China Southern to Leave the SkyTeam Alliance

Nov 15, 2018

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

The SkyTeam alliance is losing one of its member airlines. Effective Jan. 1, 2019, China Southern will leave the alliance, instead choosing to meet the needs of its own development strategy.

According to a source at the airline and reported by Reuters, the airline is leaving because it believes it’s too expensive to be a member of the alliance, relative to the benefits it gets in return for being a member. The source added that the airline will consider joining the Oneworld alliance, but it has not yet made a decision. China Southern is the largest airline in China by passenger numbers.

Cathay Pacific, the Hong Kong-based carrier that’s a founding member of the Oneworld alliance, has the right to veto the entrance of a new member airline from the greater China region, said two sources familiar with the matter. China Southern, which is based on the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou (CAN), competes directly against Cathay for traffic in the region. The two cities are located just 84 miles apart.

China Southern said in a statement to the Shanghai stock exchange that it did not expect its exit from SkyTeam to significantly impact operations. SkyTeam said that it’s working with China Southern to ensure a seamless transition for both other members and for customers. The process will be completed by the end of 2019.

Remaining SkyTeam members after China Southern’s departure include: Aeroflot, Aerolineas Argentinas, Aeromexico, AirEuropa, Air France, Alitalia, China Airlines, China Eastern, Czech Airlines, Delta, Garuda Indonesia, Kenya Airways, KLM, Korean Air, Middle East Airlines, Saudia, Tarom, Vietnam Airlines and Xiamen Air.

Xiamen Air, which is a subsidiary of China Southern, said that it has no plans to leave the group.

At this point, it remains unclear what China Southern’s exit from SkyTeam will mean for flyers — especially in the near term. Because there are strong ties between SkyTeam carriers, such as reciprocal benefits, codesharing, ticketing and more, there is plenty to be worked out between the two groups.

Since the official exit won’t take place until Jan. 1, 2019, if you have travel booked with China Southern for the remainder of 2018, there should be no impact on your flight. In addition, there’s the possibility that no changes to earning miles and elite status credits could take place until the end of 2019. Though those details remain unseen.

China Southern’s exit from the SkyTeam alliance comes on the heels of Qatar Airways threatening to leave the Oneworld alliance. The airline’s CEO Akbar Al Baker has threatened three times since October to leave the alliance because other member airlines are not playing fair.

China Southern flies nonstop to New York (JFK), Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO).

Featured image by Alberto Riva / The Points Guy.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.