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Do you have several different frequent flier credit cards and are also a member of frequent flier programs for several different airlines? There are a number of ways that you can swap and combine frequent flier miles to take trips, but many involve fees or losing some of your miles.
If you accrue frequent flier miles through the oneworld alliance, which includes 12 member airlines that fly, collectively, to 750 destinations across the world, you don’t have to worry. You can combine points and fly on any of the member airlines.
The member frequent flier programs are:
- American Airlines AAdvantage® Program
- British Airways Executive Club
- Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Club
- Finnair Plus
- JAL Mileage Bank
- Malév Duna Club
- Qantas Frequent Flyer
- Royal Jordanian Royal Plus
- S7 Priority
If you’re familiar with frequent flier mile programs, you know that many programs have tiers that offer you additional benefits depending on how many miles you have flown. The oneworld Alliance operates in the same way. When you sign up as a oneworld Alliance member, however, you will designate one main carrier (the airline where you accrue most of your miles). Your status on that airline corresponds, for the most part, to your oneworld status, except that you can raise your oneworld status by flying on any of the 12 airlines in the program. Your own carrier may require a minimum amount of miles flown with them to maintain your status, however. Check the specifics on your home carrier website or at the oneworld website.
The three tiers for the oneworld Alliance are:
Emerald is the top status and offers:
- Business and First Class priority check-in
- Priority standby and wait-listing
- Boarding at convenience
- Lounge access for member and one guest
- Pre-reserved preferential seating
Sapphire status offers the same benefits except for first-class priority check-in and access to first-class lounges, while Ruby members do not earn any lounge access or boarding at convenience.
If being able to fly to more than 750 destinations on your choice of 12 different airlines isn’t enough, there are a number of other benefits to this award-winning frequent flier program.
Perhaps one of the best benefits is the one that NerdFitness.com founder Steve Kamb used to fly to four different continents on an 11-month world tour that cost less than $500: the OneWorld Award.
Cashing in this award, which is issued by American Express and the AAdvantage American Airlines program, permits you to make “stopovers” of any length with up to 16 legs on your journey, with a few restrictions. You can only make one stopover per city, and, when selecting OneWorld partners, you must fly on at least two airlines other than American.
This makes it great for world tours like the one Kamb is on now, but not the least expensive or easiest option for domestic travel. Also, be aware that you cannot change your route or airlines after you’ve purchased your ticket, but you can change the date and/or time of flights without penalties.
The oneworld program offers a lot of flexibility for people who travel internationally frequently for business or pleasure. You can shop around any of the 12 member airlines to get the best cash-in rate on your miles and plan your dream vacation for less money than you might imagine.