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Alaska Airlines plans to join Oneworld by June 2021

The non-affiliated airline is finally hopping on the alliance bandwagon.

2020 is proving to be a really exciting year with a lot of unexpected twists.

After so many years of cultivating eclectic airline partnerships and wow-ing the world with crazy miles-buying deals, Alaska Airlines has announced a deepened partnership with American Airlines, and along with it, its intentions to join Oneworld by Summer 2021.

By ‘summer’, it can means anything between June to September.

Deeper partnership with American Airlines

The pledging of allegiance to Oneworld comes on the back of its latest partnership with American Airlines. Effective immediately, Alaska Airlines passengers and Mileage Plan elite members have greater access to American Airlines inventory, as well as benefits.

What this means for Alaska Airlines and its customers:

  • Customers can redeem Alaska Mileage Plan miles on all American Airlines flights (subject to award availability),
  • Alaska Lounge members can access American’s nearly 50 Admirals Club locations,
  • Customers can also continue to earn and redeem miles on Alaska Airlines’ current partners, including Singapore Airlines & Emirates.

In a few months’ time, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan members can also earn miles on all American Airlines flight, both domestic and international.

Oneworld benefits come Summer 2021

Of course there are perks when Alaska Airlines officially joins Oneworld. These include a mapping of Alaska’s own frequent flyer tiers to the Oneworld tiers, as well as its corresponding benefits.

Alaska Airlines
Mileage Plan tier
Oneworld tier
MVP GoldSapphire
MVP Gold 75kEmerald
Alaska Airlines tier mapping to Oneworld

What does this means for Alaska’s own partners?

Alaska Air has some of the most interesting mix of partners, which are all individually negotiated. This has resulted in a very special award pricing, where each award partner gets their own award chart, and a mixed carrier chart is somewhat impossible (with the exception of Alaska’s own metal plus a partner).

Also, the earn rates are incredibly generous at the moment. Just a case in point: a customer flying business class on Cathay Pacific from Hong Kong to London and back will earn a whopping 26,892 miles if they accrue their miles on Mileage Plan, while getting only 16,620 miles on Asia Miles.

On the redemption front, Alaska Airlines is also incredibly generous now. For 25,000 miles, you can redeem a one-way business class ticket on Japan Airlines within Asia, while a Oneworld member (e.g. Cathay Pacific) can charge up to 45,000 miles for a similar trip.

So with Alaska Airlines joining the Oneworld ‘family’, they will almost definitely be forced to keep in line. This could go a few ways:

1. Earn rates will definitely go down, while burn rates will definitely go up.

On a reciprocal basis, Alaska Airlines will be more than definitely be forced to ‘align’ their earn and award charts to what other member airlines are offering. So if you have been hoarding Alaska Airlines miles, time to use them, quickly.

2. Changes to partnerships with non-Oneworld airlines

While being a Oneworld member does not mean they have to cut off ties with non-Oneworld aligned carriers, you can almost imagine that these partnerships may just widening in time to come. Some partnerships may fall through, while others may be diminished.

Final thoughts

As the saying goes, good things don’t last. In this case, the benefits of being an Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan member – especially in this part of the world – is slowly eroding.

While you still can and is looking to burn your miles, credit your premium cabin revenue tickets to Alaska to bump up your mileage balance, but be sure to use them quickly before summer next year.

Time for another Tokyo run, perhaps?

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