There was a lot of exciting news out Wednesday with Alaska Airlines joining the oneworld global airline alliance and additional benefits being announced for Alaska Airlines elites flying American Airlines and vice versa.
Not all of the announced benefits are available yet (like international upgrades on American for top tier Alaska elites) and the upgrade process for Alaska elites on American isn’t automatic yet. Benefits aren’t exactly reciprocal, with more complicated rules about when American elites can access extra legroom seats on Alaska than when Alaska elites get those same seats on American.
However one thing seems especially odd. Alaska Airlines MVP Gold 75K elite members get complimentary upgrades on American Airlines for themselves and a companion.
These complimentary space-available upgrades are for MVP Gold 75K members and 1 companion booked in the same reservation on the day of departure, at or after check-in.
American Airlines Executive Platinum members do not even get this! As an Executive Platinum member, if I want to upgrade my wife on American I need to use 500-mile upgrade certificates. I still have some from when I was a mere Platinum member a decade ago (Executive Platinums who get complimentary upgrades for their own flying do not earn these). If I didn’t have any in my account I would need to buy them.
Executive Platinums still have higher upgrade priority than Alaska’s top elites when flying American but it seems odd to offer complimentary upgrades to a partner airline elite’s companion, but not to one’s own.
(Thanks to David W. for prompting me to point this out explicitly.)