With their new Northeast Alliance continuing to grow, American Airlines and JetBlue reached another milestone this week. The carriers confirmed the initial elite status benefits for travelers using the partner airline. Don’t expect too much, however. The initial reciprocity is spectacularly limited.
Starting later this Fall (exact date unspecified) members in both programs will have access to the following benefits on the other airline:
- Priority check-in
- Priority security lanes
- Priority boarding
- Up to two complimentary checked bags
The benefits are better than nothing, to be sure. But the lack of any reciprocity with respect to seating in the cabin is glaring in its absence.
JetBlue does not offer first class upgrades for its Mosaic members, but Even More Space seats are complimentary on the day of travel. So is changing to an alternate flight on the same day. AAdvantage elites also get complimentary access to the carrier’s extra leg room seats (and “preferred” seats) on board. Same day change is also free for them. But extending those benefits – even just on the day of travel – proved a (air)bridge too far, at least for now.
By comparison, the American partnership with Alaska Airlines promises access to the extra leg room and preferred seats, as well as the same-day-change fee waiver. It will also include access to upgrades for top elites, but that doesn’t make as much sense with the JetBlue partnership.
The carriers do promise “Even more benefits for Advantage and TrueBlue members will be coming in the future.” Whether that materializes as access to redeem points for seats or something else remains to be seen.
In terms of more immediate benefits to travelers, JetBlue will be moving to the new Terminal B at LaGuardia so passengers can connect easily to American Airlines flights. It will run a split operation initially, with expectations of moving fully into the new terminal eventually. Spirit Airlines also runs a split operation so a potential swap there could be sufficient. Similarly, a shuttle bus now runs between T5 and T8 at JFK inside security to facilitate connections.
A favor to ask while you're here...
Did you enjoy the content? Or learn something useful? Or generally just think this is the type of story you'd like to see more of? Consider supporting the site through a donation (any amount helps). It helps keep me independent and avoiding the credit card schlock.