Alaska Airlines Elites Lose Benefits On Cheapest American Airlines Tickets

Alaska Airlines elites no longer receive some of their elite benefits while flying American Airlines on Basic Economy tickets. This change is being made even though American Airlines elite members receive full benefits on basic economy tickets.

  • Extra legroom coach seats are no longer available to Alaska Airlines elites flying American on basic economy fares

  • Complimentary same day changes are no longer available to Alaska Airlines MVP Gold 75Ks flying American on basic economy fares

American explains the reason for the changes as being to put “us more in alignment with Alaska Airlines’ benefit offerings to our elite customers.” This also avoids incentivizing Alaska elites flying American over Alaska where they don’t receive full benefits on basic fares.

During the pandemic American restored elite benefits to basic economy fares, while removing elite status credit accrual from those fares. Now AAdvantage elites flying basic economy are even eligible for upgrades.

I’d just assumed that the upgrade algorithm was reprogrammed to no longer exclude tickets booked at these fares, however that’s not the case. Instead, elites on these fares have to have their bookings adjusted.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Gotta say…since their partnership, things are heading South for AS elites. Getting bumped from upgrades due to AA elites is just one example of the downward spiral.

  2. > During the pandemic American restored elite benefits to basic economy fares, while removing elite status credit accrual from those fares

    Well, that’s nicer than what United did

  3. @JimC & @Gary — I thought AA elites (even us lowlife Plats) we’re going to be integrated into AS system in 2nd half of year. Not true? Thanks.

  4. AA transatlantic flights are sold as mixed cabin at first class points. Yet AA won’t upgrade any AS bookings, even if seats are available.

    When we booked, it was after being told that we could be upgraded if space was there. That’s the same as waitlisting normally goes.

    NOTE: verified via phone by an AA CSR and AS CSR that AA will not issue upgrades on an international flight on AS status. I feel like we paid first class points for a long economy flight.

    When we went to the AA lounge, it felt like an interrogation to get in. Our tickets on the US leg showed first class, but also showed our AS #. Definitely made us feel that we didn’t belong there.

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