Alaska Airlines is Joining Oneworld – Is that Good or Bad News?

Some links to products and partners on this website will earn an affiliate commission.

It is no secret that the various contributors to InsideFlyer UK are big fans of Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan. I’m not sure whether Joe has ever been on an Alaska airplane with the Inuit painted on the tail… and I’ve perhaps taken 10 flights, mostly as free North American connecting flights to long haul First Class or Business Class awards.

So when news broke of Alaska Airlines joining the Oneworld alliance… I was gutted.  Why???  Because the value of Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan comes from its varied partnerships, many of which will simply become incompatible with Oneworld. Here’s a full list of partners, with the likely casualties crossed through.

  • Aer Lingus
  • American Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Condor
  • EL AL
  • Emirates
  • Fiji
  • Finnair
  • Hainan
  • Icelandair
  • JAL
  • Korean
  • LATAM
  • Qantas
  • Singapore Airlines.

Ouch!  I simply don’t care that I could potentially use my Alaska miles in the future on Iberia or Qatar Airways, since I already have a variety of ways of flying with those airlines…

Those random partnerships should be safe for a year or so, as the timeline for joining Oneworld is long. And fortunately… my two favourite Alaska partners – Cathay Pacific and JAL – are Oneworld members.

Is There any Upside?

For Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan members? I’m not sure…  The partnership with American Airlines was close to collapse, so clearly this development helps maintain the status quo in that regard.  But maintaining the status quo sure doesn’t feel like a benefit…

It will require some further study, but at the moment Alaska Airlines MVP Gold 75 status is relatively easy to obtain – click here for details. Once Alaska Airlines joins Oneworld, the benefits of that elite status will increase substantially.

There’s also the chance that you will be able to book short-haul awards on British Airways using your Alaska miles. Given Mileage Plan’s permissiveness towards stopovers, one can easily imagine some fun travel hacking… 😉

For British Airways Executive Club members? You can already earn Avios on Alaska flights. You can also spend your Avios on Alaska flights by calling BAEC. Once Alaska joins Oneworld you should be able to earn Tier Points on Alaska and the redemption process might become easier.

The Bottom Line

The advantage of smaller independent airlines and hotel chains is that they have to try harder to attract and maintain customers. Will Mileage Plan lose its attractiveness, once Alaska becomes a member of a major airline alliance? I suspect that it might… so I’ll be burning my remaining Alaska miles in the next year or two. I can always buy more if needed

What do you think about this development? Let us know in the comments section…

Comments

  1. Tom says

    I had assumed the benefit to me (as someone who switched from crediting from BAEC to Alaska) was the ability to get lounge access across OneWorld with my Alaska status! I do take your negative points, but for me I think it’s a positive (unless there is a devaluation….)

    • Joe Deeney says

      Yep, that’s definitely a big benefit for those with Alaska status.

      I think there is bound to be a devaluation of some sort though unfortunately, perhaps getting rid of stopovers on one ways at the very least.

    • Craig Sowerby says

      I don’t see how Alaska avoids a standard award chart for all partner airlines. Presumably Oneworld comes with standardised award reimbursement policies, which means that Alaska’s individual partnerships (and therefore award pricing) are going to be overridden. Even the best case scenario surely has First Class on JL and CX just crushed!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *