American Airlines and JetBlue’s new “Northeast Alliance” is starting to kick in and benefit the two airlines’ loyalty program members. Since the agreement was announced last year, the two airlines launched a new code-share partnership and promised that more is in the works — including possible changes to earning and redeeming miles, plus elite benefits.
Travelers can now earn AAdvantage miles and elite status credits when flying JetBlue. On the flip side, flyers can also now earn TrueBlue points and Mosaic elite status credit when flying American.
However, this partnership works like no other mileage partnership that either airline currently has. Rather than earning miles based on the distance of the flight, you’ll earn AAdvantage miles or TrueBlue points based on the fare that you paid. This potentially has interesting implications for the future of both programs.
Here’s a deeper look at what travelers can expect with these new changes.
How you’ll earn AAdvantage miles on JetBlue flights
American Airlines flyers can now earn AAdvantage miles on JetBlue flights the same way they do on most American Airlines fares. AAdvantage members flying JetBlue can earn 5 miles per dollar spent on the base fare and carrier-imposed surcharges.
Gold: 7 miles per dollar (40% bonus).
Platinum: 8 miles per dollar (60% bonus).
Platinum Pro: 9 miles per dollar (80% bonus).
Executive Platinum: 11 miles per dollar (120% bonus).
How you’ll earn AAdvantage elite status credits on JetBlue flights
In addition to earning AAdvantage miles, travelers will also now earn elite status credits for AAdvantage, even when flying on JetBlue-marketed flights.
The earning chart closely mirrors the elite status credits you’d earn flying on American Airlines-marketed flights.
Your elite status earnings will vary both by ticket type and the cost of the ticket. Here’s how the earnings shake out:
Elite Qualifying Miles: You’ll earn 1 EQM per mile flown in economy unless you’re flying on a Blue Basic fare — the airline’s basic economy product. You’ll earn 2 EQMs per mile flown in most JetBlue Mint (business class) fares. Only full-fare JetBlue Mint tickets (read: really expensive, last-minute bookings) will earn 3 EQMs per mile flown.
Elite Qualifying Dollars: Flyers earn EQDs toward elite status based on the amount paid for a JetBlue ticket, excluding government-imposed taxes and fees. But again, you won’t earn any EQDs with a JetBlue Blue Basic (basic economy) ticket.
Elite Qualifying Segments: You’ll earn 1 EQS per flight segment flown on JetBlue, except on JetBlue Blue Basic fares (basic economy), where you will earn none.
What this means for AAdvantage members
Going forward, your mileage and elite status earnings will be nearly identical whether you fly American or JetBlue. If you currently have AAdvantage elite status, you may want to stick to American flights to enjoy elite benefits. However, you’ll earn the same amount of AAdvantage miles and elite status credits flying either airline.
On its own, this isn’t a big development. However, it may mark a turning point in how AAdvantage members earn miles and elite status credits on other partner airlines. If American and JetBlue can share data to make this revenue-based earning system work, American might be able to do so with other partners — especially joint business partners, like British Airways, Iberia, Finnair, Japan Airlines and Qantas.
If implemented, this could potentially spell the end of a shortcut to AAdvantage elite status. Currently, savvy AAdvantage members can selectively book partner airlines to earn more EQMs and EQDs than they’d earn on American Airlines flights. For instance, AAdvantage members can earn a lot more miles and elite status credits flying on inexpensive Japan Airlines or British Airways premium economy fares than they would booking the same fares through American Airlines.
How you’ll earn TrueBlue points on American Airlines flights
TrueBlue members now earn points when flying on American Airlines flights. The earning rates are quite similar to how you earn points on JetBlue flights — but there’s a catch to be aware of.
You’ll earn a base of 3 TrueBlue points per dollar spent on all ticket types except basic economy (these flyers will earn 1 TrueBlue point per dollar). Mosaic elite members flying any American Airlines fare type will earn an additional 3 TrueBlue points per dollar spent.
However, there are a couple of important exceptions. For American Airlines flights booked through AA.com but credited to TrueBlue, you won’t earn the JetBlue app/website booking bonus. If you’re a JetBlue Plus Card holder, the news is worse still: You won’t earn bonus miles for spending on the airline’s credit card.
This means you’ll earn a lot more TrueBlue points by booking an American Airlines flight through JetBlue’s website — especially if you’re a JetBlue Plus Card holder.
Type of points/miles available by place of purchase
JetBlue app/website booking bonus points
Mosaic bonus points/miles
JetBlue Plus Card bonus points
Potential total points/miles earned per $1 spent
How you’ll earn Mosaic elite status credits on American flights
As part of this expanded partnership, flyers can now earn elite qualifying points on American Airlines-operated flights that count toward your Mosaic status. You will earn 3 Mosaic-qualifying points per dollar spent on all fares but basic economy, which earns 1 Mosaic-qualifying point per dollar spent.
If you’re aiming for Mosaic status, you may want to forgo flying on basic economy fares.
What this means for TrueBlue members
This partnership opens a lot more opportunities for TrueBlue loyalists to earn points in their preferred program. You can now fly on American’s extensive network and earn both TrueBlue points and Mosaic status credits.
Nerdy tip: Make sure to check prices on both American and JetBlue’s websites. If the prices are the same, you’ll want to book through JetBlue’s website to maximize your TrueBlue earnings.
TrueBlue members could already earn miles on a few other partners — including Emirates, Hawaiian Airlines, Icelandair and JSX. However, American is the first partner on which TrueBlue members can earn Mosaic status credits. It will be interesting to see if American remains the only partner where this is possible, or if JetBlue will launch similar partnerships with other airlines in the future.
The bottom line
Whether you’re an American elite or a JetBlue loyalist, you just gained a new way to earn miles, points and elite status credits with your favorite program. You can now earn AAdvantage miles and elite status credits on JetBlue flights similar to American flights. And as long as you book through JetBlue’s website, you’ll earn TrueBlue points on American Airlines flights just as you would on JetBlue.
This is an exciting development. However, the unique way that the airlines have set up earning rates has us wondering if this is a pivot point for how you’ll earn miles and elite status credits on partners going forward — for better or worse.
What’s next for the American-JetBlue partnership? Based on what’s been teased by the airlines, we hope to see mileage redemptions and reciprocal elite status benefits added soon.
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