6 More Months: Alaska Airlines Delays Oneworld Alliance Introduction

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In February 2020, Alaska Airlines made a surprising announcement that it would be joining Oneworld Alliance.

Then, in July 2020, the carrier announced that it would join Oneworld in late 2020.

Then, in August 2020, it was speculated that Alaska would be joining sooner rather than later which instilled fear in the hearts of those of us that hold Alaska miles, did not know what value the future held for our Alaska miles, and hadn’t planned any future travel redemptions.

Then, in September 2020, it was announced that Alaska would NOT join sooner rather than later but would join Oneworld in early 2021.

Now, it looks like we may have a bit of clarity as the carrier has finally made a public announcement.

LET THE COUNTDOWN BEGIN

Alaska Airlines has revealed they plan to join the Oneworld alliance on 31 March 2021.

Nearly a month ago, I wrote an article detailing how I saved my once-in-a-lifetime anniversary trip by ordering lunch.

The reason that I was so adamant about saving my Alaska miles is because the Alaska loyalty program is such an amazing program (in its current form), but we will undoubtedly see some changes once they enter Oneworld.

In fact, even in their announcement, the carrier says:

Also, you might be wondering about our partnerships with our current Global Partners that are not a part of oneworld. We value the benefits those partnerships provide our guests, and we’ll continue to maintain them as long as it’s mutually beneficial to do so.

…which means absolutely nothing given the partnerships could be “no longer mutually beneficial” on Day 1 when Alaska officially enters the alliance.

ALASKA AIRLINES MILEAGE PLAN PROGRAM CHANGES?

The Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program has long been my favorite airline loyalty program for several reasons including:

  • Great redemption rates
  • Extremely generous stopover policy
  • Amazing list of airline partners (as seen below)

Aer Lingus, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Condor, El Al, Emirates, Fiji Airways, Finnair, Hainan Airlines, Icelandair, Japan Airlines, Korean Air, LATAM Airlines, Qantas, and Singapore Airlines.

However, when an airline makes a change like this, all the rules have the potential to change. For example…

  • If you have frequently flyer status with Alaska, how does it equate to status within the alliance?
  • Alaska currently has partnerships with airlines that are not members of Oneworld (i.e. Emirates is not in an alliance, LATAM and Korean are SkyTeam members, etc.). What will happen to these relationships once they join? It’s worth mentioning that Qatar is already a member in Oneworld so Alaskas relationship with Emirates could become dicey.
  • Alaska (currently) has a different award chart for every partner. Will that change to a single award chart for the alliance? Is that a good thing or bad thing?
  • Will the (low) award rates increase?
  • What will happen to Alaska’s generous stopover policy? Will it be removed like most other airlines have done?

FINAL STAMP

Alaska has announced they plan to join Oneworld in March 2020.

Although I love the program, be forewarned that we could see some changes on the horizon.

All miles are good miles but personally, I can’t imagine 1) the generous stopover on one-way awards or 2) the low award prices will remain where they are. I’m not implying the miles will be worthless, but there is a real possibility that they may not be as valuable as they are today. But if you have Alaska miles…rock it!

If you had 100,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles, on what carrier would you redeem them?

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