A guide to the oneworld alliance in New Zealand

oneworld | Point Hacks
GUIDE: Program Guide
TIME TO READ: 5 minutes
POSTED: June 5, 2019
UPDATED: June 12, 2019
LOYALTY PROGRAMS: Relevant to Multiple Programs

This guide takes a look at the oneworld alliance, focusing on its carriers that fly into New Zealand and their respective frequent flyer programmes.

What is oneworld?

The oneworld alliance is one of three major global airline alliances, alongside Star Alliance, which is indirectly linked to Virgin Australia’s Velocity programme through its reciprocal points transfer partnership with Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer and the SkyTeam alliance.

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oneworld members

The alliance currently includes 13 member airlines, 6 of which fly into New Zealand and are highlighted in bold:

  • American Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Finnair
  • Iberia
  • Japan Airlines
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Royal Jordanian
  • S7 Airlines
  • Sri Lankan Airlines

Note that Royal Air Maroc will be joining the oneworld alliance from mid-2020, opening up a number of African destinations that has until now been missing from the oneworld network.

oneworld also launched oneworld connect in 2018 as a way for smaller airlines to join the alliance. Currently only Fiji Airways is the member.

Oneworld Frequent flyers are able to earn miles and status credits when flying with different oneworld airlines in the same reservation. The alliance spans across 1,012 destinations in 158 countries, so there is plenty of opportunity to earn and redeem miles as well as earning status credits with a oneworld alliance programme.

Elite members of each oneworld alliance frequent flyer programme enjoy premium benefits, offered under the ‘oneworld Priority’ moniker. There are 3 tiers within the oneworld Priority, and they correspond to a particular status level with each oneworld airline.

The 3 tiers are:

  • oneworld Ruby
  • oneworld Sapphire
  • oneworld Emerald

For example, with Qantas Frequent Flyer, Ruby corresponds to the Silver status level, Sapphire to the Gold status level, and Emerald to Platinum and Platinum One status levels. These vary by airline, and the oneworld tier corresponding to other oneworld airlines can be found at here.

With oneworld Priority, eligible frequent flyers are able to access the following benefits when traveling with any oneworld alliance airline in any travel class. These include:

oneworld Ruby, oneworld Sapphire and oneworld Emerald members

  • Access to priority Business Class Check-in
  • Access to preferred or pre-reserved seating
  • Priority on waitlists or on standby

oneworld Sapphire and oneworld Emerald members

  • Priority Boarding
  • Priority Baggage Handling
  • Extra Baggage Allowance
  • Access to International Business Class lounges

oneworld Emerald members

  • Access to priority First Class Check-in
  • Fast track at security lines
  • Access to International First Class lounges

Further information can be found here.

To enjoy the benefits of a oneworld alliance frequent flyer programme, you will need to join a member airline’s individual programme. There is no universal oneworld alliance frequent flyer programme and unlike the competitor alliances, there are no dedicated oneworld lounges. Instead, each of the member airlines run their own lounges, and in some cases, join forces to run a combined lounge, such as the oneworld Business Lounge at LAX, run by American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LATAM, Qantas and Qatar Airways.

Key Lounges

Qantas First Lounge, Sydney

Considered not just one of the best lounges in Australia, but one of the best in the world, the Qantas First Lounge in Sydney is available to all oneworld First class passengers, in addition to Platinum One, Platinum and oneworld Emerald frequent flyers.

Qantas First Class Lounge | Point Hacks

A full review of the lounge can be found here.

oneworld Los Angeles Business Lounge, Los Angeles

This lounge is operated by Qantas in partnership with British Airways and Cathay Pacific and is most useful for New Zealand-based travellers returning from the US or The Americas on a Qantas, American Airlines or other oneworld flight.

oneworld Los Angeles Business Lounge | Point Hacks

A full review of the lounge can be found here.

Cathay Pacific ‘The Pier’ Business Class Lounge, Hong Kong

This is definitely a must visit lounge if are in Hong Kong and are lucky enough to have access. The stylish lounge comes equipped with a full bar, shower suites, spa and yoga and meditation space.

Cathay Pacific The Pier Lounge Hong Kong | Point Hacks

A full review of the lounge can be found here.

American Airlines Flagship Lounge, Miami

Flagship lounges are American Airlines top range lounges, being a step up from the traditional Admirals Club lounges after having been refurbished in recent years. The lounge includes a great range of hot food and salads, a self-service bar and ultra fast wifi.

Anerican Airlines Lounge Miami | Point Hacks

A full review of the lounge can be found here.

Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge, Doha

One of the most picturesque lounges in the world, this lounge is so large that you actually need to ask staff for assistance just to get to where you want to go. With the vastness in space, along with incredibly high ceilings, this definitely makes it a unique lounge in the world and well worth checking out for this reason alone.

Qatar Airways Al Safwa Lounge | Point Hacks

A full review of the lounge can be found here.

How to earn miles?

Oneworld alliance miles can be earned directly with any oneworld member airline through flying or their respective air and ground partners. None of the 6 oneworld airlines that fly to New Zealand offer a direct-earn credit card, however you can indirectly earn miles with Asia Miles, Qantas, and Malaysia Airlines Enrich through spend on an American Express Membership Rewards credit card. Other programmes like American Airlines AAdvantage are also accessible via Amex spend, though through using Marriott Bonvoy first.

Which are the best oneworld frequent flyer programmes for New Zealand based travellers?

It should be no surprise that Qantas Frequent Flyer would be on the top of this list, given they are our neighbour’s flag carrier, and they offer a significant number of flights in and out of New Zealand, in addition to the ability to earn points flying Jetstar domestically. However, there are oneworld frequent flyer programmes that can offer exceptional value depending on which route you are looking to redeem on.

For example, American Airlines AAdvantage programme offers excellent redemption value for domestic Australian Business class redemptions on Qantas, Trans-tasman Business Class on Qantas or LATAM, Business Class to Fiji on Fiji Airways, or to Asia on oneworld partners.

The easiest way to earn AAdvantage miles is through purchasing miles during bonus points promotions, which occur frequently, or via American Express Membership Rewards using Marriott Bonvoy as an intermediary.

British Airways Avios can be handy frequent flyer programme to have, as it provides fantastic value for short-haul business class redemptions, including Business Class on Qantas within Australia, First Class on American Airlines within the USA and Business Class on Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines intra-Asia. However watch out for the impending devaluation at the end of May 2019, for which little detail has been released.

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles can also prove to be better value than Qantas Frequent Flyer on certain Qantas operated routes, so this could also be a good programme to enrol in.

Also note that both Qantas and Asia Miles offer competitive oneworld RTW (round the world) award tickets. Further information for RTW award redemptions can be found here for Qantas and here for Asia Miles.

Also make sure to take note of the different expiration policies for each oneworld programme, some of which can be found here.

How to search for oneworld availability

Qantas.com can be used to search for availability on Qantas and its oneworld partners, including American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Qatar Airways, in addition to its other partner airlines such as Jetstar, Emirates and Fiji Airways.

British Airways is also another reliable source for finding seats on most oneworld airlines.

For further information on finding award flights, please click here.

Summing Up

While Star Alliance is obviously the natural alliance for New Zealand-based travellers given the membership of Air New Zealand, there is actually an equal number of oneworld airlines that fly here from across the world. It pays to hold membership with a number of alliance frequent flyer programmes in order to take advantage of excellent pricing on specific routes.

A strength of oneworld is that it offers a number of airlines where points or miles can be easily earned through non-airline partners such as hotel chains and financial lenders. These include Qantas, Cathay Pacific and Malaysia Airlines, with the former probably the second most dominant in the New Zealand market.

With the missing link of Africa set to be filled by the introduction of Royal Air Maroc in 2020, oneworld have coverage across all the world’s habitable continents.

Featured image courtesy of oneworld.

A guide to the oneworld alliance in New Zealand was last modified: June 12th, 2019 by Daniel Sciberras