Recently there was some big news concerning Alaska Airlines. They not only renewed their partnership with American Airlines but they also decided to join the OneWorld Airline Alliance. Alaska Airlines frequent flyer members will be able to earn and redeem on all American Airlines flight by Spring of 2020 and will be fully joining OneWorld by Summer 2021.
American became my primary airline when I moved to Chicago before when I lived in Seattle Alaska Airlines was my primary airline. With this new development, here are 4 reason why I’m excited Alaska Airlines is joining OneWorld.
Crediting Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines flights to the Same program
Anyone who knows me, knows that my favorite airline in the world is Qatar Airways. What you probably don’t know is a close number 2 is Singapore Airlines. As of now, when Alaska joins OneWorld, I’ll be able to credit flights from both to the same program.
I usually take advantage of the sub $2000 flight sales that Qatar Airways has on business class flights. Singapore Airlines always has sub $1000 business class fares each way to Frankfurt from JFK and $700 one way premium economy fares.
Better Customer Service
While American Airlines customer service was great when I was an Executive Platinum member, it leaves a lot to be desired if you don’t have elite status. The wait times can be long and most of the time you don’t get the most experienced customer support personnel if you don’t have elite status. For instance when I wasn’t an elite member, I had the hardest time changing a paid domestic economy fare to a paid first class fare by paying the fare difference.
The customer service with Alaska Airlines has been top notch every time I contact them. I’ve had no problem, regardless of status, getting what I need in a reasonable amount of time. This includes booking some pretty complex itinerary using miles.
Earning based on Mileage not spend and No Spend Requirement for Elite Status
One of the things that annoys me to no end is the fact that miles on American Airlines are earned based on spend not flight miles. By utilizing Mileage Plan, I will earn more in the long run. Alaska Airlines looked at changing to crediting miles based on spend and concluded that it would only benefit a small number of their frequent flyers so they continued to credit miles based on flight distance.
Mileage Plan also doesn’t have a spend requirement for elite status. This doesn’t mean much for me obtaining low level status but it does make it easier for me to obtain mid-tier status (MVP Gold) much easier. One business class trip on Qatar Airways could get me more than halfway to MVP Gold. Combined with my usual domestic travel, I could achieve MVP Gold status with about $4000 in spend. I would have to spend $6000 to achieve the equivalent status on American.
Possible Expanded use for the Companion Fare
This is a reach but hear me out. The companion fare that comes with the Alaska Airlines Credit is one of the best values for a travel credit card. You can only use it with flights that are operated by Alaska Airlines. With Alaska joining OneWorld, I can definitely see capacity being cut to American Airlines Hubs (i.e. Dallas and Chicago) to reduce route overlap. I can definitely see those planes being redeployed to new routes and increasing the utility of the companion fare.
Are you excited that Alaska Airlines is joining OneWorld? Let me know.