Despite the legal challenges, American Airlines and JetBlue are pressing ahead with their partnership, dubbed the Northeast Alliance (NEA). The carriers are currently facing a lawsuit from the Department of Justice (DOJ), but they are moving forward with enhanced frequent flyer benefits and are looking to make the partnership seamless as they push forward to keep building up Boston and JetBlue as global gateways.
American and JetBlue reveal enhanced frequent flyer benefits
Starting today, members of American Airlines’ AAdvantage or JetBlue TrueBlue Mosaic will receive more elite benefits across both airlines. This includes priority check-in, priority baggage, priority security access, and priority boarding when traveling with either airline. This is on top of existing benefits like earning miles across both airlines.
AAdvantage elite members will receive up to two free checked bags when traveling on JetBlue. Passengers will see this benefit reflected at JetBlue kiosks, ticket counters, or via the mobile app. Conversely, TrueBlue Mosaic elite members will receive up to two free checked bags when traveling with American Airlines. For now, this will be reflected only at check-in at the ticket counter. American is working on expanding this to all other check-in channels.
In the coming months, American and JetBlue plan to roll out more elite benefits. This includes preferred seating assignments. As Alison Tayler, American’s Chief Customer Officer, states:
“The Northeast Alliance (NEA) is moving ahead, implementing more consumer benefits that demonstrate our appreciation for our most loyal customers. Additional benefits such as preferred seats will be delivered in the coming months as our partnership with JetBlue continues to make good on our promise to provide more choices to travelers in the Northeast.”
Don Uselmann, JetBlue’s Vice President of Loyalty and Personalization, added the following:
“We’re always looking for ways to make our customer experience consistently more seamless and enjoyable, which is why we’re extending some of our most loyal customers’ favorite perks to the experience when they travel on flights operated by our partner American. And with even more benefits coming online in the months ahead, we’re continuing to bring more value and versatility to both our Mosaic members and our TrueBlue flyers, further enhancing the overall TrueBlue program.”
Mileage redemptions coming soon
Starting this November, American Airlines customers can use their AAdvantage miles on JetBlue flights. This will be available online via American’s website or by calling Reservations. The rollout will come in time for customers to book flights for the holiday season,
When these redemptions come online, AAdvantage will be the only loyalty program in the US that allows earn and burn on three airlines: American, Alaska, and JetBlue. Note that not all flights may have award availability nor at the same price. To earn miles when flying with Alaska or JetBlue, make sure to put your AAdvantage number into the reservation you make with Alaska or JetBlue. The same is true to gain your elite benefits.
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Enhancing the NEA
Since the NEA was revealed in 2020, the dynamic in New York and Boston has shifted entirely. American’s map of possibilities exploded, and out of New York- JFK alone the carrier launched flights to Tel Aviv (TLV) and Athens (ATH) – providing direct competition to the dominant carrier, Delta.
On October 31st, American will become the only US airline flying nonstop from JFK to Delhi (DEL). This is on top of other international expansions, including to South America, from New York. The two airlines have enhanced domestic schedules out of Boston, and American is expected to grow international flying there in the coming years.
The NEA has been providing objectively pro-competitive benefits. For years, American shied away from adding new widebody long-haul flights from New York because it did not have the slots to compete against an airline like Delta at JFK or United over in Newark. With JetBlue, however, American can offer its customers access to a robust array of short- and medium-haul nonstop routes that also provide some feed for new long-haul international routes.
Frequent flyer programs can be a massive tool for airlines to attract new customers. The new benefits starting today are intended to make AAdvantage and TrueBlue more attractive programs to rival those at dominant United and Delta and further create a third, viable domestic and international competitor to those two airlines at airports where air infrastructure remains constrained.
Expanding frequent flyer benefits is a pro-consumer move. In doing so, the airline is giving customers more choices to redeem their earned miles. Suppose JetBlue has a nonstop itinerary out of Boston to a destination that American can only offer a connection on.
In that case, the ability for customers to access that route while retaining elite benefits offers more choice in the marketplace to use this currency. While the DOJ attempts to argue otherwise, American and JetBlue are not slowing down and showing all the benefits they have to offer.