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American, JetBlue detail new routes, enhanced connectivity in next phase of Northeast Alliance

July 20, 2021
7 min read
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The powerhouse alliance between American Airlines and JetBlue continues to spread its wings in the Northeast.

On Tuesday, the two carriers unveiled the next phase of their Northeast Alliance, designed to boost connectivity in the New York and Boston markets, with added routes, enhanced coordination and more.

Though Tuesday's update summarizes much of the previously announced growth, there are some interesting updates coming in the weeks and months ahead.

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JetBlue's 12 new routes get a start date

In April, JetBlue shared plans to add seven new cities and two new countries, with 17 routes throughout the rest of 2021 and into 2022.

On Tuesday, the New York-based carrier announced launch details for a handful of these markets, with the specifics in the table below.

DestinationOrigin(s)Launch details
San Antonio (SAT)Boston (BOS), New York-JFK1x daily begins on Oct. 31
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (PVR)New York-JFK1x daily begins Feb. 19, 2022
Kansas City (MCI)Boston (BOS), New York-JFK1x daily on each route begins on March 27, 2022
Milwaukee (MKE)Boston (BOS), New York-JFK1x daily on each route begins on March 27, 2022
Jacksonville (JAX)New York LaGuardia (LGA)2x daily begins on Oct. 31
Sarasota-Bradenton (SRQ)New York LaGuardia (LGA)1x daily begins on Oct. 31. (Note this is winter seasonal)
Savannah (SAV)New York LaGuardia (LGA)1x daily begins on Oct. 31
New Orleans (MSY)New York LaGuardia (LGA)1x daily begins on March 27, 2022
Nashville (BNA)New York LaGuardia (LGA)2x daily begins on March 27, 2022

Notably, flights to Kansas City and Milwaukee, as well as select frequencies to San Antonio, will be operated by JetBlue's newest domestic workhorse, the modern Airbus A220-300, which the carrier inaugurated in April. This 140-seat plane is designed to replace the aging Embraer 190 fleet, and offers an upgraded inflight experience, with larger TVs, faster Wi-Fi and more.

The remainder of the flights will be operated by Airbus A320 family aircraft.

JetBlue notes that the number of daily frequencies on some of the new routes is expected to increase in the future, but no details are available yet. By the end of 2021, JetBlue plans to offer 35 daily departures at LaGuardia and intends to grow to more than 50 daily departures by summer 2022.

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The latest announcement leaves just five previously announced routes with no official start date yet. This includes the airline's first-ever service to Canada and Honduras. For reference, you'll find the remaining new JetBlue routes listed below.

DestinationOrigin(s)Launch details
San Pedro Sula, Honduras (SAP)New York-JFKDecember 2021
Vancouver (YVR)Boston (BOS) – Seasonal, New York-JFKSummer 2022
Asheville, North Carolina (AVL)Boston (BOS) – SeasonalSummer 2022
Portland, Maine (PWM)New York LaGuardia (LGA)Summer 2022

Goodbye to the convenience of LaGuardia

JetBlue is packing its bag at LaGuardia's Marine Air Terminal. In the months ahead, the airline will begin vacating its current terminal at LaGuardia and move into the airport's newly opened Terminal B.

The Marine Air Terminal is one of the most convenient at LGA. It’s accessed via a dedicated exit from the highway and doesn’t suffer from the same road congestion as LaGuardia’s other terminals. With just six gates, it almost feels like you’re flying private.

Many JetBlue flyers will miss the ease of flying from Terminal A, even though it lacks some basic conveniences, like a variety of concessions and dining options.

By relocating to Terminal B, JetBlue can offer more seamless connections with American Airlines. AA already occupies a portion of the terminal's Western Concourse, and as more gates are built there in the coming months, JetBlue will be able to easily relocate its existing operation.

Also, JetBlue flyers will soon have easy access to the new Amex Centurion Lounge in Terminal B once the airline officially moves.

Meanwhile, at New York-JFK, the two carriers are going to stick to their homes — Terminal 5 for JetBlue and Terminal 8 for American — but the airlines have added a shuttle bus that's available post-security for easier connections.

Reciprocal loyalty benefits are (finally) coming

While you can now accrue miles on both AA and JetBlue flights, you can't yet redeem them for either carrier nor can you enjoy your elite status perks when flying on a flight operated under the Northeast Alliance.

That'll change this fall when AAdvantage elites and TrueBlue Mosaic members will start receiving benefits when flying on either carrier.

While the details are still light, the airlines unfortunately didn't mention anything about upgrades or lounge access as a reciprocal benefit. Instead, the carriers shared that benefits will include priority check-in, security and boarding, plus up to two complimentary checked bags.

The lie-flat wars are getting hotter

Though the real news of Tuesday's announcement is the start date for JetBlue's new routes, the airlines buried the lede.

Instead of first writing about the launch details in the press release, the airlines decided to instead focus on the premium transcon network that's enabled by the Northeast Alliance.

AA's Flagship Business on the Airbus A321T (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

It goes to show how important these lie-flat routes are to the recovery from the pandemic. The airlines are likely trying to woo deep-pocketed leisure travelers, as well as corporate accounts, to choose them for the top-notch experience offered on cross-country routes.

To that end, all transcontinental routes operated under the Northeast Alliance will feature lie-flat seats in the pointy end of the plane in 2022. The full list of routes, with the product(s) offered, is listed in the chart below.

DestinationOriginProduct offeredAircraft
Los Angeles (LAX)Boston (BOS)American Flagship First, Flagship Business, JetBlue MintAA Airbus A321T, JetBlue Airbus A321 with Mint
Los Angeles (LAX)Newark (EWR)JetBlue MintJetBlue Airbus A321 with Mint
Los Angeles (LAX)New York-JFKAmerican Flagship First, Flagship Business, JetBlue MintAA Airbus A321T, JetBlue Airbus A321 with Mint
Orange County (SNA)New York-JFKAmerican Flagship First, Flagship BusinessAA Airbus A321T
San Diego (SAN)Boston (BOS)JetBlue MintJetBlue Airbus A321 with Mint
San Diego (SAN)New York-JFKJetBlue MintJetBlue Airbus A321 with Mint
San Francisco (SFO)Boston (BOS)JetBlue MintJetBlue Airbus A321 with Mint
San Francisco (SFO)Newark (EWR)JetBlue MintJetBlue Airbus A321 with Mint
San Francisco (SFO)New York-JFKAmerican Flagship First, Flagship Business, JetBlue MintAA Airbus A321T, JetBlue Airbus A321 with Mint
Seattle (SEA)Boston (BOS)JetBlue MintJetBlue Airbus A321 with Mint
Seattle (SEA)New York-JFKJetBlue MintJetBlue Airbus A321 with Mint

Bottom line

American Airlines and JetBlue are charging ahead with their nascent Northeast Alliance. This winter, the airlines will offer more than 700 daily flights, with 57 new markets and more than 110 codeshare routes from Boston and New York.

But it's not just about an expanded network.

The airlines are moving forward with plans to enhance their frequent flyer partnership as well as the on-the-ground connection experience.

It'll be interesting to follow how the alliance continues growing, especially as other airlines begin retaliating.

Featured image by (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

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  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
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  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023