It has been announced that Alaska will be joining the oneworld alliance in the summer of 2021. This presents great opportunities but brings with it some uncertainties on the way miles are earned and redeemed on the Alaska Mileage Plan frequent flyer programme.
Right now, there are already some notable oneworld alliance carriers that are partners with Alaska, such as Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, and Finnair. The inclusion of Alaska in the oneworld alliance would mean that frequent flyer miles can be earned and redeemed across all airlines in the alliance.
In fact, the Alaska Mileage Plan is a great programme to credit your miles into. This is over and above great redemption rates for flights between Asia and North America on Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines.
However, with Alaska as a full member of oneworld alliance, it is only a matter of time when a more streamlined redemption chart catering to most or all airlines in the alliance will be rolled out, which could lead to some devaluations for redemptions on selected carriers. It is only when this new award chart is published will we know the true impact of the possible devaluations.
Alaska also has existing partnerships with non-oneworld alliance carriers, such as Singapore Airlines from Star Alliance, and Korean Air from Skyteam. It is still possible to maintain such partnerships but it remains to be seen if existing accrual and redemption rates with these non-oneworld alliance partners will be revised in due course.
Here is the rough timeline that’s been proposed for Alaska’s entry into the oneworld alliance. Let’s hope that we hear about more good news regarding favourable miles accrual and redemption rates, although I do have my reservations about it.