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Update July 21, 2023: The American Airlines and JetBlue “Northeast Alliance” has partially come to an end. Travelers can no longer book codeshare flights, AAdvantage awards on JetBlue, or make changes to how you credit flights.
In July 2020, at the height of the pandemic, American Airlines and JetBlue announced a new partnership. Now, that partnership is coming to an end after being struck down by a federal judge for antitrust reasons. With JetBlue giving up on appealing the ruling, American Airlines just announced a timeline for the breakup of its so-called “Northeast Alliance” with JetBlue.
Travelers have less than a week to take advantage of the Northeast Alliance — from booking AAdvantage awards to codeshare flights. Here's what you need to know and what you might consider doing.
What’s Happened So Far in the Northeast Alliance Breakup
On May 19, 2023, a federal judge struck down the “Northeast Alliance” partnership between American Airlines and JetBlue. U.S. District Court Judge Leo T. Sorokin sided with the U.S. Department of Justice in its lawsuit trying to block the alliance for being anti-competitive. The judge initially gave the airline partners just 30 days to wrap up a partnership that took years to fully roll out. Then, on June 12, the judge provided an extension, giving the airlines 21 days from his final ruling with his terms of the breakup.
Ever since the initial ruling, American Airlines has indicated it will fight the ruling. Meanwhile, JetBlue…has not. Instead, JetBlue announced on July 5th that it was no longer appealing the decision. With that decided, the airline now needed to figure out how to break off the partnership.
July 20: The Key End Date to the Northeast Alliance
On July 14, American Airlines announced the timeline for the initial breakup of the Northeast Alliance. The key date: July 20, 2023. That's the last date travelers can make new AAdvantage award bookings on JetBlue, reserve new codeshare bookings, or change their loyalty number in existing bookings. Let's break down what each of those means.
No more AAdvantage award bookings on JetBlue
Award travelers have until July 20, 2023 to “use their AAdvantage miles to book and ticket an award itinerary on JetBlue.” Thankfully, you can book travel beyond July 20. For example, you can still book a nonstop award between New York City and Atlanta — a nonstop route that American Airlines cut because of the Northeast Alliance — through (at least) December:
While AAdvantage has switched to a fully dynamic award pricing scheme for American Airlines flights, JetBlue awards are still priced at set levels:
- Domestic U.S. & Canada: 12,500 miles each way
- To/from the Caribbean, Mexico & Central America: 15,000 miles each way
- To/from northern South America: 20,000 miles each way
American Airlines awards will often price cheaper than 12,500 on domestic routes when JetBlue offers award availability. However, JetBlue's awards can be much cheaper than American's on flights to Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean.
No more codeshare bookings
One of the first elements to be rolled out in the American Airlines–JetBlue partnership was codeshare flights. These are flights that are operated by one partner but sold with the other partner's flight number. For example, if you search American Airlines' website for nonstop flights from New York to Atlanta, you'll only find “American Airlines” flights operated by JetBlue:
Although this flight is operated by JetBlue, it's treated like an American Airlines flight for elite status and mileage-earning purposes. Codeshare flights also make it easier to transition between two different airlines — such as flying into New York on JetBlue and then connecting to an American Airlines flight overseas.
If you want to take advantage of this seamless travel, you'll need to book by July 20, 2023.
No more changes to loyalty numbers
Last but not least, travelers only have until July 20, 2023 to “update any existing American booking with a TrueBlue member number or an existing JetBlue booking with an AAdvantage member number.” This can be critical for travelers looking to earn elite status with one program or the other.
Say you book a JetBlue flight (with a JetBlue flight number) but want to earn AAdvantage miles on the flight. You need to list your AAdvantage account number in that booking by July 20, 2023 to earn AAdvantage miles and Loyalty Points on that flight. After July 20, you'll be limited to crediting that flight to JetBlue or one of its other partners.
In this announcement, American Airlines didn't confirm that all bookings made by July 20, 2023 will continue to earn AAdvantage miles after that date, but that seems to be the implication. However, remember that airlines can change mileage earning rates at any time. When these changes occur, existing bookings are almost never “grandfathered” in.
Just a few years after being launched, American Airlines and JetBlue's Northeast Alliance is about to end. Last week, JetBlue announced that it will no longer appeal the ruling. Now, the airlines have announced an initial timeline for ending the partnership.
Travelers have until July 20 to book JetBlue award flights using AAdvantage miles, book codeshare flights on either airline, or change their loyalty numbers on existing bookings. Make sure to look at your upcoming travel plans to see if you need to make any tweaks or should book a flight before this partnership ends.
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