Alaska Airlines joining OneWorld by summer of 2021 is one of the biggest news as of late. This will mean that if you collect Alaska Miles, you’ll be able to redeem those miles with one of the OneWorld airline partners. By why did Alaska Airlines decide to join OneWorld?
The recent news that LATAM is leaving OneWorld alliance signals the growing strength of Delta Air Lines. This is especially true as they acquired 20% of the share of LATAM. Delta isn’t only taking over the South American airline industry. They already have a strong presence in the West Coast, especially in Seattle which is one of Alaska Airline’s major hub. Originally, American Airlines and Alaska Airlines decided to split up their partnership by March 2020. But, in order to stay competitive, Alaska and American airlines have since mended their relationship.
I can personally see many pros and cons to these most recent changes. But before we jump into that, let’s see some of the changes after this big announcement.
Alaska Airlines joining OneWorld has also caused some immediate and long term changes
Changes effective immediately
- The ability to redeem Alaska miles on all American Airlines flights
- Access any of AA’s Admirals Club locations worldwide with an Alaska Lounge membership
- The ability to earn and redeem Alaska miles on their current 16 Global Partners
Starting Spring 2020
- The ability to earn Alaska miles on any American Airlines flights
Starting Summer 2021
- The ability to earn and redeem Alaska miles on all OneWorld airlines
- Alaska elites status members will enjoy special privileges which includes priority boarding, premium seating, baggage benefits and more when they fly on American Airlines or any OneWorld airline
- Getting access to 650 lounges within the OneWorld network as an MVP Gold or Gold 75k member
What this means for Canadians
Originally, we had to use our British Airways Avios to redeem flights on OneWorld carriers within North America. Alaska Airlines joining OneWorld will now give us the flexibility to redeem miles on two OneWorld frequent flyer programs.
The only thing negative I can foresee in this recent change is perhaps Alaska Airlines will lose partnership with non-OneWorld airline carriers.
Looking at the list, LATAM will obviously disappear as one of Alaska Airline’s partners after they officially join OneWorld. My other fear is that they’ll lose other really useful non-OneWorld partners like:
- Korean Air
- Fiji Airways
- Iceland Air
- Singapore Airlines
- Hainan Airlines.
With the future of the Alaska Airlines partners, I think it’s safe to say, that you should look into redeeming your Alaska miles carefully. If it’s in your bucket list to try Emirates first class, then you might want to redeem your miles on Emirates sooner, rather than later.
Fiji Airways has a promotion right now that let’s you book your Alaska Miles for up to 50% off. This is a fantastic time to try the Fiji Airways carriers before they may no longer be an Alaska Airlines partner. Especially if you’ve always wanted to travel to the Pacific Island nations.
From my own personal perspective, I feel pessimistic about this recent announcement. From a Canadian perspective, it’s been beneficial for us to have more variety of Airline Alliances to earn points and miles. This gives us more flexibility when it comes to redeeming miles if competing alliances are not being very cooperative.
If you like travelling to Asia or Europe, then these recent changes won’t affect you too much. But, if you are an adventure traveller like I am, these changes gives us less variety to help us get to those off-beaten path travel destinations.
But, it’s too early to speculate what will happen so let’s hope Alaska Airlines joining OneWorld turns out to be a good thing.