Alaska Airlines Plans to Join the Oneworld Alliance by the End of 2020

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Alaska Airlines and American Airlines have had a rocky relationship over the years. But just as the two rivals were about to cut ties completely, they suddenly did an about-face.

In February 2020, Alaska and American rekindled their relationship. As part of this renewed partnership, Alaska Airlines announced intentions to join the Oneworld alliance by the summer of 2021.

Now, it seems the timeline is being moved up. As caught by TravelCodex, in a July 2 webinar on the Aviation Week Network, Alaska's CEO said he is now planning for Alaska Airlines to join the Oneword Alliance by the end of 2020. That's much earlier than originally expected.

American Airlines probably realized that the best thing to do to stay competitive with Delta on the west coast was to continue a partnership with Alaska Airlines. Thus, they initiated the invitation for Alaska to join the Oneworld alliance.

Joining Oneworld Alliance

Alaska has seen a high portion of its passengers making international flights in recent years, so it only made sense for them to join one of the big alliances. If you didn't know, the other two big alliances are Star Alliance (United) and SkyTeam (Delta). The Oneworld alliance currently has 13 partner airlines including:

  • American Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Finnair
  • Iberia
  • Japan Airlines
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Royal Air Maroc
  • Royal Jordanian
  • S7 Airlines
  • SriLankan Airlines

LATAM was a recent partner but left the Oneworld Alliance in May 2020.

Also, note that when Alaska joins Oneworld, Alaska's regional partner Horizon Air will become an affiliate member of the alliance.

Alliance Benefits

Joining the alliance will help Alaska provide rewards and benefits for its international travelers. Alaska already partners with seven of the Oneworld Alliance airlines, so it's a logical step for them to join Oneworld.

Perks from joining the alliance include seamless transfers. Passengers can fly on Alaska Airlines to Seattle and then fly onward on American Airlines without having to collect their baggage and re-check-in. That's especially helpful as AA is launching new flights from Alaska's hub of Seattle (SEA).

American Airlines plans to launch new routes from Seattle to London Heathrow (LHR) and Bangalore, India (BLR). American Airlines is also trying to move its LAX service to Shanghai (PVG) to operate out of Seattle too, which will greatly increase direct access to Asia for Alaska and AA's customers in the northwest.

When the alliance is finalized, Alaska customers will be able to:

  • Earn and redeem Alaska Mileage Plan miles on all Oneworld airlines
  • Get priority boarding, premium seating, baggage benefits and more with American Airlines and other Oneworld Alliance partners
  • When you achieve MVP Gold or Gold 75k, you'll gain access to over 650 Oneworld Alliance lounges around the world

Final Thoughts

The coronavirus pandemic is hitting the airline industry especially hard. Most airline stocks are down 50%-75% and airlines are warning employees of tens of thousands of layoffs. So, it's nice to see a bit of positive news for Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, and Oneworld travelers.

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  • Thanks, Skye. What’s the impact of this change on Alaska’s non-alliance partnerships? (Singapore, Korean, etc)

    • We don’t know yet what the impact on the non-alliance partnerships will be. AA has non-alliance partners despite being part of Oneworld, so it’s still possible to have non-alliance partners. However, having partners that are part of a different alliance might be harder.

  • Good news that Alaska Airlines joins the Oneworld program !!!
    It will be a new alternative when deciding to go to a destination in the North of the American continent.
    I hope I can earn miles through this link with American Airlines.

  • After leaving Latam, the arrival of Alaska Airlines is excellent news. I hope I can fly again now!

  • I don’t suppose AK joining OneWorld allows the transfer of AK miles into any other OW alliance partner? I’ve got some orphan AK miles looking for a new home.

  • Alaska and American is a good partnership. I just don’t know if American is going bankrupt or not. I hope not. I did hear that they partnering with Jetblue so seems like American is doing the right things to bounce back.

  • Thanks, while I miss Alaska’s relationship with Delta, this really opens up a whole new set of possibilities in crediting miles, but also in using reward miles.

  • OH NO…. when want to redeem my Alaska points for jfk/lhr the only choice i see is BA (BS airlines) anf for economy ticket pay 50,000 miles plus $500 in BS fees.

    Why not force customers to give kidney’s also as a kind gesture to using alaska miles on BS(BA.

    This is will be nightmare

  • I don’t think this is going to be good for those of us who love Alaska miles for the international sweet spots. By the time we can freely fly again, they may be gone in lieu of standard One World rates.

  • time to hoard the AS miles?

  • Pauline Fitzgerald says:

    Still trying to work out if this will help or hinder me in awards, probably on balance mot great news.

  • I commend airlines that decide to join alliances in this new era after the pandemia arrival. It is a great challenge for them to keep flying after the big economic impact they all experienced and there is no doubt it would be beneficial not to remain isolated to face the effects of the COVID.
    I’m also glad that one more airline is joining the OneWorld alliance after the huge loss that represented the departure of such an important airline as LATAM with great presence in the continent. Those who accumulate miles in the alliance will benefit from having a new partner that will allow them to earn miles and also will recognize their membership status.
    Good news for the aviation industry!

  • I very much fear that the nightmare we are in right now will not be over by the summer of 2021.

  • I just got an email today about American and JetBlu partnering as well.

  • I hope they also merge their frequent flyer programs or at least allow people to move miles between the 2 programs.

  • It seems like the award chart was too good to be true for the future. Farewell great redemptions.

  • It will be interesting to see how this plays out. We enjoyed some great redemptions when Alaska had a partnership with Delta. Looking forward to seeing some new opportunities once leisure travel picks up again.

  • Great news! Now i’ll be able to use my Alaska miles to book some more international routes!

  • It’s interesting that this is happening sooner! I hope it works out well.

  • This is good news, though I hope it won’t mean Alaska will have to get rid of their other partners for award redemptions. I hope that those of us who are AA elites will get some reciprocity on Alaska.

  • That is an impressively fast pace Alaska are moving at to join Oneworld in less than a year. IAG (BA and Iberia owners) hinted at Aer Lingus joining Oneworld when they took them over about 5 years ago, but there is still no sign of them joining.

  • I have lifetime Admiral Club status will I have access to the Alaska clubs?

  • Will there be some kind of relationship between JetBlue and Alaska now that they’re both partnering, kinda sorta, with American?

  • Let’s hope the Alaska miles are not devalued with this change.

  • This is good news, for sure! Now all OneWorld needs is a partner in central Europe to replace AirBerlin.

  • I wonder what happens to short haul award pricing?

    • Using MileagePlan miles? I’m guessing AS award flights will continue to be priced the same, but I’m guessing AA flights will be a set award price.

  • Would Finnair eventually offer flights to SEA eventually?

  • It is always a good news to hear another airline company join Oneworld. Good for Alaska Airlines and One world!!!! Congrats!!!!
    But I hope Oneworld add, soon, one airline in South America!!!

  • This is a great move for Alaska. Previously, being a member of One World Alliance was the primary reason I sought out Alaska miles in the past.

  • wow. i’d like to earn Alaska points now.

  • Nice to have a different US based option in Oneworld other than just American.

  • Michaelj1 says:

    Alaska’s flights and ff program have been good to me. I hope this new alliance does not negatively affect Alaska’s flights or FF program.

  • Alaska here we go!, when is the best time to visit alaska?, warm wheather?

  • This partnership will benefit me as Alaska Airlines, American Airlines and British Airways are the three airlines I habitually fly the most. Being able to fly Alaska to and from the west coast to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and earn One World miles is something I will appreciate greatly. Excellent news.

  • I still feel torn about this. On paper it feels like a good move by Alaska. Hope it doesn’t get botched along the way !

  • A new air company join Oneworld!!!! It´s a really good news after losing LATAM. I hope some South american company will join Oneworld soon!!!!

  • Juan Ignacio says:

    Great to have a different American airline other than American Airlines, also it will be awesome a OW airline in South America and Europe to remplace the lack of Latam and Air Berlin.

  • Carlos Demian Jeiman says:

    I hope some South american company will join Oneworld soon!!!!

  • This would have been a game changer back when American was cutting service to Canadian cities… but that was when they were also at war with Alaska and dropping integration. That forced me off to SkyTeam and I haven’t looked back since.

  • great news for those of us who are in oneworld!

  • This will be interesting. I finally joined the Alaska program once the Delta partnership ended, but now will have to decide between earning on Alaska or AA.

  • Pantelis Linas says:

    is this confirmed? i would rack up many more miles

  • miskocina says:

    This is great news, Oneworld definitely needed new members since losing LAN and AirBerlin/NIKI.

  • Let’s see when this will happen even though I don’t see any reason in the accelleration of the process.

  • @skye Will AS joining OW allow the transfer of existing AS miles to a OW partner?

    • That’s very unlikely. Generally, you can’t transfer miles between different airlines. However, you’ll be able to use your Alaska Mileage Plan miles to book award flights on any Oneworld partner.

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