Alaska will begin offering a more seamless travel experience on American Airlines

The Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is expanding its reach with new options to earn and redeem miles on American’s full network, which will include flights that were historically US Airways flights, beginning October 17 – and other enhancements arriving even sooner. These will add value to Alaska’s frequent flyer miles and improve the benefits of MVP elite status.

American Airlines and US Airways merged in 2013 to create the world’s largest airline. Mergers happen in stages, and the pending October 17 migration to a single reservation system will be a significant moment when all US Airways flights become American Airlines flights, making them eligible for the same benefits and opportunities that Mileage Plan members already receive when they fly with American. Customers can book the flights starting today for travel Oct. 17 or later.

More Mileage Plan: 5 ways to earn more miles

New ways to earn and redeem miles with Mileage Plan

Just how significant is this improvement? Alaska has grown in recent years with the addition of several new routes and new destinations. But partners allow it reach even further – and help you earn elite status and miles faster.

Mileage Plan has a unique collection of airline partners because it’s not a member of a traditional alliance. Instead, Alaska negotiated individual relationships with some of the best carriers. American Airlines is one of these partners, and the addition of the former US Airways network makes the existing partnership with American even stronger. This integration will add 61 new American Airlines destinations (14 are destinations not previously served by Alaska or other partners) and an 86 percent increase in eligible American Airlines flights that can help you earn miles and status with Mileage Plan. More flights also mean more available award seats when you want to use your miles.

Not a Mileage Plan member? Join today

Alaska’s other partners include Cathay Pacific, British Airways, Air France/KLM, Fiji Airways, and Emirates, among others. In July, Alaska added Hainan Airlines as its newest Mileage Plan partner. While some share the same oneworld Alliance to which American belongs, others do not. Earning miles with Alaska on former US Airways flights will also create new opportunities for those travelers to redeem their miles.

Benefits of Mileage Plan elite status on American Airlines

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan has ranked highest in overall customer satisfaction for its loyalty program two years in a row in the J.D. Power Airline Loyalty/Rewards Program Satisfaction Report.

Alaska works to maintain that satisfaction by ensuring you can take your benefits with you when you travel on another airline.

Alaska Airlines and American Airlines have long had an agreement offering reciprocal elite benefits for their best customers. Those benefits will now expand to US Airways flights as they begin to operate with American flight numbers.

  • All Mileage Plan elite members enjoy Priority AAccess check-in and boarding and complimentary Preferred seats.
  • MVP members enjoy a 50 percent discount on Main Cabin Extra seats and a waived fee for their first checked bag.
  • MVP Gold and 75K members enjoy complimentary Main Cabin Extra seats and waived fees for their first two checked bags.

Enjoy new places to relax before your trip

Finally, American and Alaska will be making it easier to relax in each other’s airport lounges when you’re on the go. An expanded agreement goes into effect Aug. 15 that will allow Board Room members to visit the entire network of American Airlines Admirals Club lounges in more than  50 locations whenever they fly on Alaska and American. Members of the Admirals Club can already visit one of Alaska’s four Board Room locations in Seattle, Portland, Anchorage or Los Angeles.

Enjoy access to more Admirals Club locations, including the recently renovated Terminal 2 at San Francisco International Airport.

American Airlines just announced a major overhaul of its lounge network, beginning in Sao Paulo and Phoenix. The makeover will give clubs a more stylish and consistent look, provide convenient communal tables and powered workstations, and feature local artwork. The food selection will be enhanced with Greek yogurt, soups, and other snacks – though you’ll still have to visit the Board Room for Alaska’s famous pancake machines!

admirals club

Rendering of the new look for Admirals Club lounge bars by James Park Associates Ltd.

You’ll soon have more ways to earn and redeem miles, as well as more places to enjoy the benefits of your Board Room membership as you fly throughout the network of the new American.

52 Comments on “Alaska will begin offering a more seamless travel experience on American Airlines

  1. This is indeed great news and will cement my business travel with Alaska for 2016. Couldn’t be more timely as Delta is trying to woo me away from you with a mileage program equivalent status for 2016.

    Thank you for offering me more choices to earn mileage. This proves why Alaska is still my favorite choice of travel!

    Kay Sauve-Ward
    2016 MVP- Gold

    • I think the expanded benefits are a nice touch, it would be nice if you were able to negotiate some level of respect from American and US Air for MVP, MVP GOLD and MVP GOLD for elligible upgrades and boarding privledges. American’s Priority Access extension to Alaska Elite members ends with us boarding ahead of the economy masses but still behind a long list of their Exec Platinum, Platinum, Gold, One world Ruby, Families with infants, and uniformed Military(by all means)

      The relationship with Delta for Elite members also includes the opportunity for upgrades when available, whereas the American relationship appears to be short of this. It would be nice.

      I love the Alaska program and I am hopeful to reach the MVP Gold 75 this year. The flight teams and customer service at Alaska are world Class.

      Does the Admirals Club privledges work in reverse, where American Admirals Club Members get Access to the Board room?

  2. Great move from a great airline on which I enjoy the benefits of MVP Gold status.. Hopefully Alaska’s reputation for customer service and on time performance raises the bar for American.

    • I agree.
      American has gone way down in customer service and I dropped my Admiral’s Club membership because their lounges didn’t match the basic industry level.
      Both Alaska and Delta have much better lounges.
      Alaska’s customer service on all levels iis great and I hope, as you said, that American learns from them rather than US AIR which has been down at the United Airline level.(the worst)
      Here’s hoping.

      Another road warrior

      Milt Shefter

  3. Now if we could just get a shot an upgrades on AA … 🙂

  4. when will American provide seamless mileage on their US Airways flights? for now, they do not provide Alaskan air mileage.

  5. I just flew First Class on American Aug 4, 2015, flight 2484. My flight blocked in at 12:04am but my bag didn’t get to the carousel until 12:56am. There were 200+ angry people waiting for their bag after the flight. 52 minutes to get your bag on American in Seattle is outrageous. American Airlines needs to step up their game. Alaska Airlines, are you sure about this partnership?

    • Agreed. Also, American will not interline transfer baggage containing firearms which means I have to exit security, claim my firearms (which they put on a regular carousel at LAX of all places with no ID check to claim) recheck them at Alaska and then pass back through security to board my Alaska flight. Needless to say this was an unpublished policy that I only learned about at check-in with American and I missed my connecting flight. Traveling with firearms is a pretty regular event for many Alaska customers. How is Alaska going to address this with American as a partner?

  6. I’m a board room member, and until this announcement was wondering why I keep my membership. The rooms that are available currently without having to pay more money for access are pitifully few and far between, so this is definitely a good thing!

    • I said this exact same thing to the Alaska Airlines complaint hot-line about a year ago. Not only was I not allowed into an American Airlines club room – they were pretty rude about it.

    • With you there…especially since we travel to the Caribbean to surf every year and lounge access is denied for even first/business class, which we always fly.

  7. Will we be able to use our Citi AAdvantage Master Card for entry into the Board Rooms like American?

  8. Will our American Board room privileges be good at Alaska Airlines Board Rooms!

    • Admirals Club annual, lifetime or 30-day members, Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive Card primary cardholders, or AirPass members with Admirals Club privileges have access to Alaska Airlines Board Room Lounges when departing on the same day on American Airlines, US Airways or Alaska Airlines marketed and operated flights. More here.

  9. I recently become a mileage plan member with AA because I fly from Phoenix to Europe and Alaska doesn’t fly froml PHX except to WA and OR. I am MVP with Alaska but hopefully now will be able to just continue my membership with them. Unfortunately, I am flying wiht US/AA to Europe in September..to soon to take advantage of the merger benefits.

    • I suggest you double check your flight reservation. If you’ll be on an American Airlines flight (AA number), some benefits are already available to MVP members, including complimentary preferred seats, a discount on Main Cabin Extra seats, and a waived fee for your first checked bag. If you’re on a US Airways flight (US number), then September is too early. Beginning October 17 all US Airways flights will become AA flights and you’ll have the same benefits.

  10. I wish American Airlines would honor Alaska Airlines companion fare tickets!
    Carol, MVP Gold Member

  11. I have been a most loyal MVP GOLD/75 Alaska member. However, I used to be able to use my award mileage to fly first class on air france. This is no longer the case. If I want to use award miles to fly to Europe there are no FIRST Class award tickets. Unless you want to fly and pay over 1K on British Airways. I am starting to fly Delta because I can use my miles and fly first class to Europe!!!

    • We fly AF all the time to Paris, and depending on the flights there is only Biz Class on most planes.

      • I agree. I’ve used Alaska miles to get Biz class on AF several times in the last year. Often that is the only upgraded class available on the aircraft.

  12. I totally had to do a multi flight itinerary from PDX to BGI, FIRST CLASS, to avoid the US Air segments in order to keep our MVP/GOLD status with Alaska. This change is literally like a day after we depart from Portland for the annual surf trip to Barbados…the easiest AA flight, plus surf board fees, which we will know have to pay twice each way. Thanks a lot on the AA partnership AS since you are clearly ditching the Delta partnership.

  13. Good news and the end of Delta for me. Now it’s either Alaska metal or AA. Thanks AS!

  14. As an Alaska Gold, I did not have a good experience with American in Columbia, SC, where the agent would not check my bag all the way through on AA miles flight, connecting to Alaska flight DAL-SEA. I had to retrieve my bag in Dallas, get on a bus outside the terminal to get to the Alaska terminal, re-check my bag to SEA. It took over an hour. I’ve never had any problem doing this with Delta. So American, you need to step up your game.

    • Yes! They really need to step up their game. Even though Delta is stingy with their miles, the service experience has been better in Economy, Economy Plus, and First Class, Domestic and International. Finally hitting Gold 75K this year but considering a status match on Delta instead. Especially with the added BOI-SEA flights.

  15. Interesting comment on access to Admiral Lounges; you will find it still will cost you nearly $60 for access for 2 people even if you are an Alaska MVP Gold, Flying First Class and a Alaska Board Room Member

      • Halley glad to hear access will be increased. We traveled thru Dallas July 29 and was greatly disappointed to find out that boardroom member access was limited to only a handful of Admiral Lounges and Dallas was not on that list! Will Alaska also be looking to increase food and premium drink offerings like Sky Clubs or Admiral Lounges do?

  16. This is good news! I fly American weekly and am a Gold 75K on Alaska. To date I have refused to fly US Air simply due to lack of priority access and main cabin extra seating selection.

  17. Will US air/AA open up Alaska mileage tickets to use for flights to Israel? It has become impossible to use Alaska miles on any partner except for BA which costs 1K$ plus miles to fly business and then most of these available flights are not business class seats on the US- London protionof the flight . I am looking at other mileage plan options if this continues even though i am a 75K flyer .

  18. Im MVP gold and I flight Alaska from Austin TX. to Anchorage AK. 2 times a month and I return to Austin on Delta do to the only one flight that Alaska provide I wish they do more flights to Austin TX.

  19. Great news! What I want to do is use my Alaska Airlines mileage to redeem in American Airlines’ program. Specifically, I want to book air and hotel in American’s program using my Alaska miles – can I do that? Neither airlines’ website has such a provision.

    My biggest gripe about Alaska’s program is that I can’t redeem miles for hotels – only air. Hoping this announcement is the beginning of the end of that.

  20. AA has put me on Alaska Airlines for my trip to SEA using FF miles. Will I have the same benefits I have now for AA – Free checked baggage and priority seating???

  21. Will there be an opportunity to use AK Air companion pass on American?

  22. Will any of these changes with American/Alaska result in getting full Alaska Miles Credit when we fly Europe on American? Recently, it seems like all of Alaska’s international partners reduced the credit down to 25% of miles flown on an economy ticket. Will that get any better with American?

  23. I just flew a round trip San Diego to Philly on a US Airways flight that was booked as American Airlines with our corporate travel (AA458/AA581) and I changed to my MVP Gold FF #, will those miles go to my MVP account?

    • This flight does not qualify for miles with Mileage Plan. Once all US Airways flights become American flights on October 17, former US Airways flights will become eligible to earn miles for Mileage Plan members.

  24. Will Board Room members be allowed guests in Admirals Club?

    • Yes each Board Room member is allowed to bring either a spouse and children or two guests. In the case that someone has a spouse and a guest, that is allowed since it would be “two guests”.

  25. I recently purchased an expensive Delta coach ticket from West Coast US to Berlin for October, as the only options for AS mileage tickets involved British and their ridiculous fuel surcharge options – none of which offered Business Class seats between the US and London. The lack of Business Class seat availability for redeeming miles, or as an option paying British more than half the price of a Coach ticket for a Coach mileage seat, makes me wonder about the value of all our Alaska miles! I’ve been flying Alaska for almost 50 years, have been a Mileage Plan member since 1983, and I’m not about to stop being an Alaska booster, but really – some better mileage redemption options than British would seem to be in order!

  26. I have lots of Alaska miles and frankly I found them useless for international travel. I tried multiple times to book ahead of time (6 months) to many destinations, never succeeded to find something without major and unreasonable concessions (e.g move your travel dates + 3 days etc). One exception is British Airways but you have to pay hundreds of $$ fee. Other airline FF programs get far more seats from their air partners.
    Will this partnership with American Airlines mean they will give Alaska more seats on international travel on American Airlines?

  27. I would like Alaska mileage plan to change back to allowing companion tickets to be upgradable to first class when purchasing first class ticket. When checking ticket prices it seems 2 coach are about the same as 1 first class, so there would be little or no lost revenue? This is exactly why I upgraded my Alaska credit card and now it’s taken away?

    • Hi Ron. You’re right, we changed the policy for companion fares in August 2012. The change was made due to cost pressures and growing demand for limited space in first class, especially on Hawaii and transcontinental routes. Cardholders can still enjoy great savings using their companion fare for coach travel anywhere we fly, and unlike many competitor offerings, there are no blackout dates, minimum fare requirements or geographical limitations that restrict the value of this benefit.

  28. Here is hoping there is more seamless travel booking on American Airlines. We travel often to Ft Smith, AR, and must connect with American from Dallas onward. Its a challenge to book awards travel, or even a regular fare, because Anchorage-Ft Smith are not matching city fares on Alaska Airlines. Alaska is our preferred carrier, always, and we often pay a bit more to keep the booking on Alaska. Same thought regarding the Board Room. It’s hit or miss in the Admirals Club rooms, depending on how you booked your flight, and I can never seem to get it right. Kudo’s to Alaska Air.

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