Reciprocal Upgrades Now In Effect Between American Airlines and Alaska Airlines

As part of a recently strengthening partnership called the West Coast International Alliance, elite members of the frequent flier loyalty programs of American Airlines and Alaska Airlines now have reciprocal access to upgrades — which were first announced in November of 2020 and expected to be implemented last month — to seats in both the first class cabin and in the economy class cabin which are equipped with extra leg room.

Reciprocal Upgrades Now In Effect Between American Airlines and Alaska Airlines

The aforementioned upgrades are in addition to such reciprocal benefits as priority check-in, priority security, and priority boarding — as well as increased allowances for baggage and access to airport lounges while traveling on international itineraries.

Although Alaska Airlines has officially become a member of the oneworld alliance effective as of Wednesday, March 31, 2021, Mileage Plan miles cannot be redeemed at this time for flights operated by several airlines which were not already partners of Alaska Airlines — and may likely not be available until at least sometime this fall.

American Airlines domestic first class

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

Members of the American Airlines AAdvantage program who have earned elite level status can now access Premium Class seats — which provide extra leg room in the economy class cabin — aboard airplanes which are operated by Alaska Airlines as follows:

  • Executive Platinum and Concierge Key: At the time of booking the ticket
  • Platinum Pro and Platinum: At time of booking the ticket if the fare is Y, B, H, K, M, L, V, S or N — or within 72 hours of travel with less expensive fare classes
  • Gold: At time of booking the ticket on full Y, B, or H fares — or within 48 hours of travel with less expensive fare classes

Executive Platinum elite members who did not book a ticket with a Saver — or basic economy — fare may be upgraded within 120 hours of departure; and although this benefit is currently available only for members who have earned elite status, the benefit will eventually be extended to companions who are booked on the same reservation as well.

AAdvantage Executive Platinum members will be the next priority on the upgrade list for the benefit after Mileage Plan MVP Gold 75K elite members; and priority will then be based on such factors as fare class and time of request.

American Airlines Santiago to Miami

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

Members of the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program who have earned elite level status can now access Main Cabin Extra seats — which provide extra leg room in the economy class cabin — aboard airplanes which are operated by American Airlines as follows:

  • MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K: At the time of booking the ticket
  • MVP: Within 24 hours of travel

Summary

Alaska Airlines

Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

Interestingly, members of the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program who have earned elite status and get upgraded aboard airplanes which are operated by Alaska Airlines do not need to be concerned about the fare class in which they booked their tickets — unlike members of the American Airlines AAdvantage who have earned elite status and want to be upgraded aboard airplanes which are operated by Alaska Airlines.

Additionally, Executive Platinum elite members are eligible for upgrades on Alaska Airlines — but MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K elite members can only currently upgrade on domestic flights and flights to Canada, Mexico, Caribbean, and Central America on American Airlines. This is likely because Alaska Airlines does not have the international network which American Airlines has — plus, these particular upgrades are only available at check-in on the day of departure. MVP Gold 75K elite members may upgrade a companion on the same reservation.

The reciprocal earning of miles between the AAdvantage and Mileage Plan membership programs became effective as of Wednesday, April 1, 2020, with all the earnings tables included in this article for easy reference…

…and even more benefits will eventually become effective as a result of this partnership, which is not to be confused with the fact that both American Airlines and Alaska Airlines are members of the oneworld alliance.

All photographs ©2014 and ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

BoardingArea