Alliance Wars: The post US Airways – American Airlines world – Part I

There are three alliances in the world of Air Travel:

  • Star Alliance
  • OneWorld and
  • SkyTeam

Of these three, Star Alliance has been a very dominant alliance – mainly because of the sheer number of airlines they have (28 at the time of posting this), as opposed to OneWorld (13) and SkyTeam (19). Across their members, Star Alliance also had probably the best coverage across the globe. Even to India and the Middle East, which have no local airline as a Star Alliance member, Star Alliance had daily good coverage, with multiple airlines flying there. For example, to India alone, Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian, United, Ethiopian, Turkish Airlines, South African, THAI, ANA and Singapore Airlines all have flights.

Personal Alliance Allegiance:

Personally, I have always used Star Alliance as my first option to fly, earning Miles on United. OneWorld has been my second option, earning miles on British Airways. Based on the rest of this years travel plans, my Star Alliance Gold is retained for next year (already done), but my OneWorld Status will surely not be renewed.

Qatar and US Airways:

But that all changed this year with two major events for OneWorld:

  • Qatar joined OneWorld
  • US Airways and American Airline decided to merge

These two very significant shifts have made OneWorld a serious contender. They now are better than Star Alliance in some areas – coverage to the Middle East with Qatar and Royal Jordanian, and much more domestic US coverage with the new bigger, better (?) post-merger American Airlines. Yes, SkyTeam had Saudia, but it’s Saudia…

For Star Alliance, Turkish is the most interesting recent addition. They are a European/Asian airline, given their location, and also offer an alternate routing to the Middle East and Asia, thru Turkey.

Star Alliance vs. One World, which one to pick?

Is it now worth taking a look at One World to be my primary alliance? I will take an in-depth look in part II.

What is your primary Alliance and why? Do share by leaving a comment below.

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  1. A few global cities are dominated by oneworld – LHR, HKG, SYD, GRU. It’s hard and painful for those residing in those 4 cities to be loyal to anything other than oneworld.

    But for the rest of the world, Star’s more balanced coverage is certainly the biggest plus. And if your primary long-haul routing is TPAC (mine is), Star is heads and shoulders above the others in terms of choices and coverage.

  2. Delta doesn’t care that much about Skyteam and United just ripped a big hole in Star Alliance as far as using miles. One World is fine but we are moving to a post alliance world which is being replaced with a strategic partner world.

  3. Emirates is expected to join Oneworld in Q3 2014. That is going to make Oneworld’s middle-east and South Coverage dramatically better than Star Alliance’s

  4. I tend to travel to Africa a lot so I have to stick with Star Alliance (South African, Ethiopian, EgyptAir basically cover most if not all cities in that continent!) Oneworld doesn’t have any coverage and Skyteam only has Kenya Airways.

  5. We still prefer Star Alliance, since the availability and ease of search of awards in biz/first are still far superior to that of OneWorld. We live on the West Coast of the US, too, so Star easily outclasses everyone else in trans-Pacific award availability–with UA, Asiana, ANA, Air China, and now EVA. And we can easily get to ORD, JFK/EWR, and IAD if necessary to access the East based awards. OneWorld has more fuel surcharges with its partners, and much less availability for any awards in our experience.

  6. @KB,

    How do you know for sure Emirates will be joining oneworld in “Q3 2014”?? With the addition of Qatar, I see this as unlikely but I’m no expert so I’d like a reference, thanks.

  7. Why choose? Keep your options open by keeping your points in an UR account. You then have flexibility to transfer to whatever airline you then need.

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