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I took an RTW trip earlier this year with several long flights that were all/mostly Oneworld companies:

  • 1 x British Airways
  • 1 x American Airlines
  • 3 x Qantas
  • (Also 2 medium-haul flights with TACA/Lacsa which apparently is not part of Oneworld...)

Is there a way to collectively get frequent flyer benefits via Oneworld? Or would I need register separately to programs of the different carriers? (Currently I belong to none.) Also, is it a problem that the trip took place some months ago (March - May)? I do have at least the boarding passes of all the flights saved up.

From reading Chris Guillebeau's stuff I've come to understand there should be significant benefits to unlock. (He wrote somewhere that by paying for one RTW trip you can basically get another one almost for free – he calls this "travel hacking"). If this is true, what are the easiest concrete steps?

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2 Answers 2

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One thing to be aware of is that there isn't a OneWorld frequent traveller program, instead each airline in the alliance runs their own one. There are equivalences between the levels of the programs, see this for details.

When flying on any OneWorld carrier, you can earn miles on the frequent traveller program of any others. (However, if flying on a very cheap ticket with a different airline, you may not get full credit. See this BA page for details for them for example)

What you should do is review the benefits and rules of the different frequent traveller programs of the OneWorld carriers, and decide which one will be best for you. Which one will be best for redeeming flights for the kinds you'll want? Which will earn you the most points on the kinds of flights you'll take? Will one make it easier for you to get status?

Then, sign up before you fly, and give your frequent traveller details to the other OneWorld airlines when you fly. Your home program will get the credit for the flight.

If you've already flown, then the clock is ticking. Often you need to claim missing miles within 3 months, sometimes 6, and very rarely longer. You should read up on the different programs and find which has the longest claim time, then use that one and hope at least some of your flights are recent enough! Then next time remember to sign up to a program in the alliance before you fly...

In terms of likely mileage earnt on a RTW flight, it will vary slightly based on program you enrol in. For a rough guide though, a London to Sydney one-way on BA will earn you about 10k miles. A full RTW is likely to earn you around 30k-40k miles, depending on route. That's enough for a return flight within Europe, certainly not enough for another RTW ticket...

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Often, the airline you are likely to travel on the most in the future is the best one to pick, even if the benefits are mostly reciprocal across the alliance. For example, I have elite status on American AAdvantage, but I cannot use their upgrade methods easily to upgrade myself on other Oneworld members. Also, I have to fly at least 4 American segments each year as a prerequisite for keeping the status (in addition to other requirements). So bear that in mind when selecting which member airline to go with. –  Andrew Ferrier Jun 15 '12 at 16:21

There are benefits that you can get accross the OneWorld network. Things like early boarding, things like free checked luggage, etc...

The only way to get those benefits would be to accumulate at least 25,000 (more likely - for more benefits - would be 50,000+) miles in a single calendar year. So, to do that you would have to get all of those boarding passes and mail them into a single frequent flier program. Let's say you want status on American Airlines... You can mail all of those boarding passes to AA's AAdvantage program, and they will credit you for all of those (or most of those) miles.

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Not all carriers use mile-base status levels. It's possible to get status for flying a lot less than 25,000 with some Oneworld airlines depending on a number of factors. –  Doc Apr 28 at 16:31

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