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Big News: Alaska Airlines Joining Oneworld Alliance

Head spinning but, Alaska loyalists?

Alaska Airlines introduced at the moment that it’ll be part of the Oneworld Alliance, which incorporates 13 (quickly to be 14) airways. Alaska would be the second U.S.-based airline in Oneworld, together with American Airlines.

However wait, didn’t Alaska and American simply break up? Sure. After Alaska’s merger with Virgin America in 2016, they deliberate to sever their ties with American on the finish of this month (February 2020). So this announcement is a significant reversal.

The transfer appears aimed to compete aggressively with Delta Air Traces on the West Coast. Alaska has a large West Coast presence however a minuscule worldwide footprint. In the meantime, American and Oneworld have an enormous worldwide presence however are struggling to compete on the West Coast.

Timeline

Alaska plans to hitch Oneworld totally by summer time 2021, with staged adjustments within the meantime:

  • Beginning now: You’ll be able to proceed utilizing Alaska miles to ebook American flights and incomes Alaska miles for flying with American. In different phrases, this partnership won’t finish in March as deliberate.

  • Spring 2020: Earn Alaska miles when flying on home and worldwide American Airlines flights (present partnership solely applies to worldwide AA flights).

  • Summer season 2021: Earn and redeem Alaska miles on all Oneworld companions. Alaska elites obtain precedence boarding, premium seating and baggage advantages on companions. MVP Gold and 75okay elites can entry Oneworld lounges.

All this info is from Alaska’s website, whereas American has launched this assertion. American’s web page describing their partnership with Alaska has not been up to date, and nonetheless claims that the partnership is ending in March. The affect of this partnership for American (and Oneworld) flyers is due to this fact considerably much less clear.

What this implies for Alaska flyers

Since Alaska has all the time acted as a lone wolf that eschewed main alliances in its partnership technique, this announcement cuts each methods. Alaska flyers will profit from the expanded partnership community, however they need to be cautious of forthcoming devaluations and different limitations to the wonderful Mileage Plan program.

Lots of Alaska’s companions are already within the Oneworld alliance, so the announcement isn’t as drastic because it appears at first blush. Right here’s the total breakdown:

Present Alaska companions which can be members of Oneworld:

Oneworld members that Alaska will acquire partnership with in 2021:

As you possibly can see, the slate of companions on account of take part 2021 isn’t precisely an all-star solid, outdoors of Qatar Airways.

We’re not but certain what’s going to occur to Alaska’s current non-Oneworld companions, resembling Singapore Airlines and Emirates. Will they proceed as separate companions? Or will they drop from Alaska’s program? If the latter (which is unlikely), this alteration can be a transparent net-negative for Alaska flyers.

Alaska elites

This greatest knock towards the Alaska MVP elite standing program has all the time been its restricted worldwide footprint. Whereas Alaska has a strong partnership community, the advantages of MVP standing on these companions have been extraordinarily restricted, amounting to some lounge perks.

The extension of elite advantages into your complete Oneworld ecosystem is due to this fact an enormous win for Alaska elites, and a giant promoting level for worldwide flyers who’ve prevented this system.

What this implies for AA flyers

Presumably, the Oneworld advantages of AAdvantage elite standing (resembling precedence boarding and baggage perks) will prolong to Alaska flights, and presumably this profit will arrive in summer time 2021. However for now we simply don’t have many particulars.

We do know that American will add two worldwide routes to the West Coast as a part of this enlargement:

  • Seattle to Bangalore, India, beginning fall 2020.

  • Seattle to London Heathrow beginning spring 2021.

What I believe

As an Alaska MVP Gold member, I’m each excited and apprehensive about this announcement. I’ve been taking part in with the concept of switching loyalty to Delta to reap the advantages of their elite standing whereas flying internationally, and this announcement is clearly a deliberate transfer to carry my like again within the fold. Up to now, I’m satisfied.

Name me pessimistic, however I received’t get too enthusiastic about this alteration till I study all the main points. What are the particular advantages for Alaska elites on Oneworld? Will the present mile incomes construction apply to companions resembling JAL, or are we in for a change? As soon as we all know extra, we will start assessing the true tradeoffs for Alaska (and American) flyers.

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