The Ultimate Guide to Oneworld for Canadian Travellers

By Otis De Marie | Published on 18 Aug 2023

oneworld airline alliance

If you find yourself trying to understand the concept of airline alliances, one name that should definitely be on your radar is Oneworld. After our discussions about both Star Alliance and SkyTeam, it’s now time to take a deep dive into the intricate details that define Oneworld. In this article, we’ll not only uncover the fascinating historical background of Oneworld but also delve into the list of member airlines that constitute this alliance. Furthermore, we’ll discover how Canadians can reap the plentiful benefits that come with a Oneworld membership. So, buckle up and get ready for take-off!

An Overview of Oneworld

Oneworld is a prominent airline alliance, connecting over a dozen of the world’s leading carriers to provide a seamless global travel network. Established in 1999, it offers passengers extensive route options, shared loyalty programs, and coordinated services across member airlines. With key members like American Airlines, British Airways, and Qantas, Oneworld covers over 1,000 destinations in around 170 countries.

This alliance prioritises customer convenience, enabling travellers to enjoy smoother connections, shared benefits, and consistent quality standards while exploring a diverse array of international destinations. Oneworld remains a cornerstone of modern air travel, enhancing connectivity and convenience for its global membership base. With that being said, let’s take a look at Oneworld’s rich history.

The History of Oneworld

The history of the Oneworld alliance dates back to 1999 when it was founded as a collaboration between five major international airlines: American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Canadian Airlines (later acquired by Air Canada who is now a member of Star Alliance), and Qantas. This innovative partnership aimed to provide seamless connectivity and enhanced services to passengers across the globe.

Oneworld’s formation was a response to the increasing trend of globalisation in the airline industry, which demanded more extensive networks and streamlined travel experiences. The alliance grew steadily over the years, welcoming new members and expanding its reach to different corners of the world. Some notable additions included Finnair, Iberia, and Japan Airlines, among others.

Which Airlines Are Oneworld Members?

Having familiarized yourself with the background of Oneworld, it’s time to talk about the airlines who make up this wonderful alliance. Let’s take a look at an overview of its member airlines, their country of origin, their individual rewards programs, and the availability of popular flying routes to Canada.

Oneworld AirlineCountry of OriginRewards ProgramCanadian Route
Alaska AirlinesUnited StatesMileage PlanSeattle – Edmonton
American AirlinesUnited StatesAAdvantageNew York – Toronto
British AirwaysUnited KingdomExecutive ClubLondon – Montreal
Cathay PacificHong KongCathayHong Kong – Vancouver
FinnairFinlandFinnair PlusNone
IberiaSpainIberia PlusNone
Japan AirlinesJapanJGC/JMBTokyo – Vancouver
Malaysia AirlinesMalaysiaEnrichNone
QantasAustraliaQantas Frequent FlyerSydney – Vancouver
Qatar AirwaysQatarPrivilege ClubDoha – Montreal
Royal Air MarocMoroccoSafar FlyerCasablanca – Montreal
Royal JordanianJordanRoyal ClubAmman – Montreal
Sri Lankan AirlinesSri LankaFlySmiLesNone
Fiji AirwaysFijiTabua Club PlusNadi – Vancouver
Oman AirOmanSindbadNone

Unfortunately, no Canadian airline is part of Oneworld, which can make it more challenging for Canadians to participate in Oneworld if they only fly with domestic airlines. So the best way for Canadians to enjoy the benefits of a potential Oneworld membership is to select one of the member airlines in the table above when flying abroad.

Oneworld Membership in Canada: All You Need to Know

Oneworld, like other major airline alliances, does not have its own individual frequent flyer program. Instead, Canadians seeking Oneworld membership status must first earn a status or tier within the frequent flyer program of a specific partner airline within the alliance. This typically involves accumulating a certain number of qualifying miles and meeting other criteria specified by the chosen partner airline.

Once a passenger achieves a high enough status with their chosen partner airline, they are granted an equivalent Oneworld membership status. This means that the status earned with the partner airline is recognized and matched with a corresponding Oneworld Alliance tier, such as Oneworld Ruby, Sapphire, or Emerald.

The achieved Oneworld membership status provides passengers with consistent benefits across all member airlines. These benefits might include priority services, lounge access, priority boarding, and extra baggage allowance (more on that later).

It’s important to note that the miles earned through different partner airline programs cannot be combined to achieve a larger Oneworld membership status. Instead, the passenger must earn the required status through a single partner airline to receive the corresponding Oneworld membership benefits.

However, passengers who hold Oneworld membership status can earn and redeem miles or points across the entire network of Oneworld member airlines. This allows for greater flexibility in using accrued rewards for flights and other services offered by any participating airline within the alliance.

Oneworld Membership Benefits for Canadians

Oneworld membership presents a valuable opportunity for Canadian travellers to unlock a plethora of benefits and enhance their global journeys. As one of the world’s leading airline alliances, Oneworld brings together a network of distinguished airlines, including major carriers like American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, and more.

For Canadian travellers, the advantages are substantial. Firstly, Oneworld offers an extensive range of destinations, ensuring seamless connectivity across continents. This is particularly advantageous for those seeking to explore diverse cultures and business opportunities around the world. Oneworld’s comprehensive route network enhances flexibility and convenience, allowing travellers to tailor their itineraries to their preferences.

Furthermore, Oneworld members can earn and redeem miles across member airlines. This means that miles accrued on one Oneworld carrier can be used for flights on another, granting greater flexibility and value to their loyalty rewards.

Oneworld’s membership comes with numerous perks, including priority check-in, boarding, and access to exclusive lounges at airports worldwide. These privileges streamline the travel experience, making each journey more comfortable and stress-free. But what about the different tiers offered by Oneworld?

As mentioned before, Oneworld has three different membership tiers starting with Ruby as the entry-level tier, Sapphire as the mid-level tier, and Emerald as the top-level tier. Unlocking each tier offers travellers different benefits when flying with Oneworld member airlines. Let’s explore these benefits in the table below.

Oneworld StatusRubySapphireEmerald
Earn/Redeem Miles on All Oneworld Member AirlinesYesYesYes
Earn Tier Points on All Oneworld AirlinesYesYesYes
Access to Business Class Priority Check-InYesYesYes
Access to Preferred/Pre-Reserved SeatingYesYesYes
Priority Reservation Waitlist/StandbyYesYesYes
Access to Business Class LoungesNoYesYes
Priority BoardingNoYesYes
Extra Baggage AllowanceNoYesYes
Priority Baggage HandlingNoYesYes
Access to First Class Priority Check-InNoNoYes
Access to First Class LoungesNoNoYes
Access to Fast Track at Security CheckpointsNoNoYes

How to Become a Oneworld Member as a Canadian

Now that you know about the great benefits of being a Oneworld member, you may wonder how to become one. Simple! All you need is to choose a Oneworld alliance airline, sign up for their frequent flyer program, and start accumulating qualifying flights or miles on the airline you chose.

Once you reach the required tier status of your chosen airline, you can enjoy Oneworld benefits like lounge access and priority services across the alliance. In the table below, we detail which partner airline status leads to which Oneworld membership status.

Oneworld AirlineRubySapphireEmerald
Alaska AirlinesMVPMVP GoldMVP Gold 75
American AirlinesGoldPlatinumExecutive Platinum
British AirwaysBronzeSilverGold
Cathay PacificSilverGoldDiamond
IberiaSilverGoldInfinita Prime
Japan AirlinesCrystalSapphireDiamond
Malaysia AirlinesSilverGoldPlatinum
Qatar AirwaysSilverGoldPlatinum
Royal Air MarocSilverGoldPlatinum
Royal JordanianSilver JAYGold SPARROWPlatinum HAWK
Sri Lankan AirlinesClassicGoldPlatinum
Fiji AirwaysN/AN/AN/A
Oman AirN/AN/AN/A

How Canadians Can Participate with Oneworld

As previously mentioned, there are no Canadian airlines within the Oneworld alliance. However, this doesn’t imply that Canadians cannot access the considerable advantages associated with Oneworld membership. Let’s explore two approaches through which Canadians can reap the benefits of Oneworld, including the accumulation of redeemable points with Oneworld-affiliated airlines.

Collecting Points With OneWorld Member Airlines

In Canada, the RBC British Airways Visa Infinite Card is the only credit card that lets you earn the points of a Oneworld member airline directly. This card currently has a welcome offer that gives you a total of 60,000 Avios points if you spend $6,000 CAD in the first 3 months and keep the card for one year. In addition to that, you can earn 1 Avios point for every $1 spent on qualifying purchases, meaning that you can collect points for a Oneworld airline through all of your daily expenses.

However, through conversion programs, you can also accumulate points for a Oneworld member airline by using credit cards that are affiliated with other loyalty programs. For example, when using one of the best American Express cards, you can choose to convert your Amex Membership Rewards points to British Airways’ Avios points or Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles. Similarly, you can also go for one of the best RBC credit cards. RBC enables you to convert the Avion points you accumulate into not only Avios points and Asia Miles, but also into AAdvantage miles, which are affiliated with American Airlines.

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Booking Trips With OneWorld Member Airlines

When travelling within Canada, you likely won’t have the opportunity to choose between different Oneworld airlines. However, when flying internationally, a wide array of options becomes available to you. For instance, instead of selecting Air Canada for a flight from Vancouver to Tokyo, you might want to consider Japan Airlines as an alternative option with which you can have the Oneworld experience.

By being a member of Oneworld and choosing to fly with Japan Airlines, you not only earn points and enhance your Oneworld status, but you also gain access to all the perks and privileges associated with a Oneworld membership. Oneworld’s extensive network spans over 1,000 destinations across 170 countries, and includes many direct routes to and from Canadian airports.

And while you’re planning your trip to Tokyo, why not also make a hotel reservation through Japan Airlines? By combining your flight with a hotel booking, you can not only collect more points, but also have more opportunities to spend the points you’ve accumulated when flying with a Oneworld member airline or spending with your credit card. With Oneworld, your options for international travel are limitless.

Otis De Marie is a journalist with a diverse portfolio covering business, technology, artificial intelligence, and personal finance. After studying creative literature at the Amsterdam International Community School, Otis has contributed to several notable publications including Brussels Morning, The Brussels Times, Hardbacon, and WallStreetWindow.