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.