As the west-coast alliance between Alaska Airlines and American Airlines continues to evolve some frequent flyers got good news this week: upgrades will be available to top tier elites across both loyalty programs.
Our upcoming membership in oneworld makes these added benefits with American even more rewarding for our guests,. We look forward to welcoming American’s elite members with our award-winning service and growing network of destinations.– Andrew Harrison, EVP and Chief Commercial Officer, Alaska Airlines
The initial reciprocity is broader and more simple for program members. Beginning in March 2021 elite members will see general benefits when traveling across both carriers. These include:
- Priority check-in
- Access to preferred seating
- Extra legroom with options to book Main Cabin Extra seats on American or Premium Class on Alaska
- Increased baggage allowance
- Waiver of same-day change fees (though these are disappearing more and more for all passengers anyways)
Cross-metal upgrades for both sides
From there, however, things get a bit more interesting. Later in the year Platinum Pro and Executive Platinum members will be eligible for free domestic upgrades on Alaska. Going the other direction, Gold 75K members will be eligible for free domestic upgrades when traveling on American.
Moreover, the companies are keeping the long-haul market top of mind. Part of the motivation for the partnership’s initial announcement was American Airlines moving some of its long-haul west-coast traffic out of LAX and running it from Seattle instead. London, Bangalore and Shanghai are currently in the works and when they launch Alaska Airlines’ top status elites will get another loyalty perk. MVP Gold 75K members will gain the opportunity to access long-haul upgrades when traveling on American.
Details on how the upgrades will be earned or paid out remain unclear at this time. But the potential for something useful there is a nice idea to dream about. Though it also raises the question of why the companies are unwilling to share the details if they are known. And if they are not then why announce something that is not yet confirmed?
Also yet to be announced are any similar details on the AA/JetBlue partnership that is supposed to launch at Boston an New York City.
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“upgrades will be available to top tier elites across both loyalty programs.” This should be in the title. Many of us are not elites.
Seth Miller says
Without elite status you weren’t going to get any upgrades. I’m not sure that’s really surprising. And writing the entire story in the headline doesn’t really work.
Sorry to have wasted a few minutes of your life.