American, Alaska Airlines expand Mileage Plan opportunities

Dallas/Ft. Worth-headquartered American Airlines and Seattle-headquartered Alaska Airlines have expanded an agreement that will give Alaska Mileage Plan members the ability to earn and redeem miles on nearly 3,000 more flights currently operated by American’s merger partner US Airways.

While all Alaska Airlines (NYSE:ALK) customers have been eligible to earn and redeem miles on American's network since 1999, Alaska’s Mileage Plan members will be able to earn and redeem miles on more flights when they transition from the US Airways banner and become American Airlines flights on Oct. 17.

“With American’s expanded network, our loyal customers will enjoy earning and redeeming miles for travel to more than 60 additional American Airlines destinations worldwide,” Andrew Harrison, Alaska EVP, said in a statement.

The move, which is part of American’s ongoing merger process, was characterized as an opportunity to strengthen a long-standing relationship.

“Our relationship with Alaska goes back more than 15 years and we continue to look for ways to work together to enhance the benefits for our customers,” Andrew Nocella, American’s chief marketing officer, said.

The relationship between Alaska and American has included frequent flier reciprocity for several years, giving members of each airline’s frequent flier program the ability to earn and redeem miles for each other’s flights. That reciprocity was expanded in 2011 to include reciprocal elite benefits on each airline.

Elite members of Alaska’s Mileage Plan also receive exclusive benefits on American’s expanded network, including expedited security, priority check-in and boarding, complimentary or discounted access to Main Cabin Extra seats, as well as baggage waivers.

The agreement also expands access to airport lounges for members of Alaska Airlines Board Room airport lounge. Those members will have access to all 54 of American Airlines’ (NYSE:AAL) Admirals Club locations worldwide beginning Aug. 15. Admirals Club members already have access to Alaska Airlines Board Rooms, which are located at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), Portland (Oregon) International Airport (PDX), Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

For its part, American Airlines has kicked off the largest Admirals Club lounge makeover in its history. An example of the club redesign is shown in the artist’s rendering above.

The announcement of the opportunity to “earn and burn” miles on the legacy US Airways flights comes just two weeks after Alaska announced the addition of Hainan Airlines to its portfolio of Mileage Plan partners. That alliance gives Mileage Plan members the ability to earn miles across the China-based carrier’s 90-city global network. The addition of the two airlines brings to 13 the number of global airlines with which Alaska has partnerships.

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American Airlines Admirals Club image provided by Alaska Airlines
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