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Why the growth of oneworld means you've never had it so good

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As I wrote on Thursday, SriLankan Airlines is now a full member of the oneworld alliance.  This means that you can use it to book redemption seats using Avios points.

It is not uncommon on Head for Points and elsewhere to complain about changes to British Airways Executive Club, such as the recent move to make Gold members pay £35 per ticket for changes to bookings. A lot of this came out in the discussion in the comments section on Friday.

However, as the press release I received from oneworld about SriLankan reminded me, the growth of oneworld in recent years has added substantial value to your Avios points.


Amazingly, in just the last two years, FIFTEEN new airlines have joined oneworld as full or affiliate members.

I admit that some of the affiliate member are not hugely useful to a UK resident – LAN Colombia, US Airways Express, Iberia Express and Austria’s Niki for example.  BA’s sister airline transatlantic carrier OpenSkies also joined as an affiliate, but that has always been available as an Avios redemption.

Looking at ‘proper’ airlines, though, we have gained access to:

SriLankan, the first airline from the Indian subcontinent to join an alliance

TAM, the largest airline in Brazil, from March 2014 (was in Star Alliance)

US Airways, which joined in March 2014 following the merger with American Airlines (was in Star Alliance)

Qatar Airways, which joined in October 2013 and was the first of the ‘big three’ Gulf carriers to join an alliance

Malaysia Airlines, in February 2013

airberlin, which joined in March 2012 and which offers some outstandingly low tax Avios redemptions, such as New York to Germany for £1 of tax in Business

I wrote larger articles on all of these airlines when they joined, if you do a search via the search box in the top right hand corner.  All of them have something to offer – SriLankan opens new routes to the Maldives, TAM has incredibly low taxes to Brazil, US Airways offers very low taxes to the US (as does airberlin which also has great deals to the Middle East for £75 tax).  Qatar has a very high quality product – better than BA on its newest aircraft by all accounts – and a fantastic network.  Even Malaysia is running brand new A380’s out of Heathrow.

Put together, these additions since 2012 have added 250 new destinations that can now be reached with Avios points.   They have also made it easier to avoid BA fuel surcharges. Let that be a happy thought for you on this Bank Holiday weekend!

(Want to earn more Avios? Click here to see our latest articles on earning and spending your points and click here to see our list of current Avios promotions.)

Comments (17)

  • Paul says:

    Ok one world the best alliance.
    But which frequent flyer programme is best in the UK to access one world?
    BA offers household accounts,
    241 via amex and eye watering fees. They even charge fees for some airlines that don’t have fees themselves.

    Iberia is useful as transfers can take place and of course there is Avios.

    Star alliance have a “sweet spot” via Aegean but is there a similar sweet spot with one world or a better programme within which to collect Avios and gain status?

    • Rob says:

      Nothing as obvious as Aegean. Many oneworld airlines also have the 4 flights rule on their own aircraft.

  • Dmitry says:

    Please excuse my ignorance, but what is a ‘four flights rule’?

    • Stripy says:

      A rule imposed by some airlines whereby you must fly a minimum of 4 flights on their own aircraft (i.e not a partner airline’s aircraft) if you wish to have status with that airline. As an example, I could credit all my AA operated flights to BA but, if I didn’t fly at least 4 flights on BA planes, I wouldn’t get status on BA.

  • pierre says:

    Sadly, it seems AB is planning to leave OW next year (internal source)

    • Rob says:

      It wouldn’t be suprising, given the Etihad relationship. That said, they do keep putting out press releases which talk of how much money the OW membership brings them ….

  • Paul says:

    Yes the 4 flight rule is a challenge.

    You can use codeshares such as flying AA but under the BA flight number. Very handy when the choice is AA777-300 with flat bed and direct aisle access versus BA and club world. This can be done on LA, Dallas and New York.

    I have a trip this summer and doing just this. The cheeky bit is that BA fees were higher on the codeshares than on the AA flight number for the same flight. It was around £25 per person per sector difference. Of course you don’t get the bonus avios on the AA flight so you need to decide if it is best to pay the extra and take codeshare flight numbers or accept the fewer avios ( around 1100)

    Of course 4 domestic sectors also count.

  • G Flyer says:

    I seem to remember from an old post that a traveler had booked a BA redemption using BA Avios, and then changed their frequent flyer number to Iberia or American Airlines, and were credited with points for their redemption booking.

    Is this still possible? And if so, how does one do it? I’ve logged on to Manage by Booking on and it won’t let me replace by Executive Club frequent number with any others.

    • Rob says:

      Try using the Qatar or Finnair websites via their Manage My Booking function, you can switch out the FF number in a BA booking there.

      • G Flyer says:

        Thanks – that worked. But as I don’t have status with Iberia, I lost the Exit Row seats I’d already reserved, so had to call BAEC to reinstate my BA number! Silly me, trying to be clever.

        • John says:

          Couldn’t you reinstate it using the Finnair website?

          It’s very unlikely that you will get miles/points for redemptions, unless your ticket is altered after being issued somehow. E.g. if you’re rerouted or it was somehow very complicated to issue.

          • Rob says:

            Not quite true, especially for Euro redemptions in Eco which come from revenue buckets often

      • Simon says:

        I tried this last night, I got an email with the updated details from Finnair straight away but reviewing the reservation on Finnair this morning it still has my BA number on, when I go onto it lists both my BA and AA numbers in the Frequent Flyer section though, any idea whether my flight will get credited to BA or AA?

  • andy stock says:

    Qatar’s business product on the dreamliner is really an first class product!

  • wobbly wings says:

    How does one go about getting one of those “very low tax” redemptions to the USA with US? I’ve tried a few dates but nothing came up on ba and avios. Are the taxes different from the aa flights? And I’ve never noticed any difference in tax when comparing US and AA flights while looking on

    • Rob says:

      I have a post on this coming up later in the week, once I’ve finished pulling together all the numbers.

      • wobbly wings says:

        That’s great – look forward to the post. But even a little bit of a hint right now would be great. I need to ticket 4 awards asap and not sure whether to route them from LHR or from somewhere in Europe but outside the UK.