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.

oneworld | Point Hacks

oneworld members

The alliance currently includes 13 member airlines, 9 of which fly into Australia and are highlighted in bold:

  • American Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Finnair
  • Iberia
  • Japan Airlines
  • LATAM
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Royal Jordanian
  • S7 Airlines
  • Sri Lankan Airlines

Note that Royal Air Maroc will be joining the oneworld alliance from mid-2020, opening up a number of African destinations that has until now been missing from the oneworld network.

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 1,012 destinations in 158 countries, so there is plenty of opportunity to earn and redeem miles as well as earning 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 3 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

Qantas First Lounge, Sydney

Considered not just one of the best lounges in Australia, but one of the best in the world, the Qantas First Lounge in Sydney is available to all oneworld First class passengers, in addition to Platinum One, Platinum and oneworld Emerald frequent flyers.

Qantas First Class Lounge Sydney | Point Hacks

A full review of the 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.

oneworld Los Angeles Business Lounge | Point Hacks

A full review of the 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.

Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Hong Kong | Point Hacks

A full review of the 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.

American Airlines Miami Lounge | Point Hacks

A full review of the lounge 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 vstness 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.

Qatar Airways Al Safwa Lounge | Point Hacks

A full review of the lounge can be found here.

How to earn oneworld miles?

oneworld alliance miles can be earned directly with any oneworld member airline through flying or their respective air and ground partners. Of the 9 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 Business class redemptions on Qantas, Trans-tasman Business Class on Qantas or LATAM, 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.

For further information on finding award flights, please click here.

Summing up

oneworld is the natural alliance for a Australian-based travellers given the membership of Qantas, however it may pay to hold 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! .

With the missing link of Africa set to be filled by the introduction of Royal Air Maroc in 2020, oneworld have coverage across all the world’s habitable continents.

Other alliances relevant to travelers based in Australia

Featured image courtesy of oneworld.

A guide to the oneworld alliance in Australia was last modified: July 10th, 2019 by Daniel Sciberras