for booking.

Off-peak awards for Europe will be valid for travel January 10 – March 14, and November 1 – December 14.

Additionally, the following award level changes will take effect:

Award level changes for flights booked on or after January 1, 2018
Travel between
Continental United States or Canada and:
Award Type Book by
Sunday, December 31, 2017
Book on or after
Monday, January 1, 2018
Continental United States or Canada Business/First Class 32,500 25,000
Hawaii Business/First Class 47,500 40,000
Caribbean Business/First Class 30,000 27,500
Caribbean First Class 40,000 52,500
Mexico Business/First Class 30,000 27,500
Mexico First Class 40,000 52,500
Central America Business/First Class 30,000 27,500
Central America First Class 40,000 52,500
South America Zone 1 Coach 17,500 20,000
South America Zone 1 First Class 40,000 55,000
South America Zone 2 Business/First Class 50,000 57,500
South America Zone 2 First Class 62,500 85,000
Europe — Off-Peak Coach 20,000 22,500
Europe Business/First Class 50,000 57,500
Europe First Class 62,500 85,000
Asia Zone 1 Coach 32,500 35,000
Asia Zone 1 Business/First Class 50,000 60,000
Asia Zone 1 First Class 62,500 80,000
Asia Zone 2 Coach 35,000 37,500
Asia Zone 2 Business/First Class 55,000 70,000
Asia Zone 2 First Class 67,500 110,000

Award levels listed above are for one-way travel.

American’s Business/First Class award is for First Class on a 2 cabin aircraft or Business Class on a 3 cabin aircraft. The First Class award is for First Class in a 3 cabin aircraft.

Asia Zone 1 awards include Japan, Korea and Mongolia. All other Asia travel is considered Zone 2.

South America Zone 2 includes Argentina, Brazil (excluding Manaus), Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela. All other South America travel is considered Zone 1.

For awards booked through Sunday, December 31, 2017, current award levels apply — even if travel takes place on or after Monday, January 1, 2018.

American Airlines AAdvantage Membership Changes

Alaska Airlines remains a valued partner of American Airlines; and AAdvantage members will continue to earn miles when traveling on flights marketed by American Airlines and operated by Alaska Airlines or Horizon Air. The redemption amounts of miles is not changing; and AAdvantage members can continue to book award travel on the entire Alaska Airlines network.

AAdvantage elite members will continue to receive benefits and AAdvantage members will continue to earn AAdvantage miles, elite qualification miles, elite qualification segments and elite qualification dollars as they do today when traveling on Alaska Airlines through Sunday, December 31, 2017.

AAdvantage members can continue to redeem miles on Alaska Airlines flights, to over 100 cities domestically and Mexico, Canada and Costa Rica; while Admirals Club members will continue to have access to all Alaska Lounges in Anchorage (ANC), Seattle (SEA), Portland (PDX) and Los Angeles (LAX).

The changes which will affect members of the American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flier loyalty program include:

Elite Level Status Benefits to Be Discontinued

Elite level status benefits when traveling on flights operated by Alaska Airlines — including priority check-in and boarding, preferred seating, and baggage fee waivers — will be discontinued.

  • AAdvantage members will continue to earn AAdvantage miles, elite qualifying miles (EQM), elite qualifying segments (EQS) and elite qualifying dollars (EQD) only on flights marketed by American (booked as an AA flight number) and operated by Alaska or Horizon Air
  • AAdvantage members will not earn AAdvantage miles, EQM, EQS or EQD on Alaska and Horizon Air marketed and operated flights

Summary

At least a partnership will still exist between Alaska Airlines and American Airlines — albeit on a more limited basis — as opposed to the partnership completely dissolving, as had happened between Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines effective as of Monday, May 1, 2017…

…but these changes will still mean fewer options for customers who enjoyed the choices which are currently available that will no longer be in effect as of Monday, January 1, 2018.

Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

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