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What Alaska Airlines Joining the Oneworld Alliance Means for You

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Alaska is the second U.S. airline to join the Oneworld network, after founding member American Airlines.

Courtesy of Alaska Airlines

Alaska is the second U.S. airline to join the Oneworld network, after founding member American Airlines.

In addition to gaining access to a much larger flight network, Alaska Mileage Plan members will be able to earn and redeem miles on flights with the 13 other Oneworld member airlines (and vice versa).

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It’s true: Alaska Airlines is officially the newest member of the Oneworld alliance, making it the first airline to join the global network of carriers since Royal Air Maroc’s addition in April 2020. The Seattle-based airline is the second U.S. carrier in the alliance and the 14th member overall, bringing Oneworld’s global network to 1,000 destinations and 170 territories.

Right away, all Alaska Mileage Plan members can earn miles when they fly on any of the other 13 Oneworld member airlines, including American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Qatar, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines, and Sri Lankan Airlines. (Former Oneworld member LATAM left the alliance in May 2020 to partner with Delta Airlines.)

Mileage redemption for flights on Oneworld alliance carriers that didn’t already have existing partnerships with Alaska Airlines will go live in the coming months. Members of any other Oneworld airline loyalty program will also be eligible to earn and redeem miles with Alaska Airlines.

It may seem like an odd time for Alaska to join a global alliance. Members will likely need to wait to enjoy these new perks with international travel still heavily curtailed by COVID-19 border closures.

“I believe this is the best time to join an alliance,” Ben Minicucci, CEO of Alaska Airlines, said during a press conference on March 31, adding it wasn’t a question of if international travel will come back, but when. When it does, Minicucci said, Alaska will be ready.

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In fact, many Oneworld members have already started to expand service to Alaska’s Seattle hub. Qatar began flying to Seattle from its base in Doha in January 2021, and American Airlines flew its inaugural London-Heathrow to Seattle flight earlier this week. While American Airlines had to delay its new Seattle-Bangalore route due to the pandemic, the first tickets available to book are appearing in Google Flights for dates starting in late October 2021.

Alaska Mileage Plan members with elite status automatically have the equivalent Oneworld status now. That means Alaska MVP members now have Oneworld Ruby status, while MVP Gold members have Oneworld Sapphire status, and MVP Gold 75K members have the top tier Oneworld Emerald status. This opens up more than 650 international first- and business-class lounges as well as priority baggage, check-in, security, and boarding benefits on all member airlines to elite Alaska Mileage Plan members, depending on their tier status.

Even with 14 full members again now, Oneworld is still the smallest alliance compared to Star Alliance’s 26-member network and SkyTeam’s 19-member network. 

>> Next: JetBlue and American Airlines Join Forces

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