Mostly when collecting miles with legacy carriers in one of the big three alliances, things are very clear: if the operating carrier is in the alliance, the marketing carrier and ticketing carrier will be too, and you can collect miles with the programme of your choice within that alliance. So if I use Finnair to book a journey with BA flight numbers on JAL and BA aircraft, I can collect BA miles with that flight.

Now, I ran across an interesting problem that I was not able to solve reading the guidance of British Airways Executive Club (my loyalty programme):

When flying from East Asia to Germany using OneWorld, I generally have the choice between Finnair, British Airways, JAL and sometimes Cathay Pacific or Qatar. This time, the CX flights seemed appealing price-wise. On the intercontinental leg HKG–FRA, Cathay Pacific offers two flights: one operated by themselves and the other operated by Lufthansa. Obviously, if I take the CX flight, it’s all fine and I accrue miles. But what is the case if I take the Lufthansa flight, where there is a clash of alliances?

In short, can I accrue BA miles if Cathay Pacific is my ticketing and marketing carrier but Lufthansa is the operating carrier?

2 Answers 2


Within OneWorld, it is normally the marketing carrier that is relevant when it comes to mileage earning - but that only applies if the flight is actually operated by a OneWorld carrier - which in this case it is not (Lufthansa is Star Alliance).

Within Star Alliance, it is the operating carrier that is relevant.

For a Cathay Pacific flight operated by Lufthansa, you will not be able to credit the flights to a OneWorld airline, with 1 (or maybe 2) exceptions. Cathay Pacific DOES specifically allow these flights to be credited to their programs - which is expected given that Lufthansa is a partner on these routes. Other OneWorld airlines would only allow these flights to be credited to their programs if they also had a partnership with Lufthansa that specifically allowed crediting of miles in a case like this - and as far as I'm aware there are no such airlines.

You will most likely be able to credit this flight to Lufthansa, or even another Star Alliance airline. For Star Alliance airlines, everything is based on the operating carrier - so fundamentally this is just a standard Lufthansa flight. The only complicating factor here would be the fare class - it's possible that the codeshare agreement would be based around a fare class that specifically disallows miles, but that would seem unlikely for anything other than (possibly) the cheapest fare classes.


I managed to get a helpful answer from British Airways’ Twitter after a little bit of back and forth:

[J]ust found something which confirms what I suspected! There are no circumstances in which you can earn Avios or tier points on a codeshare flight not operated by a oneworld airline. For example, a Cathay Pacific coded flight operated by Air New Zealand.

So indeed in that scenario it would not be possible to collect BA miles on a LH-operated flight even if said flight has a CX (OneWorld) flight number.

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