Alaska Airlines will join Oneworld on March 31, 2021

The Seattle-based airline will now have added appeal to Qantas frequent flyers, among others.

By David Flynn, October 13 2020
Alaska Airlines will join Oneworld on March 31, 2021

Alaska Airlines will join the Oneworld alliance in March 2021, while Alaska's regional arm Horizon Air and its regional partner SkyWest Airlines will become Oneworld affiliate members.

The Seattle-based airline was initially aiming for December 2020, but has now reset its timetable and confirmed March 31, 2021 as the new date when it'll take its seat at the Oneworld table.

"There’s a huge amount of complicated work that’s being done behind-the-scenes at Alaska to meet our aggressive deadline," the airline said in a statement issued overnight.

"Changes are required to every one of our major systems so they can ‘talk’ to each oneworld member airline, and ensure we have a smooth and seamless guest experience."

Alaska Airlines will become Oneworld’s 14th member airline, with its SeaTac hub also served by Oneworld members American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines.

It already has partnerships in place with Oneworld members American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Japan Airlines and Qantas, and airline Chairman and CEO Brad Tilden said he was eager to deepen those ties "and looking forward to working with new partners that are some of the best airlines in the world."

“Oneworld will open up a tremendous international network for our business and leisure travellers when they’re ready to start flying overseas again, in addition to greater connectivity around the US through our network for international visitors."

"Despite what's happened with Covid, the world is more global and our customers are more international," Tilden has previously noted. "Our customers in Seattle, San Francisco Los Angeles and San Jose want to fly up and down the West Coast, but they also want to take trips for business or for pleasure to London, Sydney, or Shanghai."

Qantas, Oneworld benefits

Oneworld membership will not only see the domestic US carrier 'go global' but bring benefits for frequent flyers of Qantas and other Oneworld members.

Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire status-holders will have access to Alaska's lounges by dint of their tier rather than travel class, while also enjoying associated perks such as an increased checked baggage allowance and priority check-in-in and boarding.

Alaska Lounge access will be laid out for Oneworld status holders.
Alaska Lounge access will be laid out for Oneworld status holders.

Also read: Alaska Airlines’ astounding new flagship Seattle lounge

Qantas Platinums and Golds, along with Qantas Club members, already have access to several Alaska Airlines lounges provided they are travelling on an Alaska flight which connects to or from a Qantas international flight, due to an existing partnership between the Flying Kangaroo and Alaska Airlines.

Those benefits will swing the other way, too, for members of Alaska Airlines' Mileage Plan loyalty scheme. This currently has three tiers – MVP, MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K – with members who clock up one million miles on Alaska granted MVP Gold status for life.

Here's how we expect Alaska's Mileage Plan tiers to match up against their Oneworld equivalents:

  • Mileage Plan MVP = Oneworld Ruby (eg Qantas Silver)
  • Mileage Plan MVP Gold = Oneworld Sapphire (eg Qantas Gold)
  • Mileage Plan MVP Gold 75K =  Oneworld Emerald (eg Qantas Platinum)

That said, Alaska Airlines could also revise and even rebrand its Mileage Plan tiers, such as turning Gold 75K into Mileage Plan Platinum.

A spokesperson for the airline told Executive Traveller that details on how its loyalty tiers would line up against the three Oneworld tiers would be revealed at a later date.

Alaska Airlines has steadily stretched its wings beyond its home turf, led by a $3.4bn takeover of Virgin America in December 2016, the roll-out of new domestic first class seats and faster inflight WiFi, and a new-look lounge network with a relaxed "West Coast vibe".

Also read: Alaska Airlines joins Oneworld – what it means for Qantas flyers

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 521

While Alaska joining ow makes lots of sense as its a great carrier, the likes of Royal Air Maroc in ow is mind boggling. Soft and hard product in the air/on the ground are terrible.

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 505

Hopefully buying Alaska Airlines points doesn't change with entry to One World

Etihad - Etihad Guest

21 Jul 2019

Total posts 46

Good news indeed. As much as I like earning OW points, the thought of flying AA has never filled me with excitement and anticipation. But at least now we'll have a choice with Alaska in the OW mix. To top things off, they are a genuinely good airline and along with JetBlue, are undoubtedly the two best carriers in north America for customer service.

04 Apr 2020

Total posts 5

Agree. Alaska is by far the best US carrier. Their lounges may not stack up to Qantas lounges, but then, neither do any of the US carriers.

AJW
AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 581

I've used the AA flagship lounges at LAX, DFW and ORD and they were far better than most Qantas lounges.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Nov 2012

Total posts 56

Did you eat the food or drink the booze?  

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1042

AJW the flagship lounges aren’t a patch on the Sydney/Melbourne/LA first class lounges. 

AJW
AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 581

Not sure the comparison seeing as the Flagship lounges are not first class lounges. 

They are business class (with a seperate First dining room) and compared to Qantas international business lounges are an equal. 

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1042

AJW Qantas doesn’t have anything less than a business class lounge while AA does, so that is why the first class comparison holds. I can’t get into the flagship first class room but can get into the Qantas first class lounge hence my comment.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Mar 2012

Total posts 226

Delta is widely considered to rank supreme. Alaska is an easy second though and a great addition to OW.

28 Feb 2014

Total posts 18

I really do like Delta, and the relationship with Virgin Australia is fanstastic. For me, Delta is the best north american carrier. However, I am excicited to give Alaska a go, I have read good things. Possibly, this could see a direct link with Seattle opening up from Australia. Looking forward to seeing how this pans out.....

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Nov 2012

Total posts 56

I’ve only flown them once in Y and it didn’t thrill me. I’m looking forward to revisiting that experience at some point. 

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 777

Hopefully they are still in Oneworld when we are allowed back to the US which currently feels like being a long way away.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jul 2018

Total posts 11

Seattle will be handy for me with its proximity to Vancouver and connecting flights throughout Canada but I am disappointed with the negativity in descriptions of AA.      I am QFF and AA Advantage and have always enjoyed positive experiences with AA both internal USA and internationally, plus I have enjoyed using AA points to access F JAL and J QA with very little difficulty in getting points bookings.   Additionally I have had the pleasure of entering Admirals Lounge under my Q Club while AA J customers are denied without club membership.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1042

Rotten I fully agree. The non flagship lounge is a bit average but not a whole lot worse than qantas domestic lounges except for having to pay for reasonable booze, but the rest is fine.


Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Alaska Airlines will join Oneworld on March 31, 2021