The partnership between American Airlines and JetBlue started allowing each program’s members to earn miles and elite qualifying credit on each other’s flights back in the spring, and they announced that recognition of elite benefits across the two airlines would begin in the fall.
Elite benefits are here – today – and award redemption starts next month. Here are the details.
Starting today, elite members of each airline receive benefits when flying the other carrier.
- priority check-in
- priority security
- priority boarding
- priority checked baggage
- two complimentary checked bags (1 for AAdvantage Golds)
There’s no elite seating benefit at this point, but that’s coming. JetBlue’s elites only get extra legroom seats at the airport, if available. So don’t expect extra legroom seats to be a benefit. Instead they’re promising “preferred seats.”
An American Airlines spokesperson explains,
[P]referred seats is what we refer to when customers can choose an aisle, or window or exit row. TrueBlue Mosaic elites will receive preferred seats when flying on American in the coming weeks. Since JetBlue does not have a preferred seats product, we are in discussions with JetBlue about how to provide that benefit for our AAdvantage members when they travel on JetBlue.
The kinks in the partnership between American and JetBlue are being worked out. It’s now possible to assign seats on codeshares without calling up the other airline, and the problem of American Airlines ticket confirmations showing elites a free baggage allowance is solved by… providing elites with a free baggage allowance.
Mileage redemption starts next month. American AAdvantage is adding JetBlue to its partner award chart for online and telephone redemption with a handfule of quirks.
- Transatlantic redemptions are not permitted. A spokesperson explains that transatlantic flights “aren’t part of our Northeast alliance.” Of course neither are domestic routes which do not touch the Northeast, but those are available for redemption. I assume the carveout is to avoid antitrust concerns regarding London Heathrow, given American’s tie-in with British Airways and the federal government’s lawsuit.
- Coach awards are priced at the standard coach level, but Mint is priced at the three-cabin first class level rather than priced as business class.
- And JetBlue’s Mint transcon flights see a surcharge on top of first class redemption pricing. Between Boston/New York/ Miami/Fort Lauderdale/West Palm Beach and Los Angeles/San Francisco, American will charge the partner first class price of 50,000 miles each way plus a 15,000 mile surcharge (65,000 miles each way).
An American spokesperson explains,
MINT on all other routes (not the carveouts) will fall within the First category on the Partner Award Chart. So the MINT on Caribbean routes will be 52,500 as noted in the chart.
If you want to book JetBlue Mint awards using miles, you’re better off transferring American Express, Citi, Chase, or Capital One points to Emirates Skywards which offers these premium seats for fewer miles. For instance New York JFK – London is permitted (!) at 64,000 miles each way and New York JFK – Aruba is 40,000 miles each way, while transcons are 52,000 miles (a savings of 13,000 miles compared to AAdvantage).
Awards book into “I” for business class (“Mint”) and “P” for economy. This can be searched at Expertflyer.com when doing a revenue fare availability search.