Alaska Airlines Will Offer Oneworld Awards In Summer 2021

Filed Under: Alaska, oneworld

Alaska Airlines will be joining the oneworld alliance as of March 31, 2021, which is an exciting development. However, we shouldn’t expect awards on all oneworld partner airlines to be introduced immediately.

Mileage Plan oneworld awards coming summer 2021

With Alaska Airlines joining the oneworld alliance in several weeks, there have been a lot of questions about what this means for the future of redeeming Mileage Plan miles.

It’s worth noting that Alaska Airlines only plans to introduce award redemptions on all oneworld airlines as of the summer of 2021 (which would be sometime between late June and late September).

While it should be possible to earn Mileage Plan miles on all oneworld airlines as soon as the airline joins the alliance, it will be several months before redemptions are allowed on all partners.

Fortunately Mileage Plan miles can already be redeemed on many oneworld partners through existing bilateral agreements, including for travel on American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Japan Airlines, and Qantas.

This timeline update doesn’t come as much of a surprise, given that an Alaska Airlines spokesperson had told View from the Wing several weeks back that:

  • Alaska Airlines would aim to provide at least 90 days of notice of any award chart changes
  • Alaska Airlines wasn’t planning on changing any oneworld partner award prices as of March 31, 2021

You can already redeem Alaska miles for Japan Airlines first class

There are still lots of questions about redemption rates

Alaska Mileage Plan takes an unconventional approach to partner award pricing, and ultimately it’s what makes the program so valuable from a redemption standpoint:

  • Alaska Mileage Plan allows stopovers even on one-way awards
  • Alaska Mileage Plan’s award pricing on partner airlines is incredibly reasonable, with each airline having a separate award chart

I know many people are dreading Alaska joining oneworld because they fear it will ruin the value proposition of redeeming Mileage Plan miles. As of now we have a lot more questions than answers:

  • Will Alaska Mileage Plan continue to allow free stopovers on awards?
  • Will Alaska Mileage Plan create a single, unified award chart (rather than separate charts for each partner), and if so, will we see award redemption rates climb significantly?

Between border closures and everything else, I’d consider it a net positive for consumers that Alaska Airlines doesn’t plan to introduce awards on all oneworld partners until some point in summer 2021, since it means current award pricing will be maintained for a while. I also appreciate Alaska’s intention to provide at least three months notice of any changes.

What will happen to Cathay Pacific first class award rates?

Bottom line

Alaska Airlines is joining the oneworld alliance as of March 31, though only plans to introduce awards on all oneworld airlines as of the summer of 2021. Alaska already separately partners with several oneworld airlines, and those redemptions will continue to be available.

Frankly I’d consider these delayed redemptions to be a good thing, given the spectacular value of Mileage Plan awards. We have no clue what the new program will look like, though I have a hard time imagining it will be much better than the current one.

What are you expecting from Alaska Mileage Plan oneworld awards?

(Tip of the hat to Loyalty Lobby)

Comments
  1. Boo! I was hoping to book a Qatar flight to MLE with a few days in Doha for the fall. I have it booked with AA miles, but they don’t allow stopovers, so hopefully this wills till be possible with AS (and availability exists on this delayed timeline).

  2. Hmm, I wonder of Qatar Airways award will be available before then… Alaska promised that Qatar should be redeemable by 03/31, and that’s before summer, right?

  3. I really want to book those “reasonable” Cathay awards far out in advance (Dec/Jan timeframe) before the almost certain devaluations. Can anyone confirm Alaska will still charge the same change/redeposit fees if plans change? Yes?

  4. This still sheds no light on when and how AA and AS elites will get upgraded on the other airline. Hoping to know more about that soon.

    Also a reminder to all that for AS elites, who can book into premium seats for free, AS is even better than DL for May flights, because it is blocking middle premium seats through May 31.

  5. @ Mark – this is for “wherever Alaska flies,” but I haven’t seen any verbiage on their website re: waiving cancellation fees for partner mileage redemption cancellations. It would be great to get clarity on this because if one tries to make a partner redemption booking, the change and cancellation rules still state the same thing they have for years:

    – For tickets purchased less than 24 hours from your scheduled departure time, you are subject to fees of $125 USD per person immediately after purchase.
    – For tickets purchased 24 hours or more prior to your scheduled departure time, you may make one change within 24 hours of the original purchase with no fee, although applicable differences in fare will apply
    – For tickets purchased 24 hours or more prior to your scheduled departure time, you may also cancel and refund it to the original form of payment within 24 hours of the original purchase with no fee.
    – A fee of $125 USD per person will also be assessed for all other changes and cancellations.
    – Change and cancellation fees are waived for all MVP® Gold and Gold 75K Mileage Plan members.
    – Additional fares and taxes may apply.
    – Any changes and cancellations must be made prior to the scheduled departure time.

  6. Interesting that the Alaska Timeline says that American is launching their SEA-LHR route in Summer 2021. I can still find availability for the route starting 3/27/2021. A March start date is optimistic given current circumstances, but I do not think a delayed start date has been announced.

  7. Banned by AA, can’t wait to fly on AA F for free using AS miles. Haha, jk, I hope to never have to fly AA again. I just hope awards on CX/JL using AS miles aren’t nerfed beyond oblivion.

  8. Are we to assume that our reservations AA main cabin will be allowed to select next step in seating ? I have existing award reservations on AA’s Seattle to London in August. Am keeping BA coming back because the “Vig” on AA is so close to BA’s

  9. @Ralph
    Any ticket starting with 027 i.e. ticketed by Alaska is valid for the waiver, CX tickets bought with Alaska miles start with 027.

  10. @Trey, I have an award ticket on JAL redeemed with AS miles. I’m being charged $125 per ticket for cancellations. I booked under the impression that there would be no fees, but I guess AS is different

  11. I wonder if it will be possible to snag QF F flights (for 70,000 miles o/w) like in the Golden Days of yesterday? Or will Qantas continue its miserly ways in this regard, which incidently, its own QFF members must also endure.

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