Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

More British Airways tier-point earning flights as Alaska Airlines joins the oneworld alliance

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Alaska Airlines announced yesterday that it will be joining the oneworld airline alliance.  This is a welcome boost for the alliance following the resignation of LATAMRoyal Air Maroc is already gearing up to join oneworld on 1st April.

Alaska Airlines has been a British Airways partner for a long time.  You have always had the opportunity to both earn and spend Avios on Alaska Airlines’ strong US west coast network.

Alaska has now decided it wants to deepen its ties with oneworld partners and, in particular, American Airlines.  This is a multi-pronged partnership that should enable easier opportunities to earn and use Avios when flying on US domestic routes.

Alaska Airlines tailfins

When is Alaska Airlines joining the oneworld alliance?

By far the biggest news from the expanded partnership between Alaska and American Airlines is the announcement that Alaska Airlines intends to join oneworld in the summer of 2021.

This is no real surprise given Alaska’s existing relationships with both American and British Airways, both of which are cornerstones of the alliance. Alaska was not previously part of an airline alliance, instead choosing to curate its own portfolio of partners in the same manner as Virgin Atlantic.

The passenger benefits when Alaska Airlines joins oneworld include lounge access, priority check-in, baggage, boarding and preferred seat selection.

The Avios benefits are limited, but you gain tier points

Because of the existing British Airways / Alaska partnership, covered in this article, you are gaining less than you think from their entry into oneworld.

It is already possible to spend Avios on Alaska.  The problem is that you only can book by calling British Airways as it is not integrated into  This should change once Alaska joins oneworld fully.

The real benefit is from tier points.  Whilst you currently earn Avios when flying with Alaska, you do NOT earn British Airways Executive Club tier points.  This will change next year.

British Airways Executive Club Silver and Gold members will also get access to the full range of oneworld benefits when flying with Alaska, including lounge access.

Members of other oneworld frequent flyer programmes have more to gain from this announcement than Executive Club members, as it will open up Alaska award inventory to them for the first time.

American Airlines and Alaska codeshare expanded to include long haul

The other part of the announcement is that American and Alaska will expand their existing codeshare to include American’s international routes from Seattle and Los Angeles.  This means that you will enjoy seamless connections between the two airlines at both West Coast hubs.

Compared to American’s seven routes, Alaska serves an astonishing 60+ airports from its hub in Seattle-Tacoma:

Alaska Airlines to join oneworld

American Airlines launches Heathrow-Seattle route

In order to support the combined Alaska and American network out of Seattle, American Airlines is launching Heathrow to Seattle in March 2021.  This will complement the two existing British Airways flights to Seattle and provide feed for the domestic flights.

(Or will it?  I have a suspicion that British Airways may now quietly drop one of its daily Seattle services.  Three flights per day between BA and AA seems excessive.)

American will also be launching a new route to Bangalore from Seattle.

Of course, if you want to maximise your British Airways Executive Club tier points, the smart routing – once Alaska joins oneworld – is to fly from the UK to the US East Coast and then pick up an Alaska Airlines connection to Seattle.  Seattle to the East Coast is over 2,000 miles and would earn 140 British Airways tier points in Business Class.

There is one downside here …..

Alaska Airlines currently has an exceptional range of airline partners.  Some people used Alaska as a way of consolidating miles from flights on Aer Lingus, BA, Cathay Pacific, Condor, EL AL, Emirates, Fiji, Finnair, Hainan, Icelandair, JAL, Korean, LATAM, Qantas and Singapore Airlines.

We would expect that these partnerships – except for the ones with oneworld members – will now be cancelled as contracts come up for renewal.

If you want to redeem Avios on Alaska before they join oneworld …..

This HfP article explains everything you need to know about using Avios on Alaska.  For many people, the most attractive part is the ability to fly to Hawaii from the US West Coast on Avios.

Our beginner’s guide to redeeming Avios points is here and includes more details on how to spend your points with the airline partners of British Airways.

PS.  If you missed it, take a look at our recent article on the top 10 reasons to get the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card.

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (April 2024)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £15,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and FREE for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (38)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • ECR says:

    Some of the non oneworld partner airlines also partner with other oneworld airlines so I don’t think it automatically means these partnerships will end after Alaska joins oneworld.

    Emirates are partners with Qantas and JAL, Aer Lingus are partners with BA and until recently also also a Qantas partner. EL AL are also a partner of Qantas. Qantas even have a partnership with Skyteam members Air France/KLM.

    Although it won’t happen I wish some of these partners, particularly Emirates and Aer Lingus would at least join Oneworld Connect.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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