Your Guide to the Oneworld Alliance

Oneworld has 13 airlines and plenty of high-value redemption opportunities if you have member airline miles.
oneworld alliance

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In the late 1990s and into 2000, major airlines banded together to launch three alliances. These alliances — Oneworld, SkyTeam and Star Alliance — were designed to offer travelers seamless travel between partners, elite status perks across the alliance and expanded options for earning and redeeming miles.

In 1999, the Oneworld alliance became the second alliance to be founded and has since grown to 13 airlines serving more than 900 destinations across 170 countries and territories. You may be familiar with Oneworld because of its most prominent members, American Airlines and Alaska Airlines, but there's a lot more to it than just two airlines.

If you want to know more about the Oneworld alliance, how you can get elite status and use your partner airline points for maximum value, we have you covered in this guide.

Which airlines are in Oneworld alliance?

There are currently 13 Oneworld airlines in the alliance.

  • Alaska Airlines.

  • American Airlines.

  • British Airways.

  • Cathay Pacific.

  • Finnair.

  • Iberia.

  • Japan Airlines.

  • Malaysia Airlines.

  • Qantas.

  • Qatar Airways.

  • Royal Air Maroc.

  • Royal Jordanian.

  • Sri Lankan Airlines.

Alaska Airlines is the most recent addition to the Oneworld alliance. The Seattle-based airline joined the Oneworld alliance as of March 31, 2021. Now, all Oneworld elite members can enjoy their perks when flying on Alaska Airlines, and Mileage Plan elites enjoy perks on the 12 other Oneworld airlines.

In addition to being part of the Oneworld alliance, American and Alaska have forged an even-closer partnership — including reciprocal upgrades that aren't available to other Oneworld airline elites.

Royal Air Maroc joined the alliance on April 1, 2020, becoming the alliance’s first member in Africa. However, LATAM left the alliance on May 1, 2020, following a 20% acquisition by SkyTeam member Delta Air Lines. That leaves Oneworld without a South American-based airline.

Is JetBlue part of Oneworld alliance?

JetBlue is not part of Oneworld alliance, but its recent partnership establishment with American Airlines means that flyers on either airline can earn points with either airline's loyalty program. Read more: How American and JetBlue Can Earn Even More Rewards And Benefits Through Partnership.

Oneworld Connect airlines

In addition to having 13 full member airlines, the Oneworld alliance also includes one Oneworld Connect partner: Fiji Airlines.

This unique partnership means the airline provides limited benefits to Oneworld elite members. Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire members receive priority check-in and boarding on Fiji Airways, while Oneworld Ruby members only get priority check-in.

Passengers flying on one of Fiji Airways’ sponsor airlines — American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Qantas — receive extra benefits when booked on a codeshare flight on Fiji Airways. Per the Oneworld website, these benefits include:

  • Through check-in of passengers and their baggage for itineraries including connections with a Oneworld sponsor.

  • Earn and redeem frequent flyer and elite-qualifying miles for eligible flights.

  • Access to select airport lounges for elite members or first and business class passengers.

Oneworld status

The Oneworld alliance tiers are Emerald, Sapphire and Ruby. Each is awarded based on status earned with a member airline. For example, if you’re a frequent traveler on American Airlines, your Oneworld status level will be determined by your AAdvantage status.

Below is a breakdown of how AAdvantage status converts to Oneworld and how much you need to earn between March 1 and the end of the following February to earn it:

AAdvantage status

Oneworld tier

AAdvantage status requirements

AAdvantage Executive Platinum

Oneworld Emerald.

200,000 Loyalty Points.

AAdvantage Platinum Pro

Oneworld Emerald.

125,000 Loyalty Points.

AAdvantage Platinum

Oneworld Sapphire.

75,000 Loyalty Points.

AAdvantage Gold

Oneworld Ruby.

30,000 Loyalty Points.

And here's how Alaska Mileage Plan elite status translates to Oneworld elite status:

Alaska Mileage Plan status

Oneworld tier

AAdvantage status requirements

MVP Gold 100K

Oneworld Emerald.

  • 100,000 Elite-Qualifying Miles or 140 Elite-Qualifying Segments.

  • 24 minimum segments marketed and operated by Alaska.

MVP Gold 75K

Oneworld Emerald.

  • 75,000 Elite-Qualifying Miles or 140 Elite-Qualifying Segments.

  • 12 minimum segments marketed and operated by Alaska.

MVP Gold

Oneworld Sapphire.

  • 40,000 Elite-Qualifying Miles or 140 Elite-Qualifying Segments.

  • 6 minimum segments marketed and operated by Alaska.

MVP

Oneworld Ruby.

  • 20,000 Elite-Qualifying Miles or 140 Elite-Qualifying Segments.

  • 2 minimum segments marketed and operated by Alaska.

Once you achieve elite status with your chosen member airline, you can enjoy the following Oneworld benefits:

Oneworld Emerald benefits

  • First and business class lounge access.

  • First class priority check-in.

  • Fast track at select security lanes.

  • Priority baggage handling.

  • Extra baggage allowance.

  • Priority boarding.

  • Priority status on standby waitlists.

  • Preferred or pre-reserved seating.

Oneworld is unique among airline alliances in offering three tiers of elite status. Top-tier Emerald status gives you the best possible experience — including first-class check-in counters and first-class lounges where available.

Oneworld Sapphire

  • Business class lounge access.

  • Business class priority check-in.

  • Preferred or pre-reserved seating.

  • Priority status on standby waitlists.

  • Priority boarding.

  • Extra baggage allowance.

  • Priority baggage handling.

Oneworld's mid-tier Sapphire status offers a broad selection of perks. The most important of these will depend on what's important to you. That might be extra checked baggage allowance — so you don't have to carry on a bag — or early boarding so you can stow your carry-on bag. Business class lounge access is another excellent perk of Sapphire status.

Oneworld Ruby

  • Business class priority check-in.

  • Preferred or pre-reserved seating.

  • Priority status on standby waitlists.

While the Ruby benefits might not sound like much, these perks can really come in handy. Rather than waiting in a long line for economy check-in, having access to priority check-in can be a huge time saver. And being able to select seats ahead of time can ensure that you sit together with your companions without having to pay. The savings can really add up too. On British Airways, seat selection can cost up to $75 per passenger per flight.

Oneworld lounges

Between its various members, the Oneworld alliance offers access to around 620 Oneworld lounges in airports worldwide. Lounge access is extended to Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire members as well as first- and business-class passengers traveling on Oneworld member airlines.

There are a few access restrictions. For starters, you must be traveling on a Oneworld member airline in order to access a lounge. Also, Oneworld lounge access isn't available on most flights within North America if you have American AAdvantage or Alaska Mileage Plan elite status — you'll need to have Oneworld elite status through another airline to get lounge access on these flights.

The following lounges are excluded from the access policy:

  • Arrival lounges.

  • British Airways Concorde lounges.

  • Qatar Airways Al Safwa First lounge in Doha.

  • Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Business lounges in Doha.

  • Qatar Airways Premium Lounges in London and Paris.

Even with exclusions, travelers can still find Oneworld lounges all over the world, from London-Heathrow (LHR) and Los Angeles-LAX to Amsterdam, Madrid and beyond.

How to use Oneworld miles, broken down by continent

Even if you don't have Oneworld elite status, you can still benefit from the Oneworld alliance by redeeming points for Oneworld awards. As part of the alliance, flyers have the option to redeem miles with any Oneworld airline. That opens the possibility of booking award flights for much cheaper than what might be available through an airline's own loyalty program.

Here are some of the Oneworld sweet spots that you can book in each region.

North America

British Airways Avios can be a great option for American and Alaska award flights within North America. Redemption rates are determined by distance, making them ideal for short- to mid-haul flights. Nonstop flights under 650 miles in distance cost just 7,500 Avios each way. Flights between 651 and 1,150 miles in distance cost 9,000 Avios each way.

You aren't just limited to flying within the U.S. to get these rates. That means you can fly to the Caribbean for just 7,500 Avios each way.

Longer flights aren't as competitive compared with the AAdvantage award program. But, a great sweet spot redemption is using 13,000 Avios and $5.60 for a one-way American Airlines or Alaska Airlines flight between the West Coast (e.g. Seattle or Los Angeles) and Hawaii. Considering American Airlines charges 22,500 miles for the same MileSAAver award, redeeming 13,000 Avios is a bargain.

British Airways Avios are fairly easy to come by as you can transfer points to British Airways Executive Club at a 1:1 transfer rate from Chase Ultimate Rewards®, American Express Membership Rewards and Capital One Miles. Stock up on these points by applying for one of the following cards and meeting the requirements for the welcome offer:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card - Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve® - Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

  • American Express® Gold Card - Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express - Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

  • Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card - Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.

  • Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card - Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.

Central America

For shorter nonstop flights to Central America on American or Alaska, you can use the same British Airways sweet spots we highlighted above. For example, an American flight from Miami to San Jose, Costa Rica costs just 9,000 Avios each way.

For longer and connecting itineraries, American Airlines’ off-peak awards can be great. Travel from Sept. 9 to Nov. 18 and April 21 to May 20 and you’ll pay just 12,500 miles each way. If you can’t manage off-peak travel, you’ll need just 15,000 AAdvantage miles each way for MileSAAver awards. And, at all times of year, Web Special awards can price out even cheaper.

AAdvantage miles are easy to come by thanks to an extensive line-up of rewards credit cards, including:

South America

Due to Oneworld's lack of a South American airline partner, your only option between North America and South America is on American Airlines. You can use any Oneworld airline mileage program to book American Airlines awards. However, American Airlines’ off-peak and Web Special awards once again shine for awards to South America.

Off-peak awards cost just 35,000 miles round-trip when flying from the U.S. to:

  • Colombia.

  • Ecuador.

  • Guyana.

  • Manaus (Brazil).

  • Peru.

  • Suriname.

Off-peak travel dates to South America are classified as Jan. 16 to June 14 and Sept. 7 to Nov 14. MileSAAver awards during other times of the year cost 20,000 miles each way.

Again, Web Special awards can price at even cheaper rates. For example, last time we checked we saw awards as cheap as 30,000 miles round-trip.

AAdvantage award flights to Southern South America don’t have an off-peak pricing option. MileSAAver award flights always cost 30,000 miles each way when flying from the U.S. to:

  • Argentina.

  • Brazil (excluding Manaus).

  • Chile.

  • Paraguay.

  • Uruguay.

But you might be able to book a cheaper Web Special award — such as New York City to Santiago, Chile for just 40,000 AAdvantage miles round-trip.

Europe

The Oneworld alliance offers a slew of options to Europe. You can opt to fly:

  • American.

  • British Airways.

  • Finnair.

  • Iberia.

  • Royal Air Maroc.

The cheapest option costs just 13,000 Avios each way for nonstop British Airways flights from the U.S. east coast to London during off-peak dates. The downside? British Airways can charge high taxes and fees. Thankfully options like Boston to London can be fairly reasonable.

Headed to Spain? An off-peak Chicago to Madrid flight on Iberia will set you back just 17,000 Iberia Avios for economy — or just 34,000 Avios each way in business class. That's the cheapest business class award option to Europe of any airline.

Build up your Iberia Plus Avios account with 1:1 point transfers from American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards® or any other Avios program.

If you have AAdvantage miles, one of the cheapest ways to score a round-trip flight is to redeem miles for an off-peak award on American or its partners. It will set you back just 45,000 miles and includes travel on the following dates: Jan. 10 to March. 14 and Nov. 1 to Dec. 14.

Africa and the Middle East

Thanks to Oneworld member airlines Royal Air Maroc and Qatar Airways, redeeming miles for flights to Africa and the Middle East is fairly easy. American Airlines requires just 40,000 miles one-way for an economy class award and 70,000 for business class to the Middle East. Award flights to Africa will cost you the same in economy and 75,000 miles each way in business class — even the 24+ hour journey from Los Angeles to South Africa.

One exception is Morocco. American Airlines treats Morocco as part of Europe, so you'll pay as few as 22,500 miles each way in economy of 57,500 miles in business class.

Asia

Oneworld has several carriers that fly to Asia, giving you plenty of nonstop options. Depending on your destination, you can fly American Airlines, Cathay Pacific or Japan Airlines — or any combination thereof.

Cathay Pacific's Asia Miles is a great way to fly between the U.S. and Asia. The distance-based program lets you book flights between the west coast and Asia for as few as 27,000 miles one-way in economy or 61,000 miles in business class.

Asia Miles are some of the easiest miles to generate as the program is a 1:1 transfer partner with:

  • American Express Membership Rewards.

  • Bilt Rewards.

  • Brex Cash.

  • Capital One Miles.

  • Citi ThankYou Point.

  • Bilt Rewards.

Japan Airlines also offers a distance-based program, but redemptions also vary depending on whether you fly JAL or a partner airline. If you redeem miles for a Japan Airlines flight between the U.S. and Tokyo, you’ll need as few as 25,000 miles each way in economy class or 50,000 for business.

Fly on a partner airline and you can redeem as few as 50,000 miles round-trip for an economy class award between San Francisco and Tokyo, or 100,000 miles for business class on the same route. You can generate Japan Airlines miles by transferring points from Marriott Bonvoy.

Oceania

Thanks to Oneworld members Qantas and American Airlines, you can fly to Australia or New Zealand comfortably. Japan Airlines MileageBank is a great program for booking these awards. Redemption rates vary by distance. For example, a 15,000-mile round-trip flight between Los Angeles and Sydney requires 70,000 miles in economy class or 130,000 in business.

Meanwhile, American Airlines charges 80,000 miles round-trip for economy but 160,000 miles round-trip in business.

If you want to maximize the Oneworld alliance …

While it isn't the largest alliance — Star Alliance has 26 airlines — the Oneworld alliance offers travelers access to over 900 destinations across 170 destinations through its 13 member airlines. And Oneworld is unique in offering three tiers of elite status, each granting meaningful perks.

Best of all, travelers can use the Oneworld alliance to book a slew of sweet spots — from 7,500-point domestic flights to 13,000-point flights to Hawaii. Factor in bank transfer partners and the Oneworld alliance offers knowledgeable travelers many ways of earning and redeeming miles.

The information related to CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product or service.


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