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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.

Starting January 15, Alaska flyers can earn elite miles on all airline partners.
Alaska has some amazing airline partners.

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.

Delta 757-200
That Delta flight won’t get you an AA miles, even if it has an Alaska flight number.

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.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
16.49% - 23.49% Variable
Annual Fee
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

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