Malaysia Airlines have been Oneworld member elect since June, 2011, and it was expected that the airline would join the alliance late 2012 or early 2013. Now, Oneworld has put up an official press release that the airline is joining the alliance on February 1, 2013.
Starting on February 1, 2013, Oneworld airlines’ frequent flier members can start enjoy elite benefits like lounge access, earning and redeeming awards on Malaysia. According to the press release, the implementation is almost done, but the actual joining of the alliance is preferred after the busy year end/new year travel period.
Malaysia Airlines brings only one new country to Oneworld network – Brunei along with 13 other destinations.
The airline has fairly extensive network in Asia and flies to four destinations in Europe; Amsterdam, London, Paris and Frankfurt, and Los Angeles in the United States via Tokyo.
Malaysia also owns a “community” airline called Firefly that operates from SZB airport in Kuala Lumpur supposedly to tertiary destinations. I took Firefly from Koh Samui to Kuala Lumpur few months ago.
It is sad that the airline won’t join Oneworld before February next year. I have couple of flights ticketed on Malaysia Airlines business class for December and I had hoped to be able to credit them to AAdvantage program. I may have to credit them to Etihad’s Guest (Malaysian partner) or Malaysian’s Enrich program.
It is great that Oneworld’s presence in South East Asia is getting better. The airline alliance has been in a competitive disadvantage compared to Star Alliance that has both Singapore Airlines and Thai Airlines as alliance members. Colombo based Sri Lankan Airways is set to join Oneworld sometime in late 2013 and the latest member elect Qatar Airways in late 2013/early 2014.