Alaska Airlines is Joining the Oneworld Alliance, targeting Q1 2021. Originally there was hope of fast tracking Alaska joining oneworld by the end of 2020, but per Alaska president Ben Minicucci's comments on 9/9/20 it's been pushed back toward the end of Q1 2021.
Alaska joining Oneworld is a sharp reversal from the previous Alaska and American Airlines Partnership Cuts that were announced in October 2019. While Alaska already codeshares with American Airlines for certain destinations, Alaska joining Oneworld will significantly increase international codeshares, as Alaska passengers are linked on to American's international flights such as a new Seattle to Bangalore, India flight on American Airlines launching in October 2020, and AA's new Seattle to London flight launching March 2021.
Alaska joining Oneworld, linking with more American flights, and AA's new Seattle flights to Bangalore and London will heat up the competition with Delta, which remains many business travelers' preferred U.S. airline to fly on, for operational reasons, even if its frequent flyer award program is terrible (the nickname “Skypesos” is very apt).
Earning Alaska Miles on American Airlines and Oneworld Airlines
Currently, it's already possible to earn Alaska Mileage Plan miles on American Airlines that have an Alaskan flight number, that is, any American Airlines operated flight booked on alaskaair.com.
Starting sometime in Spring 2020, Mileage Plan members will earn miles on ALL American Airlines flights, both domestic and international.
Alaska Mileage Plan already partners with a number of Oneworld airlines for Mileage Plan award redemptions; see the links below for mileage earning on these Oneworld airlines' paid flights for March 1-December 31, 2020:
Alaska Mileage Plan Redemptions on Oneworld Partners
One of the advantages of the Alaska Mileage Plan award chart are some award sweet spots, such as 70,000 miles for Cathay Pacific First Class and JAL First Class between the U.S. and Asia, and 50,000 miles for Cathay Pacific Business Class between the U.S. and Asia, or just 30,000 miles between Asia and Australia. All of these awards are more expensive with AAdvantage and British Airways Executive Club.
The disadvantages have been 1) the Mileage Plan award calendar opens later than American AAdvantage, British Airways Executive Club, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, and JAL Mileage Bank, just to name a few; and 2) Alaska Mileage Plan has sometimes had fewer award seats even at the same time of search than other programs, including AAdvantage (see AAdvantage Trumps Alaska Mileage Plan Again). While I don't expect the Alaska Mileage Plan award calendar to open up any earlier with Alaska joining Oneworld, I'm hoping that its award inventory on Oneworld airlines will match what's available to other Oneworld partners, such as American AAdvantage and British Airways Executive Club.
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