American, JetBlue unveil reciprocal award redemptions and elite benefits

Oct 13, 2021

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The day is finally here.

When American Airlines and JetBlue first announced their Northeast Alliance last year, many flyers (and TPG readers) were eager to learn more about the teased reciprocal loyalty benefits.

Well, the two airlines — despite the outstanding Department of Justice lawsuit — have just unveiled the details about reciprocal mileage redemptions and elite benefits.

This latest enhancement builds on the already existing reciprocal mileage earning offering for all American AAdvantage members and JetBlue TrueBlue members, which first launched in May.

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Redeem American AAdvantage miles on JetBlue flights

Starting in November, American’s loyalty members will be able to redeem AAdvantage miles for JetBlue-operated flights.

While the exact start date is still up in the air, American shared the upcoming redemption rates for JetBlue awards. The good news is that all awards for JetBlue’s core (economy) cabin will be available at the exact same rates that AA already uses for the rest of its partners.

American confirmed to TPG that it is not devaluing the partner award chart as part of Wednesday’s news. As such, the mileage required for a coach seat on a JetBlue flight will be priced at the current Main Cabin award rates, which are as follows for departures from the continental U.S. and Canada. The chart includes destinations where JetBlue doesn’t fly, though the rates are included for connecting itineraries.

Destination One-way economy award price
Contiguous 48 U.S. states & Canada         12,500
Alaska         15,000
Hawaii         22,500
Caribbean         17,500
Mexico         17,500
Central America         17,500
South America Region 1         20,000
South America Region 2         30,000
Europe         30,000
Middle East         40,000
Indian Subcontinent         40,000
Africa         40,000
Asia Region 1         35,000
Asia Region 2         37,500
South Pacific         40,000

 

Note that you’ll find the region definitions at the bottom of American’s partner award chart linked here.

In order to redeem American miles for a JetBlue flight, you’ll need to find award availability in the “P” fare class for economy awards, and the “I” fare class for Mint awards.

The only route(s) where you’ll never find availability is JetBlue’s new London service, which is excluded from the Northeast Alliance. The remainder of JetBlue’s network, however, will be available for redemption so long as there’s award availability.

Additionally, you’ll be able to purchase awards that contain both an American and a JetBlue flight. For example, say you want to fly from Fort Lauderdale to Tel Aviv, with a connection in New York-JFK. If you found award availability on JetBlue for the domestic segment and on American for the international one, you can combine the two flights for a one-way main cabin award priced at 40,000 AAdvantage miles.

An American Airlines spokesperson confirmed that taxes and carrier-imposed surcharges for JetBlue redemptions will be handled in the same manner as other partners. For most domestic one-way flights, expect to pay a $5.60 security fee along with the required miles.

All in all, this is welcome news for those sitting on a stock of American miles. The airline isn’t changing any of its award pricing for JetBlue coach options, and this is sure to be a popular redemption option for many TPG readers.

Just be sure to crunch the numbers before you book a JetBlue award — just because there’s availability doesn’t necessarily mean it’s worth redeeming miles, especially when many of JetBlue’s domestic flights are often quite inexpensive.

Redeem American AAdvantage miles for JetBlue’s Mint biz cabin

Though American isn’t changing its partner award pricing for economy awards, the airline is adding a carve-out for JetBlue’s award-winning Mint business class.

For Mint redemptions between the following cities, you’ll need to spend an additional 15,000 AAdvantage miles on top of the first-class award rate listed in the partner award chart.

  • Boston, New York-JFK, Newark, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach
  • Los Angeles and San Francisco
JetBlue’s new Mint cabin (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

JetBlue also flies its Mint-equipped Airbus A321s to destinations not covered by the above carve-out, such as Las Vegas, San Diego, Seattle and cities in the Caribbean. An American Airlines spokesperson told TPG that those awards would price at the regular rate for partner first-class redemptions.

If this is all too confusing, just reference the below award chart for Mint redemptions. The table includes destinations where JetBlue doesn’t fly, though the rates are included for connecting itineraries. 

Destination One-way Mint award to non-premium destinations One-way Mint award to premium destinations
Contiguous 48 U.S. states & Canada                                                                           50,000                                                                   65,000
Alaska                                                                           55,000                                                                   70,000
Hawaii                                                                           80,000                                                                   95,000
Caribbean                                                                           52,500                                                                   67,500
Mexico                                                                           52,500                                                                   67,500
Central America                                                                           52,500                                                                   67,500
South America Region 1                                                                           55,000                                                                   70,000
South America Region 2                                                                           85,000                                                                 100,000
Europe                                                                           85,000                                                                 100,000
Middle East                                                                         115,000                                                                 130,000
Indian Subcontinent                                                                         115,000                                                                 130,000
Africa                                                                         120,000                                                                 135,000
Asia Region 1                                                                           80,000                                                                   95,000
Asia Region 2                                                                         110,000                                                                 125,000
South Pacific                                                                         110,000                                                                 125,000

 

Note that you’ll find the region definitions at the bottom of American’s partner award chart linked here.

There are a few interesting tidbits about how Mint redemptions are going to work. For one, American publishes partner award charts for three cabins: economy, business/first and first class. Historically, you’ve only been on the hook for the first-class pricing when an airline operates both a business- and a first-class cabin on the same aircraft.

Of course, JetBlue’s Mint-equipped Airbus A321s only have two cabins, Mint and economy, though American is opting to price those awards at the first-class rate and an additional mileage surcharge. Though it’s anyone’s guess why American is charging so many miles for Mint, it’s possible that JetBlue is asking American for a very high reimbursement rate for awards booked into its popular Mint cabin.

If you aren’t sitting on a big stockpile of American miles, you can instead opt to redeem Emirates miles for Mint awards — and save some miles in the process. For a one-way flight from New York to Los Angeles, Emirates charges 52,000 miles, way fewer than the 65,000 required by American.

Redeem JetBlue TrueBlue points for American flights

While American has its reciprocal redemption details squared away, JetBlue’s version is still a work in progress.

The airline promises that it’ll add the ability to redeem TrueBlue points for American flights “in the future.” Stay tuned to TPG for updates on when this feature eventually rolls out.

American AAdvantage elite benefits on JetBlue flights

Beginning on Wednesday, Oct. 13, all American AAdvantage elites will enjoy a slew of elite benefits when traveling with JetBlue, including:

  • Priority check-in
  • Expedited security
  • Priority boarding
  • Priority baggage delivery
  • Two free checked bags, weighing a maximum of 50 pounds each
American elites will enjoy priority perks on JetBlue (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

You’ll need to enter your AAdvantage number in your JetBlue booking to unlock these benefits. Note that you can check in on the JetBlue website, mobile app or kiosk and enjoy these reciprocal elite perks without a stop at the check-in desk.

JetBlue Mosaic benefits on American flights

Beginning on Wednesday, Oct. 13, all JetBlue Mosaics will enjoy a slew of elite benefits when traveling with American, including:

  • Priority check-in
  • Expedited security
  • Group 4 boarding
  • Priority baggage delivery
  • Complimentary same-day changes to flights
  • Two free checked bags, weighing a maximum of 50 pounds each

Note that you’ll need to input your JetBlue TrueBlue number in your American Airlines booking to take advantage of the perks. Plus, you’ll need to check in at the American ticket counter to partake in your perks.

An American spokesperson explained that the airline is still working through the technology integration on the back-end to automate this process. Once that’s complete, you’ll be able to check in online, on the mobile app or at a kiosk and enjoy your perks without a visit to the counter.

Additionally, JetBlue Mosaics will be able to select complimentary preferred seats on American flights later this year. Note that these seats are just preferable locations in the coach cabin, like aisles or windows. This benefit excludes American’s extra-legroom Main Cabin Extra offering.

Bottom line

It’s great to see American and JetBlue continue to deliver on customer-focused benefits of the Northeast Alliance, despite the pending Department of Justice lawsuit.

Last month, the DOJ filed an anti-trust suit against American and JetBlue, saying that the pact allows for anti-competitive coordination between the two carriers.

The two airlines quickly responded, striking back against the DOJ with plenty of statistics, new marketing campaigns and even a dedicated website, neaflies.com, to make their case that the Northeast Alliance does, in fact, promote competition and deliver benefit to customers.

This latest move, along with the competitive response that the Northeast Alliance has elicited from Delta and United, seems to weaken the fed’s case.

Either way, the big winner is the traveler: with new redemption options and elite perks, there’s no better time to be an American or JetBlue loyalist.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

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