With the new American Airlines-Alaska Airlines partnership, Alaska Airlines elites get free companion upgrades even though most American Airlines top tier elites do not.
- As an American Executive Platinum flying from Austin to Chicago, I get a complimentary upgrade if available. My wife, flying on the same reservation with me, is entitled to an upgrade as well. However that upgrade needs to be supported with a 500 mile upgrade certificate. Executive Platinums don’t earn these – if they don’t have them leftover from earlier years at a lower status level, these need to be purchased.
- But a top tier Alaska Airlines elite could upgrade their companion on the same flight for free.
Alaska Airlines top tier elites also receive confirmed international upgrade certificates on American.
Next year we can expect to see a true systemwide upgrade offered for travel on American. For now, though, Alaska Airlines MVP Gold 75Ks receive two confirmed upgrade certificates for American Airlines international travel:
- Book by September 30, 2021 for travel complete by December 31, 2021.
- Valid only on Los Angeles – London, Sydney, or Tokyo Haneda or Seattle – Bangalore, London or Shanghai flights.
This is odd on many levels. American Airlines Executive Platinums have had their confirmed systemwide upgrades extended through July 31, 2021. Unless they’ve re-qualified during the pandemic they cannot book an international upgrade in August or September – while Alaska Airlines 75,000 mile flyers can. Like with companion upgrades, they seem to be getting the better deal.
Meanwhile these certificates can only be used for Sydney, London, Tokyo, Bangalore and Shanghai. Just how many of those destinations do you think are allowing Alaska Airlines MVP Gold 75K members to enter?
Australia might open in late 2021, but it might be advisable to wait until October to make the booking until this is certain, when it will be too late to confirm the upgrade.
American’s Vice President of Network and Schedule Planning Brian Znotins told pilots last month the Bangalore route wasn’t even guaranteed to start.
Japan’s vaccinations rollout has been slow, they’ve just begun vaccinating the elderly, when will the open?
So for most this is a London upgrade certificate. It confirms into C inventory, the same confirmed space used for other American Airlines upgrades. And that’s a nice benefit, before the real systemwide upgrades presumably come next year.