Rate oneworld

Old Oct 22, 09, 4:03 pm
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: COS
Posts: 120
Rate oneworld

We are writing a cover story comparing the three global alliances for the December issue of InsideFlyer magazine and would like your input.

If you would like to participate, please post your response in the thread with the pros and cons of oneworld and grade the alliance from A to F (A being the highest grade). You can include a plus or minus with the rating.

You can also respond directly to me at [email protected].
Thank you!
darcie_InsideFlyer is offline  
Old Oct 28, 09, 11:22 am
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I'm a top elite member of all 3 alliances and I actually like them all. They all have their strong and weak points, but thanks to competition, they all have many similarities.

Sometimes a particular remote destination can dictate which alliance you use. But mostly I fly whichever one is the most convenient, or has a sale, or, lastly, which one I need the EQM's on to requal.

As for Oneworld, they have some great lounges and as an Emerald member you can use the F lounge in most places. They also have more flat seats in business class.
stimpy is offline  
Old Oct 28, 09, 11:51 am
Join Date: Nov 2004
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Overall grade of A- to B+ (I probably would give *A an "A" and ST closer to a "B"). I too am a top tier member of all three alliances and think that while generally they have many similarities, I now find myself using *A and OW much more. It actually has almost nothing to do with the FF program benefits per se, instead it is the fact that *A and OW have a range of "circle" products other than just the standard RTW. Skyteam really needs to improve here, they only have 3 levels of RTWs and quite frankly these are pretty weak (I honestly don't know anyone who regularrly uses ST RTWs).

OW has so many useful products in this regard, and my guess is they see a return on these products. They just introduced a "Circle Atlantic" product which I am going to use next month, it allows N America, S America, Middle East and Europe stops (and then a return to N America), gives a ton of flexibility and results in a very reasonable fare (which is less than 50% of what it would cost to purchase these segments separately). Circle Pacific and Circle Asia tickets as well as the multi-continent products round out the huge range of products that increase flexibility and reduce cost when compared to simple point to point and roundtrip pricing. *A lags a little bit in comparison to the OW range of products, but nowhere near as badly as ST.

OW also has a pretty good collection of carriers, and in particular seating products. BA and CX have fully flat seats, I think QF has some, and according to reports IB is heading to fully flat. A growing problem with Skyteam is that several of their carriers have failed to standardize around a current generation seat, so for both DL and KE, you run the chance of getting a 10 year old seat, but you are paying just as much as if you got a flat bed.

As for FF programs, I like that several of OW programs allow one way redemptions. I hold BA and AA miles for this flexibility.
stephem is offline  
Old Oct 28, 09, 12:14 pm
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I do a lot of ST, mainly for destinations that are better served by ST. But I have only done a couple of ST RTW's because of the lack of Asian carriers and the fact that I don't need to go to Korea often. If they could add Malaysian I would do more ST RTW's.

And don't most all airlines do one way award tickets now? I think I saw recently that AF/KL and UA have added that option.
stimpy is offline  
Old Oct 29, 09, 5:58 pm
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 788
Love : - First class lounge access for Emerald members
- Great RTW and circle products.

Hate : - No priority baggage and extra baggage allowance for Emerald members
- Big coverage gap in Africa
RA-wannabe is offline  
Old Oct 29, 09, 7:38 pm
Join Date: Mar 2000
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Programs: AA EXP 5 Mil, UA Global Services, BA Gold, DL Diamond, SPG Plat75, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 1,231
Depending on your criteria OW or Star A to A+ and Skyteam B+

I'm top tier and multi million flyer in all the 3 alliances.


  • Excellent lounges for Emaralds especially in HKG, LHR and acceptable in US. Food and bath in HKG, SPA service in LHR are best in class
  • Good Global explorer and circle products
  • Good physical products with upgrade now at AA, QF and CX complementing BA
  • Well trained staff recognizing benefits in most locations during boarding and at lounges
  • Current 10% discount on OW fare promotion
  • Frequent Mileage promotions for F/J on select OW carriers (AA bonus on QF, CX for example).
  • 3 tier FF recognition and separation of F and J class checkin and lounge benefits. Robust F product separate from J on most key carriers
  • Good combination rewards from AA on OW partners. Mix and match OW partners for awards.
  • One way awards on AA and BA very useful. Mix and match Y/J/F award segments in a round trip
  • Good OW award availability on most non QF routes

  • Poor coverage of Africa outside BA cities
  • Weaker in Continental Europe compared to Star or Skyteam
  • No equivalent of Star upgrade rewards though some reciprocity between QF and BA
  • Tier point based recognition on BA and QF favors J/F/Full Y pax rather than butt in seat flyers
  • No online OW or partner award availability compared to Air Canada, ANA, etc in Star
enjoystravel is offline  
Old Nov 2, 09, 5:03 am
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: SEA
Programs: AA EXP; HH Diamond
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If there was an ability to do upgrades (EVIP for AA members) across to the OW carriers I'd give them an A.


Lounges, for the most part, are very good.
Decent worldwide coverage.
Reliable and pretty consistent.


A standard award availability tool that is reliable for multiple carrier routing. Each carrier could continue to maintain expanded availability for their elite members but it's a pain having to search 2 or 3 sites to create an itn before calling reservations.
tkelvin69 is offline  
Old Nov 2, 09, 4:32 pm
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Programs: BA Silver
Posts: 605
I'm a Sapphire with oneworld via Qantas and have been for several years now...

* A lack is the Africa network. I know oneworld are aiming for profit, and that is quite fine, but I think an African airline needs to be added.

* Strangeness is where some oneworld carriers use third party lounges in cities where other oneworld airlines have lounges. This doesn't make any sense to me

* A great thing is that the alliance is small, number of airlines wise. It's allowed almost all the airlines to have a similar product offering, with good safety records, and good service.

* A bad thing is where you go to the CX J lounge in BKK as a QF card holder and are told to go across to the QF lounge, when in reality you should be permitted in (this has happened twice)

While not perfect, the alliance is very good. I've flown some Star Alliance airlines (TG J, SAS Y, BD Y) and not really had the same impression of cohesive service that oneworld appears to have.
FlightDetective is offline  
Old Nov 3, 09, 9:37 pm
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: BUE
Programs: AAdvantage, Onepass, Lifemiles, SPG, Marriott. LANPASS s*cks.
Posts: 598
Can't really compare, but don't like that in most associated airlines, on most common fares, we get only 25-30% of mileage accural.
leandrorar is offline  
Old Nov 14, 09, 6:46 am
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Europe's World City
Programs: OWE, Hilton GOLD and counting
Posts: 1,113

-As flyers mentioned above. No repeat
-Great product
-Great airline with service(at least half of them)


-Awful mileage accu. on most of the airlines as a sheep on board(BA, CX to mention a few)
-No through-out service and each airline has its own story and expectations
-LONE4 price hiked more than 60% in UK. It was £1298 + tax in May 2008, and the latest price is £2100 + tax.
IC6A is offline  
Old Dec 3, 09, 12:22 am
Join Date: May 2005
Location: MIA
Programs: AA EXP 5MM; BA GLD; UA 1MM; Marriott Lfe Ti, Hyatt Glob, Hilt Dmd, IHG Spire AMB, GT Globility Board
Posts: 12
Some thoughts on 1K/*Gold vs ExPlat/OW Emerald

I have had the chance of holding United 1K and American Executive Platinum status for a couple years now and would like to share some thoughts on my experience with both programs and how they compare. I may send a copy to AA and UA and ask if they care.

My profile: I spend a lot of time on airplanes for business, flying around 300,000 miles per year, mostly internationally, I can chose which airline I fly but am generally expected by my company to purchase the lowest cost coach fare. So my interest is to get as many business class upgrades as possible and as many miles as possible, which I use for family and friends. I live in Miami, FL, an AA hub.

Obtaining the status:

Reaching 100K is easier for me on United/Star Alliance than on AA, United has more flights to Asia and a couple flights to the Middle East. AA is stronger in LatAm (though UAL also flies to GRU and EZE) but in Asia AA metal only flies to Japan and India.

Flying One World vs Star Alliance

There are some fare restrictions but in general it seems to me Elites get double miles on One World flights but not on on Star Alliance flights, except for some Lufthansa flights. That is a big difference which I have rarely seen highlighted.

CX vs SQ

When I fly Cathay Pacific in any class, the lead flight attendant comes to me, calls me by name, thanks me for my business and for being Emerald and sometimes I even get upgraded without asking.

When I fly Singapore Airlines, which is nonetheless a great airline, I get nothing and sometimes end up in a middle seat.

When I fly Cathay in coach I have access to the fist class lounge in HKG, where I can get a VIP room, take a shower, a bath, relax, then have dinner and be served fine wines in their restaurant.

When I fly SQ in coach I do not even have access to the SilverKris business lounge in Singapore, instead I can go to the Star Alliance Gold lounge and if I am lucky they will have noodles. No comparison.

BA vs LH

Can’t get miles on BA transatlantic flights, London is a difficult airport to connect to for me because of the multiple airports, hand luggage restrictions and the time it takes to go through the lines, I would rather avoid it. But I love the BA lounges.

On the other hand I can get double miles on LH transatlantic and attempt to use a systemwide upgrade (though I have never done it, not sure what the success rate is) and FRA is an easy airport to make connections. But I am not impressed by the Senator lounges I have seen.

UAL business vs AA business

No doubt for me that UAL business is superior, AA’s new biz is cramped, the seat is not completely flat and I have never been able to sleep in it. UA’s new business is a pleasure, especially on the upper deck of a 747, which AA does not fly. Good entertainment in both. I wish either would fly the A380, have not heard of any plans.


Perhaps because they know their business class is superior, UAL has surreptitiously made an enormous change to their policy, which I questioned them about and they say they have not. My experience is, for the last 18 months I have NEVER been able to confirm a confirmed systemwide upgrade. Essentially the upgrade is pending until check in and then you get it or not, recently I have not been able to redeem my SWUs. What is the point of having them then, in the past it had never happened that I had an SWU expire, now it looks like it is going to, in spite of the 165,000 miles I have flown on UAL this year (OK, including DEQMs).

You get six SWUs per year on UAL, whereas you get 8 on AA, which makes it much easier to travel with a companion.

On AA, I make a call and almost always get my SWUs confirmed immediately.

Oh, and UA requires the purchase of higher “upgradable” fares. Paying more and then not get upgraded adds to the frustration.

Domestic upgrades

In most cases I get upgraded on domestic flights on either AA or UA. I do however have a preference for AA because I find their domestic biz better in terms of comfort and food and wine, and I usually get my upgrades confirmed earlier. And generally speaking AA/One World makes me feel more important to them than UA/Star Alliance (where are my 1K luggage tags?).

Of course Star Alliance is much bigger, which means more opportunities to earn EQMs if I didn’t mind flying the partners in coach and not getting double miles. But I do mind…

Premier lounges

A good example of how AA makes me feel more important is access to the Flagship lounges when traveling internationally (though very regretfully all of the Carribean and Canada are not considered international by AA), whereas UA will not allow me into their First class lounge at all, only into the Red Carpet (and the Red Carpet lounges in the US are really not that impressive, can you believe they do not have a single shower at IAD?).


I do most of my reservations on line. But when I speak to an agent I have a better experience with AA, no wait, and one even called me back! Recently UA’s messaging system, SMS or email, has failed to alert me of events I suscribe to (departure gate, upgrades) on most occasions and I have been on hold for a while before someone picked up the phone.

Award availability

From Miami of course almost none on UAL metal, anywhere, anytime, did not use to be that way. Variable availability on partners. Not bad at all on AA, with the possibility to book one-way, which is a plus for me, and reduced off-peak awards.


Generally better experience with AA/One World, especially CX, and I live in an AA hub with a flagship lounge. But UA has a better business class product and flights to South East Asia and the Middle East and a better transatlantic partner (did I mention BA only awards miles based on the fare paid?). So I am stuck, I will have to continue to fly both…. I have been thinking of getting a FF card from CX, SQ or LH, ask them to match my status and use them rather than AA/UA for international flights. But I am thinking this is going to cost me my domestic upgrades, has anyone tried that?
jmurat1041 is offline  
Old Dec 3, 09, 1:04 am
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Originally Posted by jmurat1041 View Post

So I am stuck, I will have to continue to fly both?
That's my answer. Well actually all three as I have top elite with Skyteam too. It's really good to be elite in more than one since your preferred alliance could be affected by a strike or something. Last year Lufthansa had a terrible strike and before that BA had the nightmare of the T5 opening. I was able to avoid both problems. Plus, with multiple options you can price shop which can be very important when you source tickets from places outside the US.

Since you live in the US, it's probably better to stick with US carriers, for the domestic upgrades if nothing else. But also you don't have to pay huge taxes and surcharges on award tickets like we do in Europe. Also, if you are only paying coach, it's best to stay with US carriers. Most international airlines, like BA as you noted, only reward business class fliers.
stimpy is offline  
Old Dec 3, 09, 1:26 am
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Home Airports: CAE/CLT
Programs: Hyatt Globalist, National Executive
Posts: 5,440
An interesting question for me to ponder since I am new to being an elite. (OW Emerald and *A Gold)

I am basing this on my OW expiriences on AA, IB and BA and recent status matching on CO with flights limited to interEuropean LH.

OW Lounges: A+ BA lounges are simply the best at LHR. BA lounges at LHR are far better than the comparable LH lounges at FRA.

Network: B Huge holes in Africa. I also think AA leaves some areas underserved in the US, mostly in the Southeast. When flying from CAE or CLT to Europe why do I have to fly to DFW or ORD when there is a flight from RDU to LHR?

Reciprocal Bennies: A I feel that I am treated very well on other OW carriers, to include occasional Op-Ups.
Gamecock is offline  
Old Dec 3, 09, 5:43 am
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Originally Posted by jmurat1041 View Post
... I can chose which airline I fly but am generally expected by my company to purchase the lowest cost coach fare. So my interest is to get as many business class upgrades as possible and as many miles as possible ...
Very interesting post.

Of course you should consider crediting elsewhere. I was thinking off suggesting crediting a few flights to Qantas Frequent Flyer, 2 return "instant Upgrade" transcontinental flights on AA could easily earn Qantas Gold Stats )= AA Plat) and A/C access whenever you fly AA.
serfty is offline  
Old Dec 12, 09, 11:08 am
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: SCL
Programs: UA 1K, LATAM Comodoro, SPG PLT, WOH Globalist, *G, OW Emerald
Posts: 369
OW vs *A

I will refer to OW and *A only, ST still not same level. Comparing from an Emerald and *G point of view. Based in Asia using RTW product from time to time, transpac, Asia regional and Asia-EU.

1) First class check in and FC lounge access
2) No extra luggage allowance
3) Mileage posting takes extremely long time (using AA and LA accounts), when flying other members it can take up to one month. *A system seems to be better connected.
4) Having 3 tiers and achieving Emerald seems to be more exclusive (than *G)
5) Good coverage in EU/US/Asia-Oceania and South America, low-low Africa
6) Premium classes focus on C. F class seats limited and few members offer an integral F product (maybe because Emerald have access to check in and lounges). In general older F seats than *A
7) Lounge experience nothing special, especially F lounges lower than *A (only Concorde Room up to level)
8) Stronger RTW product with many options and flexibility.
9) Customer service not standardized due to irregular quality among members, IB for instance doesn't fit. If you get stuck in MAD nobody will help, OW means nothing (RTW tkt). LA GAs also don't care about OW elites.
10) No OW upgrades
11) FAs tend to recognize Emeralds and give a better service
12) Too many rules and fine print on mileage accrural, example BA/AA over the pond and many 0% and 25% miles fares (AA and LA are not as bad)

1) Biz class check in and *G only lounge access
2) *G gets extra luggage allowance
3) Fast mileage post in account. Using UA and LH accounts when flying other members average 5 days (or less) to see miles posted.
4) Would like to have a 3rd tier, too many *G members around
5) Excellent coverage in EU/US/Asia, good in Africa, fair in Oceania, low-low in South America
6) Overall F class experience better than OW.
7) Best F lounges, SQ F, LH F/HON, NH F, LX F, among others.
8) Good RTW product, but too basic and restricted.
9) *A system well connected and easy to move from one carrier to other (RTW tkt). Average quality GA higher than OW
10) *A upgrades help burning miles on several carriers
11) *G members are transparent for FAs (again maybe because there are too many)
12) Less fine print on getting miles (I use UA MP which is more transparent)

I general, for me *A offers the best solution as an alliance. Good coverage, strong and consistent FCY products and smooth travel when connecting within its members. Big problem is South America.

OW has interesting tkt products and a couple of very strong members (CX/BA/LA) and Emerald exclusivity.

Conclusion: Since I fly more than 300k (BIS) a year I use both alliances keeping 1K and Emerald (LA) and accessing all benefits. No need to fly ST (in the past enrolled in DL and KE) but honestly difficult to use.

Hope it helps.
atakam is offline  

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