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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 to join oneworld

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 ba.com.  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.

Alaska Airlines to join oneworld

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.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

Comments (38)

  • Callum says:

    Shame, it has a great frequent flyer programme. Presumably this is going to result in it being cut back.

  • The Original David says:

    The question is, why is it called Alaska Airlines when it seems to be based in Seattle? Surely Washington Airlines would be more appropriate…

    • Stu N says:

      Started out in Alaska, they still fly plenty of routes within the state. Seattle is key interchange for Alaska hence another major hub for Alaskan and they have worked their way south and west from there.

      AA/Alaskan will now challenge Delta who have significant operations out of SeaTac that were historically flown by Northwest Airlines.

      The size of Alaska is really quite something, it’s further from the far end of the Aleutians to the bottom of the panhandle bordering BC than it is from there to New York…

      • Doug M says:

        That’s the key, this really strengthens AA and challenges Delta.

        • Lady London says:

          …as does presence of Alaskan at a number of Delta strongholds now. Will be interesting to see what happens if/when Alaskan’s current codesharing arrangements with what looked like literally everyone get cut

          Whereas SFO has been hugely competitive giving good pricing SEA hasn’t. I think Lufthansa might take this opportunity to can SEA as they hardly fly there and never competed on price.

          Air Canada (*A) also uses Alaskan a LOT for connections up and down the West Coast and I really hope that can somehow survive.

          I love Alaskan but on balance I don’t like this.

  • Will in SFO says:

    Not just Seattle. Alaska, following the Virgin America merger, are now major players in the Bay Area. Second largest carrier at SFO and SJC. Also have a large SAN presence and they are a major player in the Hawaii market. This is great news for all the BA loyalists on West Coast

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      Tons of flights out of Portland and LA too. I was quite surprised – I thought they were mostly just Seattle and Anchorage.

      • Liam says:

        Yes, they are the dominant airline operating out of terminal 6 at LAX. I’ve never flown with them but their lounge is accessible with Priority Pass (and can be easily accessed airside from terminal 7, which is where United fly from).

  • riku2 says:

    I have earned BA tier points flying with Alaska airlines, because some of their flights have BA flight numbers. They even recognised my gold card and gave me a bar of chocolate onboard as thanks. Hopefully being part of one world will mean you can choose premium class economy seats for free with one world status (much the same way that main cabin extra seats are free on AA for BA gold card holders).

  • Sal says:

    You made me remember i flew alaska in september LAX to Mexico. Just checked and avios were never credited into my ba account, although i put down my executive number when booking. Has anyone had any experience claiming the avios back? A quick look on ba and it seems they’re wanting a claim to include boarding passes, which i no longer have.
    Thanks

  • Tom says:

    This is big news for those that use the Alaska programme…. I ditched BAEC in favour of Alaska a while back because of the earning rates. Finally opens up their value of status with them across One World. Nice!

    Let’s hope it doesn’t spell a devaluation!

  • Mr(s) Entitled says:

    I’ve flown Alaskan a number of times but not for a few years. Always been impressed by them. A welcome move.

  • Spurs Debs says:

    I can use Alaska for redemption bookings to Hawaii can’t I?