Last year, I speculated that the oneworld alliance was considering alliance wide upgrades. This was based on a survey question asking frequent flyers about exactly that.
It is being reported today that Rob Gurney, the oneworld CEO mentioned that it is happening. When? Later this year, it seems.
Oneworld Alliance Upgrades
The prospect of oneworld alliance upgrades has to be attractive. At the moment, the closest example is where you can upgrade American Airlines flights with British Airways points and vice versa.
While that sounds good, you need to be on a fully flexible ticket. These are usually the high priced economy class tickets in Y or B class that are available very close to flying. It’s the same with business class, discounted sale fares in I class don’t apply. This severely restricts the possibility of upgrading.
To make the value proposition attractive, more fare classes need to be included as eligible. Ramp up the amount of points required for the lower fare classes, but let everyone have a chance at it. Some people will save up for years to use their points and won’t be happy having to also pay a lot more for the privilege of flying at the pointy end.
It’s 2020 so it goes without saying the upgrades should be able to be processed online. When it comes to availability, well that is up to the airline. However, you should be able to instantly book and have your upgrade confirmed. No waiting list, no “upgrade will clear before you travel” – instant. I feel it’s a real pain point when airlines make people wait and have them keep checking repeatedly to see if an upgrade has been approved.
Let’s hope oneworld alliance upgrades are better than Star Alliance upgrades. They also require you to pay full fare economy and business class fares. A great many people book the cheaper fares, so it would be sad to see those people essentially locked out of the game.
Having more fare eligible fare classes will be a nice point of differentiation for oneworld. I like things to be democratic where everyone can have a go, clearly, so I’m excited to see what will happen.
What do you think the oneworld alliance upgrades will be like? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.