The 3 Easiest Ways to Obtain Oneworld SAPPHIRE Status

Cathay Pacific Entrance

The Oneworld Sapphire status isn’t the highest tier you can reach within the airline alliance. But the benefits are comparable to what you can expect from the competitors elite status Star Alliance Gold. Probably the most essential advantage: access to the frequent flyer lounge together with a guest. Even, if your only traveling on an Economy Class ticket.

Just like you might know from Star Alliance, there are minor and significant differences between the various programs of Oneworld partner airlines. Your way to obtain elite status can vary depending on which program you sign up for. To make this journey as fast as possible, we’d like to show you the three easiest ways to become a prefeed frequent flyer a Oneworld Sapphire status holder.

Advantages of being a Oneworld Sapphire member

Holding a Oneworld Sapphire status will get you quite a few benefits when traveling with one of the alliance’s member:

  • Access to all Business Class lounges – worldwide and together with one guest. No matter which cabin class you’re traveling in
  • Access to Business Class priority check-in – you can check in at any Business Class counter. Again, irrespective of your cabin class
  • Extra baggage allowance – you can bring a second piece of luggage, assuming your fare includes at least one checked bag. On domestic flights, you can bring one bag, even if your fare does not include one (the only exception is British Airways)
  • Priority boarding – get on the plane will others are still waiting
  • Priority baggage handling – your bags should be the first to appear on the luggage belt after you arrived
  • Access to preferred or pre-reserved seating – chose your seat at the time of booking, free of charge
  • Priority on waitlists and when on standby

If we compare this to Star Alliance, there is actually only the Fast-Track that is missing. And the reason for this is an additional level that you can find within the Oneworld alliance program: the Emerald tier. This level will get you access to First Class lounges and also Fast-Track through security.

So, enough introduction. Here are the three programs that we would recommend if you want to earn Oneworld Sapphire status:

British Airways Executive Club

Even if British Airways named the tier Silver, it is still the Oneworld Sapphire status with all its benefits. What makes the Executive Club so interesting is the fact that there are no tier miles like you’d know them from many other airlines. But instead, you can collect Tier Points. And those are earning according to a distance chart and your cabin class. The booking class has very little influence on the Tier Points you will be credited with. The points you can earn range from 5 (short-haul flight in Economy within Europe) to 360 (First Class flights from London to Australia).

A long-haul flight somewhere between 2,000 and 6,000 miles will get you 140 Tier Points if you’re flying Business Class. The price of the ticket or your booking class won’t make a difference. So you could earn Executive Club silver with just 4 Business Class segments and one feeder flights. Let’s take this to the next level: Even one round-trip in Business Class can get you, Silver! (Stockholm – Helsinki – London – New York – Miami. 2 x 20 + 2 x 80 + 2 x 140 + 2 x 40 = 2 x 300 = 600 Tier Points).

One small disadvantage of the British Airways program are the 4 segments that you have to fly on British Airways or Iberia to obtain elite status.

British Airways Executive Club Silver

Facts

  • Qualification: 50 flight segments or 600 Tier Points in addition to at least 4 segments flown on British Airways or Iberia within one membership year.
  • Validity: Current membership year + another full year.
    If you can’t manage the re-qualification, your status will stay valid 7-8 weeks after the end of your membership year.
    Example: Your membership year end on November 8th, 2019 -> next membership year will end November 8th, 2020 and therefore your status will be valid until December 31st, 2020.
  • Additional benefits
    • 50% bonus Avios on flights with British Airways, Iberia, American Airlines and Japan Airlines
    • Guaranteed seats until 24 hours priors to departure (booking class Y = most expensive Economy Class)
    • Lifetime Gold status (Oneworld Emerald) if you manage to collect 35,000 Tier Points
    • Household account for up to 7 people that don’t have to live with you or be relatives
  • Re-qualification: same rules as for the initial qualification
  • Softlanding: Yes, Bronze status (Oneworld Ruby)

Assuming you plan right, you can obtain British Airways’ Silver status with just one trip in Business Class. Suitable offers are sometimes available for €1,500 or even less!

Bottom line

The Executive Club offers a great and easy way to obtain One’ world Sapphire status with just a few Business Class or even Premium Economy Class flights year. Also, lifetime status is very interesting for people traveling a lot.

American Airlines AAdvantage Platinum

American Airlines and its frequent flyer program AAdvantage are famous for the status challenge they have been offering for years now. After paying a certain amount of money, you have 90 days to complete the challenge and earn a fixed sum of EQM.

AAdvantage Executive Platinum

Now, AAdvantage is one of the frequent flyer programs that calculate your miles revenues based. But this is only the case if you purchased an American Airlines ticket. With all other Oneworld airlines, the EQD (Elite Qualifying Dollars) will still, be calculated based on booking class and distance. The better choice – especially with low priced tickets!

Facts

  • Qualification: $6,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQD) and either 50,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQM) or 60 Elite Qualifying Segments (EQS) within one year.
    EQS: flights with American Airlines, American eagle, Alaska Airlines and Oneworld members
  • Validity: Qualification year + an additional year + until January 31st
    Example: you qualify on June 30th, 2019 -> Platinum status until January 31st, 2021
  • Additional benefits
    • 60% bonus award miles, 500 minimum miles
    • Free standby on earlier flights on the same day
    • Discounted Admirals Club membership
    • 4 upgrade on flights under 500 miles for each 12,500 EQM you earned (subject to availability 48 hours before departure)
    • Earn miles with airlines outside the Oneworld alliance such as Hawaiian, China Southern and Etihad
  • Re-qualification: same rules as for the initial qualification

One downside might be that you will not be able to access the Admirals Club lounges on domestic flights.

Bottom line

AAdvantage used to be the leading frequent flyer program in the USA. But these days are long gone. Especially the changes that the program announced in the recent past scared away many frequent flyers. Also, many of the additional benefits are only useful to people traveling a lot within the USA.

But due to the status challenge, it is still an exciting option to obtain Oneworld Sapphire status. Especially if you don’t want to wait too long: For a surcharge, you can even benefit from your new status during the challenge. If you’re planning on taking some flights within the United States, this can be a great option!

Finnair Plus Gold

Another carrier that is offering a great frequent flyer program and an easy way to obtain Oneworld Sapphire status is Finnair. Its program Finnair Plus is by far not as famous as the Executive Club or AAdvantage. But there is one feature that really sets Finnair Plus apart from its competitors: You will earn points according to the kilometers you’ve flown, not the miles. Also, you can receive status by flying segments with Oneworld partners even if you’ve never been on board of a Finnair aircraft.

Finnair Plus Gold Card

Finnair Plus is especially interesting if you fly long-haul Business Class. You can earn 125% of the kilometers that you actually traveled on almost all Oneworld flights (the only exception is Japan Airlines). And that’s what you’ll get when you booked the cheapest booking class! Since one kilometer is about 1,6 times the distance of a mile – the basis for most other frequent flyer programs – you could translate this value to around 201% of the miles flown. It really is hard to beat what Finnair Plus has to offer.

All this becomes even more attractive if you actually travel with Finnair. Business Class flights with Finnair will get you an earning rate of 200%. Or 321% if we calculate with miles. That’s more than most airlines will give you for traveling in First Class! This way, a return-flight to Asia can earn you 35,000 miles. Unfortunately, Finnair flights can be expensive if you’re departing from the wrong country.

Facts

  • Qualification: 80,000 points or 46 segments (Finnair and Oneworld)
  • Validity: Current membership year + another full year
  • Additional benefits
    • One hour complimentary WiFi access on Finnair flights
    • 4 voucher for upgrades to Business Class on Finnair flights within Europe
    • 15% bonus points (only on Finnair flights)
    • Gold member service
  • Re-qualification: same rules as for the initial qualification
  • Softlanding: Nothing official but according to reports you will be granted Finnair Silver (Oneworld Ruby)

Bottom line

Finnair Plus is a very exciting program, especially if you travel on Finnair flights a lot. The upgrade vouchers you receive every year as a gold member are a nice benefit. Also, the fact that you don’t have to fly with Finnair to obtain status is excellent.

It might be more challenging to reach Gold status with Finnair Plus than it would be with British AirwaysAirwass’ Executive Club. But remember that you will earn quite a few points on the way that can be redeemed later on.

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