It has been a curious week in airline alliance and codeshare land. Alaska Airlines and American Airlines have drastically downgraded their partnership that affects frequent flyers on both North American domestic services and their international services. That came a week after American Airlines’ partnership with LATAM imploded following Delta Air Lines buying into LATAM.
But Qantas has partnerships with LATAM, American Airlines and Alaska Airlines. It is especially close to American Airlines. In the last week Qantas has announced a raft of new and improved partnerships with both American Airlines and Alaska Airlines. It has also reaffirmed its partnership with LATAM. Qantas is tightening some of its partnerships and alliances while American Airlines is unravelling some of theirs.
Interesting. And here’s how the new Qantas arrangements with both American Airlines and Alaska Airlines will work.
The AA-Qantas partnership
Qantas and American Airlines have a long standing relationship which has strengthened this year following regulatory approval for a step up joint venture. Both airlines already code share on many transpacific flights and onwards domestically in both countries.
Under the new arrangements American Airlines frequent flyers will be able to earn significantly more points and status credits on transpacific Qantas flights. And the arrangement will be reciprocated for Qantas frequent flyers flying on American Airlines metal.
Crossing the Pacific, the two airlines will add each other’s flight numbers to services on the following routes: Sydney-Los Angeles-Sydney, Sydney-Dallas Fort Worth-Sydney, Melbourne-San Francisco-Melbourne, Brisbane-San Francisco-Brisbane (effective February 2020) and Brisbane-Chicago-Brisbane (effective April 2020).
Both airlines already add the other airline’s flight numbers to many domestic services in their home countries. This too is being expanded. Notable is a range of Qantas flight numbers being added to American Airlines routes out of Dallas.
Qantas’ new partnership arrangements with Alaska Airlines
Alaska Airlines already codeshares with Qantas on Qantas’ Sydney-San Francisco-Sydney flights. Come February, Qantas will be adding an Alaska Airlines flight number to its new Brisbane-San Francisco-Brisbane flights.
Passengers will be able to transit through either Sydney and Brisbane before heading across to New Zealand on Qantas flights with Alaska Airlines flight numbers.
In February, Qantas will add Alaska Airline flight numbers to its Brisbane-Auckland-Brisbane flights.
And Alaska Airlines has already placed its flight numbers on a number of transtasman flights originating out of Sydney, including Sydney-Auckland-Sydney, Sydney-Christchurch-Sydney, Sydney-Wellington-Sydney, and Sydney-Queenstown-Sydney.
What’s the point of this? Alaska Airlines might seem an obscure airline for Australians but its frequent flyer program, called Mileage Plan, is surprisingly popular because it offers competitive rates for redeeming Oneworld flights, decent availability, and ample opportunities to buy cheap points with its many bonus points promotions.
By purchasing an Alaska Airlines ticket with an Alaska Airlines flight number even though you are flying on a Qantas plane, you would earn Mileage Plan points and status credits at far better rates than you would if simply quoting your Mileage Plan number on a straight Qantas booking.
It is also worth noting that there is a good degree of reciprocity here. Alaska Airlines adds Qantas flights on many of its domestic flights out of San Francisco.
While this blog deliberately doesn’t cover frequent flyer points, regular Qantas or Oneworld passengers should probably have a look at Mileage Plan. It is a good subsidiary frequent flyer program be enrolled in when you need to get cheap points and find availability across Oneworld airlines.