Uh-Oh: Alaska Will Join OneWorld Alliance

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Alaska Airlines announced plans to join the OneWorld Alliance in summer 2021.

As part of those plans, you can now use Alaska and AA miles for redemption on all AA and Alaska flights and Alaska and American lounge members will be able to access all AA and Alaska clubs.

Starting this spring, you’ll be able to earn Alaska miles for all AA flights.

And next summer you’ll be able to earn and redeem Alaska miles on all OneWorld airlines. Alaska elite members will also enjoy OneWorld elite benefits and Gold members will get OneWorld lounge access.

Alaska has traditionally been a free agent, partnering up with airlines from every alliance. That strategy has been failing of late, as airlines regarded Alaska as a bigger threat after they bought Virgin America. Partners like American, Delta, and Flying Blue wanted out.

This move ties Alaska’s future to OneWorld. They can still maintain relationships to airlines in other alliances, but other airlines may not want to cooperate with a OneWorld member.

In other news, thanks to connecting feed provided by Alaska, American will launch daily flights from Seattle to Bangalore, India this October and from Seattle to London in March 2021. It sure seems like Alaska and American are joining forces to challenge Delta’s new hub operations in Seattle.

My biggest worry here is the future of Alaska’s lucrative award charts. Their award charts are different for every airline and that creates some truly amazing values.

It’s very rare for an airline in an alliance to maintain separate rates for each airline. Alaska has dirt cheap mileage rates on some airline partners, but pricey rates on other airline partners.

My worry is that they will make alliance-wide award rates, which will destroy much of the value in the current quirky Alaska program.

Alaska also still allows for a free stopover on one-way awards and 2 free stopovers on round-trip awards in an era when other airlines aren’t offering any free stopovers. Will that survive after they join OneWorld?

Will Alaska still award miles based on flight distance when they’re in an alliance?

There are lots of questions and worst of all, Alaska has devalued miles without notice in the past.

Transferring increments of 60K Marriott points into 25K Alaska miles has also been a good value for devaluing Marriott points, so this may hurt the value of Marriott points as well.

As always, earn and burn, because it seems unlikely that values like these will stick around once Alaska joins OneWorld. Here are some sample excellent award rates with Alaska’s current mileage chart:

The days of being able to fly to Israel in first class with a free stopoover in Hong Kong for just 70K miles are likely numbered.

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Many of the best values are for travel via Asia, especially on Cathay Pacific. I’d burn some Alaska miles now if not for the Coronavirus. Hopefully that dies down before Alaska devalues their miles. But there are still great values to be had to the South Pacific and more.

Do you think Alaska’s award charts will survive after they join the OneWorld Alliance?

HT: chff, via DDF

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14 Comments On "Uh-Oh: Alaska Will Join OneWorld Alliance"

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Cholentfresser

I got the email this morning, and knew to expect a post here soon . It can’t possibly be as good as they make it sound…

Aryeh

“The days of being able to fly to Israel in first class with a free stopoover in Hong Kong for just 70K miles are likely numbered.” – The days of flying to Hong Kong are already numbered.

Micha

Why’s that?

dave

why doesn’t alaska have business flat lie down seats from east coast to west coast like other major carriers?

ChomItchik

Alaska Air is offering a lot of miles when applying for their credit card ($75/annum). I don’t travel too often. Whaddya think – go for it or not?

Mordy13

As someone who hasn’t flown Alaska yet or signed up for their credit cards ( but plan to do so in the future ) . Would it make more sense to wait until the probable devaluation happens which usually leads to increase sign up bonuses or sign up now and use the miles now …

Ronda

Does this mean that you will be able to get AA miles for Alaska flights?

KSMH

Do you think Alaska’s award charts will survive after they join the OneWorld Alliance? No

YoniPDX

Breaking news or news of Alaska breaking its Mileage plan?

Looks like we have 16-20 months to maximize AS miles and awards – hopefully this gets rolled out just as slow or even slower than Singapore Krisflyer and El AL partnerships.

If they don’t get the Corona virus controlled -in next 120 days or so, think that CX and other Sino-dependent airlines could teeter on the edge of viability.

Al

You can safely bet your life savings on an Alaska devaluation sooner than later.

Mike

I think aa & Alaska merge eventually. their networks are complementary to each other.

iahphx

Any frequent traveler benefit that seems “more lucrative than it should be” will eventually end. Alaska’s new partnership with American certainly hastens the day when Alaska’s loyalty program will get less lucrative. Earn and burn is good advice!

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