Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan & American Airlines AAdvantage Partnership Changes January 1, 2018

Alaska Airlines and American Airlines are restructuring their Mileage Plan and AAdvantage program partnership effective January 1, 2018.

Alaska Plane

Mileage Plan members will earn miles for international American Airlines flights and domestic ones that are AS coded. AAdvantage members will earn miles only for Alaska operated flights that are sold under AA codeshares.

You can access Alaska’s page for partnership change here and AA’s here.

Here’s what Alaska writes about these changes:

Partnership changes

Alaska has grown a lot recently, by acquiring Virgin America, expanding to 118 cities, and growing our global partner network. With growth comes change, and starting January 1, 2018, Alaska and American Airlines will be making important updates to our partnership, though a lot will remain the same

What’s not changing:

  • You’ll still earn miles on domestic American Airlines flights with an Alaska Airlines (AS) flight number, and on all American international flights.
  • You’ll still be able to redeem miles on American flights globally.
  • Alaska Lounge members can still access Admirals Club lounges when traveling on Alaska or American.

What is changing:

  • American Airlines domestic flights with an “AA” flight number will no longer earn Mileage Plan miles.
  • You’ll no longer receive elite benefits when traveling on American Airlines after December 31, 2017.
  • Some award levels will be changing for travel booked in 2018.

Here’s Alaska’s AA award chart changes effective January 1, 2018:

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan AA Award Chart January 1 2018

Here’s what AA communicates about these changes:

For travel starting January 1, 2018

AAdvantage members will be able to earn on Alaska Airlines only as American-marketed flights (booked as an AA flight number):

  • Award miles
  • Elite mileage bonus
  • EQDs
  • EQMs
  • EQSs
  • Minimum EQM guarantee

Benefits offered to AAdvantage elite members flying on Alaska Airlines will also be discontinued at this time.

No changes will be made to award travel; AAdvantage members can still redeem miles for travel on Alaska Airlines.

Conclusion

First Alaska lost its partnership with Delta. Now Mileage Plan members can only earn miles on Alaska’s American Airlines codeshares when flying domestically within the United States. There is no change on number of miles earned on AA’s international flights, however.

At least the Mileage Plan members can still redeem for American Airlines flights, although with slightly devalued rates come January 1, 2018.

This makes choosing Alaska Airlines primary airline difficult for those that don’t live at one its (or Virgin America’s) hubs. Delta and American Airlines both helped Alaska to fill the holes of its US network (mainly west cost airline).

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