American & JetBlue partner up (no word on award booking)

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American Airlines and JetBlue today announced a partnership. This could get interesting if it leads to reciprocal award redemption, though at the moment we only know for sure about plans to code share.

American announced new routes

It looks like the partnership here will allow American to launch some new international routes from JFK while letting JetBlue handle the feeder flights. Specifically, American announced intentions to add routes from JFK to:

  • Tel Aviv (TLV)
  • Athens (ATH) (seasonal, starts summer 2021)
  • Rio de Janeiro (GIG) (seasonal, re-starting in winter of 2021)

Obviously the specifics of when these routes will start will be subject to a lot of variables. Still, having additional international flights is typically good news for consumers. Given JetBlue’s huge presence at JFK, I would imagine that American intends to add a lot more international routes down the road, but it wouldn’t make sense to announce any of that today given the general uncertainty surrounding international travel.

Codeshares coming

They didn’t announce details, but American and JetBlue announced that they do intend to implement a fairly extensive codeshare agreement, including on premium transcontinental routes. One would assume that this will eventually mean reciprocal mileage earning and potentially some transfer of elite benefits, but no details were announced yet.

Award booking?

American Airlines business class

The most exciting prospect here for many readers will be the possibility of booking awards on either airline. We don’t yet know whether and to what extent this will be possible. In my opinion, a particularly exciting addition here will be if it becomes possible to book JetBlue Mint with American Airlines miles. This could be a nice way to position to the west coast for an award that includes a oneworld partner like Cathay Pacific or Japan Airlines across the Pacific or other partner like Air Tahiti Nui.

At this point, it is a little difficult to imagine exactly what this will look like if award booking is a feature that gets implemented. We’ll have to watch out for additional details to come.

Bottom line

This is potentially exciting news. It’s early to get too excited, but given the quality of the JetBlue Mint product and the deals we occasionally see on their routes, it could certainly become exciting to see the ability to earn or redeem American Airlines miles on JetBlue. As someone based in New York State, I’m further happy to see this if it means additional international routes out of JFK and a positive effect on award availability (whether that be on American or on competitors). Usually partnerships like this get rumored in advance, but this one seems to have come out of left field.

H/T: One Mile at a Time

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