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The Ultimate Guide to the Oneworld Alliance

The Oneworld Alliance (also stylized “oneworld”) is one of the largest airline alliances in the world. Member carriers of the alliance include American Airlines, British Airlines, Aer Lingus, Iberia, and Cathay Pacific. LATAM, the largest airline in Central and South America, was a member of Oneworld but left the alliance in 2020 after Delta Air Lines (of SkyMiles frequent flyer program and SkyTeam Alliance fame) purchased a controlling stake in the carrier. Learn more about the third-largest alliance with our ultimate guide to the Oneworld Alliance.

oneowrld guide
Current Oneworld global hubs

What is Oneworld?

Oneworld is the third-largest international alliance of leading airlines in the world. The coalition was founded in 1999 and currently consists of 15 member carriers, as well as numerous associate carriers that operate under the umbrella of at least one of the alliance members. Oneworld offers service to over 1,000 destinations across 150 countries worldwide and provides travelers with a seamless and pain-free travel experience when switching between connecting carriers.

As with other airline alliances, Oneworld offers a unified membership scheme for frequent travelers, which is equivalent to a status with members’ frequent flyer programs. These Oneworld member statuses offer perks across all partner carriers, including access to lounges, priority check-in and baggage handling, and extra luggage allowances.

Partner Airlines

The following airlines are members of the Oneworld alliance, meaning account holders of airline rewards credit cards from one of these partner carriers can earn miles when flying with any other Oneworld global partner carrier:

American Airlines

British Airways

Cathay Pacific

Fiji Airways

Finnair

Iberia

Japan Airlines

Malaysia Airlines

Qantas

Qatar Airways

Royal Air Maroc

Royal Jordanian

S7 Airlines

SriLankan Airlines

Partner Affiliates

The following airlines are affiliates of Oneworld partner carriers, meaning cardholders can earn miles when booking through these affiliates:

American Airlines

  • AE – American Eagle
  • American Airlines Shuttle

British Airways

  • BA CityFlyer
  • ComAir
  • Sun Air

Cathay Pacific

  • Cathay Dragon

Fiji Airways

  • Fiji Link

Finnair

  • Nordic Regional Airlines

Iberia

  • Regional
  • Express

Japan Airlines

  • J-Air
  • Japan Transocean Air

Malaysia Airlines

  • Firefly
  • MASwings

Qantas

  • QantasLink

Qatar Airways

  • Qatar Executive

Royal Air Maroc

  • RAM Express

S7 Airlines

  • Globus Airlines

Oneworld Lounges

Lounge Access Policy

  • First Class Passengers: First class passengers departing on any Oneworld partner airline can access the first class lounge, regardless of their Oneworld or partner airline frequent flyer status.
  • Business Class Passengers: Business class passengers departing on any Oneworld partner airline can access Oneworld or partner airline business class lounges – regardless of their Oneworld frequent flyer status – by presenting their boarding pass.
  • Oneworld Emerald Status Members: Oneworld Emerald members have access to either the first class, business class or frequent flyer lounges. Emerald members may also bring one guest, provided they are also on a Oneworld partner flight departing on the same day (regardless of ticket class).
  • Oneworld Sapphire Status Members: Oneworld Sapphire members have access to either the business class or frequent flyer lounges. Sapphire members may bring one guest, provided they are also on a Oneworld partner flight departing on the same day (regardless of ticket class).

Does not include Qantas Domestic Business Lounge

  • Arrival Lounge Access: Arrival lounge access is not included with a Oneworld carrier ticket purchase.

Earning Oneworld Frequent Flyer Miles

Flying with Oneworld Members

The easiest way to earn miles with Oneworld is by making bookings with a Oneworld member airline, or one of their associate airlines. All passengers need to do is provide their frequent flyer number when making their booking or checking in.

To earn miles the airline shown on the ticket, as well as the operating airline, must be a Oneworld member carrier. Additionally, the fare purchased must qualify for earning miles.

Miles are also applicable retroactively, provided the traveler has already flown, and the miles weren’t credited to the account.

Earning Bonus Miles with Airline Partners

Oneworld member credit cardholders can earn additional points or miles when making purchases with partners of Oneworld carrier partners – both in their home country and around the world. For more information regarding earning points with Oneworld alliance partners, please see each airline’s official site, listed below:

Do Oneworld Miles Expire?

Miles earned with Oneworld partner airlines are subject to the terms and conditions of each member carrier. As such, some miles expire more quickly than others. Here is what you need to know about miles expiration with member carriers:

  • American Airlines – Miles expire after 18 months of inactivity on the account
  • British Airways – Miles expire after 36 months of inactivity on the account
  • Cathay Pacific – Miles expire after 36 months, regardless of account activity
  • Finnair – Miles expire after 18 months of inactivity on the account
  • Iberia – Miles expire after 36 months of inactivity on the account
  • Japan Airlines – Miles expire after 36 months, regardless of account activity
  • Malaysia Airlines – Miles expire after 36 months, regardless of account activity
  • Qantas – Miles expire after 18 months of inactivity on the account
  • Qatar Airways – Miles expire on 06/30 or 12/31 that occurs more than 36 months after they were earned, regardless of activity.
  • Royal Air Moroc – Miles expire after 36 months, regardless of account activity
  • Royal Jordanian – Miles expire after 18 months of inactivity on the account
  • S7 Airlines – Miles do not expire until the end of the year, plus the next 2 full calendar years
  • Sri Lankan Airlines – Miles expire after three years and every 31st March and 30th September

Redeeming Miles with Partner Airlines

How to Redeem Miles

Miles gained with member carriers are applicable for the following:

  • Purchasing flights with a member airline
  • Upgrading to the next class of service on a member flight

Restrictions on Redeeming Miles

  • Miles or points earned with one partner carrier’s frequent flyer program cannot be combined with points or miles earned through the frequent flyer program of another Oneworld partner carrier.

Transferring Miles

  • Miles or points earned with a Oneworld member carrier’s frequent flyer program are not transferable to the frequent flyer program of another member carrier.
  • Miles earned with any Oneworld member carrier are transferable to another family member, although additional fees or surcharges may apply.

Oneworld Status Levels

While every Oneworld partner carrier has its own unique frequent flyer program, the various levels in these membership programs also relate to Oneworld status qualifications. Each status qualification allows customers certain perks.

Ruby Status

Ruby status is the lowest tier of membership in the Oneworld alliance. This status can generally be achieved when a frequent flyer with any member carrier amasses somewhere between 15,000 and 30,000 qualifying miles (though the exact amount varies with each airline). This status also can be attained with the accumulation of between 14 and 34 qualifying flight segments.

Ruby Perks

This status offers some perks not available to regular passengers. These benefits include:

  • Business class priority check-in
  • Preferred seating
  • Priority wait-list

Sapphire

Sapphire status is the middle tier of membership in the rewards program. This status is typically achieved by earning double the qualifying miles or segments needed to reach Ruby status.

Sapphire Perks

Sapphire status offers some impressive perks not available to Ruby status members. These benefits include:

  • Priority standby and wait-list
  • Preferred or pre-reserved seating
  • Priority boarding
  • Priority baggage handling
  • Extra baggage allowance
  • Access to business class priority check-in
  • Access to business class and frequent-flyer lounges

Emerald Status

Emerald status is the highest tier in the membership program. Achieving Emerald status, however, is no easy feat – requiring more than the total qualifying miles or segments of Sapphire and Ruby statuses combined.

Emerald Perks

Emerald status offers the most perks, including some perks not available to Sapphire status members. These benefits include:

  • Security lane fast track
  • First class check-in
  • Access to first class lounges

Oneworld Membership Perks Explained

Below you will find more information about what Oneworld status members can expect when they travel:

  • Priority Waitlist: When a preferred flight is sold out, Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald status members have priority on the waitlist, if additional seats become available.
  • Extra Baggage Allowance: Sapphire and Emerald status members can bring one additional piece of luggage weighing 50 lbs. (23 kg) or less on both international and domestic flights. This allowance is not permitted on some domestic British Airways operated flights.
  • Standby Priority: Members have priority on standby lists at the airport, should their travel plans change.
  • Priority Boarding: Sapphire and Emerald members have priority to board the aircraft before other passengers, or at any time of their choosing during the boarding process.
  • Priority Luggage Handling at Destination: Those with Sapphire and Emerald status can expect their luggage to be dealt with first at arrival, meaning they can quickly collect their belongings and depart the airport to their final destination.

Current Oneworld Credit Cards

Looking for a credit card from a Oneworld airline, like American Airlines, British Airways, or Cathay Pacific Airlines? Here are all the current U.S. credit card offers from members of the Oneworld Alliance, including American Airlines AAdvantage credit cards:

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About: Cory
Cory Santos

Cory is BestCards.com's "Jack of all trades" and resident rewards expert, covering all facets of the points game – especially travel, hotels, and airlines. In addition to credit cards, Cory finds that jogging, cats, and memes are essential parts of a balanced day.