Travel Rewards Credit Cards

Oneworld Alliance: Everything You Wanted To Know

Whether you fly for business, pleasure, or both, having a positive travel experience is probably high on your list. Part of that experience includes earning points/miles, breezing through security, boarding your plane early, or hanging out at a lounge before you catch your next flight. And if you book your next flight through the Oneworld Alliance, you can enjoy these perks—and reach your destination with more ease.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the Oneworld Alliance. After you’re finished reading, you should have a solid understanding of the following:

  • The benefits of Oneworld Alliance.
  • The participating member airlines.
  • The best credit cards to use to earn points/miles.
  • Where to search and redeem award flights.

Without further ado, let’s get started with a brief history of the Oneworld Alliance.

A brief history

The Oneworld Alliance, otherwise known as OW among frequent travelers, is one of the three major airline alliances. The other two are Skyteam and Star Alliance. Established in February 1999, it’s currently headquartered in New York City. As a global network, it consists of thirteen airlines that fly to over 1000 destinations in more than 160 countries. It also includes more than 650 airport lounges worldwide. Every year, about 530 million travelers reach their destinations through the alliance.

What are the benefits?

It’s no secret that traveling can be stressful. But if you’re an Alliance member, you can take advantage of these perks that will help reduce some of that stress and enhance your travel experience.

  • Earn and redeem points/miles across the network.
  • Priority check-in and boarding.
  • Access to more than 650 lounges.
  • Reduced friction during travel.
  • Baggage handling.

If these benefits interest you, read on to find out how you can join the Alliance.

How do you become a member?

Before you can reap the benefits, you have to become a member first.

And the membership process is simple:

You first enroll in a frequent flyer program of any of the partner airlines, which is done for free. Once you enroll, you can use your member number to book flights and start earning points/miles that can later be redeemed across the Oneworld network.

So why does the onboarding process (no pun intended) look like this?

This is because the Oneworld doesn’t have an official frequent flyer program. The other alliances also lack a standalone program.

Think of Oneworld as a platform from which you have multiple flight options at your disposal. And these options give you the flexibility to create and re-create an itinerary that’s right for you.

What are the Oneworld Alliance member airlines?

Currently, there are 13 member airlines in the alliance. In mid-2020, Royal Air Maroc will join as its first Moroccan member. Meanwhile, Chile-based LATAM Airlines announced its departure by October 2020 as it will join the SkyTeam alliance as part of Delta Airlines’ acquisition.

American Airlines.Malaysia Airlines.
British AirwaysQantas
Cathay PacificQatar
FinnairRoyal Jordanian
IberiaS7
Japan AirlinesSri Lankan
LATAM Airlines

Apart from the 13 carriers, there are 22 affiliate members as well.

NikiNordic Regional Airlines
American EagleIberia Regional Air Nostrum
BA CityflyerIberia Express
BS LimitedJ-air
ComairJapan Transocean Air
OpenSkiesLATAM Airlines Argentina
SUN-AIR of ScandinaviaLATAM Airlines Brazil
Cathay Dragon

What are the status tiers and benefits of Oneworld Alliance?

As a member, you’ll fall under one of the three status tiers, each named after popular gemstones:

  • Ruby.
  • Sapphire.
  • Emerald.

To gain Oneworld status, you must earn enough points/miles through the frequent flyer program in which you’re enrolled. In other words, the number of points/miles you earn determines your status. Once you accumulate enough points, you can take advantage of the benefits, as shown in the table below.

While most of them are straightforward, some benefits (like baggage allowance) come with certain restrictions. As such, it’s worth spending some time to go through the details so you can pack accordingly.

Keep in mind that whether you’re a Ruby, Sapphire, or Emerald member, you can earn and redeem points/miles across the network.

BenefitsRubySapphireEmerald
Earn/Redeem Miles on all Oneworld AirlinesXXX
Earn tier points across the Oneworld networkXXX
Business Class Priority Check-InXXX
Preferred/Pre-Reserved SeatingXXX
Priority on Waitlists/StandbyXXX
Business Class Lounge AccessXX
Priority BoardingXX
Extra Baggage AllowanceXX
Priority Baggage HandlingXX
Security Lane Fast TrackX
First Class Priority Check-InX
First Class Lounge AccessX

What are the status tier equivalencies (based on the frequent flyer program)?

As mentioned earlier, you can obtain Ruby, Sapphire, or Emerald status by earning points/rewards through the frequent flyer program of your choice. Each airline requires a minimum number of miles or flight segments for you to qualify (see the table below).

Out of the three tiers, Ruby members require the least amount of points/rewards, which is perfect for those who travel occasionally. Generally speaking, the more you fly, the more points/rewards you can earn towards a higher Oneworld status.

Partner AirlineFrequent Flyer ProgramRuby Equivalent (and miles/segments required)Sapphire Equivalent (and miles/segments required)Emerald Equivalent (and miles/segments required)
American Airlines AAdvantageGoldPlatinumExecutive Platinum
25,000 miles or 30 segments50,000 miles or 60 segments100,000 miles or 120 segments
Platinum Pro 75,000 miles or 90 segmentsConcierge Key
Invitation only
British AirwaysExecutive ClubBronzeSilverGold
300 points and 2 BA Segments OR 25 BA segments600 points and 4 BA segments; or 50 BA segments1500 points and 4 BA segments
Executive Club Premier
Invitation only
Cathay PacificMarcoPoloSilverGoldDiamond
30,000 miles or 20 segments60,000 miles or 40 segments120,000 miles or 80 segments
Diamond Plus
Invitation only
FinnairFinnair PlusSilverGoldFP Platinum
40,000 points or 24 segments90,000 points or 54 segments150,000 points or 92 segments
FP Platinum Lumo
450,000 points or 150 Oneworld flights
IberiaIberia PlusSilverGoldPlatinum
1,100 points or 25 segments2,250 points or 50 segments12,500 points
Japan AirlinesJAL Mileage BankCrystalSapphireDiamond
15,000 JAL points and 15,000 segments;25,000 JAL points and 25,000 points;50,000 JAL points and 50,000 points;
10,000 points and 15 JAL segments and 15 segments15,000 points and 25 JAL segments and 25 segments35,000 points and 60 JAL segments and 60 segments
LATAM AirlinesLATAM PassGoldPlatinumBlack
30,000 km with 4 LA segments;60,000 km with 30,000 km on LA segments;120,000 km with 60,000 km on LA segment;
25 LA segmentsor 45 LA segments;54 LA segments;
or 30,000km and 6 segments in LA segmentsor 80,000 km and 8 LA segments
Black Signature
210,000 LA km; or 180,000 km and 16 LA segments
Malaysia AirlinesEnrichSilverGoldPlatinum
250 miles or 30 segments50,000 miles or 50 segments100,000 miles or 130 segments
Qatar AirwaysPrivilege ClubSilverGoldPlatinum
150 points300 points600 points
Royal JordanianRoyal JordanianSilverGoldPlatinum
15,000 miles or 4 RJ segments and 10 segments35,000 miles or 8 RJ segments and 20 segments55,000 miles or 12 RJ segments and 30 segments
S7 AirlinesS7 PrioritySilverGoldPlatinum
20,000 miles or 20 S7  segments50,000 miles or 50 S7 segments75,000 miles or 75 S7 segments
Sri LankanFly SmilesClassicGoldPlatinum
20,000 miles or 20 segments40,000 miles or 40 segments60,000 miles or 60 segments
QantasQantasSilverGoldPlatinum
300 status credits700 staus credits1,400 status credits
Platinum One
3,600 status credits
Chairman’s Lounge
Invitation only

What are the best credit cards to use to earn points and miles with a Oneworld Alliance airline?

The best airline credit cards for earning points/miles depend on your lifestyle. Do you travel once or twice a year? Or do you travel more than you can count on both hands? Regardless of which group you fall under, understanding your jet-setting ways is the key to finding the card that’s best suited for your needs.

If you consider yourself an occasional traveler, it’s worth checking out these cards.

These cards lack the bells and whistles that typically come with high-end credit cards. However, if you’re content with priority boarding or checking in a bag for free, the Aviator Red might be right up your alley. And if you don’t want to pay for an annual fee, the AAdvantage Mileup Card is a great starter card.

Frequent travelers may want to consider these luxury cards. If you’re a frequent traveler, there are a couple of cards that can provide you with a more luxurious experience.

Here’s a caveat, these luxury cards come with hefty annual fees. However, they pay for high-end perks, like VIP airline lounge passes, concierge services, airline credit, and Global Entry application credit.

If having lounge access isn’t your top priority, look into American Express’ Platinum Card. This card allows you to transfer your American Express Membership Rewards points to British Airways, Iberia, and Qantas.

Where do I go to search and redeem Oneworld Alliance award flights?

Save yourself the trouble of navigating multiple tabs, and check out the top three partner sites that will let you search and book available Oneworld flights.

From a usability standpoint, American Airlines ranks the highest because you don’t need an account to search. On the other hand, British Airways and Qantas require an account for viewing access. So when you’re planning your next trip, be sure to check out American Airlines’ website first.

Remember to compare the tier benefits, rewards, and points requirements mentioned above for the different airlines when shopping for the best flights and prices. Now that you’re equipped with all this information, it’s time to create an itinerary that will help you make the most out of your rewards.