Alaska Airlines, American Airlines scale back mileage plan partnership

Alaska Airlines and American Airlines will scale back their mileage plan partnership early next year, leaving Alaska plan members without another major carrier on which to use miles.

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As of March 1, 2020, Alaska Airlines mileage plan members will not be able to earn miles on American Airlines international flights. They will also no longer be able to use miles for award travel on flights operated by Texas-based American Airlines, Alaska Airlines said.

Previously, American Airlines was Alaska’s last domestic mileage plan partner.

Alaska plan holders will still be able to earn a mile for every mile flown on eligible domestic American Airlines flights with an Alaska Airlines flight number to select key destinations in the Midwest and eastern U.S. and Canada, the company said. Alaska Lounge members will also still be able to access over 50 Admirals Club lounges worldwide when flying on an Alaska Airlines or American Airlines flight.

Alaska currently serves about 90 percent of the destinations connected with the American Airlines partnership, and the arrangement no longer benefits either airline the way it did before Alaska purchased its West Coast rival Virgin America in 2016, Alaska Airlines said.

“With our acquisition of Virgin America, we’re now the fifth-largest airline in the United States and can now fly more people where they want to go when they want to go,” an Alaska Airlines spokesperson told The Alaska Journal of Commerce.

Alaska’s domestic partnership situation is part of a natural evolution as airlines grow, said Steve Danishek, president of Seattle-based TMA Travel.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
AALAMERICAN AIRLINES GROUP INC.27.93-0.12-0.43%
ALKALASKA AIR GROUP66.98+0.15+0.22%

“The airlines will do better revenue-wise if they take all the mileage members and put them into their own planes because they don’t pay anything” to a partner airline, Danishek said.

American Airlines and did not immediately return FOX Business' request for comment. Alaska Airlines declined to comment except to direct a reporter to the company website.

Flights must be completed by February 29, 2020 in order to earn miles, however, trips booked before the Oct. 2 announcement for travel after Feb. 29 are still eligible to earn Alaska miles by submitting a mileage credit request after your flight.

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Prior to the announcement, Alaska Airlines, together with Virgin America and its regional partners, reported they flew 40 million guests a year to 118 destinations with an average of 1,200 daily flights across the United States and to Mexico, Canada, Costa Rica and Cuba.

American Airlines Group, encompassing both American Airlines and American Eagle, reported offering nearly 6,700 flights per day to nearly 350 destinations in more than 50 countries.

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However, just recently American Airlines extended cancellations of the Boeing 737 Max aircraft from its flight schedule through mid- January. In total, approximately 140 flights will be canceled per day through Jan. 15, according to the airline.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.