How one can maximize your flight on Alaska Airways with American Airways standing

After American Airways and Alaska Airways expanded reciprocal improve advantages earlier this 12 months, we needed to see simply how far American Airways AAdvantage elite advantages may go when flying Alaska Airways. So I booked a flight from Chicago’s O’Hare Worldwide Airport (ORD) to San Francisco Worldwide Airport (SFO) to check out my AAdvantage Govt Platinum privileges.

Spoiler alert: Having American AAdvantage elite standing can dramatically enhance your Alaska Airways flight expertise.

All American Airways elite members are eligible for perks like upgrades and complimentary checked baggage on customary financial system fares on Alaska. Nonetheless, Alaska offers the best first-class improve precedence to American AAdvantage Govt Platinum and Platinum Professional members — simply behind its personal Alaska Mileage Plan MVP Gold 100K and MVP Gold 75K elite members and forward of its MVP Gold elites.

Together with an enhanced floor expertise and upgrades to the airline’s Premium Class or top quality, right here’s a better take a look at what you possibly can anticipate as an American Airways elite touring on Alaska Airways.

American AAdvantage elite perks on Alaska Airways


As an AAdvantage elite member, you get additional accomplice perks past the usual Oneworld elite advantages when touring on Alaska Airways. This is a take a look at a few of the printed American Airways AAdvantage elite standing perks for journey on Alaska Airways.

Advantages AAdvantage Gold AAdvantage Platinum AAdvantage Platinum Professional AAdvantage Govt Platinum
Precedence boarding
Precedence safety
Most well-liked seating (Not relevant on Alaska saver fares)
Free checked luggage 2 2 3 3
Precedence baggage tagging
Complimentary same-day flight change
Complimentary Premium Class seats (Not relevant on Alaska saver fares) Y, B or H fares after ticket buy; all different fares at 24 hours earlier than departure Y, B, H, Okay, M, L, V, S or N fares after ticket buy; all different fares at 72 hours earlier than departure Shortly after ticket buy Shortly after ticket buy
Upgrades to top quality (Not relevant on Alaska saver fares) As early as 24 hours earlier than departure As early as 48 hours earlier than departure As early as 120 hours earlier than departure As early as 120 hours earlier than departure

American elite members additionally obtain the usual Oneworld standing perks on Alaska, comparable to precedence check-in and bonus mileage incomes. American Airways AAdvantage Platinum, Platinum Professional and Govt Platinum members can entry Alaska Lounges on eligible worldwide itineraries, too.

If you happen to’re an American Airways AAdvantage elite, you possibly can usually obtain these perks no matter whether or not you buy your ticket by American, Alaska or a web-based journey company. Nonetheless, you may not obtain these perks on specifically negotiated fares that some on-line journey companies supply.

I purchased my ticket by the Capital One journey portal; I charged the $278.90 airfare on my Capital One Enterprise X Rewards Credit score Card (see charges and charges) to earn 5 miles per greenback on the acquisition.

My S-fare ticket earned 2,031 AAdvantage miles: 923 miles for 50% of the particular distance and 1,108 miles for the 120% Govt Platinum accrual bonus. Sure, American Airways AAdvantage members earn mileage primarily based on distance relatively than spend on Alaska Airways tickets.

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Associated: How I’ve benefited from being an Alaska MVP Gold 100K when flying American

Add your AAdvantage quantity to your reservation

Shortly after I bought my Alaska Airways flight, Capital One despatched me my Alaska Airways affirmation quantity. To make sure your AAdvantage quantity is on the reservation, you possibly can handle your reservation straight on


This is a crucial step — in any other case, you may not obtain your standing advantages. It’s also possible to add your Identified Traveler Quantity (used for TSA PreCheck) right here.

Associated: Must you get World Entry or TSA PreCheck?

Deciding on Premium Class seating on the seating map

Alaska Airways Premium Class seating has additional legroom. ALASKA

As an AAdvantage Govt Platinum member, I may choose a complimentary seat in Premium Class (Alaska’s model of extra-legroom coach with some premium economy-style perks) once I booked my flight. This is able to have been an additional $81 on my itinerary.

The primary advantages of Alaska Premium Class are 4 inches extra legroom than the usual primary cabin seats, precedence boarding (which is already a profit for AAdvantage elite members) and complimentary beer, wine and cocktails on flights higher than 350 miles.

AAdvantage Gold and Platinum members can choose Premium Class seats when reserving on some increased economy-class fares; in any other case, you will routinely be added to the Premium Class waitlist, which Alaska begins clearing 72 hours earlier than departure.

I may additionally handle my reservation on the Alaska Airways app. To view your flight within the Alaska app, you should manually add it with the affirmation quantity. It is because you possibly can’t signal into the Alaska app along with your American AAdvantage account. Likewise, Alaska flights that are not booked by American do not seem within the American Airways app. Whereas it is a small ache level, it is price declaring, as you will need to preserve your affirmation quantity useful to make the most of all of your advantages.


Associated: What’s Alaska Airways elite standing price?

Upgrades to top quality

Alaska Airways top quality on the Boeing 737-800. KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

American Airways elite members of any tier and as much as one companion on the identical reservation are eligible for first-class upgrades on Alaska flights. This is how Alaska prioritizes upgrades:

  • Alaska MVP Gold 100K
  • Alaska MVP Gold 75K
  • American AAdvantage Concierge Key, Govt Platinum and Platinum Professional members
  • Alaska MVP Gold
  • American AAdvantage Platinum
  • Alaska MVP
  • American AAdvantage Gold members

A couple of days earlier than departure, I observed two unsold first-class seats. To my nice shock, Alaska upgraded me to the final obtainable seat in top quality once I checked in for my flight about 24 hours earlier than departure. Since my Govt Platinum AAdvantage frequent flyer quantity was hooked up to the reservation, Alaska processed this improve routinely.


Alaska has three rows of first-class recliner seats on the Boeing 737-800 I used to be flying, configured in a 2-2 sample.

This is how they stack up towards the financial system and Premium Class seats:

Economic system class Premium class Firstclass
Format 3-3 3-3 2-2
Seat pitch 31 to 32 inches 35 inches 41 inches
Seat recline 3 inches 3 inches 5 inches
Seat width 16.5 to 17.3 inches 16.5 to 17.3 inches 20.45 inches

The primary-class armchair on my flight was snug however dated. For a four-hour flight, it was completely advantageous however lacked the storage and privateness of the next-generation first-class recliner seats that you’ll find on the Delta Airbus A321neo and a few of United’s reconfigured Airbus A319s.

The recliner was according to what American and United supply on the identical plane, though there was no seat pocket for first-row aisle seat passengers. On the service aspect, there have been no blankets obtainable.

Associated: The last word information to getting upgraded on Alaska Airways

Pre-booked alternative of meal (if upgraded)

After my improve cleared, I may pre-order breakfast for my flight the following morning with a alternative of 5 entrees.


As soon as on board, the pinnacle flight attendant confirmed my pre-ordered hen sausage breakfast bowl. The dish was salty however hearty. The recent seasonal fruit hit the spot. Nonetheless, I traveled this route final 12 months on American, the plain bagel with smoked salmon they served was way more filling.


Associated: Finest home first-class flights and how one can ebook them

Similar-day flight adjustments

Chances are you’ll lose a beforehand confirmed improve for those who transfer on to a different flight. KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

If obtainable, AAdvantage Platinum Professional and Govt Platinum elites can change to an earlier or a later flight freed from cost by the Alaska app. Once you change flights, you will be confirmed in your authentic cabin, which, in my case, would have been financial system.

Alaska requires you to maintain the identical origin, vacation spot and connection cities for same-day adjustments. Moreover, your new flight should depart on the identical calendar day as your initially scheduled flight.

You’ll be able to request a same-day change whereas checking in in your flight on or on Alaska’s app.

Associated: How one can keep away from airline change and cancellation charges

Baggage advantages

Alaska Airways’ Chicago precedence check-in. KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

Oneworld Ruby (American AAdvantage Gold) and Sapphire (American AAdvantage Platinum) members are entitled to 2 complimentary checked luggage on Alaska flights. Companions on the identical reservation are topic to Alaska’s customary baggage charges.

Oneworld Emerald (AAdvantage Platinum Professional and Govt Platinum) members are entitled to a few complimentary checked luggage. As with the Ruby and Sapphire coverage, companions are topic to Alaska’s customary baggage charges.

As a Oneworld Sapphire or Emerald elite member, Alaska will place a precedence tag in your checked bag.

I wasn’t checking luggage on my flight. If I had been and did not have elite standing, I might have been charged $30 for the primary one, $40 for the second and a whopping $100 for a 3rd.

Associated: Earn bonus miles with checked bag ensures from Delta and Alaska

Precedence boarding

Precedence boarding Alaska Airways. KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

I arrived at my gate early whereas brokers have been closing the earlier flight.

In idea, Alaska affords precedence boarding to first-class passengers and all Oneworld elite members. Nonetheless, the position of the boarding signal and the small boarding space weren’t conducive to precedence boarding.

Nonetheless, the gate brokers successfully stored the boarding space clear till preboarding and precedence boarding passengers have been referred to as ahead. No matter your cabin, American Airways elites can make the most of precedence boarding with Teams A and B.

Associated: Which airline bank cards supply the most effective precedence boarding perks?

How does this have an effect on my airline elite standing technique?


As a San Francisco-based traveler, the following time I am flying a United hub-to-hub route, I am going to you’ll want to examine the Alaska Airways choices within the hopes of spending extra time in top quality than I might be prone to get pleasure from on United.

Within the final couple of years, it has been frequent to search out United flights with improve waitlists with greater than 100 passengers on wide-body, hub-to-hub United routes. Whilst a Premier 1K, I’ve discovered upgrades to be few and much between.

Final 12 months, I solely obtained upgrades on about 15% of my eligible United flights. This led me to pursue American Airways standing by incomes status-qualifying Loyalty Factors to obtain extra upgrades. I am prone to proceed with American thanks, not solely to my elite perks on the airline itself, but in addition on companions like Alaska.

Associated: Why Premium Plus and better fare courses are the key to United upgrades

Backside line

With the Alaska-American partnership, elite members with each airways’ frequent flyer applications obtain tangible value-added standing advantages with each airways.

I used to be thrilled with the perks I obtained on my Alaska flight because of my standing with American. Essentially the most notable was a first-class improve, particularly contemplating six different passengers on my Sunday morning departure weren’t cleared off the primary class waitlist.

Alaska elite members obtain related reciprocal perks on many American Airways flights. TPG’s managing editor for information, Clint Henderson, held top-tier Alaska MVP 100K standing final 12 months, and he loved frequent upgrades on American Airways. Moreover, Alaska’s higher elite members obtain American Airways systemwide improve(s), whereas American Airways elite members do not obtain Alaska Gold visitor improve certificates.

Finally, it is as much as you to determine whether or not you need to earn standing with American or Alaska. Keep in mind that Alaska requires you to finish two, six, 12 and 24 Alaska-marketed and operated flights to qualify for MVP, MVP Gold, MVP Gold 75K and MVP 100K standing, respectively — along with the annual standing necessities. Alternatively, American would not have any flight section necessities to earn AAdvantage standing.

I am trying ahead to maximizing my American standing on future Alaska flights.

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