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TPG reader Rox posted on my Facebook wall this week asking me:
“If I’m flying on a Delta-operated Alaska Airlines flight, can I earn American AAdvantage qualifying miles?”
Wouldn’t that be nice? It would essentially mean that American and Delta flyers could earn American miles on all three airlines – American, Delta and Alaska – just by booking through Alaska. Unfortunately, the people at all three airlines are more clever than that, and that’s not the case.
Alaska Airlines’ MileagePlan is one of the best frequent flyer programs out there. Although they are not part of any of the three major alliances, they have a lot of different airline partners including great airlines like Emirates, on which I recently redeemed Alaska miles myself to fly first class from Dubai to New York, as well as others like Cathay Pacific and Korean Air. Not only that, but Alaska announced that starting January 15, their flyers could earn full elite-qualifying miles on all partners (depending on airfare ticket class, or course).
The great thing about Alaska is that if you’re dissatisfied with your elite status on a partner – as I am with Delta thanks to new revenue requirements being introduced this year as well as award chart devaluations – you can always fly American and Delta but bank your miles to your Alaska MileagePlan account instead and accrue miles and elite status there.
However, back to the question at hand. The answer is no. It doesn’t really matter if an airline codeshares a flight – I’m sure you’ve noticed some flights with a dozen different codeshared flight numbers listed from time to time – your airline is only going to give you frequent flyer miles and elite credit for a flight operated by a partner. That means the plane must be flown by one of their partners. So even though that Delta flight is codeshared with Alaska and has an Alaska flight number, because Delta is not partners with American, American will not give you any credit for that flight. There are some random exceptions, but in general, the flight must be operated by a direct partner of your airline of choice if you want credit.