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American, JetBlue End Interline Sales and Mileage Partnerships

SmarterTravel

Airline partnerships are often compared to marriages, with all the tension and conflict that implies. The story of the American-JetBlue relationship is a case in point.

American and JetBlue have had a limited frequent-flyer relationship since 2010, and an even longer interline sales relationship. At what now appears to have been the partnership’s high point, there were rumors during American’s stay in bankruptcy protection that a merger of the two airlines might be part of American’s long-term survival plan.

Any prospects of a long-term relationship were dashed with today’s announcement that the two airlines were terminating interline sales immediately, and that frequent-flyer program reciprocity will end on April 1.

Officially, American’s merger with US Airways was the principal catalyst for the relationship’s undoing. In a statement to USA Today, American explained the breakup in the following terms: “Through the merger with US Airways, American’s network along the East Coast provides greater connectivity and customer benefits and as a result, there is no longer a need to supplement our combined network coverage with the JetBlue agreement.”

There’s probably more to the story than that. In particular, it can’t have helped the relationship that JetBlue’s upcoming premium service between New York and Los Angeles and San Francisco will compete head-to-head with American’s newly upgraded transcon flights.

As with so many marriages, the true causes of this divorce may never be fully known. Fortunately for travelers, the effects of the breakup will be minimal, as the partners stopped short of a deep, far-reaching commitment.

This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.

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