American and Alaska launch full reciprocal mileage earning

Apr 1, 2020

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Amid a global crisis, there’s some positive news in the airline industry today. American Airlines and Alaska Airlines have announced full reciprocal mileage earning on domestic and international flights as of Wednesday April 1, 2020. It’s big news, as the two airlines were slated to slash their partnership almost entirely just a month ago. Here’s what you need to know.

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Starting today, AAdvantage members will earn miles on all flights operated by Alaska Airlines, whether marketed by American or Alaska. Previously, AAdvantage members earned miles only when booked on an Alaska Airlines flight ticketed with an American flight number. Additionally, Alaska members will also be able to earn miles on all American-operated flights as of today as well.

Previously, we reported on American and Alaska’s new partnership that will include domestic codeshares, reciprocal elite benefits and Alaska’s intention to join the Oneworld alliance by the summer of 2021.

Here’s the mileage accrual chart for Alaska-operated flights when credited to your American AAdvantage account, obtained exclusively by TPG.

Note that fare class U on Alaska is for mileage and Gold Guest upgrades to first class, so your mileage accrual will be based on the fare class from your original ticket. It does appear that Saver fares, Alaska’s version of basic economy, will be eligible to earn miles, since saver fares code as X (25%).

Note that this announcement only applies to earning miles and doesn’t impact how you earn elite status. Flights will only count toward AAdvantage elite status and Mileage Plan elite status as follows:

  • American AAdvantage: Alaska-operated flights must be marketed by American (in other words, booked with an American flight number) to count toward AA elite status.
  • Alaska Mileage Plan: American-operated flights must be marketed by Alaska (in other words, booked with an Alaska flight number) in order to count toward Alaska elite status.

We’ll hopefully see additional announcements related to status qualification as Alaska’s planned entrance to Oneworld in the summer of 2021 approaches.

Of course, now is not the time to be traveling given the ongoing uncertainty of the coronavirus outbreak, so this announcement shouldn’t drive anyone to book unnecessary travel to utilize the new partnership. However, there are a number of ways to be earning Alaska miles and American miles for future trips — including online shopping portals for your online purchases. The AAdvantage eShopping site, for example, allows you to earn bonus AAdvantage miles for purchases at hundreds of retailers.

You could also consider adding a new credit card to your wallet to boost your account balance as you consider future travel plans. For example, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® is currently offering a welcome bonus of 50,000 miles after spending $2,500 within the first three months of account opening. You can also earn 2x miles at restaurants and at gas stations, though you wouldn’t be able to leverage some of the travel-specific perks on the card at the moment — like a free checked bag and priority boarding. Nevertheless, this could be a great option for American flyers looking forward to booking your next trip. The information for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.   

Featured image courtesy of Robert Alexander/Getty Images

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