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Srilankan Airlines will become Oneworld Alliance member on May 1, 2014, and you can start earning and redeeming miles on their metal flights from that date.

Japan Airlines Mileage Bank SriLankan Airlines Earnings Chart

Japan Airlines has now published on its website the earning chart for Mileage Bank members when flying on SriLankan Airlines flights and you can expect other Oneworld Alliance airlines follow shortly. [click to continue...]

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SriLankan Airlines spokesperson confirmed to Australian Business Traveller (access here) that the airline is joining the Oneworld alliance on March 1, 2014.

Edit: Seems that this is further delayed and new information should be coming out in the next month or so.

srilankan-oneworld-march-1-2014

The airline has been sponsored by Cathay Pacific and was originally set to join the alliance by the end of 2013, but this was postponed. [click to continue...]

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Hilton HHonors has number of promotions for triple miles for stays between July 1 and September 30, 2013, with number of Asian airlines that I have listed on the title. If you have come across any other offers for double/triple miles besides the airlines listed here and Air China, do send me an email.

hilton-hhonors-3rd-quarter-airline-promotions

You can read more about Hilton’s Double Dip airline options on an article that I wrote last year that is still valid. You can access it here. [click to continue...]

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Both Qatar Airways and SriLankan Airlines are expected to join the Oneworld alliance sometime in the late 2013/early 2014. The joining dates for both of the airlines have not been confirmed yet.

oneworld-qatar-srilankan

Now, you can, however, start using these two airlines on Oneworld alliance’s Global Explorer fares. At the same time, the gulf carrier, Gulf Air has withdrawn its participation on these fares. Gulf Air has never been member elect or future member of the alliance. You can read the press release about this announcement here. [click to continue...]

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There has been lot of noise in the past two weeks about the press conference that was going to take place in New York today. The CEO of Qatar Airways denied that the airline would have been joining the alliance last week contradictory what was published on Financial Times.

oneworld invites Qatar Airways on board

The airline is indeed joining the Oneworld alliance and completion of becoming a member is expected to take from 12 to 18 months. So, we are looking late 2013 or early 2014 as likely official joining date for Qatar. You can access the official Oneworld press release here.

qatar-oneworld-official

Currently the oneworld alliance consists of eleven member airlines; airberlin, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN, Qantas, Royal Jordanian and S7 Airlines.

oneworld-wings

Malaysian Airlines and SriLankan Airlines are currently in the process of joining the alliance. Oneworld alliance member Malev went bankrupt earlier this year and the joining of Kingfisher Airlines was cancelled due to its financial difficulties.

Qatar is the first of the big three of the Middle Eastern carriers to join an alliance. Emirates has always said that they are not interested in joining and they just formed a partnership with oneworld member airline Qantas. Etihad announced earlier today the deep codesharing agreement that they are going forward with Air France-KLM.

It is interesting that Qatar chose Oneworld. It has had more frequent flier ties with Star Alliance carriers like United, US Airways, and BMI than with oneworld ones (none).

Qatar Airways route network

qatar-airways-worldwide-map

The airline already serves 120 destinations worldwide. The latest one was reintroduction of flights to Yangon, the capitol of Myanmar, last week.

Americas

qatar-airways-americas

The airline flies to New York, Washington DC, Chicago (in 2013), Houston, Montreal and to Sao Paulo with a continuing service to Buenos Aires.

Europe, North Africa & Middle East

qatar-airways-route-map-middle-east-europe-north-africa

The airline serves more than 30 destinations on continental Europe. The airline has an extensive network in Northern Africa and in the Middle East.

Africa

qatar-airways-africa

The airline serves nine destinations in Central and Southern Africa + Seychelles.

Indian Subcontinent & Asia

qatar-airways-route-map-asia

The airline servers number of destinations in India and Asia.

Australia

qatar-airways-australia-indonesia

The airline currently serves both Perth and Melbourne

Conclusion

This is interesting movie from Qatar’s part. We’ll see if Star Alliance is able to lure either Emirates or Etihad. For the most part, I have liked the service that I have received on Qatar flights. I am not huge fan of the transfer experience in Doha, but it should get better in 2013 when the new airport is ready.

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It was announced today in Beijing that the Sri Lankan flag carrier, SriLankan Airlines, is set to join Oneworld in late 2013 and that the sponsoring airline is Cathay Pacific.

sri-lankan-announcement

This is good news for Oneworld and especially American Airlines AAdvantage members. Due to American’s very restrictive routing rules on awards, it has been sometimes very difficult to find award availability on certain routes. Sri Lanka is on Asia 2 on AA’s award chart (Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Guam, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Saipan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam). This helps especially if you are trying to find your way from Europe to Asia 2 using American miles.

Last year, I had six segments on SriLankan’s business class and wrote a piece about the experience on Beijing to Bangkok segment. SriLankan also provided me with STPC (Stopover Paid by Carrier) when I had a long transfer in Colombo.

SriLankan serves number of destinations in Europe and also offers non-stop service from Moscow to Dubai.

sri-lankan-europe

The airline also serves number of destinations in the Middle East.

sri-lankan-middle-east

Airline’s Asian network is very interesting. There are number of routes that are served via Bangkok, where SriLankan has local traffic rights as well.

sri-lankan-asia

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Sri Lanka started to require an Electronic Travel Authorization for quite a few countries that previously were exempt of visa to enter Sri Lanka. I belong to this group. Personally, I don’t think that this “Electronic Travel Authorization” is nothing else than a sort of tourism tax that the government now wants to collect.

sri-lankan-website

Yesterday, I arrived for the very first time since this new system took place. I was flying in on Thai Airway and was going to fly out on Emirates about 36 hours later on a separate ticket. I just proceeded to the regular immigration counter that first tried to suggest that I would need a visa and would have to pay for that. After I explained that I was flying out the following day on Emirates and showed my itinerary from my cell phone, she just stamped the passport with a two day transit visa.

sri-lankan-transfer-stamp

On my previous transit the transit visa was for three days when my transfer was only 12 hours.

timatic-sri-lanka

I normally rely on Timatic for all kind of visa and transit issues. This time, however, the information on Timatic is somewhat vague. The information on the Sri Lankan Electronic Travel Authorization website is correct.

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This past fall I had quite a few flights on SriLankan and Qatar, but wasn’t quite sure where I would credit them. For me it just didn’t make sense to credit SriLankan flights to their own frequent flyer program, but I wasn’t as sure what I would do with the Qatar flights. I would have come to very close qualifying to a Gold status with Qatar’s Privilege Club due to double elite qualifying miles offer they had during some of my flights.

etihad-retroclaims

At the end I decided to credit the Qatar flights to US Airways’ Dividend Miles, and the SriLankan flights to Etihad’s Guest frequent flyer program. US Airways required the boarding passes and the receipt to be mailed to their address in Arizona. Etihad was happy enough to credit the miles if I would just email the copy of the receipt and all the boarding passes I had. I thought that this process would take weeks and several phone calls before getting these retro credits processed.

To my surprise the miles from SriLankan flights were on my Etihad account in less than a week. Unfortunately I don’t know exactly how long it took for them to credit as I never received any email communication from them.

us-airways-retrocredit

US Airways and the postal system worked very well as well. I mailed the boarding passes and the accompanied letter by register mail from Finland on Friday. The following Thursday I received an email from US Airways Dividend Miles service center that they had processed the mileage credit for the Qatar flights that I took.

Have to thank both airlines to have have procedures in place to get these processed so fast. As I posted above, I really thought that this process would take several weeks.