Alaska Airlines And American Are Killing Most Of The Benefits You Receive From Their Partnership

Alaska Airlines has been busy the last year or so.  They’ve been part of a well-publicized feud with their previous partner Delta and they also acquired Virgin America.  Now, there’s news that Alaska and American are breaking up.

It was just over 4 years ago that American began expanding its codeshare relationship with Alaska Airlines so customers could take more advantage of the benefits both airlines were offering.  Those were positives for both airlines’ customers.  Such benefits as preferred boarding and seating as well as free checked bags were a welcome plus to American fliers when they ventured onto Alaska’s network.

Almost 2 years ago, American took a bite out of the miles their customers earned flying on Alaska.  This wasn’t unique to Alaska.  It was just the new reality.

Alaska wanted to get bigger.  They had aspirations of being the type of airline that could compete with the big boys in places other than the Pacific Northwest.  That lead to their acquisition of Virgin America.  At the time, they noted they were likely to continue to rely heavily on the partnership with American Airlines to move Alaska passengers on the larger American Airlines network.

Meanwhile, Alaska was waging that war with Delta over Seattle.  That ultimately lead to the termination of the Delta partnership.  It was another sign that they might grow closer with American.  And yet, the DOJ decision to approve the merger also came with a set of conditions to limit the codeshare partnership between Alaska and American.

Now, the rest of the partnership appears to be taking a pretty serious hit.  Starting on January 1st:

  • American will only award miles on Alaska Airlines flights booked as American Airlines codeshares.

  • American will only award elite status credit (qualifying miles, segments, and dollars) on Alaska Airlines flights booked as American Airlines codeshares.

  • American Airlines elite frequent flyers will no longer receive travel benefits — such as priority check-in, priority boarding, access to preferred seats, and free checked bags — on Alaska Airlines.

The partnership will continue to award miles and status credit on American Airlines codeshares.

And, for Alaska folks:

  • Alaska Airlines will only award miles and status credits on American domestic flights booked as Alaska codeshares, however members earn on all American international flights.
  • Alaska Airlines elites lose elite benefits on American Airlines.
  • Alaska Mileage Plan redemption prices on American are changing as well.

The Alaska award chart sees a few changes as well, mostly for the worse.  I find it odd that the price of some premium awards (including Hawaii) go down.  Award prices, ahem, don’t generally go down.

The Final Two Pennies

For different reasons, Alaska Airlines is ending up with 2 less partnerships of significance.  As they grow bigger with the Virgin America network, maybe they won’t need these partnerships as much.  In many ways, the American-Alaska relationship was complimentary for both parties.  If I had to guess, the price American wanted to charge to continue the relationship was too high.  But, it’s hard to tell based on the information we have right now.  It’s definitely clear customers of both airlines will enjoy less benefits when flying on the other in the near future.

The post Alaska Airlines And American Are Killing Most Of The Benefits You Receive From Their Partnership was published first on Pizza in Motion

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