American Airlines & China Southern Expand Partnership (Reciprocal Elite Benefits On The Way)

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Well that didn’t take long! It was only a couple of weeks ago that China Southern announced that it would be leaving SkyTeam in 2019 and already it’s expanding its relationship with American Airlines considerably.

American Airlines is a part owner of China Southern and the two airlines have been codesharing on a number of routes since January this year…but the relationship is about to get a lot closer.

American Airlines and China Southern have just announced that they are “taking steps to strengthen their partnership with a significant expansion of codeshare cooperation and the launch of reciprocal frequent flyer benefits and lounge access”

Here’s what’s happening:

New Codeshares

In “early 2019” American Airlines will expand the number of routes within China on which it codeshares with China Southern. The list of new codeshare routes is as follows:

From Beijing:

  • Urumqi Diwopu International Airport (URC)
  • Guiyang Longdongbao International Airport (KWE)
  • Guilin Liangjiang International Airport (KWL)
  • Haikou Meilan International Airport (HAK)
  • Sanya Phoenix International Airport (SYX)

From Shanghai:

  • Sanya Phoenix International Airport (SYX)
  • Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN)
  • Shenyang Taoxian International Airport (SHE)
  • Changsha Huanghua International Airport (CSX)
  • Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport (SZX)
  • Dalian Zhoushuizi International Airport (DLC)
  • Harbin Taiping International Airport (HRB)
  • Changchun Longjia International Airport (CGQ)
  • Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport (CGO)

China Southern will, in return, place its code on a series of routes out of Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York (JFK):

From Los Angeles:

  • Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
  • Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD)
  • Boston Logan International Airport (BOS)
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
  • Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu (HNL)
  • McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas (LAS)
  • San Jose International Airport (SJC)
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
  • Orlando International Airport (MCO)
  • Portland International Airport (PDX)
  • Denver International Airport (DEN)
  • Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC)
  • Tucson International Airport (TUS)

From San Francisco:

  • Los Angeles (LAX)
  • New York (JFK)
  • Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
  • Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)
  • Miami International Airport (MIA)
  • Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT)

From New York (JFK):

  • Los Angeles (LAX)
  • Boston Logan International Airport (BOS)
  • Orlando International Airport (MCO)
  • Miami International Airport (MIA)
  • Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
  • Raleigh/Durham International Airport (RDU)
  • San Diego International Airport (SAN)
  • Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix (PHX)

China Southern will now codeshare on routes to 21 cities in the US.

The two airlines will not just be codesharing within each other’s respective countries – long-haul codeshares are coming too.

From early 2019 American Airlines will place its code on the following transpacific flights operated by China Southern:

From Los Angeles:

  • Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN)
  • Shenyang Taoxian International Airport (SHE) **service starts December 2018**

From San Francisco:

  • Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN)
  • Wuhan Tianhe International Airport (WUH)

From New York (JFK):

  • Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN)

China Southern will also be placing its code on 4 of American Airlines transpacific flights:

From Dallas Fort Worth:

  • Beijing (PEK)
  • Shanghai (PVG)

From Los Angeles:

  • Beijing (PEK)
  • Shanghai (PVG)

The new codeshare routes will be available for sale “in due course” with the first day of travel expected in “early 2019“.

Reciprocal Elite Benefits

Here’s the bit I suspect most readers will be waiting to hear about:

American Airlines and China Southern have confirmed that they will be offering reciprocal frequent flyer benefits from early 2019 (no firm date has been given).

What this means in practice is that American’s AAdvantage members will soon be able to earn and burn miles when flying with China Southern across its network of “more than 3,000 daily flights to 224 destinations in 40 countries and regions

Although not explicitly stated in the press release, credit toward elite status (elite qualifying miles and dollars) will also be awarded to AAdvantage members flying with China Southern.

Importantly, lounge access will be part of the reciprocal elite benefits too.

American Airlines Los Angeles (LAX) Flagship Lounge

Per American Airlines:

American and China Southern will begin offering reciprocal lounge access next year. Eligible American Airlines customers will have access to selected China Southern Sky Pearl Lounges throughout Asia and eligible China Southern customers will have access to selected American Airlines lounges around the world.  

Bottom Line

It will be interesting to see what the award charts for redemption on China Southern look like when they’re finally published but, as long as American doesn’t go and do anything particularly heinous, it will be very nice to have another non-stop award option to China.

As things stand AAdvantage members are at the mercy of American Airlines if they want to use AAdvantage miles to fly non stop between the US and China (excluding Hong Kong) so, considering just how hard it has become to find saver awards on American’s own flights, perhaps China Southern will make life a little easier.

I’m sure a lot of AAdvantage members will also be keeping a close eye on how many elite qualifying miles and dollars China Southern flights will earn. The Chinese carrier is known for offering some fairly aggressive Business Class fares from time to time so, with the right earnings rates, these could be an easy way to earn AAdvantage status a lot more quickly.

Overall this is pretty goo news for American Airlines flyers and now we just have to wait how long it is before China Southern becomes a fully fledged member of oneworld….it’s surely only a matter of time.

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  1. I would like to hear all Airlines refuse to transport any parts of endangered species!!
    No more trophies!!

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