Malaysia Airlines Joining Oneworld on February 1

I have an upcoming trip to Malaysia booked with American AAdvantage miles and have been holding off booking my domestic connecting flight, hoping that I could just add a segment on Malaysia Airlines at no cost (other than for incremental airport taxes). Sadly that isn’t to be.

Malaysia Airlines was supposed to join in the second half of 2012.

Now word is that their join date will be February 1, 2013.

They will be a good addition. And as their oneworld admission approaches, there’s a good chance that their frequent flyer partnership with Delta could come to an end. I expect to much prefer the options provided by American for Malaysia redemption over those that featured in Delta’s Skymiles program — specifically Delta didn’t permit first class redemption and added fuel surcharges to awards on the airline, while I wouldn’t expect either things to be the case with American AAdvantage awards on the airline.

While American’s standard partner award rules will not permit travel from the US to Malaysia via Europe, or to destinations like India via Malaysia, American’s distance-based oneworld awards (that require use of 2 or more oneworld airlines other than American) do open up these possibilities. As oneworld adds airlines, these awards become increasingly valuable.

Using these awards presents additional possibilities for Australia (Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne) and New Zealand, for the Maldives, for Mauritius, and to other hard to reach places like Kathmandu and Myanmar.

And it presents additional good connecting options — even for partner awards — to be able to fly American’s new Dallas – Seoul flight and on to South Asia (or their Shanghai, Beijing, and Tokyo flights).

So this is an addition I’m looking forward to, just not coming quite quickly enough to save me from buying a ticket.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Hello Gary, living currently in Malaysia I welcome MH finally joining OW. Hopefully, it will force MH to improve their service and particularly their inflight catering which currently in Y leaves a bad taste (literally) in one’s mouth.

    Would you mind sharing your anticipated routing and award specifics? I am curious.

  2. @Harold — not as of yet. It’s possible that reciprocal frequent flyer relationships could start before joining, but if not you have to wait until the join date to make bookings

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