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One of the best ways to make a trip more pleasant is to relax in an airport lounge before your flight. If you fly American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, British Airways and other Oneworld Alliance airlines, you can choose from up to 620 Oneworld lounges. However, you'll need to get access to Oneworld lounges through Oneworld elite status, a qualifying ticket or a lounge membership.
Here's everything you need to know about Oneworld lounges — from how to get Oneworld lounge access to how to find one for your next trip.
Types of Oneworld Lounges
Oneworld boasts that travelers can access up to 620 airport lounges. However, access varies by lounge type. Here's an overview of the three main types of Oneworld lounges.
Oneworld airline lounges
The most common types of Oneworld lounges are operated by Oneworld airlines. These include American Airlines Admirals Club, Flagship Lounges and Alaska Airlines' Alaska Lounge. These Oneworld airline lounges are generally available to:
Oneworld elites at the Sapphire and Emerald levels.
Business- and first-class passengers traveling on any Oneworld airline.
For example, almost all Heathrow Terminal 5 Oneworld lounges are operated by British Airways. However, an Alaska Airlines MVP Gold elite status member can access Sapphire-branded Oneworld airline lounges, as MVP Gold corresponds to Oneworld Sapphire elite status. You don’t even have to be flying Alaska to use these lounges.
You can get lounge access with MVP Gold even when flying American Airlines across the Atlantic. Likewise, an American Airlines business-class passenger can access Sapphire-branded Oneworld airline lounges.
Learn more: Oneworld Alliance pros and cons
In addition to airline-operated lounges, Oneworld is developing a network of Oneworld-branded lounges. As part of Oneworld's 20th anniversary in 2019, the alliance announced it would begin rolling out Oneworld-branded and managed airport lounges. So far, only one of these is currently in operation.
The Oneworld lounge at LAX isn't branded with any particular airline logo. Instead, it's simply referred to by Oneworld as the "Los Angeles Business Lounge." This lounge is generally available to Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald elites and business- and first-class passengers flying on any Oneworld airline.
If you have Oneworld Emerald status, skip the business-class Oneworld lounge at LAX. Instead, head next door to the Qantas First for an excellent bar and table service dining experience.
Contract Oneworld lounges
The final grouping of Oneworld lounges consists of lounges that aren't actually tied to Oneworld. Instead, Oneworld airlines partner with these lounges to provide access to their premium passengers. That means you can only access these lounges if you're flying on a particular Oneworld airline.
Let's circle back to the example of Heathrow Terminal 5 Oneworld lounges. In addition to the British Airways-operated lounges, Qatar Airways partners with the Club Aspire Lounge to provide lounge access for its business- and first-class passengers, as well as Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald elites flying on Qatar.
That means that an American Airlines Platinum (Oneworld Sapphire) can access this lounge when flying on Qatar Airways but not when flying on British Airways. Alternatively, this passenger could access the Sapphire-branded British Airways lounges in the same terminal.
How to find Oneworld lounges
The easiest way to find Oneworld lounges and access rules is to use the Oneworld airport lounge search tool. Just enter a city name or airport code in the search bar, select the airport name and click "find lounges" to generate a list of the Oneworld lounges available at that airport.
As an example, when using this tool you will find that Tampa International Airport only has one Oneworld lounge, an Admirals Club that's available to Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald elites and business- and first-class passengers traveling on Oneworld airlines.
Meanwhile, 15 Oneworld lounges are available at London Heathrow with a wide range of access policies and restrictions.
How to get Oneworld lounge access
Travelers generally have three ways of accessing Oneworld lounges:
A business- or first-class ticket.
A lounge membership.
Keep in mind that all of these Oneworld lounge access methods generally require that you have a confirmed ticket on a flight marketed and operated by a Oneworld airline departing on the same day.
Oneworld elite status
Oneworld offers three tiers of elite status: Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald. Although Oneworld Ruby travelers don't get lounge access, Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald elites generally get access to Oneworld lounges when flying on Oneworld airlines.
Oneworld Sapphire elites can access Sapphire-branded (business class) lounges.
Oneworld Emerald elites can access Sapphire- and Emerald-branded (business class and first class) lounges.
Not sure which Oneworld elite status tier you have? Here are the Oneworld elite status tiers for some popular Oneworld airlines:
Oneworld partner airline
American Airlines AAdvantage
AAdvantage Platinum Pro and Executive Platinum.
Alaska Mileage Plan.
MVP Gold 75K and MVP Gold 100K.
British Airways Executive Club.
Note that American Airlines AAdvantage and Alaska Mileage Plan elites generally don't get Oneworld lounge access on flights solely within North America.
Flying in business or first class
The other primary way to get Oneworld lounge access is by flying in business or first class on a Oneworld airline. Generally, you can access any Oneworld business class or Sapphire-branded lounge when flying in business class on any Oneworld airline. Oneworld first-class flyers can also access any Oneworld lounge labeled with first class or Oneworld Emerald branding.
In addition to getting Oneworld lounge access, you may also get access to specific non-Oneworld lounges when flying in a premium cabin. For example, Royal Jordanian business- and first-class passengers can access the Thai Airways Royal Orchid/Silk lounges in Bangkok.
The final way of gaining Oneworld lounges access is via lounge memberships. Several Oneworld airlines offer a lounge membership that allows access to its lounges as well as some partner lounges.
In addition to nearly 50 Admirals Club lounges, American Airlines Admirals Club members can access more than 60 partner lounges, which are mostly Oneworld lounges. These include Japan Airlines Sakura Lounges in Tokyo and Frankfurt, select British Airways lounges in Europe and The Qantas Club locations in Australia and New Zealand.
Likewise, Alaska Lounge+ members can access more than 90 partner lounges in addition to Alaska's nine airport lounges. This includes access to Admirals Club locations when flying Alaska or American Airlines, Qantas Club when flying Qantas and other partner lounges like the Cathay Pacific lounge in San Francisco.
Travelers can even access some Oneworld lounges via Priority Pass. This lounge membership is a benefit of many premium credit cards and grants access to over 1,300 lounges worldwide, including several Oneworld lounges. However, access may be limited. For example, Priority Pass members can access the British Airways lounge in San Francisco, but only between 5 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. daily.
» Learn more: The best travel credit cards right now
Oneworld lounges, recapped
The first step to enjoying Oneworld lounges is finding the best way for you to access them. That could be through Oneworld Sapphire or Emerald elite status, a business- or first-class ticket on a Oneworld airline or even a lounge membership.
Next, you'll want to use the Oneworld lounge search tool to find which lounges are available on your next trip. Then, take a close look at the access policy for each lounge to ensure that it's not a contract lounge only available to passengers of certain airlines.
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