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OneWorld: Alliance wide upgrades?

OneWorld: Alliance wide upgrades?

During November Qantas has been quietly surveying some of its frequent flyers to see if they would like to be able to use their Qantas Frequent Flyer points to upgrade on any OneWorld airline.

That would mean you could use your Qantas points to upgrade on the likes of American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, Qatar and even Royal Jordanian.

Sounds like a good plan to me.

Upside and Downside

The upside is that you use your Qantas points to upgrade seats on around 12 airlines, besides Qantas. The downside is that the members of 12 other airline frequent flyer schemes could use their points to upgrade on Qantas. That would increase the competition for Qantas upgrades by Qantas Frequent Flyer members.

“Oneworld is developing a new upgrade proposition that will allow the frequent flyer members across all oneworld member airlines to use their miles/points for upgrades to the next available cabin e.g. from Economy to Premium Economy, Economy to Business (for flights without Premium Economy), Premium Economy to Business & Business to First class.”

Text from Qantas survey as reported by Australian Frequent Flyer

We don’t know exactly how this would operate, and whether there would be restrictions, like the exclusion of sale fares, or certain classes of Economy, and whether this would be restricted to 24 hours before, or, you could request further ahead.

AA, Iberia and British Airways, and Star Alliance airlines already do it

These three airlines allow upgrades using each other’s points – so it some ways it could be seen as an extension of their existing scheme.

This is a bit of a catch-up move, as Star Alliance already allows the mutual use of member points for upgrades across their member airlines, however, it can only be used on flexible fare classes, which happen to also be the most expensive. Obviously, upgrades are subject to availability, but if available, can be confirmed instantly.

The downside of this Star Alliance scheme is that flexible economy or premium economy tickets are pretty close to the cost of discount Business seats anyway, so you tend not to get great value for money using your points in this way. Mind you if you are on employer-funded travel where flexible fares are mandatory, but your company travel policy requires you to apply points to business flights and prohibits the purchase of Business and/or First Class flights, then this is a pretty cool workaround to get you into a premium cabin.

2PAXfly Takeout

Although I think this idea is generally a good one, especially if it is applied to most fare classes, say, just excluding discount economy.

I think what will be more telling is what upgrade priority the go for. Given that this will potentially disadvantage Qantas Frequent Flyers getting upgrades on Qantas – it the upgrade priority list gave an advantage to QFFs, over other OneWorld members, then I think this is a good thing

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