There are certain standard benefits when you are flying American Airlines on an Alaska Airlines-issued award ticket, as mentioned here on the Alaska website. What I want to focus on today is the first perk (Priority AAccess Check-in and Boarding). According to Alaska, that perk is only given to Alaska MileagePlan’s MVP, MVP Gold, and Gold 75K members only (similar mentioning the American website). In practice, however, it appears to be not the case.
Anyone flying on an Alaska Airlines award ticket, regardless of status with Alaska Airlines or American Airlines, will automatically get Priority AAccess on flights operated by American Airlines.
How do I know this? Because I recently redeemed a trip with Alaska Airlines, with the first 2 legs operated by American Airlines. I have no elite statuses of any sort with AS / AA. Here are my AA boarding passes from the trip showing Priority AAccess on both:
Priority AAccess itself only puts you alongside group one, meaning first class passengers and everyone with elite AAdvantage elite statuses will board before you. Priority AAccess will also not get lounge benefits (no Admirals Club access). Also, it will cost you more to book Alaska award itineraries with segments operated by American (For me, it cost an extra $75, although Alaska didn’t operate those routes). But on my first flight, there was no Jetway and we had to board a bus from terminal to get to the plane. With a little luck, I was the first to board thanks to Priority AAccess.
Not a bad perk!