The Oneworld alliance was initially formed by American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Qantas. Now the alliance has thirteen member airlines and one Oneworld connect partner airline.
Oneworld airlines can take you to more than 900 destinations worldwide in more than 170 countries and territories. The Oneworld alliance is also the means by which airline elite status with a Oneworld member airline is recognized when flying with other alliance airlines. Let’s take a closer look at the Oneworld alliance.
The Oneworld alliance has 13 active members, but note that Oman Air will join Oneworld in 2024 and S7 has been suspended in 2022. These are the current Oneworld airlines:
- Alaska Airlines
- US airlines
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- Japanese airlines
- Malaysia airlines
- Qatar Airways
- Royal Air Morocco
- Royal Jordan
- Sri Lankan Airlines
- Fiji Airways (Oneworld connect partner)
This list of Oneworld member airlines is important for travelers, as you can usually book award travel on the member airlines through other Oneworld partners. For example, you can book an award flight through American Airlines AAdvantage that includes flights operated by other Oneworld airlines.
Related: What are airline alliances and who are members of them?
Oneworld alliance status levels
Oneworld has three elite status levels: Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald. If you have elite airline status with one of Oneworld’s member airlines, you have one of these Oneworld statuses. Here’s a closer look at each status level of the Oneworld alliance.
One world Ruby
The main benefit of Oneworld Ruby status is access to business check-in queues. Look for the Oneworld logo with a ruby ellipse next to it, and you’re headed to a check-in line that’s usually significantly shorter than the standard queue.
Oneworld Ruby members can also receive preferential or pre-reserved seating and priority access to waiting lists and when on standby. However, these benefits are not offered consistently as they are provided based on the operating airline’s policies.
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Some of the airline statuses that offer Oneworld Ruby status include:
- MVP of Alaska Airlines
- American Airlines AAdvantage Gold
- British Airways Executive Club Bronze
Oneworld Sapphire is where the more impressive benefits start to kick in. In addition to the benefits offered to Oneworld Ruby members, Oneworld Sapphire members also receive access to business class lounges on eligible tickets and priority boarding.
As a Oneworld Sapphire member, you can also enjoy an additional baggage allowance and priority baggage handling when flying with Oneworld member airlines. Normally you will be given at least 15 kilograms more weight if the baggage allowance on your ticket is based on weight. You will also normally be allowed at least one additional checked bag weighing up to 23 kilograms (approximately 50 pounds) if the baggage allowance on your ticket is based on pieces.
However, you won’t get priority baggage handling if you fly on British Airways flights, and you won’t get an extra baggage allowance if you book cabin baggage only or basic fares with British Airways.
Here are some airline statuses that offer Oneworld Sapphire status:
- Alaska Airlines MVP Gold
- American Airlines AAdvantage Platinum
- British Airways Executive Club Silver
Related: Elite Status vs Miles: How to Get the Most Out of Oneworld Partner Tickets
Oneworld Emerald offers many of the same benefits as Oneworld Sapphire status. However, in addition to the benefits offered to Oneworld Sapphire members, Oneworld Emerald members also receive access to first-class lounges on eligible tickets, first-class priority check-in and fast-track or priority lanes at select airports.
Oneworld Emerald members will also receive a minimum of 20 kilograms more weight if the baggage allowance on their ticket is based on weight. However, Oneworld Emerald members still do not receive an additional baggage allowance due to their status when flying with hand luggage only or basic British Airways fares.
These are some of the airline statuses that offer Oneworld Emerald status:
- Alaska Airlines MVP Gold 75K and MVP Gold 100K
- American Airlines AAdvantage Platinum Pro and AAdvantage Executive Platinum
- British Airways Executive Club Gold
Oneworld Emerald is the main reason why senior points and miles writer Katie Genter wants to earn at least AAdvantage Platinum Pro status. Katie enjoys visiting Oneworld’s first class lounges – including Cathay Pacific’s The Pier First Class Lounge in Hong Kong, Malaysia Airlines’ First Class Golden Lounge in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Qantas’ International First Lounge in Los Angeles – when she flies eligible routes. Plus, some Oneworld airlines will automatically block the seat next to you if the flight isn’t full, which is a nice, unpublicized perk.
Related: The best websites for searching for Oneworld awards availability
Oneworld and its member airlines have more than 600 lounges worldwide, including the new Oneworld-branded lounge in Seoul, South Korea.
Before you head to the airport, research your Oneworld lounge options online. If you plan to access the lounge based on your Oneworld status, look for the Sapphire or Emerald ellipse. As you browse the lounge options, check lounge hours and whether you have access depending on the airline operating your flight.
Most Oneworld airport lounges display the Sapphire or Emerald ellipses at the entrance. Since there are many Oneworld lounges at some airports – and often multiple lounges with similar names operated by the same airline – you will need to check the specific location of the lounge you want to visit on the Oneworld site.
For example, it would be disappointing not to get sushi if you had access to the Japan Airlines First Class Lounge at Narita International Airport (NRT) in Tokyo, but accidentally went to another lounge.
First Class passengers and Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire members can bring one guest into the lounge if the guest is also traveling on a flight operated and marketed by a Oneworld airline.
Each lounge has its own entry rules, although many lounges offer access to eligible customers traveling on a Oneworld member airline. However, there are cases where you will not be able to access the lounge even if you have Oneworld Sapphire or Emerald status or are flying in a premium cabin. Check the Oneworld alliance website for the most nuanced, up-to-date information on lounge access. In addition, keep the following in mind:
- Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan elite members with Oneworld Sapphire or Emerald status will only receive lounge access when traveling on routes that include travel outside the US, Canada or Mexico.
- American Airlines AAdvantage elite members with Oneworld Sapphire or Emerald status are generally denied access to the Oneworld lounge when traveling exclusively on North American flights between the US, Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean. However, you can gain access to the Admirals Club if you fly from the US to Canada, the Caribbean and Mexico and your flight is operated by Alaska Airlines.
- The Oneworld lounge access policy does not apply to British Airways Concorde lounges; the Chelsea lounge at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) Terminal 8; Qatar Airways’ Al Safwa First and Al Mourjan Business lounges in Doha, Qatar’s Hamad International Airport (DOH); Qatar Airways Premium Lounges; arrival lounges; spa facilities; and preflight dining options. However, you may have access to some of these lounges depending on your airline and class of travel.
- Qatar Airways Business Lite fares and Finnair Business Light fares are not eligible for lounge access.
- Your flight must be both marketed and operated by a Oneworld member airline. Fiji Airways is a Oneworld connect partner, so you will only get pre-departure lounge access if your ticket also includes travel on British Airways, Cathay Pacific or Qantas (Fiji Airways’ Oneworld sponsors).
The lack of lounge access on flights within the US and between the US and some destinations near the US is often disappointing for Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald members who earn elite status through American Airlines AAdvantage and Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan. This is exactly why Katie has happily held Oneworld Sapphire status through Malaysia Airlines Enrich since early 2019, despite also having Oneworld Emerald status through American AAdvantage. Having Oneworld Sapphire status from a non-US airline has given her access to Admirals Clubs and even Flagship Lounges on flights to, from and within the US.
Related: Best credit cards for airport lounge access
The Oneworld alliance facilitates travel to more than 900 destinations on one ticket. Although the list of Oneworld airlines is noticeably missing a South American airline and has only one African airline, the Oneworld route map still provides good coverage worldwide.
Oneworld status and lounge access also mean that travelers with elite status on a Oneworld airline can enjoy a number of benefits when traveling with other airlines in the Oneworld alliance. One aspect that sets the Oneworld alliance apart from other airline alliances is that it offers premium lounge access to its leading Emerald elite members. That said, Oneworld Ruby status also offers a valuable benefit not seen with other airline alliances: access to priority check-in queues.