What does the American Airlines/JetBlue partnership mean for flyers?

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Desperate times call for potentially exciting and customer-friendly measures. The coronavirus has been an absolute jagweed to the travel industry, and airline executives are pulling all-nighters to strategize a way back to profitability.

American Airlines is yanking out the stops in its effort to dominate domestic travel. From the Northeast to the Pacific Northwest, American has inked deals that guarantee them the ubiquity necessary to challenge most regions fortressed by United and Delta. American partnered with Alaska Airlines just a few short months ago, allowing both Alaska and American Airlines loyalty members the opportunity to earn and redeem miles from either program on both airlines. And now, American Airlines has announced an upcoming partnership with JetBlue, which operates primarily in the Northeast.

But what does this mean for you? For starters, the miles you earn from the best airline credit cards will likely become more valuable. I’ll explain.

JetBlue serves many routes on the east coast and in the Caribbean. (Image courtesy of JetBlue)

American Airlines partners with JetBlue

American’s presence has become less dominant around the New York area, and adding JetBlue remedies their inability to serve their Northeast would-be clients. JetBlue has major hubs in New York JFK and Boston. Much is still unclear, but we know that both airlines will soon codeshare nearly 200 routes (60+ from American Airlines and 130+ from JetBlue). We’ll let you know when these airlines specify these particular routes, but you can expect the major transcontinental flights to be included — namely, New York to both San Francisco and Los Angeles. Both airlines offer fantastic lie-flat business class on those routes.

Partnering with JetBlue also allows American Airlines the freedom it needs to launch new international routes to popular destinations. Before the end of 2021, American Airlines will serve:

  • Athens
  • Rio De Janeiro
  • Tel Aviv

These are just the beginning. Expect to find new American Airlines routes from New York to every inhabited continent except Australia. They’re pushing with unusual force to become the post-pandemic go-to airline.

What are the benefits for miles and points collectors?

A symbiotic relationship between American Airlines and JetBlue in an effort to rise from economic shambles can mean great things for you and me.

Again, very few details of this deal are actually confirmed. What we would expect from a partnership like this would be similar to what we’ve seen American Airlines do with Alaska Airlines. They will likely include the ability to redeem miles from either program for award flights on both airlines. JetBlue and American Airlines both tend to price their award flights differently with their partners, so fingers crossed that some new sweet spots will open up! JetBlue Mint is widely considered to be the best domestic lie-flat experience money can buy, so the ability to use American Airlines miles to book it would be a dream.

The ability to use JetBlue points at their standard redemption value (~1.4 cents each) towards American Airlines flights would also be welcome. If this is the case, JetBlue points just became exponentially more valuable to the majority of Americans — even if their actual redemption rate does not. JetBlue serves only a fraction of the locations American Airlines covers, so this could make it much easier to redeem JetBlue points. Could it even be possible to use JetBlue points for international American Airlines flights??

We’re waiting to understand the implications of this partnership in other areas of the two airlines’ loyalty programs, too. This includes whether or not you can earn American Airlines miles for paid JetBlue tickets (and vice versa), as well as if elite status from one airline will bleed into your experience on the other.

Let us know what you think of this development! And subscribe to our newsletter for more miles and points info delivered to your inbox once per day.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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