Everything You Need to Know About the Oneworld Alliance

Everything You Need to Know About the Oneworld Alliance
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The oneworld alliance is one of three "major" airline alliances worldwide. Their 14 member airlines fly to over 1,000 destinations in 157 countries. There are some key benefits to being a loyal oneworld flyer, that we'll discuss below.

Guide to the Oneworld Alliance

Member Airlines

There are thirteen member airlines that are a part of the oneworld alliance. They include:

  • American
  • Air Berlin
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Finnair
  • Iberia
  • Japan Airlines
  • LATAM
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar
  • Royal Jordanian
  • S7
  • SriLankan Airlines

You can fly any of these airlines, and credit the miles flown back to your preferred oneworld frequent flyer account. For North American flyers, that's likely to be American Airlines. If you have elite status, you'll also have certain privileges while flying oneworld member airlines.

cheap-flight-kyoto-japan

Earning and Using Status

If you've read our post a while back on oneworld hacks, you'll know a bit about oneworld status and what that means when you fly.

Basically, your status that you've earned in your preferred mileage program corresponds with a separate status in the oneworld alliance. Those three status levels are RubySapphire, and Emerald.

For example, if you're a Gold member with American Airlines (flying 25,000 miles/30 segments and spending $3,000 a year), your corresponding status in oneworld would be the lowest status, Ruby.

Ruby status gives you three privileges when flying member airlines. You'll be able to use Business Class priority check in, access to Preferred or pre-reserved seating (where available), and priority on waitlists or standby (where available).

If you're a Platinum or Platinum Pro member on American, you'd be oneworld Sapphire. In addition to the above, you'd receive priority boarding, one free checked bag, priority baggage handling, and lounge access. The latter is the best benefit- you'll be able to use any oneworld member airlines' business class lounges when flying abroad (with one guest), with a few exceptions. The biggest one is that American status holders do not get free access to American lounges when traveling domestically. You have to be on an international itinerary to use the lounges, or be a status holder of one of the international oneworld airline partners.

That means, if you want American lounge access when flying domestically, get status with a partner like British Airways or Air Berlin. You'll need to meet the requirements of their respective membership levels that pairs with oneworld Sapphire status. This is one of my favorite hacks for American Airlines Admiral's Club access.

If you're a Executive Platinum or Concierge Key member of American Airlines, you'll be oneworld Emerald. In addition to Sapphire's privileges, you'd receive first class check in, first class lounge access, Fast Track access, and one free bag (though not on British Airways "hand bag only" fares).

First class lounges are the key benefit here- there are some fantastic ones around the world, including the Qantas First Class Lounge in Los Angeles, which features chef-designed menus and waiter service.

cheap-flight-rio-de-janeiro-ipanema

Crediting Miles

One aspect of flying different partner airlines that gets confusing is the process of crediting miles to your preferred frequent flyer program. I'll focus on the ins-and-outs of American for these examples, since that's what the majority of you will be crediting to, most likely. on the charts below, you'll want to focus on "EQMs," which stands for "Elite-Qualifying Miles."

 

Earning American miles flying Air Berlin.

airberlin

Note most economy fares earn only 1/2 of miles flown to go towards elite status.

Earning American Miles flying British Airways.

Miles earned by flying oneworld partner British Airways are earned based on the fare class booked, and the distance flown.

britishairways

Note most economy fares earn only 1/2 of miles flown to go towards elite status.

Earning American Miles flying Cathay Pacific.

Miles earned by flying oneworld partner Cathay Pacific are earned based on the fare class booked, and the distance flown.

cathaypacific

Notice a bulk of economy fares earn no miles at all! You're better off crediting to Cathay's partner Alaska, in my opinion.

Earning American Miles flying Finnair.

Miles earned by flying oneworld partner Finnair are earned based on the fare class booked, and the distance flown.

finnair

Notice most economy fares will earn only 50 percent of miles flown.

Earning American Miles flying Iberia.

Miles earned by flying oneworld partner Iberia are earned based on the fare class booked, and the distance flown.

iberia

Earning American miles flying Japan Airlines.

Miles earned by flying oneworld partner Japan Airlines are earned based on the fare class booked, and the distance flown.

japanairlines

Earning American miles flying LAN Airlines

Miles earned by flying oneworld partner LAN are earned based on the fare class booked, and the distance flown.

lanairlines

Earning American miles flying Malaysia Air.

Miles earned by flying oneworld partner Malaysia are earned based on the fare class booked, and the distance flown.

malaysian

Beware! N, O and Q-classed fares earn zero percent!

Earning American miles flying Qantas.

Miles earned by flying oneworld partner Qantas are earned based on the fare class booked, and the distance flown.

qantas

Earning American miles flying Qatar.

Miles earned by flying oneworld partner Qatar are earned based on the fare class booked, and the distance flown.

qantar

Earning American miles flying Royal Jordanian.

Miles earned by flying oneworld partner Royal Jordanian are earned based on the fare class booked, and the distance flown.

royaljordanian

Notice again that N, O, and G-classed fares earn zero percent.

Earning American miles flying S7.

Miles earned by flying oneworld partner S7 are earned based on the fare class booked, and the distance flown.

s7

Notice how many fares earn zero percent!

Earning American miles flying SriLankan.

Miles earned by flying oneworld partner SriLankan are earned based on the fare class booked, and the distance flown.

srilankan

Earning American miles flying LATAM Airlines.

Miles earned by flying oneworld partner LATAM are earned based on the fare class booked, and the distance flown.

tam

Overall

Earning Sapphire or Emerald Status can be a worthwhile endeavor, especially if you're traveling internationally. While a credit card may get you Priority Pass status, branded airline lounges are often better quality (though not always), so you'd have a better experience before your flight. Keeping your flying within a program will keep your redeemable miles in one account as well, making the time it takes to earn miles towards your next award ticket go by that much quicker.