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Malaysia Airlines joins oneworld

by on February 1, 2013
 

After a long wait, Malaysia Airlines has finally joined one of the three global airline alliance, oneworld. It seems like a long time, but it’s actually been a fairly normal wait time. There is, after all, a lot of integration work that goes on behind the scenes before an airlines can claim to work seamlessly with its partners, even though the reality is not always as neat.

It’s a great way to fly

Sorry, Singapore Airlines, for borrowing your slogan to describe your bitter rival, but it really is. Furthermore, Malaysia Airlines or MAS has always been a friend of economy travellers – their airfares have always been extremely competitive, and unlike their price-bracket companion Emirates, their 777s have always been (and still are) 9-across and not sardine-configuration 10-across. These days, MAS usually flies A330-300s on most of their Australian routes, all of which are new and comfortable, and the service is 5-star.

Further afield, MAS connects to much of South East Asia using new 737-800s, and to London using new A380s. A quick search for flights between Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong in July turned up an unexpected A380 seat last week, so I suspect this will be one of their next flagship routes. Other European routes such as Paris and Amsterdam are flown using older 777-200ERs, which are still comfortable in Economy, but are showing their age.

Earning Qantas Frequent Flyer Miles

Disappointingly, a well-oiled rumour mill is spouting news of a tiff between MAS and its oneworld sponsor, Qantas. This has allegedly manifested itself in the form of disappointing point earn rates for oneworld travellers on any of the following destination pairs:

  • Australia and Malaysia
  • Australia and United Kingdom
  • Australia and Europe (including Turkey)
  • New Zealand and Malaysia
  • New Zealand and United Kingdom
  • New Zealand and Europe (including Turkey)
  • Malaysia and United Kingdom
  • Malaysia and Europe (including Turkey)

In full economy, you get 1 base mile per mile flown, but in discount economy that drops to a breathtaking 0.25 base miles per mile flown. That basically covers the kangaroo routes, and I guess is designed to promote the upcoming Qantas-Emirates partnership. Earn rates are more acceptable on the rest of the MAS network, coming in at 1 base mile for full economy and 0.5 base miles for discount economy. Note that if you have an itinerary on MAS that goes from one of the above destinations to an unlisted destination, your mileage earn is calculated according to each leg individually, rather than as a pairing of your departure point and your ultimate destination. For example, if you are flying to Delhi from Brisbane on one booking, your BNE-KUL leg would be calculated at the munted rate, while your KUL-DEL leg would get the better rate.

For the full earn rates, see the earning table here.

Qatar Airways and Sri Lankan are slated to join oneworld in the near future as well (and it’ll probably get TAM courtesy of the LATAM merger), so it’s looking like Star Alliance is going to get a run for its money in the next couple of years.

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  • John Fingal
    April 16, 2013 at 12:02 PM

    I flew on MAS a few of weeks ago to take advantage of their double mile promotion. The miles credited, though in a very awkward fashion. Should I be worried?

    Reply

    • April 16, 2013 at 12:06 PM

      So long as the total number of miles expected is credited you should be fine. Quite often we find that different airline systems need to use creative ways of working together, and this may just be a manifestation of that reality.

      Reply

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