JetBlue and American Airlines Join Forces

JetBlue customers will be able to earn and redeem points on American flights and vice versa. Customers of each will also gain access to a much bigger flight network.

JetBlue and American Airlines Join Forces

The union will open up a slew of new options for JetBlue and American fliers.

Photo by Leonard Zhukovsky/Shutterstock

JetBlue Airways and American Airlines announced a strategic partnership on July 16 that will introduce new codesharing routes across the carriers’ networks and offer loyalty benefits to members of both airlines’ rewards programs. The move is also intended to help the airlines recover from the effects of the global coronavirus pandemic.

As a result of the union, which is still subject to governmental review, both carriers plan to add new routes as well as expand existing ones as they tap into the larger consumer base.

American is adding new nonstop service from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Tel Aviv, Israel, in 2021, and from New York (JFK) to Athens, Greece, next summer (a seasonal flight). The new Athens route will be the first international long-haul flight that American has launched from New York in more than four years. American will also reintroduce daily service from New York to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as a seasonal route for winter 2021.

In the future, American plans to add more long-haul routes in Europe, Africa, India, and South America, bolstered by the partnership.

In the coming months, JetBlue plans to add more flights, too, including to and from New York’s LaGuardia Airport and to and from Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey. JetBlue will also increase service to and from JFK to facilitate connections to American’s expanded international network. In addition, JetBlue will increase service on the East Coast, West Coast, and in the Southeast beyond the 30 new domestic routes the carrier announced last month to meet demand for leisure travel and in travelers visiting friends and relatives domestically.

The marriage means more seamless bookings and more points

JetBlue and American will operate reciprocal codeshare flights, which means that members of JetBlue’s TrueBlue loyalty program will be able to garner points on American flights and American’s AAdvantage loyalty program members will be able to do the same on JetBlue flights. The codeshare flights will also introduce JetBlue customers to more than 60 new routes operated by American, and will introduce American’s customers to over 130 new routes operated by JetBlue.

Codesharing will allow customers to book flights with both airlines through a single booking.

“We are finalizing our offering, but we expect members will be able to earn and redeem points on either carrier and we’re exploring other premium enhancements,” a spokesperson for American Airlines told AFAR.

JetBlue will not be joining the Oneworld global airline alliance (which includes international carriers such as British Airways, Cathay Pacific, and Qantas) as part of the new American Airlines pact. JetBlue also still plans to independently launch and operate transatlantic flights to London in 2021.

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Michelle Baran is a deputy editor at AFAR where she oversees breaking news, travel intel, airline, cruise, and consumer travel news. Baran joined AFAR in August 2018 after an 11-year run as a senior editor and reporter at leading travel industry newspaper Travel Weekly.
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