Malaysia Airlines will take its place at the oneworld table tomorrow, February 1, joining an A-league roster of airlines including Qantas, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and American Airlines.
It’s a significant win for Australian travellers. MAS offers daily direct flights to Kuala Lumpur from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, with onwards legs to major cities including London (on an Airbus 380), Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Mumbai.
From tomorrow you’ll be able to book those and other Malaysia Airlines flights through Qantas, and also add your miles flown on MAS to your tally of Qantas Frequent Flyer points and status credits.
Australian Business Traveller sat down with representatives of Malaysia Airlines and Qantas to put together this executive summary of what MAS’ oneworld membership means for Australian travellers, especially members of the Qantas Frequent Flyer scheme.
Fly MAS, earn Qantas Frequent Flyer points & status credits
As is the case with other oneworld airlines, when you’re travelling on MAS you’ll be able to earn Qantas Frequent Flyer points and status credits (or you can clock up the miles in MAS’ Enrich frequent flyer scheme).
You’ll also be able to burn your Qantas Frequent Flyer points for reward seats and upgrades on Malaysia Airlines flights.
Frequent flyer status: MAS Enrich, Qantas and oneworld
The top tiers of MAS Enrich neatly line up against the status levels for Qantas and oneworld.
MAS Enrich Platinum = Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum = oneworld Emerald
MAS Enrich Gold = Qantas Frequent Flyer Gold = oneworld Sapphire
MAS Enrich Silver = Qantas Frequent Flyer Silver = oneworld Ruby
Enrich premium perks include 50% excess baggage allowance for Gold and 100% for Platinum, a variety of priority services and of course the all-important lounge access.
MAS lounge access for Qantas Frequent Flyers
Platinum-class Qantas Frequent Flyers can check into the Platinum Suite at the MAS International Golden Lounge Wing at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, along with the MAS First Class lounges at KL, London and Sydney – no matter what class they’re travelling in.
Gold-class Qantas Frequent Flyers can flash their card for entry into all MAS Business Class lounges around the world, again regardless of their class of travel.
Note that Qantas Frequent Flyer access to MAS lounges hinges on the rule that you must be travelling on a flight that’s both marketed and operated by a oneworld member airline such as Qantas and MAS.
Of course, there’s a bit of quid pro quo from Qantas – MAS Enrich Platinums can now luxuriate in the Qantas First Lounge in Sydney and Melbourne international airports, while Enrich Golds can head for the Qantas Business Lounges.
Malaysia Airlines concedes it may even close some of its international lounges in airports where oneworld partners already have a strong presence.
"We have not made a decision yet" MAS PR spokesman Anbarasu Sundram told Australian Business Traveller late last year, when asked if MAS would retain or close its Golden Lounges in ports where there are equivalent oneworld lounges.
"Once we have decided on the lounge status, not only in Sydney but also in other international locations where we have our own lounges and that of our oneworld alliance partners, we will inform all our stakeholders."
David Flynn is attending the Malaysia Airlines/oneworld global press event in Kuala Lumpur as a guest of MAS and oneworld.
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About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.