Alaska Airlines is planning to join the oneworld alliance and is scaling its partnership with American Airlines back up. Here’s some inside scoop on why American had been cutting ties with Alaska, and how they changed their mind.
The rejuvenated partnership continues to build even in difficulty times. A week ago they announced that you can now earn redeemable miles credited to one airline when traveling on the other. This did not yet extend to earning elite status miles. Only a week later that changed and the partnership now includes both redeemable miles and elite status miles.
Reciprocal Mileage Earning
You can now earn American AAdvantage miles for travel on Alaska Airlines and vice versa.
If you buy a ticket for travel on American Airlines, and credit the miles to an Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan account, this chart tells you how to calculate the miles you’ll earn – it’s based on the distance flown multiplied by a factor based on the type of fare you have. Notably American Airlines basic economy fares do not earn any miles with Alaska.
If you buy a ticket for travel on Alaska Airlines, and credit the miles to an American Airlines AAdvantage account, this chart tells you how to calculate the miles you’ll earn. It is similarly based on the distance flown multiplied by a factor based on the type of fare you have.
Reciprocal Elite Status Earning
Crediting American Airlines flights to Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan will earn you the same number of qualifying miles as redeemable miles.
Crediting Alaska Airlines flights to American AAdvantage is.. more complicated. You’ll earn a different number of qualifying miles than redeemable miles, and you’ll earn qualifying dollars as a percentage.
Overall most customers who have Platinum status or less on American should probably credit to Alaska. That’s because:
- Alaska miles go farther, under their current award chart
- Alaska status will still be recognized on American
- Alaska status is easier to earn, with no minimum spend requirement
Of course do the math for each specific flight to see where you’re better off crediting miles.
I wrote that Alaska Airlines almost certainly has to devalue their program because of their new American Airlines partnership. It almost had to be a requirement of doing the deal with American.
However the current coronavirus crisis makes it exceptionally tough for Alaska to do just that. I wonder if we’ll get the best of both worlds, a continuing generous Mileage Plan program and the ability to earn Alaska miles and status while traveling on American’s (hopefully once again) larger route network.