Alaska Airlines and American Airlines are phasing out their 20-year partnership. They’ve recently announced a major clawback on the mileage perks. They’ve done something similar in 2017, when Alaska and American Airlines announced changes in their partnership structure that took effect on January 1, 2018, where members who booked domestic flights with American Airlines will no longer be able to earn mileage points unless the flight booked was marketed by Alaska Airlines and vice versa. Also, airlines will no longer offer elite members of the other airline reciprocal priority boarding, free bags, preferred seating and so on. These reduced benefits were speculated to happen when Virgin America was bought over by Alaska Airlines. Before the merger between Alaska and Virgin happened, the routes between Alaska and American widely complemented each other. With Virgin having a huge overlap in flight routes with American Airlines, making them direct competitors with each other, it only makes sense for both Alaska and American to reduce some of the benefits that were previously in place. This year, they are scaling back their partnership perks even more. In addition to Virgin America’s overlapping routes with American Airlines’, American Airlines’ presence has grown in the West Coast overtime where Alaska Airlines also has a big presence in.
In Alaska Airlines’ blog, they released a FAQ page addressing the major changes in its partnership with American Airlines, they said that their Mileage Plan partnership with American Airlines started 20 years ago. Things have changed from when they first kicked off. Both airlines have evolved, and naturally their partnership would too.
Some of the changes that Mileage Plan members should be expecting:
- Domestic Flights: If members booked a domestic flight on American Airlines, marketed by Alaska Airlines, they will still earn miles.
- International Flights: Flights booked on American Airlines before October 2, 2019 will be eligible to earn Alaska Airlines miles by submitting a mileage credit request after your flight is completed. Any flights booked after October 2, 2019, travel must be completed before February 29, 2020 to be eligible for Alaska miles.
- After February 29, 2020, Alaska will not be able to accommodate customer-initiated changes to booked American award tickets, other than cancellations.
- Code sharing agreement with AA for select key destinations in the Midwest, eastern U.S. and Canada. Flight numbers starting with code “AS” can be purchased on Alaska website
- No changes to their lounge benefits.
In instances like this, it is a natural disintegration of a partnership between two brands that outgrew each other. When this partnership formed 20 years ago, the perks and strategy they concocted widely complemented both brands which were a huge synergy boost for them. As years roll by, their presence expanded, their strategy evolved, and they went from two brands that complemented each other to becoming direct competitors. They did the right thing by slowly phase out the partnerships that they outgrew.
Did they make the right move? Let us know down at the comments below.