One of the aspects of the Alaska Airlines mileage plan is its “no-alliance” alliance. This has produced an amazing group of 18 partner airlines. Now that Alaska will join the Oneworld alliance next year, it will no longer be the “no-alliance” alliance airline. Alaska miles are typically worth more than other airlines’ miles which has allowed great redemption opportunities.
When Alaska Airlines officially joins the Oneworld alliance, there will likely be some shakeup in the existing partner relationships. One of those partners that made be in question is Emirates.
American And Qatar Bury The Hatchet
Over the past several years, there has been an ongoing feud between U. S. carriers like American and Delta and the Middle East 3 – Emirates, Qatar and Etihad. The U. S. carriers have accused the Middle East countries of unfairly subsidizing their “flag carriers”.
Yesterday there was a joint announcement that reestablished the relationship between the two Oneworld carriers that American ended two years ago. The situation was bad that Qatar CEO, Akbar Al Baker was threatening to pull out of Oneworld. Like the alliance enhancement between American and Alaska, this could be another effort for American to better compete with other airlines. Although details haven’t come forward, a Qatar source told Aviation Daily “the language is significant. We call it a strategic partnership. We didn’t just call it a partnership. It’s much more than a codeshare”.
Here are two statements from the airlines regarding the announcement from yesterday:
Qatar – “This is the first step in building a strategic partnership between the airlines that will increase commercial cooperation, bolster connectivity and create new travel options for customers”.
American – “Following restoration of the codeshare, American will begin exploring the addition of service from the U. S. to Doha”.
Reading The Tea Leaves
When Alaska Airlines officially joins the Oneworld alliance next year, I expect to see some changes in their current partner agreements. Qatar is a Oneworld alliance member and Emirates isn’t. American has had an epiphany, it is better to work with your friends than go it alone. The alliance between Alaska and American was set to end on March 1, 2020. Now American has enhanced the relationship instead of ending it. American is now making nice with fellow Oneworld member, Qatar. My feeling is that ultimately, Emirates will be replaced with Qatar for Alaska Airlines mileage plan members.
The ongoing feud between Alaska and Delta has changed partner agreements with Alaska. It seems like every time that Delta buys into an airline (joint venture), it ends Alaska’s agreement with that partner airline. I have watched KLM and Air France and AeroMexico partnerships end after Delta bought ownership stakes in these carriers. Could LATAM and Korean be the next partnerships that end from the Delta partnerships?
When I first heard about Alaska Airlines joining Oneworld, I was jumping up and down for joy. Then reality set it. I started thinking about partnerships changes and any possible negative changes to the Alaska Airlines mileage plan. It will be interesting to see how this shakes up especially with Singapore, Korean and LATAM. I think that the partnership with Emirates will be gone next year.