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Everything You Need to Know About Oneworld Alliance

9 minute read 25 June 2024
Iberia plane with oneworld livery
Written by: Jordan Rozum

If you’ve flown a time or two, you’ve probably heard of an airline alliance. Composed of a variety of member airlines, these alliances allow airlines to seamlessly connect passengers on flights around the world. There are three major airline alliances: Oneworld, SkyTeam, and Star Alliance.

Let’s talk about Oneworld’s member airlines, elite status for the Oneworld alliance, and how to redeem miles for Oneworld flights.

Who is part of the Oneworld alliance?

There are 13 members of the Oneworld alliance:

Alaska AirlinesAmerican AirlinesBritish AirwaysCathay Pacific
FinnairIberiaJapan AirlinesMalaysia Airlines
Qantas AirwaysQatar AirwaysRoyal Air MarocRoyal Jordanian
Sri Lankan Airlines

There is also one future member, Oman Air, and one Oneworld Connect partner, Fiji Airways.

How does the Oneworld alliance work? 

Airline alliances allow airlines to sell tickets on flights they don’t operate, which may sound confusing, but it’s actually really helpful for passengers. For example, you can go to the American Airlines website and book a ticket from San Francisco to Hong Kong via London Heathrow. Your first flight can be operated by American Airlines and your second flight by British Airways.

Despite the fact that you’re on two different airlines and have connecting flights, you’ll only need to check in once. You’ll also be able to check your luggage all the way through to Hong Kong. This is because both American Airlines and British Airways are member airlines in the Oneworld alliance.

What are the Oneworld alliance status levels?

There are three levels of Oneworld elite status. Note that you don’t earn Oneworld elite status; instead, you’ll earn elite status with any of Oneworld’s member airlines. Once you’ve got that, you’ll be automatically awarded Oneworld elite status.

Oneworld Ruby benefits 

The lowest tier of Oneworld status, Ruby benefits include:

  • Access to business class priority check-in
  • Access to preferred or pre-reserved seating
  • Priority on waitlists and when on standby

Oneworld Sapphire benefits

Oneworld Sapphire members receive all the benefits of Ruby members, in addition to the following:

  • Access to business class lounges
  • Priority boarding
  • Priority baggage handling
  • On Oneworld member airlines, you can check an extra bag for free, in addition to your ticketed baggage allowance.

Oneworld Emerald benefits

Oneworld’s highest level of elite status, Oneworld Emerald has all the features of Sapphire members and Ruby members, as well as:

  • Access to first class lounges
  • Access to first class priority check-in
  • Fast Track or Priority Lane access at select airports worldwide
  • Additional baggage allowance

How do I get Oneworld Priority status?

Oneworld alliance status isn’t something you earn. Instead, you’ll need to earn elite status with an airline that’s a member of Oneworld.

For example, let’s say you have British Airways Executive Club elite status. As a top-tier Gold member, you have all the benefits British Airways is going to give you — including access to British Airways Concorde lounges, which are some of the best in the world.

However, British Airways Gold members are also given Oneworld Emerald status, which means that even when they’re on a different Oneworld member airline, they’ll still get priority benefits.

Oneworld lounges

If you’re an eligible passenger, you can get access to airport lounges when traveling. These can provide peace of mind in a busy airport, so it’s often worth trying to gain entry.

Who gets access to Oneworld lounges? 

If you have Oneworld Sapphire or Emerald status, you’ll be able to access Oneworld lounges when traveling. Those with Sapphire status can get into business class lounges, while those with Emerald status can get into first class lounges.

In order to get in, you must be traveling same-day on a Oneworld-operated flight. You can also bring in a guest for free, though they must also be traveling on one of Oneworld’s member airlines that day. They don’t need to be on the same flight as you.

Other passengers with access to Oneworld lounges include those who’ve booked a ticket in first or business class. This is true whether they’ve paid in cash or are flying on an award ticket.

Which airports have Oneworld lounges?

There are more than 600 airport lounges available to those flying within the Oneworld alliance. This includes business class lounges as well as first class lounges.

Most of these lounges are operated by Oneworld member airlines, though there are two that are Oneworld-branded: Amsterdam and Seoul.

Note that some airlines may have additional restrictions on lounge access for elite members. For example, Qatar Airways premium lounges are only available to those traveling in first class. Even if you have Oneworld Emerald status, you must pay to gain entry.

What facilities and benefits do Oneworld lounges offer?

The range of amenities you’ll find in Oneworld lounges runs the gamut. At its most basic, a Oneworld lounge will include fresh food, drinks, seating, power ports, and a business section.

Depending on the airport, you can also find lounges with sit-down dining, showers, hot tubs, nap rooms, relaxation suites, and more.

How do I redeem points and miles for Oneworld awards?

Redeeming the rewards you’ve earned for flights is the best part, and the great thing about earning miles with a Oneworld airline is that you’ll be able to redeem them for flights with any of the participating member airlines.

This means when you log in to your American Airlines account and search for award flights, you won’t just see flights operated by American Airlines — based on where you’re looking to go, options from British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, and even Fiji Airways can pop up.

Once you’ve found available award seats, even on a partner airline, you’ll just need to fill out your information and book. It’s fairly simple.

The only downfall is that it can be time-consuming to find flights with available award space. Not all programs share the same space, so if you book on your own rather than with point.me, you’ll need to check out a few different programs and websites to make sure you’re seeing everything.

Another useful tip? You can also transfer points from flexible currencies to book a Oneworld award. Airlines like British Airways partner with multiple currencies, including American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Capital One Miles, and Bilt rewards. This makes them very easy to earn.

How point.me makes redeeming miles for flights simple

Rather than investing tons of time sifting through websites, consider trying out point.me. With our search technology, you only need to enter your search information one time, and then point.me will scan multiple award programs to find you the best flights available. And if you’re unfamiliar with redeeming for rewards, don’t worry — point.me also features a step-by-step guide on the booking process.

Frequently asked questions about the Oneworld alliance

What airlines are part of the Oneworld alliance?

There are 13 member airlines in Oneworld:

  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Finnair
  • Iberia
  • Japan Airlines
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas Airways
  • Qatar Airways
  • Royal Air Maroc
  • Royal Jordanian

Oman Air is a future member of Oneworld, while Fiji Airways is a Oneworld Connect partner.

How do I become a member of Oneworld?

It’s not possible to become a member of the Oneworld alliance unless you’re an airline. However, you can join the loyalty program of Oneworld member airlines and receive elite status that way.

Is Oneworld membership free?

Joining an airline’s loyalty program is free.

What are the differences between Oneworld Emerald, Sapphire, and Ruby status?

The higher your level of Oneworld elite status, the more benefits you receive. These include additional checked luggage, airport lounge access, and priority services at the airport.

How do I become a Oneworld Priority member?

You’ll automatically become an elite member with the Oneworld alliance once you’ve earned elite status with any Oneworld member airlines.

How many frequent flyer miles do I need for Oneworld Emerald, Sapphire, and Ruby status?

The number of miles you’ll need to earn status will vary from airline to airline. Some base their statuses on how much money you spend with them. This is what American Airlines and British Airways do. Others will base it on how often and how far you fly with the airline. This is more common.

Do priority perks and bags transfer from one Oneworld airline to another?

Yes, if you have elite status with an airline in the Oneworld alliance, a limited number of perks — including priority check-in and luggage handling — will apply when you fly any Oneworld member airline.

Which Oneworld frequent flyer program is best?

American Airlines is the easiest for U.S.-based travelers to join. It’s a member of the Oneworld alliance, and although its loyalty program isn’t the most rewarding, its AAdvantage miles are very valuable.

Can I transfer my Oneworld Priority status from one frequent flyer program to another?

No, it’s not possible to transfer your elite status from one program to another.

How do I get access to Oneworld lounges?

Oneworld lounge access is available to those with elite status with any Oneworld alliance-member airline. It’s also available for first- and business-class passengers on Oneworld flights.

Can I buy a day pass for a Oneworld lounge?

Yes, you can buy a day pass for access to a Oneworld lounge. The cost will vary according to which lounge you’re visiting.

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