I was a bit disappointed to receive an e-mail from American Airlines this morning that they were discontinuing their partnership with JetBlue. They’ve announced that effective April 1, 2014, you will no longer be able to earn AAdvantage miles on Jetblue flights:
Through our merger with US Airways, you now have convenient East Coast access through the US Airways Shuttle, which offers hourly departures from Boston Logan, Washington Reagan (DCA) and New York LaGuardia (LGA). Plus, you can earn and redeem miles when traveling across US Airways’ global network. All travel on eligible US Airways tickets also count toward qualification for elite status.
The partnership between American and JetBlue never included elite qualifying miles (EQMs), only redeemable miles (RDMs). So, it wasn’t personally valuable to me. But, it was nice to earn AAdvantage miles when I traveled between IAD and JFK on JetBlue.
And, this is where I think American’s explanation is a bit thin. I can already fly American from DCA to LGA and BOS. Given, US Airways has many more frequencies. But, American hasn’t had a significant presence at IAD for quite some time, shutting down the route to ORD quite some time ago, with the non-stop to San Juan, Puerto Rico disappearing a few years ago. US Airways discontinued service between IAD and LGA a little over a year ago (amongst other minor service cuts in the Northeast), so Dulles has become something of an island for folks wanting to fly and earn AAdvantage miles.
And, with American shrinking it’s once-sizable presence in the Caribbean, the JetBlue relationship was a nice augmentation to them.
The biggest disappointment for me is that American and JetBlue aren’t getting closer. I had written about my hopes for a tie-up multiple times in the past. I do like JetBlue’s in-flight product even though I’ve had an outsize number of mechanical issues when flying the airline. I had hopes that the agreement between American and JetBlue was a stepping stone to something bigger, though likely not a merger after the US Airways deal was reached.
American has a lot of relationships with airlines to earn and burn AAdvantage miles. JetBlue just won’t be one of those going forward.