Alaska & American Airlines Gut Long Time Partnership

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Alaska American Partnership Changes

Alaska American Partnership Changes

In the good old days Alaska Airlines was known as the airline who partnered with seemingly everyone. Their strong partnerships with both Delta and American along with their generous frequent flyer program made them an attractive choice. 

Of course their partnership with Delta dissolved recently following years of battling it out in Seattle. Now, following their purchase of Virgin America, Alaska is saying goodbye to most of their partnership with American Airlines.

What Is Changing

Starting on January 1, 2018:

  • Alaska elites won’t get preferred check-in, preferred boarding, a free checked bag or Main Cabin Extra seating on American Airlines. American elites lose their elite benefits when flying on Alaska.
  • AAdvantage members will not receive any flight credit on Alaska Airlines flights unless their flight is an American Airlines codeshare. The same goes for Alaska elites flying on American.

What Isn’t Changing

As part of the announcement we found out that a couple of things are not changing:

  • AAdvantage miles can still be used to book Alaska flights and vice-versa.
  • Admiral’s Club members will still have access to the Alaska Board Room and vice-versa.


As someone who has switched loyalty towards Alaska this is a bit disappointing. Alaska/Virgin have a limited footprint, so losing elite benefits and mileage earning on American is a hit. A big hit.

I will have a follow up post soon about how this affects my elite eplans going forward. What are your thoughts? Does this change your strategy with either Alaska or American?

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  1. This year I started crediting most of my AA flights to AS. I then credit my OW flights to AA to retain my elite status.

    This is a huge torpedo to my ship.

  2. I’m an Alaska MVP GOLD 75K in Seattle and I’m very concerned. There are parts of the country (entire East Coast) where Alaska struggles to be competitive. Unless the focus on those area of weakness (either through their own capacity or focusing their codeshare there) I’ll be forced to consider Delta, who will seemingly gain a huge advantage with eastbound travelers. I like Alaska better, but all concerned I may not have a choice.

  3. As an AA elite flyer that makes frequent trips up and down the West Coast and into Western Canada it will definitely have a negative impact upon my choices. I often fly Alaska under my AA mileage plan. My options with AA are limited on these routes. The only rival for my $$’s for many of these destinations has been Southwest. I am thinking that if I do not get AA elite status miles with Alaska, I will probably choose Southwest more often due to the convenience factor (routes and easy changes) and the often lower price.


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