Financial Times Reports Qatar to Join Oneworld Alliance

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There’s been a lot of speculation and confusion this week around which airline will be joining the Oneworld alliance on October 8th, when the major CEO’s of the alliance’s members are set to make a big announcement. Flightglobal.com speculated Qatar was the new addition, but Qatar’s CEO vehemently denied the claims yesterday leading some to believe the new addition would be LAN/TAM (though I already thought it was understood that the newly merged carrier would be staying in Oneworld).

However, the FT just reported (free subscription required) that Qatar is indeed the new addition and that, “The move is a coup for oneworld, whose members are led by American Airlines and British Airways, and underlines how the Gulf carriers may no longer be viewed with hostility by western airlines.”

This is great news for anyone with Oneworld mileage currencies like American AAdvantage miles and British Airways Avios. You can already redeem AA miles on Etihad and once Qatar joins the alliance, there will be even more coverage throughout the Middle East and beyond to destinations like the Maldives and India. I just hope AA doesn’t levy huge fuel surcharges on Qatar awards.

I’ve never flown Qatar, whose main hub is in Doha, and I recently missed the opportunity to redeem United miles for Qatar awards, which ended on September 15, 2012. They are a 1:1 transfer partner of the Starwood Preferred Guest program, but I think I’m most excited to be able to redeem British Airways Avios, which is a transfer partner of both Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards (which recently ran a 40% transfer bonus).

The Oneworld press conference is October 8th, so I’m expecting we will hear more details and an exact timeline on that date.

Hat tip TPG Twitter follower @celiomartins!

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