Rookie Travel Tips Friday!
Sadly, no one submitted any tips last week so no winner this week.
Last Friday we covered the basics of the alliance programs.
This week we will focus on the Oneworld Alliance program.
The Oneworld global alliance program includes the following member airlines: American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN, Malév Hungarian Airlines, Mexicana, Qantas, Royal Jordanian and S7 Airlines. Kingfisher Airlines (India), and soon to join will be Germany’s Airberlin.
The Basics on using frequent flier miles with Oneworld:
As I covered last Friday, you do not have to join the Oneworld program, if you are a member of one of the member airline programs you are already a part of Oneworld. You can use your frequent flier miles from any member alliance program to book award tickets that have connecting flights on any member airline (as one ticket). But you cannot actually transfer points between member programs. Pick one alliance member program to bank all of your miles into. When you book your flight on any alliance member, be sure to give them the frequent flier number of the alliance program you wish your points to be deposited into. The miles on any eligible flight will be deposited into that member program account, and qualifying flights will count towards advancing or keeping your tier status (more on that below). Most of us bank our Oneworld miles with American Airlines and/or British Airways. Following that great 100,000 mile BA card, many of you should have a nice chunk of British Airways miles to use. Note to all: I find that the best thing to do when you’re trying to book an award ticket with multiple destinations is to call and speak directly with an agent.
Within the member alliances, all Oneworld airlines offer award flights on other Oneworld member airlines. Can you upgrade using points? The answer taken directly from the Oneworld website was:
“Most of our member airlines allow customers of their frequent flyer programme to upgrade on their own flights. However, presently none of our member airlines offer upgrade awards on flights operated by other oneworld members.” – http://www.oneworld.com/
???? What ????
To clarify, I called American Airlines. The deal is that when you’re booking an award ticket, whatever class you book that ticket in, AA will search for the same class/cabin for all alliance flights on that ticket. Purchased tickets are another story. If you purchase a ticket with AA, you can use points to upgrade on any AA flight. Only two of the Oneworld member airlines allow you to use AA points towards upgrades on purchased tickets. It goes as follows: On British Airways, if you want to use your AA points to upgrade, you must already be in a World Perks Cabin to upgrade. The other alliance member that allows the upgrade using points is lberia, but you must have purchased a “fully refundable ticket.” So the best option is just to book an upgraded award ticket all the way.
Status Basics on Oneworld:
Oneworld has created a set of membership tiers to reflect status: Emerald, Sapphire and Ruby. When you’re flying on Oneworld, you will continue to receive the privileges of your tier status no matter which member airline you are flying on.
The benefits Breakdown:
Emerald — First Class Priority Check In, Business Class Priority Check In, Priority Standby and Wait- Listing, Pre-reserved preferential seating, boarding at convenience, and access with one guest to all First Class and Business Class lounges regardless of class of travel.
Sapphire: Business Class Priority Check In, Priority Standby and Wait-Listing, Pre-reserved preferential seating, boarding at convenience, and access with one guest to all Business Class lounges regardless of class of travel.
Ruby: Business Class Priority Check In, Priority Standby and Wait-Listing, and Pre-reserved preferential seating.
Each alliance program’s member status is reflected a bit differently in these Oneworld tier status levels.
Most common for our readers is the American Airlines Advantage Program. Executive Platinum status on AA is equal to Emerald on Oneworld, Platinum status is equal to Sapphire, and Gold status is equal to Ruby.
The British Airways Executive Club is as follows: Gold status is equal to Emerald on Oneworld and Silver status is equal to Sapphire.
The Oneworld website offers a ton of tools for booking and planning travel and it is a great place to plan and book an “around the world trip.” The Around the world fares tool offers a ton of planning help and detailed information about how to take a trip around the globe on one big award ticket. Rick and The Bug have done this a couple of times. I can’t wait to do my first ATW trip!
The website also offer an Interactive Network Map to aid travel planning.
I’m just starting to learn how to use alliances to my benefit as a traveler, and I’m really excited about planning some trips that will take me overseas to multiple destinations on ONE award ticket. I hope learning these details provides you with the hope that you, too, can see far-away exotic places — for FREE!
- Shannon, The Rookie
More of Stefan’s China Trip Tips for Rick:
by Stefan Krasowski
Note we are back in the USA but I wanted you to see the end of Stefan’s recommended 10 day itinerary. He did a great job for all of us.
Day 9: On your last full day, follow your fancy for some disparate choices or any stops that were missed.
In the north of downtown is Yufo Si, the Jade Buddha Temple (line 7, Changshou Rd). More seriously religious and elegant than Jing’an Temple and Longhua Temple, it is bustling and has good vegetarian restaurants inside the temple and nearby. Chinese vegetarian dishes strive to emulate the taste of meat dishes. See if you are fooled!
In the southwest of downtown, at the end of the French Concession, there is a major traffic intersection surrounded by huge shopping centers called Xujiahui (Metro Line 1). A few blocks to the north are the elegant brick buildings of Jiaotong University’s original campus, one of China’s top universities. The malls to the south of the intersection are choc-a-bloc with electronics (negotiate at these stands). To the south of the intersection (west side) is the Xujiahui (St. Ignatius) Cathedral, where my wife and I used to meet on dates in our student days. The long-broken stained glass windows are being replaced by a Chinese nun in Chinese paper-cut style, which is, supposedly, the first cathedral stained-glass windows in the world made by a woman. Across the road to the east is the Old Station Restaurant, formerly the nunnery. In the backyard are two historic rail cars available for dining, one the personal car of Sun Yat-Sen’s wife Song Qing Ling. There are also tons of restaurants in the Grand Gateway (Gang Hui) Shopping Mall, the northwest corner of the intersection. A particular favorite is Charme for modern Cantonese, if you didn’t try it around People’s Square.
If you didn’t get enough of the knock-off markets in Beijing, Shanghai’s grand old one, Xiangyang, has been demolished. But where one tree was felled, two saplings grew up. One is along Nanjing Rd, west of People’s Square, in the office tower just west of the elevated road over Chengdu Rd (right in the middle of the Metro Line 2, People’s Square and Nanjing West Rd stops, but a long walk from both).
The other fakes market is way out in Pudong, Yatai Xinyang Fashion and Gift Market, in the warren of hallways at the Science & Technology Museum stop on Metro Line 2.
And if gifts for teenage girls are your thing, the similarly sprawling warren underground at the People’s Square metro stop (multiple lines) should be your target.
Day 10: departure. I hope you had a great trip!
Your international departure will almost certainly be from Pudong Airport, which is quite far, especially in rush hour. Whether you leave early in the morning or late at night, budget an hour to an hour and a half to get there, depending how far away your hotel is. If you don’t have elite status, check-in and immigration can get overloaded in economy because the counters are understaffed by contractors who are not always good at problem-solving. Being a little late sometimes avoids huge lines.
Our thanks to Stefan from the RapidTravelChai.com blog for his tips and suggestions that we’ve shared here. He gave us an invaluable guideline to make our first trip a huge success.