Malaysia Airlines Joins Oneworld Tomorrow – And New Oneworld Top Tier Alliance Benefits

Malaysia Airlines Joins oneworld Tomorrow

Malaysia Airlines joins oneworld February 1. That’s not news, since it was long ago announced and is proceeding based on recently expected schedules. (It was originally set to join in late 2012, so even the first deadline was only missed by a wee bit.)

It’s a great addition for folks using American miles in the U.S. — oneworld is light on Asian partners, this expands South Asian reach, plus it’s another option to Asia from the U.S. (Los Angeles – TaipeiTokyo – Kuala Lumpur). And they offer a great premium product. Hey, their satellite terminal first class in Kuala Lumpur even has lobster on the buffet.

While American’s standard partner award rules will not permit travel from the US to Malaysia via Europe, or to destinations like India via Malaysia, American’s distance-based oneworld awards (that require use of 2 or more oneworld airlines other than American) do open up these possibilities. As oneworld adds airlines, these awards become increasingly valuable.

Using these awards presents additional possibilities for Australia (Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne) and New Zealand, for the Maldives, for Mauritius, and to other hard to reach places like Kathmandu and Myanmar. And it presents additional good connecting options — even for partner awards — to be able to fly American’s new Dallas – Seoul flight and on to South Asia (or their Shanghai, Beijing, and Tokyo flights).

Double Miles for Flying Malaysia Airlines Through March 31

Milepoint member JALPak notes that at oneworld’s press conference for the event it was announced that all oneworld programs would be offering double miles on all Malaysia Airlines flights between February 1 and March 31.

Extra Baggage and Fast Track Security for Top Elites

oneworld has three elite tiers, and Emerald is the top tier held by American’s 100,000 mile flying Executive Platinums and by British Airways Gold members as well as top tier elites in their other member programs.

The biggest distinguishing benefit, in my view, of Emerald status in oneworld is the ability not just to access lounges during travel on oneworld airlines (although American’s top elites don’t get lounge access on wholly domestic itineraries), but access to first class lounges regardless of class of service flown. And while I tend to think that there aren’t any oneworld lounges that quite measure up to Lufthansa’s First Class Terminal or Thai’s spa in Bangkok, there are certainly some very good first class lounges and even American’s Flagship lounges are nice.

oneworld has also announced new benefits for their top tier Emerald members.

  • An extra checked baggage allowance, above the standard limit for the cabin class in which they are traveling – either one additional item where the piece concept applies, or an extra 20 kg (44 lbs) where the weight concept applies – when they fly on any oneworld member airline.

  • Use fast track lanes through security when flying from select key airports worldwide on select oneworld member airlines.
  • This last benefit isn’t particularly well-specified, but holds promise though it’s something that’s often already offered by oneworld carriers (even though it had not been a specific oneworld benefit) and something offered by carriers in other alliances as well and explicitly promoted by Skyteam.

    About Gary Leff

    Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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    1. Certainly a very nice addition. I find searching award space for one world as a pain in the A** as compared to star alliance. I wish there was a less painful way.

    2. Hey Gary – Thanks for the post. I didn’t realize it was happening so soon. One note: MH’s LAX service now goes through NRT instead of TPE. I was bummed when they made the change.

    3. We now can connect from any OW carrier in LHR or CDG and go to KUL on the new A380’s that MH has. I was lucky enough to have a preview and I confess I am quite excited about that one.

      In some markets MH also has promotional fares for business and first that are good through September flying although they must be purchased my March 31. I have so far found those only on the MH site. For travel from GIG-KUL as I do, my cost drops by half. A seriously good deal.

    4. Now, if only AA would loosen their award routing rules.

      Hopefully BA could use this to counter QF’s betrayal.

    5. Does any one know when AA will see MH inventory for award tickets? Talked yesterday with AA and they don’t have anything. Will it magically appear tomorrow?

    6. @john BA tool might work. I wish it were LAX-TPE-KUL. LAX-NRT is already heavy competition while LAX-TPE is only EVA air and China Airlines.

    7. ” And while I tend to think that there aren’t any oneworld lounges that quite measure up to Lufthansa’s First Class Terminal or Thai’s spa in Bangkok…”

      Have you tried the Qantas First lounge in Sydney or Melbourne? Designed by Marc Newson, with its Neil Perry restaurant and Payot spa, it sets a very high benchmark for airport lounges and makes anything else pale in comparison.

    8. Still no way to book usa/asian flights online with AA that I can see.

      They should adapt Deltas’s system.

    9. I’ll answer my own question. Now you can book MH with AA miles. Rep was not sure had to ask but finally I was able to book.
      Also, BA is showing MH availablity online if you nned to search before calling AA

    10. @TravelScrounger: The weight concept (almost never used for flights involving the US) means you get a total weight allowance for checked bags, regardless of the number of pieces. (Although, presumably, they have some limitation so that you don’t check a bunch of 5kg bags. I imagine the maximum weight per bag restrictions are also in effect.) Thus, you get 20kg extra on weight concept trips, which means you can make other bags heavier or check another 20kg bag or check two 10kg bags, etc.

    11. @TravelScrounger: Yes. For instance, the MH website states that they will under no circumstances accept a bag over 32kg.

    12. Most importantly, AA isn’t charging fuel surcharges for MH tickets (just checked). This was a huge problem with Delta, which for years has charged hundreds of dollars in fuel surcharges on MH tickets.

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