In the midst of a crazy travel week, I missed the announcement from American that they were officially expanding their codeshare relationship with Alaska Airlines.
The codeshare expansion will allow American to place its code on 22 new Alaska routes that provide Bay Area travelers with access to Hawaii and will increase the options for transcontinental flights for travelers in the Pacific Northwest and San Diego to Boston, Washington, D.C. and Orlando, Fla. Under the agreement, Alaska will place its code on 19 American routes, which will provide better access for Alaska customers on flights between Los Angeles and U.S. cities such as Washington, D.C., Orlando and Houston. Additionally, Alaska customers will gain better access between the Pacific Northwest and 11 new cities throughout Texas via American’s Dallas/Fort Worth hub. In all, Alaska customers will gain access to 13 new destinations.
I’m an American guy, so anytime the size of the network increases, I’m all ears. And, last year American and Alaska expanded their relationship to include some benefits for elites:
Now, it would really excite me if they added upgrade benefits as well. But, I do see some positives here for most travelers. Specifically, more availability to Hawaii (from SFO). Additionally, some direct flights from San Diego to the East Coast and more availability from Seattle to the East Coast as well. I’ll be eager to see the full list of codeshares when it comes out tomorrow and see if there’s anything I’d take advantage of.
But, I’m really waiting for the codeshare arrangement with JetBlue. That’s the one that could have huge value for me. Right now, if I want to fly from my home airport (Washington Dulles/IAD) to points in the Northeast, that means either choosing United (really, no thanks) or flying JetBlue and not earning any elite qualifying miles. American has an arrangement with JetBlue where I can earn redeemable miles. But, that’s less interesting to me. I fly enough to earn top-tier (Executive Platinum) status on American and I also earned 1K status on United last year. But, that involves me making sure I’m always on a flight that’s earning me elite qualifying miles, because I don’t want to be away from my family any longer than necessary. So, mileage runs are only used in case of emergency (read, to prevent a drop in status).
In the past, that’s meant choosing a small, poorly maintained regional jet (or even prop plane) out of IAD on United instead of a much nicer regional jet with extra legroom on JetBlue. Not having to choose between comfort and status miles? Priceless.