As Star Alliance shrinks, oneworld grows. Effective today, both US Airways and TAM transition from Star Alliance to oneworld, adding a more robust route network across the U.S., South America, and Europe for oneworld flyers.
How Will This Affect You?
If you are a U.S. based traveler, the oneworld alliance now offers extensive reach out of hubs in:
- Los Angeles – LAX
- Phoenix – PHX
- Dallas – DFW
- Chicago – ORD
- Charlotte- CLT
- Miami – MIA
- Washington – DCA
- Philadelphia – PHL
With US Airways bolstering American Airlines’ route map across the U.S. and to Europe, many Star Alliance flyers must now reexamine their loyalty to an alliance that relies on United and Air Canada for service within North America. The new US/AA has a better onboard product with wifi on nearly all flights–an important point of distinction.
For South American flyers, the combined LATAM (LAN plus TAM) will offer comprehsneive service out of hubs in:
- Brasilia – BSB
- São Paulo – GRU
- Rio De Janeriro – GIG
- Santiago -SCL
- Lima – LIM
- Guayaquil – GYE
As I outlined last week, oneworld has become the alliance leader in the United States and South America – if your travel is focused on these areas, particualry if you are based near one of the hubs, closely examine whether loyalty to a single alliance may work for your travel plans. If you are flying internationally more than 50,000 miles each year, the lounge benefits alone would make it silly not to seek status on a single alliance.
More Redemption Options
With two new alliance members come more redemption options for oneworld mileage holders. British Airways already has TAM and US Airways loaded on its website and I suspect Qantas soon will too.
US Airways codes its domestic business class product as “first class” (so does American), meaning that for most oneworld partners, booking a domestic US Airways flights will be classified as three-cabin first class. US Airways’ intercontinental flights are coded as business class.
US Airways’ transatlantic flights in business class must generally be booked far in advance, but TAM has opened up a lot of avaibility for travel within South American and to its North American gateways in Miami, Orlando and New York and European gateways in London, Madrid, Frankfurt, Paris, and Milan. Take advantage of that now while it lasts, because I do not expect to it.
Next month, Sri Lankan Airlines joins oneworld. More on that in a future post.