Alaska Airlines is planning to join oneworld in 2021

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When I checked my emails today, especially the ones I received from Alaska and American Airlines today, I thought I was still dreaming. Alaska Airlines and American Airlines are joining forces to create a West Coast International Alliance. Wait! What? Did I just read that right? We are really talking about Alaska and American? Weird!

Alaska Airlines and American Airlines had a pretty good partnership a few years ago. This partnership started to crumble as Alaska Airlines bought Virgin America and therefore creating more overlap on destinations with American Airlines. Alaska and American had reciprocal mileage earning and elite status benefits in the past. These benefits became more and more limited and no more reciprocal elite status benefits were offered anymore. I just loved it when you were able to use Priority Boarding with your AAdvantage Status. You were still able to earn AA miles on specific Alaska flights booked through AA and vice versa.

American Airlines at SEA

In March 2020 the partnership between American and Alaska was set to cease completely and no more milage earning, no matter what flights and where you booked them, as well as the cut of all other benefits which were still available.

Re-strengthening Partnership

That’s why I was even more surprised today that Alaska and American Plan to re-strengthen their partnership and go back to the Good Ol’ Days. So far I am very excited about this, as these two airlines are the once I fly the most throughout the year. Alaska has just the best connections out of Seattle and everywhere else I have to go, American has usually very good routes.

Alaska has less international destinations than any of the other legacy carriers. But what Alaska lacks in destinations, they are making up in partnerships with other airlines. These are partnerships between Alaska and these airlines and it is not an airline alliance.

Alaska’s Partners as of February 2020

Passengers with an Alaska Lounge membership can now also access American Airlines Admirals Clubs and vice versa. This news are all so good to be true. There must be a catch somewhere. Well, there is one, Alaska Lounge members won’t be allowed to access the Admirals Club at SFO’s Terminal 2 due to space constraints. Alaska will be opening a new 8,500-square-foot, top-floor lounge in Terminal 2 this fall.

Alaska Airlines Joining Oneworld Alliance

Even more surprising was to hear that Alaska Airlines plans to join the Oneworld alliance. If everything goes well, this is supposed to happen sometime in 2021.

According to Alaska Airlines, they won’t gut their loyalty program, the very much loved Mileage Plan or quit any partnerships.

What does this mean for your existing unaffiliated Global Partners?
Our 16 Global Partners are very valuable and we’ll keep them as long as they continue to provide a unique value to our guests.

This is a quote from their Q&A section in a blog post of Alaska Airlines. Their global partners will always provide a unique value. Always!!! Hopefully, they will never quit any of these partnerships. Of course, Alaska’s hands are tied if one of their partners will stop the partnership. Not every partner is also in the Oneworld alliance.

Timeline of the new partnership between Alaska Airlines and American Airlines

Timeline of the new Partnership with AA and Oneworld. (Courtesy of Alaska Airlines)

Conclusion

These are all some great news, as long as there is no big devaluation of Alaska’s Mileage Plan or termination of partnerships with other global airlines. These partnerships are unique to Alaska and make it one of the best loyalty programs. Alaska said they will still continue to offer miles earned by miles flown and not changing to a revenue-based program like most other carriers now.

Alaska Airlines at SEA

I really would like this partnership to be successful and hope that Alaska won’t make any drastic negative changes in the future. To be honest, I don’t think Alaska needs to join Oneworld, they have such a great and unique global partner network, which is even better than any alliance. Fingers crossed that we can keep enjoying Alaska Airlines as we have learned to love them. For some reason, I doubt that. What are your guys’ thoughts?

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