American Airlines and Alaska Airlines Slash Reciprocal Earning and Elite Benefits
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Once close friends, American Airlines and Alaska Airlines are taking a step back from each other in less than six months. Effective January 1, 2018, American and Alaska are cutting back their partnership, removing elite benefits and earnings on each other’s flights.
AAdvantage Elite Benefits on Alaska Flights
For flights on and after January 1, AAdvantage elite benefits will no longer apply for travel on Alaska Airlines. Currently, AAdvantage elites get priority check-in and boarding, priority security (except Gold elites), preferred seating (except Gold elites) and two free checked bags:
Mileage Plan Elite Benefits on American Flights
Likewise, Mileage Plan elites will no longer get benefits on American Airlines flights. Current benefits include priority check-in, priority boarding, priority security, preferred seating and checked bag allowance as follows:
One interesting note about these changes: Alaska notes that you’ll still be able to select Preferred and Main Cabin Extra seats for travel after January 1, 2018 as long as you select these seats by December 31. It’ll be interesting to see if the same is true for AAdvantage elites on Alaska-operated flights.
AAdvantage Award and Elite Earnings
Until December 31, 2017, you’ll continue to earn AAdvantage miles, Elite Qualifying Miles (EQM), Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQD) and Elite Qualifying Segments (EQS) on Alaska Airlines-marketed flights (any flight with an Alaska Air flight number) based on the following chart:
For flights on and after January 1, 2018, all of these numbers drop to zero. You won’t earn any AAdvantage miles, EQM, EQD or EQS on Alaska-marketed flights.
That said, you can still earn AAdvantage award and elite-qualifying credit on Alaska flights; you just have to book flights with American Airlines flight numbers. These flights will then be treated like any other AA flight, earning AAdvantage miles in accordance with AA’s revenue-based system and EQDs based on the price paid for the flights (less taxes).
Mileage Plan Award and Elite Earnings
Mirroring the AAdvanatge changes, you’ll only earn Mileage Plan miles and elite-qualifying activity for American Airlines-marketed flights now through December 31:
After January 1, 2018, you’ll have to book flights with AS flight numbers to earn Mileage Plan award and elite status.
What’s Not Changing
Award redemption and lounge benefits will stay intact after January 1. You’ll still be able to redeem AAdvantage miles for flights on Alaska Airlines and Mileage Plan miles for flights on American Airlines. However a rather unsettling phrase is posted on the Alaska Air website about the changes: “Some award levels will be changing for travel booked in 2018.”
Lounges: Admirals Club members will continue to have access to all Alaska Lounges in Anchorage (ANC), Seattle (SEA), Portland (PDX) and Los Angeles (LAX). Meanwhile, Alaska Lounge members will still be able to access Admirals Club lounges when traveling on Alaska or American.
After the Virgin America and Alaska Airlines merger, I think many of us American Airlines elites were looking forward to enjoying benefits on the much-larger network. It’s a huge bummer to have these elite benefits dropped completely. Similarly, Virgin America elites were probably looking forward to enjoying their benefits on American Airlines as well on Alaska post-merger.
While it’s disappointing to lose an award and elite-qualifying option, thankfully booking Alaska flights with AA flight numbers — or American flights with AS flight numbers — still remains an option for earning miles and status.
Featured image courtesy of Getty Images.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees