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Is the OneWorld Alliance a sham?

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
11 posts
11 reviews
Is the OneWorld Alliance a sham?

Does anyone else have problems trying to benefit from their One World Status on other carriers besides their main airline? I'm AA-Platinum and have been for ~10 years. I mainly fly to LatAm/Europe (almost never Asia). While everything through AA goes relatively smoothly, I find it to be incredibly to difficult to benefit from OneWorld advantages on other airlines (particularly Iberia).

- I'm unable to reserve seats when I book tickets (usually cannot reserve until the airport) and I can't tell you how long I've spent on the phone with Iberia just trying to pre-reserve my seats.

- I don't think I get access to preferential seats (although maybe this is only a benefit on AA for me since it's my "home" airline)

- I'm lucky if my OW/Sapphire status appears on my boarding pass, so there go the early boarding privileges.

- I would say that half the time, my miles are not credited to my AA account. I then need to follow-up a few times just to get miles credited.

This is all a massive waste of time and I have yet to find any type of OneWorld customer service contact to complain to (or maybe fix this). Maybe I'm doing something wrong. I typically book through a work travel agency and I use my AA number on all of the reservations.

- Maybe I need to dig up my Iberia or BA numbers and use those, but I'm afraid they will almost certainly not link to Sapphire status.

- Maybe I need to somehow log on to other airlines and link my AA number?

I understand the benefit of OW and conceptually it's great. They have one sucker as I certainly book OW flights even when Star's are cheaper. If anyone has any suggestions as to how to make OW actually work or if you have similar experience, I would really appreciate it if you could share...thanks!

15 replies to this topic
Salisbury, United...
Level Contributor
10,399 posts
149 reviews
1. Re: Is the OneWorld Alliance a sham?

I’ve never had a problem when flying on Partner one world airlines, my home airline is BA. I always make sure that my FF no is logged with all airlines. I’ve recently flown AA and Finnair and points and TPS were credited. Booking seats can be problematic and sometimes needs a phone call but it gets sorted.

Sorry I can’t help.

Edinburgh, United...
Level Contributor
16,185 posts
16 reviews
2. Re: Is the OneWorld Alliance a sham?

I would recommend you (also) ask this on the Flyertalk AA forum. There's probably someone there who has an idea what the issue is (or could be).

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
11 posts
11 reviews
3. Re: Is the OneWorld Alliance a sham?

Thanks Smudge and Lex. I will ask it on that forum, good idea! Assume I just re-ask the question or might there be a way to transfer it over? If you don't respond, I'll assume the former :)


Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
17,855 posts
118 reviews
4. Re: Is the OneWorld Alliance a sham?

Never had any issues except crediting the miles. Many flights on a partner airline, even one world, don’t qualify for AA miles. It depends on the fare class.

San Miguel de...
Destination Expert
for San Miguel de Allende, Central Mexico and Gulf Coast
Level Contributor
8,325 posts
129 reviews
5. Re: Is the OneWorld Alliance a sham?

I too am with BA and don't recall any major issues in the decade or so I have been a member, although I only do about 4 or 5 r/t flights with OW a year. I have even redeemed on LATAM and been credited with Avios (don't tell anyone!). Perhaps your issues are more to do with the way AA operates. I suggest you post your queries on the very active Flyertalk forums for OW and/or AA. Good luck.

London, United...
Level Contributor
112 posts
456 reviews
6. Re: Is the OneWorld Alliance a sham?

In my opinion, OneWorld is not the best one. I like Star Alliance better. They have more integrated system. I'm Lufthansa M&M member and I can book award flight from M&M site with choices of airlines which are member of Star Alliance. However, since I live in London and most of the time using BA, I'm a bit biased in choosing the program. I'm now BA Executive Club member.

Most of my flights are to Asia or South America. When I flew economy with partner airlines, usually my status didn't matter during seat selection. The benefit I got are lounge access and priority boarding. I always got my boarding pass printed with my status. I never had problem accruing mileage from partner airlines. Even when I didn't get it right away, I can claim that online. So, your situation is quite 'extreme' and probably annoying as you said if you almost always had to call to get the millage. I have never had experience with AA but I just wanted to share my experience with BA.

I would suggest stick with AA numbers instead of using BA/IB as your milleage will be on separate program.

Level Contributor
2,888 posts
15 reviews
7. Re: Is the OneWorld Alliance a sham?

"Maybe I need to dig up my Iberia or BA numbers and use those, but I'm afraid they will almost certainly not link to Sapphire status. "

Definitely don't do this. You need to have your AA number in all bookings if you want to attempt to use your status benefits.

"Maybe I need to somehow log on to other airlines and link my AA number?"

There is no need to do this, just make sure your AA membership number is correctly displayed on your PNR. If it isn't or if you cannot reserve seats then sometimes removing and re-adding it might work.

Yes there are sometimes problems with bookings on other alliance partners but getting someone from the operating carrier on the phone or via twitter has always worked for me. If you cannot resolve your issue on the phone ask if they can escalate it to their Oneworld liaison, might not work for every airline but certainly BA could do this.

Flyertalk is a separate site so you would need to post there, I would start with the AA forum where you should find someone with similar experiences.

Byron Shire...
Level Contributor
1,325 posts
63 reviews
8. Re: Is the OneWorld Alliance a sham?

I've never had any issues with my Qantas status benefits flowing through to bookings on other Oneworld carriers. Worst case scenario you should just flash your AA platinum (OW sapphire?) card at check in and ask them to reprint your boarding pass if need be.

Sounds like the fact you are booking through a travel agent might be causing problems with your AAdavantage number not making it on to your partner airline reservations for some reason.

You certainly should be able to log in to manage your booking on partner airline websites and add your AA number if it's missing. There's also used to be a hack where logging in to any OW booking via Finnair allowed updating ff numbers and so on. Flyertalk will have more recent advice.

London, United...
Level Contributor
898 posts
28 reviews
9. Re: Is the OneWorld Alliance a sham?

The issues the OP faces with Iberia in particular are more likely to be related to technology than deficiencies in the oneworld alliance.

There are long-known issues with the technical link between AA and IB. This is why it’s usually not possible to select seats in advance on IB-operated flights sold as AA codeshares.

I’m with BA and don’t generally have any issues receiving status benefits on other OW carriers, though sometimes there are issues with seat selection and miles/points crediting, especially with codeshares. Usually tech-related, airline core systems often have problems “talking” to each other, even when they are the same company like BA and IB.

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
Level Contributor
34,152 posts
6 reviews
10. Re: Is the OneWorld Alliance a sham?

“In my opinion, OneWorld is not the best one. I like Star Alliance better. They have more integrated system.”


LOL!! They (Star) most definitely do not have a more “integrated system”. I’m United (1K) and frequently have problems flying Lufthansa, including losing my seat assignments - made weeks earlier - on connecting UA flights when checking in with LH. Then there’s the issue that you can’t do any advance seat selection in economy on Lufthansa if you have a code share, even if you’re willing to pay.

All these issues - whatever alliance - are due to compatibility issues across all airlines’ reservation systems. They will never be 100% solved because porting to a new system is a recipe for disaster when the switch is flipped, so airlines avoid major changes.

And though I’m a Star Alliance flier overall I think Oneworld is a much better alliance. They have key initiatives that help all their passengers (not just FFs) such as their Oneworld support centers at major airports where they monitor tight connections, pro-actively rebook, and with tight but doable connections deploy chaperones to walk/guide pax to the connecting flight.


This one is BA to BA but it’s still how the Oneworld support center works at LHR - https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g1-i10…

Edited: 21 February 2018, 06:12
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