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Back in November, SriLankan Airlines announced it would be joining Oneworld in April, and word came down this week that the airline’s official Oneworld join date is May 1, 2014.
With it, SriLankan brings 100,000 members of its FlySmiles loyalty program, who will now be able to earn and redeem miles across Oneworld, and Oneworld flyers will be able to earn/redeem miles on SriLankan and receive Oneworld benefits on the airline.
FlySmiLes Platinum cardholders will have Emerald status in the Oneworld programme. FlySmiLes Gold will be equivalent to Oneworld Sapphire and FlySmiLes Classic will be Oneworld Ruby. Also starting May 1, FlySmiLes Platinum and Gold members will be able to use any of the more than 600 airport lounges worldwide offered by Oneworld member airlines whenever they fly with one of the alliance’s carriers. SriLankan Business Class passengers will also be able to use Oneworld partner airline lounges.
SriLankan already participates in Oneworld’s Global Explorer round-the-world fares, and maintains a code-sharing partnership with another Oneworld member, Malaysia Airlines, and has also announced similar agreements with Royal Jordanian and S7 Airlines. Sri Lankan’s addition to the alliance will bring in two new destinations to the network – Sri Lanka’s new Hambantota International and India’s Tiruchirapalli airports – and open up more flights to Southern India and the Maldives to Oneworld flyers.
More imminent and more major, however, are the planned entries of both US Airways (thanks to its merger with American) and TAM on March 31. According to Oneworld’s statistics, together, the two new airline members fly over 4,000 flights a day to 261 destinations and carry over 117 million passengers annually. Obviously some of those destinations and flights will overlap with their new Oneworld partners, so the numbers are going to adjust post March 31, but that date is going to make a much bigger impact on airline travel and miles for a lot more flyers.
All in all, it’s an interesting, dynamic time for alliances with a lot of entrances and exits and switching camps, so for the full rundown on changes and what to expect, check out my post on Shifting Alliances: Which is Best – Oneworld, SkyTeam or Star Alliance?