Everything you need to know about the American Airlines-JetBlue alliance

Mar 10, 2021

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American Airlines and JetBlue jolted the industry when they announced plans for a Northeast-focused alliance in July 2020.

The airlines worked to quickly implement their tie-up, which culminated with the first codeshare flights on Feb. 25, 2021. That’s just the beginning, though. Both carriers are in the process of adding new flyer-focused benefits, like reciprocal mileage and elite benefits.

For now, here’s everything you need to know about booking flights with the new American-JetBlue partnership. Just note that this relationship is still a work-in-progress, and these answers could change later this year.

Related: Key facts about the Northeast alliance

How do I book a flight covered in the alliance?

Eligible flights can be booked through both aa.com and jetblue.com. When searching for results, you’ll find the codeshares listed below any available nonstop flights operated by your carrier of choice.

Note that only select routes, primarily those to or from Boston or the New York City area are covered under the partnership.

What fares can I purchase?

Both regular coach and JetBlue Mint tickets are covered under the partnership. That means if you’re looking for the cheapest basic economy fares or AA biz, you’ll need to book directly with your preferred airline.

Does it matter where I purchase the ticket?

Yes.

For one, the prices can vary depending on which site you purchase your ticket.

Additionally, until JetBlue-marketed mileage accrual and elite benefits launch (at a later date), American Airlines loyalists will want to book flights through aa.com, since the carrier offers mileage earning and elite-qualifying progress for codeshare flights operated by JetBlue.

Another consideration is your baggage allowance. If you purchase a JetBlue ticket from aa.com, you’ll save $5 in checked-bag charges compared to purchasing the ticket directly with JetBlue.

Can I make changes to my reservation?

Yes. All flights booked under the partnership can be changed or canceled according to the fare rules of the airline that issued the ticket. In other words, it matters more where you buy the ticket than which airline you ultimately fly.

Both American and JetBlue have eliminated change fees for nearly all flights, excluding those booked in basic economy. You might be on the hook for a fare difference, though, depending on the cost of the new flight.

Voluntarily canceled tickets cannot be refunded. You can use them as future travel credit towards a new flight, subject to a 12-month expiration policy.

Related: How to change or cancel an American Airlines flight

If I cancel a ticket, which airline can I used that credit on?

American and JetBlue have different policies for canceled tickets.

American stores the value of your fare in a future flight credit. You can then rebook at your leisure before the ticket’s expiration for any AA or JetBlue codeshare flight. Only the same passenger on the canceled ticket can book and travel using a flight credit.

When you voluntarily cancel a JetBlue ticket, the value is converted into the carrier’s travel bank system. Tickets booked with travel bank funds can only be used to cover flights operated by JetBlue. Note that credits can be used to book a new reservation for anyone you would like.

Related: How to use the JetBlue travel bank

How do I select seats?

Selecting seats is tricky. Neither airline’s website currently supports online seat assignments for partner-issued tickets.

Your best bet is to call the airline operating the flight to assign seats. You can purchase extra-legroom or preferred seats, subject to availability.

Note that elite benefits do not (yet) apply to flights booked under the partnership.

What’s my baggage allowance?

The marketing carrier (i.e. the one who sold your ticket) will dictate your baggage allowance.

See the chart below for checked-bag charges for domestic flights.

Marketing carrier Operating carrier First checked bag Second checked bag
American Airlines JetBlue $30 $40
JetBlue American Airlines $35 $45

How do I check-in?

Regardless of where you book your flight, you’ll need to check-in with the airline operating your flight.

To streamline the check-in process, you might want to call the airline that issued your ticket to ask for the partner confirmation code. You’ll then use the partner code to check-in with the operating carrier.

In airline lingo, this code is called the “PNR,” which stands for “passenger name record.”

Can I earn miles?

For now, you can earn American AAdvantage miles for JetBlue flights booked on aa.com. JetBlue TrueBlue members cannot yet earn points for American flights.

More details are expected later this year.

What about my elite-status benefits?

Reciprocal elite benefits are coming later this year.

Neither airline is currently offering benefits to partner elites. That means bags and seats will be charged at non-elite rates. Priority check-in, security and boarding will not be offered.

However, American AAdvantage members can earn qualifying miles for JetBlue flights booked on aa.com. American flights booked through jetblue.com aren’t eligible for Mosaic qualifying progress just yet.

How does the alliance apply to connecting flights?

American Airlines and JetBlue are currently only selling seats on nonstop flights.

However, both airlines will soon offer connecting itineraries, with a mix of American and JetBlue flights, but there’s no firm timeline as to when. For example, this alliance will enable travelers to fly JetBlue to New York-JFK and connect onto an American Airlines flight to Athens or Tel Aviv.

Once connecting flights launch, you’ll need to check-in with the airline operating the first flight of your journey. It remains to be seen how the airlines will integrate baggage rules and seat assignments for connecting passengers.

If there is a storm, delay or another operational issue, can I switch to the other airline’s flight, even if that means connecting?

For day-of-departure disruptions, both airlines can re-accommodate flyers on each other’s flights. American and JetBlue are evaluating additional protections during irregular operations, but there’s no additional news to share just yet.

Bottom line

The brand-new Northeast alliance between American Airlines and JetBlue is more complex than it seems. Whether it’s assigning a seat or figuring out your baggage allowance, you’ll want to pay close attention to the details.

Featured photo by Ryan Patterson/The Points Guy

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