While many of us have been focused on the grounding of flights by airlines around the world, and trying to get changes and cancellations done, the oneworld alliance has been making some changes of its own.
In the past year, oneworld has unveiled multiple developments within the program, such as introducing a new brand positioning and tagline, and announcing the opening of the first oneworld-branded airport lounge in the near future.
Furthermore, oneworld is welcoming two new airlines into the alliance. Royal Air Maroc is the flag carrier of Morocco, and joined the alliance on the 1 April, 2020. Royal Air Maroc’s regional subsidiary Royal Air Maroc Express also became an affiliate oneworld member at the start of April.
Alaska Airlines – a US airline focused mainly on flights within North America – is set to join the alliance mid- next year.
South American carrier LATAM will be leaving oneworld in May 2020.
This guide will discuss how Qantas members can take advantage of this expanded partnership between oneworld and its new members, as well as what changes will take place once LATAM leaves the alliance. Our original main guide to oneworld follows.
Royal Air Maroc
Where does Royal Air Maroc fly?
Royal Air Maroc becomes the first oneworld airline based in Africa, filling an important gap in the alliance’s global network.
The Casablanca-based airline has a comprehensive network covering Africa, the Middle East, Europe, as well as North- and South America. Some oneworld destinations include London Heathrow, Madrid, Moscow Domodedevo, Amman, Doha, Miami, New York JFK, Washington DC, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.
Please note that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Royal Air Maroc has temporarily suspended all of their domestic and international flights.
What is Qantas & Royal Air Maroc’s current partnership?
When is Royal Air Maroc joining oneworld?
As of 1 April, 2020, Royal Air Maroc became a full member of the oneworld alliance, followed by its regional subsidiary Royal Air Maroc Express that joined oneworld as an affiliate member.
What does this mean for Qantas members?
When booking a reward seat with Royal Air Maroc with your Qantas Points, you can use the Qantas’ Partner Classic Flight Reward table that outlines approximately how many Qantas Points you’d need to fly to your destination, depending on the total mileage of your trip. Note that nearly all Royal Air Maroc’s flights go through their home hub at Casablanca Airport.
To find out how many points and status credits you’d be earning with Royal Air Maroc flights, you can use the Qantas Point Calculator, which is yet to be updated.
Additionally, you can include Royal Air Maroc when planning your next round-the-world trip with Qantas Points.
Furthermore, flights operated by Royal Air Maroc are now available as part of the oneworld Explorer and Global Explorer fare products.
Travellers with oneworld Ruby (Qantas Silver), Sapphire (Qantas Gold) and Emerald (Qantas Platinum and above) status are provided with a range of oneworld benefits and services when flying with Royal Air Maroc.
Whilst oneworld Ruby members get access to priority check-in, passengers with Sapphire status get priority boarding, and are also offered extra baggage allowances and entry to Business Class lounges across the oneworld airline lounge network. Emerald status holders can benefit from all of the above, as well as have access to First Class lounges, First Class priority check-in, and fast track security lanes at selected airports.
Since Royal Air Maroc only operates a single lounge in Casablanca, the airline mostly relied on partner lounges. Now, the all-new oneworld membership extends the lounge network further, allowing oneworld elite status members to have access to oneworld member airline lounges all around the world.
What does this mean for Royal Air Maroc Safar Flyer members
The Royal Air Maroc Safar Flyer loyalty program members will be able to earn and redeem miles across all oneworld member airlines. Similarly to Qantas Frequent Flyers, Royal Air Maroc Safar Flyer elite members have access to multiple oneworld benefits and privileges, depending on their status levels.
Furthermore, Royal Air Maroc is introducing a new Safar Flyer Platinum tier to their program, that offers top-end passengers all the benefits that oneworld Emerald members would have access to, such as access to Business- and First Class lounges, First Class priority check-in, priority boarding and fast track security lanes at selected airports.
Where does Alaska Airlines fly?
Alaska Airlines is one of the major airlines in the United States that operates a large domestic flight network. Their primary focus is mainly on routes within North America, however, some of their furthest destinations include Alaska, Canada, Costa Rica, Hawaii and Mexico.
What is Qantas & Alaska Airlines’ current partnership?
You can already earn and redeem Qantas Points on Alaska Airlines flights. However, you cannot earn Status Credits when flying Alaska.
Conversely, you can earn and redeem Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles on Qantas flights. A highlight is 55,000 miles for a one-way Business Class flight from Australia to the US. Domestic Australian flights in Business Class are priced at 20,000 miles, regardless of distance.
When is Alaska Airlines joining oneworld?
Alaska Airlines is slated to join the oneworld alliance in mid-2021. This date could be moved forward or back. It generally takes 12-18 months for an airline to join or leave an alliance.
What does this mean for Qantas members?
As is the case when Qantas members fly other oneworld carriers like Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines, I would expect those members to be able to earn Status Credits on Alaska Airlines flights.
Also, they should be able to include Alaska flights in a round-the-world trip using Qantas Points.
Qantas elite status members
Qantas Gold, Platinum and Platinum One members currently enjoy limited lounge access. They can access only Alaska’s lounges in Anchorage, Los Angeles (also a Priority Pass lounge), Portland and Seattle when travelling on an Alaska flight and connecting to or from an international Qantas flight.
Once Alaska Airlines oneworld membership becomes effective, Qantas Gold, Platinum and Platinum One members will gain access to Alaska lounges before all Alaska flights, regardless of whether they’re connecting to/from an international Qantas flight. They’ll also be able to access all lounge locations, not just at the four airports listed above. That will expand to include New York JFK and San Francisco (new lounge opening this year).
Qantas elites will also be able to access other oneworld alliance members’ lounges before Alaska flights. These are most likely to be American Airlines lounges.
We would suggest to go to the American Airlines Flagship Lounges before an Alaska Airlines flight departing from big airports like Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles and New York JFK.
Additionally, Qantas Silver and above members will get additional checked baggage allowances, whilst top-tier members get to select better seats and have access to priority check-in -and boarding.
What does this mean for Alaska members?
If you have access to Mileage Plan miles, then you’ll be able to use them on all oneworld airlines, on all routes. Right now, you can already use your Alaska miles for travel on about half of oneworld airlines. The ones that are not currently included are Iberia, Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines and SriLankan Airlines.
The routes you can use your Alaska miles when flying partners is currently restricted. For example, you can only use your miles for Qantas flights within Australia and to North America. With this change, you’ll also be able to redeem your miles on Qantas flights to Asia, Europe, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, South America and South Africa.
How does LATAM leaving oneworld affect Qantas Frequent Flyer members?
As of 1 May 2020, LATAM Airlines Group will no longer be a part of the oneworld alliance.
Other oneworld airlines, such as American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia, Qantas, Qatar Airways and newly-joined Royal Air Maroc will continue to serve more than 30 destinations in Central- and South America.
Frequent flyer members in any oneworld frequent flyer programme, including Qantas Frequent Flyer members, can redeem points for reward seats on LATAM flights until and including 30 April, 2020. Oneworld members also continue earning reward points and tier status credits on LATAM marketed and operated flights up until the 30 April 2020. Qantas members will also continue to earn status credits for travel up to and including 30 September 2020.
From 1 May 2020, elite status oneworld frequent flyers will no longer receive oneworld services and benefits, such as additional baggage allowances, priority check-in, priority boarding and waitlisting when flying LATAM. Furthermore, Emerald and Sapphire tier oneworld members can no longer access LATAM VIP lounges (unless travelling in First- or Business Class, or holding a lounge pass).
If you’ve booked a ticket with a oneworld member airline to travel on a LATAM flight, the ticket remains valid, but you should contact the original ticketing airline if you wish to make changes to your booking. Likewise, tickets booked through LATAM on any other oneworld airline remain valid for travel, but you should contact LATAM directly if there are any changes to your trip.
Our take on the recent oneworld partner changes
The addition of Royal Air Maroc and Alaska Airlines to the oneworld alliance is overwhelmingly positive news for Qantas Frequent Flyers. Elite status members will be the biggest winners, with improved lounge access and priority benefits. Furthermore, all members are able to earn and redeem Frequent Flyer Points and receive Status Credits on Royal Air Maroc flights, with Alaska Airlines to follow as soon as the membership endorses in 2021.
The oneworld partnership with Royal Air Maroc fills an important gap within the alliance’s network, adding 39 new destinations in 23 countries, and offering more route options for frequent flyers of the oneworld member airlines.
More coverage within Africa and the Middle-East will certainly be a benefit for travellers who wish to add more stops into their round-the-world itinerary.
For those with Mileage Plan miles, it could be more mixed. A positive is that they’ll have more opportunities to use their miles on all routes with all oneworld airlines. However, the program currently has three benefits which could be curtailed:
- Redemption rates are likely to increase: Mileage Plan is currently one of the more generous of all programs but will have less of an incentive to be so
- Free stopover on one-way awards could disappear: this unique benefit is unlikely to last as most other oneworld partners do not offer it (an exception is Asia Miles)
- Reduction in non-oneworld partnerships: Mileage Plan may be forced to sever ties with airlines from other alliances, such as Singapore Airlines and Korean Air
Our advice is that if you have Mileage Plan miles and want to take advantage of their attractive redemption rates and free stopover, that you do so sooner rather than later.
The loss of LATAM limits the coverage in Central- and South America, but fortunately there are multiple other oneworld airlines who continue to service more than 30 destinations within the area.
Furthermore, LATAM will be maintaining bilateral agreements with a majority of oneworld member airlines, including Qantas. For more information about the agreements, customers are advised to contact their airlines directly.
Our original guide to the oneworld alliance is shown below.
This guide takes a look at the oneworld alliance, focusing on its carriers that fly into Australia and their respective frequent flyer programs.
What is oneworld?
The oneworld alliance is one of three major global airline alliances, alongside Star Alliance, which is indirectly linked to Virgin Australia’s Velocity program through its reciprocal points transfer partnership with Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer and the SkyTeam alliance.
The alliance currently includes 13 member airlines, 8 of which fly into Australia and are highlighted in bold:
- American Airlines
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- Japan Airlines
- Malaysia Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- Royal Air Maroc
- Royal Jordanian
- S7 Airlines
- SriLankan Airlines
Alaska Airlines will also join, in mid-2021.
Spanish airline Air Europa may join oneworld in the second half of 2020. That’s if the purchase of the carrier by International Airlines Group (owner of British Airways and Iberia) is approved by regulators.
oneworld also launched oneworld connect in 2018 as a way for smaller airlines to join the alliance. Currently only Fiji Airways is the member.
oneworld frequent flyers are able to earn miles and status credits when flying with different oneworld airlines in the same reservation. The alliance spans across 1,051 destinations in 181 countries, so there is plenty of opportunity to earn and redeem miles as well as earn status credits with a oneworld alliance program.
Elite members of each oneworld alliance frequent flyer program enjoy premium benefits, offered under the ‘oneworld Priority’ moniker. There are 3 tiers within the oneworld Priority, and they correspond to a particular status level with each oneworld airline.
The three tiers are:
- oneworld Ruby
- oneworld Sapphire
- oneworld Emerald
For example, with Qantas Frequent Flyer, Ruby corresponds to the Silver status level, Sapphire to the Gold status level, and Emerald to Platinum and Platinum One status levels. These vary by airline, and the oneworld tier corresponding to other oneworld airlines can be found at here.
With oneworld Priority, eligible frequent flyers are able to access the following benefits when traveling with any oneworld alliance airline in any travel class. These include:
oneworld Ruby, oneworld Sapphire and oneworld Emerald members
- Access to priority Business Class check-in
- Access to preferred or pre-reserved seating
- Priority on waitlists or on standby
oneworld Sapphire and oneworld Emerald members
- Priority boarding
- Priority baggage handling
- Extra baggage allowance
- Access to International Business Class lounges
oneworld Emerald members
- Access to priority First Class check-in
- Fast track at security lines
- Access to International First Class lounges
Further information can be found here.
To enjoy the benefits of a oneworld alliance frequent flyer program, you will need to join a member airline’s individual program. There is no universal oneworld alliance frequent flyer program and unlike the competitor alliances, there are no dedicated oneworld lounges. Instead, each of the member airlines run their own lounges, and in some cases, join forces to run a combined lounge, such as the oneworld Business Lounge at LAX, run by American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LATAM, Qantas and Qatar Airways.
Key oneworld Lounges
Both Star Alliance and SkyTeam operate combined lounges in some airports around the world. They tend to be where none of their member airlines have hubs. An example is the Star Alliance Lounge in Rome and the SkyTeam Lounge in Sydney.
Oneworld intends to do the same. The first airport they will construct a oneworld-branded lounge will be at Moscow Domodedovo Airport. More details will come later in 2020.
Qantas International First Lounge, Sydney
Considered not just one of the best lounges in Australia but one of the best in the world, the Qantas International First Lounge in Sydney is available to all oneworld First Class passengers, in addition to Platinum One, Platinum and oneworld Emerald frequent flyers.
The Point Hacks full review of the Sydney Qantas International First Lounge can be found here.
oneworld Los Angeles Business Lounge, Los Angeles
This lounge is operated by Qantas in partnership with British Airways and Cathay Pacific and is most useful for Australia-based travellers returning from the US or The Americas on a Qantas, American Airlines or other oneworld flight.
The Point Hacks full review of the oneworld Los Angeles Business Lounge can be found here.
Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge, Hong Kong
This is definitely a must-visit lounge if are in Hong Kong and are lucky enough to have access. The stylish lounge comes equipped with a full bar, shower suites, spa and yoga and meditation space.
The Point Hacks full review of the Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge can be found here.
American Airlines Flagship Lounge, Miami
Flagship Lounges are American Airlines top-range lounges, being a step up from the traditional Admirals Club lounges after having been refurbished in recent years. The lounge includes a great range of hot food and salads, a self-service bar and ultra-fast wifi.
The Point Hacks full review of the American Airlines Flagship Lounge in Miami can be found here.
Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge, Doha
One of the most picturesque lounges in the world, this lounge is so large that you actually need to ask staff for assistance just to get to where you want to go. With the vastness in space, along with incredibly high ceilings, this definitely makes it a unique lounge in the world and well worth checking out for this reason alone.
The Point Hacks full review of the Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge can be found here.
How to earn oneworld points?
oneworld alliance points can be earned directly with any oneworld member airline through flying or their respective air and ground partners. Of the nine oneworld airlines that fly to Australia, only Qantas offers direct-earn credit cards.
However, a few other oneworld airlines offer you the ability to indirectly earn miles through utilising flexible rewards programs such as American Express and Marriott Bonvoy. These include Cathay Pacific Asia Miles and Malaysia Airlines Enrich.
Which are the best
oneworld frequent flyer programs for Australia-based travellers?
It should be no surprise that Qantas Frequent Flyer would be on the top of this list, given it is Australia’s flag carrier and the airline offering the most flights in and out of Australia, in addition to its extensive domestic network. However, there are oneworld frequent flyer programs that can offer exceptional value depending on which route you are looking to redeem on.
For example, American Airlines AAdvantage program offers excellent redemption value for domestic and Trans-Tasman Business Class redemptions on Qantas, Business Class to Fiji on Fiji Airways, or to Asia on oneworld partners.
The easiest way to earn AAdvantage miles is through purchasing miles during bonus points promotions, which occur frequently.
British Airways Avios can be handy frequent flyer program to have, as it provides fantastic value for short- and medium-haul Business Class redemptions. That includes Qantas within Australia, American Airlines within the US, and Business Class on Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines intra-Asia.
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles can also prove to be better value than Qantas Frequent Flyer on certain Qantas operated routes, so this could also be a good program to enrol in.
Also note that both Qantas and Asia Miles offer competitive oneworld RTW (round-the-world) award tickets. Further information for RTW award redemptions can be found here for Qantas and here for Asia Miles.
Also make sure to take note of the different expiration policies for each oneworld program, some of which can be found here.
How to search for oneworld availability
Qantas.com can be used to search for availability on Qantas and its oneworld partners, including American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Qatar Airways, in addition to its other partner airlines such as Jetstar, Emirates and Fiji Airways.
British Airways is also another reliable source for finding seats on most oneworld airlines.
oneworld is the natural alliance for Australia-based travellers given the membership of Qantas. However, it may pay to be in a number of oneworld frequent flyer programs in order to take advantage of excellent pricing on specific routes from certain oneworld programs.
A strength of oneworld is that it offers a number of airlines where points or miles can be easily earned through non-airline partners such as hotel chains and financial lenders. These include Qantas, Cathay Pacific and Malaysia Airlines, with the former being dominant in the Australian market, where you can even earn points in your sleep!.
Other alliances relevant to travellers based in Australia
Featured image courtesy of oneworld. Royal Air Maroc Business Class cabin image courtesy of oneworld.