Reader ASAS asked a question on my post about the two upcoming award tickets I booked to the Middle East.
Basically I booked airberlin and Etihad Airways on one award, and then Jet Airways and Qatar Airways on another award. In both cases, one carrier is a member of oneworld, while the other carrier is an AAdvantage partner airline that isn’t part of oneworld.
So ASAS asked if I could write a post about the general rules of mixing carriers on award tickets across the major mileage programs.
Just to clarify, the general premise here is that many airlines belong to one of the three “big” alliances — Star Alliance, oneworld, and SkyTeam — but also have partner airlines on the side which don’t belong to those alliances.
In almost all cases, when an airline belongs to an alliance you can combine multiple of their alliance partners on a single award. However, in many cases you can’t mix them with non-alliance partner carriers on the same award.
So here is a snapshot of the policies of a few of the major programs, and then I’ll go into more detail below:
|Airline||Mix Alliance and Non-Alliance Partners?|
|Alaska Mileage Plan||No - single partner carrier only.|
|ANA Mileage Club||No. Mix within Alliance, or single partner carrier only.|
|British Airways Executive Club||Yes - Distance based.|
|Korean Air SkyPass||No. Mix within Alliance, or single partner carrier only.|
|US Airways Dividend Miles||No. Mix oneworld, or mix Star Alliance.|
Alaska Mileage Plan Partner Airlines
Even though Alaska has partner airlines that belong to multiple alliances, they don’t belong to an alliance themselves. They also won’t let you mix partner airlines on a single award. The one exception is Air France/KLM, as those are considered to be a single carrier for the purposes of Mileage Plan awards.
You can, however, fly Alaska Airlines to the gateway city of a partner carrier on the same award. You just can’t mix multiple partner airlines.
Alaska’s partner airlines include:
|American Airlines||Delta Air Lines||Korean Air|
|Air France||Era Alaska||PenAir|
|British Airways||Fiji Airways||Qantas|
Fortunately Alaska now allows one-way Mileage Plan awards at half the cost of a roundtrip (and even allows a stopover on a one-way) on most of their partners, so you’re at least not committed to a single partner for an entire roundtrip anymore.
American AAdvantage Partner Airlines
American will let you combine their oneworld airline partners with their non-oneworld airline partners on a single award. These non oneworld partner carriers include:
|Air Tahiti Nui||Etihad Airways||Hawaiian Airlines|
|Alaska Airlines||Fiji Airways||Jet Airways|
|El Al||Gulf Air|
ANA Mileage Club Partner Airlines
ANA belongs to the Star Alliance, but also has several airline partners outside of the Star Alliance, including:
|Air Macau||Hawaiian Airlines||TAM|
|Etihad Airways||Jet Airways||Virgin Atlantic|
|Garuda Indonesia||Qatar Airways|
ANA will not let you mix non-Star Alliance partners with Star Alliance partners on an award ticket. Furthermore, if you book an award ticket on one of their non-Star Alliance partner airlines then you have to fly that airline for the whole award.
British Airways Executive Club Partner Airlines
British Airways charges for award tickets on a per segment basis, so you can basically build any itinerary with any number of partner airlines that you’d like. So there’s no problem mixing partners, since you’re paying for the tickets on a per segment basis.
British Airways’ non-oneworld airline partners include:
|Aer Lingus||Alaska Airlines|
Delta SkyMiles Partner Airlines
Delta belongs to SkyTeam, though also partners with a few non-SkyTeam airlines, including:
|Air Tahiti Nui||Virgin Atlantic||Virgin Australia|
In all cases, Delta lets you mix SkyTeam and non-SkyTeam partner airlines on a single award.
Korean Air SkyPass Partner Airlines
Korean belongs to SkyTeam, though also partners with a few non-SkyTeam airlines, including:
|Alaska Airlines||Etihad Airways||Hawaiian Airlines|
Not only does award travel on those airlines come with a separate award chart, but they don’t let you mix carriers when traveling on those partners.
United MileagePlus Partner Airlines
You can mix Star Alliance and non-Star Alliance partner airlines on an award. These partner carriers include:
|Aer Lingus||Hawaiian Airlines (inter-island flights only)||Jet Airways|
The one exception is Hawaiian. While you can add them to an award with other partners, they will charge you an extra 5,000 miles per inter-island flight.
US Airways Dividend Miles Partner Airlines
Since US Airways just transitioned from Star Alliance to oneworld, they’re still temporarily partnering with some Star Alliance airlines.
Their current non-oneworld partnerships include:
|Aegean Airlines||Shenzhen Airlines||TAP Portugal|
|Air China||Singapore Airlines||Turkish Airlines|
|Jet Airways||South African Airways|
(through May 31, 2014)
|* Air New Zealand|
(through June 29, 2014)
|* Hawaiian Airlines|
(inter-island and South Pacific flights only)
Understanding the policies of combining airlines on an award ticket can save you lots of miles, and it helps to know what the restrictions are when deciding which carrier to book through.
For example, if you redeem American miles for travel on Etihad, you can include any of their other partner airlines on the award as well. Meanwhile if you booked Etihad through ANA, you would have to fly Etihad for the entire award.