Reader Question: I Want To Ditch British Airways Executive Club, Which oneWorld Frequent Flyer Program To Join?

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Today we have received a Reader Question about a possible new choice for a oneWorld frequent flyer program after leaving British Airways Executive Club (BAEC) for good.

Oneworld Basic Economy Transatlantic

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Every now and then our circumstances in life change as does our taste for the things we like and it also includes airlines, leading many people to developing an appetite to jump ship after becoming too disgruntled with one carrier for one reason or the other.

This appears to be increasingly the case with British Airways these days, in fact the number of complaint emails from readers we receive each month has increased over the years as BA went from one scandal to another mostly involving data leaks, pilot strikes, cutbacks and bad service overall. While BA isn’t alone with these things they have been a very prominent target for customer rage as it appears.

Our reader Martin writes:

Hi,

just wanted your opinion on which mileage program I should select in the future after the pandemic subsides. I’m based in Manchester and have been with BA Executive Club for 8 years now but feel like there is nothing left they can offer me as a GOLD member. The final straw came last week when they extended everyone for another year except those qualifying before July 1 that includes yours truly.

I don’t travel domestically except for connections at Heathrow. Mostly I’m going to Asia, continental Europe/Scandinavia and North America.

Any insights are appreciated!

What the reader hints on is the announcement of British Airways in the last week that they will have another round of goodwill extensions this year for members whose re-qualification is between July 1st – December 31st, 2021. I wrote about this as well and my opinion was quite strong that their policy is misguided.

Nevertheless the reader has decided he wants to use this opportunity to jump ship and shift his loyalty elsewhere which is probably the only reasonable way if you have lost hope with a company. Rather than continuing a patter of complaining and being upset it’s best to vote with your wallet and move on.

Martin wants to stay with oneWorld and there are 13 airlines to choose from with Alaska Airlines joining soon.

  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Finnair
  • Iberia
  • Japan Airlines
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Royal Air Maroc
  • Royal Jordanian Airlines
  • S7 Airlines
  • SriLankan Airlines

One thing to keep in mind is that many oneWorld airlines have a requirement to fly a certain amount of sectors on their own metal in order to qualify for elite status, it wouldn’t help anything to select a program where that is the case and one couldn’t satisfy that requirement. For these purposes let’s just assume the reader will not have a problem with that.

I have dismissed a range of programs outright because having looked at them for a while and  I don’t believe they are a good fit for anyone, let alone this reader. It left me with recommending him to look at the following programs:

  • Alaska Airlines: Very generous bonuses for flights in premium cabins/elite bonus even on partners;
  • American: Good network, many flights ex Heathrow and decent upgrade benefits, challenge offered
  • Cathay Pacific: Very solid airline, some awards make sense and the network benefits reader
  • Finnair: Would suit the readers Scandinavia travel, decent program
  • Japan Airlines: Very interesting, lucrative awards. Great service for top tier members.
  • Qatar Airways: Plenty of connection options ex MAN, reader could possibly avoid LHR, good benefits if passenger becomes Qatar Airways centered.

I’m aware these are only bullet points and it’s impossible to recommend someone THE best program without diving for hours into the exact flying pattern of the past and future but these are the programs I suggested to Martin. He will have to do most of the leg work and read through the program details.

Programs that offer a status match or fast track challenge such as Alaska Airlines or American Airlines would go to the top of the list for me, although if you usually book premium cabins either way it won’t make much of a difference and you get to the tier levels rather quickly.

I’d have a very close look on Alaska Airlines in the future after they fully join oneWorld and all program options have been implemented. It’s probably my favorite program right now and even more so in the future unless they are going to drop a lot of partners and features.

Conclusion

Our reader wants to leave British Airways yet stay with oneWorld as he has very little alternative since he is based in the UK. Ex Manchester he could just as well start to commute via Frankfurt on Lufthansa/Star Alliance but I’m not sure how practical that would be. Heathrow still has a lot of flights.

I can’t say it’s a bad decision of him to leave BA behind. The airline has definitely seen it’s best days and my personal opinion is while the program is still solid to achieve oneWorld Emerald they are extremely stingy with miles, especially bonuses. If you fly a lot on most partner airlines you get pretty much nothing except you book a BA codeshare. British Airways flights… well let’s just forget about those. I can’t fathom why anyone would choose a BA flight when there is an alternative partner available on the same route.

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