Alaska Airlines will join the oneworld alliance on March 31, 2021, which is an exciting development. However, we shouldn’t expect awards to be rolled out to all oneworld partner airlines immediately.
Mileage plan oneworld Awards for the coming summer 2021
After Alaska Airlines joined the oneworld alliance in a few weeks’ time, there have been many questions about what this means for the future of mileage redemption for mileage plans.
It is worth noting that Alaska Airlines only plans to roll out award redemption for all oneworld airlines from summer 2021 (that would be sometime between late June and late September).
While it should be possible to earn miles for mileage plans with all oneworld airlines once the airline joins the alliance, it will take a few months for redemptions to be eligible for all partners.
Fortunately, miles can already be redeemed through existing bilateral agreements with many oneworld partners, including travel with American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Japan Airlines and Qantas.
This timeline update doesn’t come as a big surprise as an Alaska Airlines spokesperson told View from the Wing a few weeks ago:
- Alaska Airlines will endeavor to give notice of changes to the award table at least 90 days in advance
- Alaska Airlines had no plans to change award prices for oneworld partners as of March 31, 2021
You can already redeem Alaska Miles for Japan Airlines First Class
There are still a lot of questions about repayment rates
The Alaska Mileage Plan takes an unconventional approach to affiliate reward pricing. Ultimately, this is what makes the program so valuable from a redemption point of view:
- The Alaska Mileage Plan allows stopovers even with one-way awards
- Alaska Mileage Plan’s award prices for partner airlines are incredibly reasonable as each airline has a separate award table
I know a lot of people are scared of Alaska joining oneworld because they fear it will ruin the value proposition of redeeming miles on the mileage plan. From now on we have many more questions than answers:
- Does the Alaska Mileage Plan continue to allow free stops at awards?
- Will the Alaska Mileage Plan produce a single, unified award table (rather than separate charts for each partner), and if so, will award redemption rates increase significantly?
Between border closings and everything else, I would consider it positive for consumers that Alaska Airlines doesn’t plan to introduce awards to all oneworld partners until the summer of 2021, as this means that current award prices will be held for a while. I also appreciate Alaska’s intention to notify changes at least three months in advance.
What happens to Cathay Pacific Premium Reward Rates?
Alaska Airlines will join the oneworld alliance on March 31, but does not plan to introduce awards for all oneworld airlines until summer 2021. Alaska is already working separately with several oneworld carriers and these withdrawals will continue to be available.
In all fairness, I would consider these late withdrawals a good thing given the spectacular value of Mileage Plan awards. We have no idea what the new program will look like, although I find it hard to imagine that it will be much better than the current one.
What do you expect from the Alaska Mileage Plan oneworld Awards?
(Tip from the hat to the loyalty lobby)