On 1 June 2018, oneworld announced the launch of the oneworld connect partner program which is similar to the Star Alliance Connect program where Juneyao Airlines is the sole participant in the scheme. Partnering with oneworld is Fiji Airways, the national carrier of Fiji.
What is oneworld connect and why does it concern me?
oneworld connect was conceived by oneworld so as to provide better connectivity to its passengers flying with oneworld member airlines to South Pacific. There was no word in the press release to an official start date for Fiji Airways to start operating in the capacity as a oneworld connect partner so we got to wait on that front.
For us, the main draw for Fiji Airways being added as a oneworld connect partner will be the ability to enjoy oneworld status benefits if you’re a oneworld Ruby, Sapphire or Emerald member. However, you will also be accorded some of the privileges which you already have by virtue of your status.
Why did I say some of the privileges? That’s because of the way the oneworld connect program is going to work. So let’s run you through that first.
To qualify as a oneworld connect partner, the airline is required to have three or more current oneworld member airlines as their sponsors before they can enroll as a oneworld connect partner. Currently, Fiji Airways is being sponsored by American Airlines(AA), British Airways(BA), Cathay Pacific(CX) and Qantas(QF) which are the “founders” of the oneworld alliance. Of the three, AA, CX and QF already have existing code-share agreements with Fiji Airways and British Airways just inked an agreement with Fiji Airways on 6 June 2018. Qantas will be the mentor for Fiji Airways for its induction into the program so I would expect the benefits for Qantas Frequent Flyer members to be announced first.
If you’re a frequent flyer member in the airline which is a sponsor of Fiji Airways, you will receive more benefits than if you are holding status in an airline which is not a sponsor of Fiji Airways. Here’s the table outlining what you’ll receive:
So an example would be if you’re a Marco Polo Club Diamond member which is equivalent to oneworld Emerald, you will receive the full suite of privileges when flying with Fiji Airways. Whereas if you’re a Finnair Lumo member which is the highest of highest of tiers in the Finnair Plus program, you’ll only be able to get priority check-in and priority boarding by virtue of your oneworld Emerald status.
For those of you who are unsure of where Fiji is, it’s located just above Australia in the middle of the ocean and is located approximately 10 -11 hours from Hong Kong, Los Angeles and Singapore.
AA, BA, CX and QF all offer flights to Sydney, Hong Kong, Melbourne and Singapore (with the exception of AA) and these are all the airports in which Fiji Airways has flights to as well.
Redeeming miles on Fiji Airways
While the actual details have not been announced, having Cathay Pacific and British Airways as a sponsor of Fiji Airways in the oneworld connect program is good news for us. Currently, you can only redeem flights on Fiji Airways using miles and points in the following programs:
- Qantas Frequent Flyer
- Alaska Mileage Plan (only from US to Fiji/Australia)
- American Airlines AAdvantage
Of the three, only Qantas Frequent Flyer is a transfer partner of credit cards in Singapore although there are opportunities to get Alaska Mileage Plan miles for good prices during their frequent sales and AAdvantage also holds random miles sales from time to time as well. When Fiji Airways is officially starts operating as a oneworld connect program, we will get the opportunity to redeem flights to Fiji Airways from Singapore to Nadi with Asia Miles and British Airways Avios.
Fiji Airways just started flying non-stop between Singapore and Nadi in April 2016 and they operate only on Mondays and Saturdays from Singapore – Nadi and Nadi – Singapore route,operating with an Airbus A330. The aircraft which flies to Singapore has a total of 24 Business Class seats laid out in a 2-2-2 configuration and 249 Economy Class seats in a 2-4-2 configuration.
Fiji Airways A330-200s, which flies to Singapore, features the same hard product as what Singapore Airlines is currently offering on their A330-300s. So expect angled flat seats in Business Class for the 10 hour flight to Fiji.
Asia Miles can be transferred over from all major points currencies in Singapore with the exception of OCBC and Avios can be transferred from your Citibank credit cards as well as American Express cards.
Personally I’m rather excited that there would soon be the opportunity to redeem award flights on Fiji Airways with Asia Miles and Avios as this would mean it would open up a non-stop flight redemption possibility for us here in Singapore to get to Fiji. While full details aren’t out yet, do expect more details in the coming months when Fiji Airways starts operating officially under the oneworld connect program.