Oneworld Sapphire is the sweet spot for most frequent flyers because the status comes with all of the most important perks such as a free piece of luggage, priority boarding, lounge access, and even though not officially stated, most of the time priority security. However, there are so many different ways to reach this exclusive status that it is not clear which airline offers the easiest and fastest route to oneworld Sapphire. In this post, you will learn how to get oneworld Sapphire the easiest way possible.
This post is divided into two parts: status by the number of flights and status by points. If you fly frequently, but you fly short distances such as weekly domestic flights or weekly flights to a neighbouring country, you should definitely check out the first part on status by the number of flights. If, however, you fly long distances perhaps less frequently, take a look at the second part on getting oneworld Sapphire by points.
Oneworld Sapphire by number of flights
One of the routes to oneworld Sapphire status is a simple question of how many flights you have in a year. Remember that in this category, every flight counts. For example, I once flew to San Luis Obispo from Helsinki and my route was HEL-LHR-DFW-PHX-SBP, that’s all together 4 flights just going one way! And of course I came back the same route, so for one trip, I ended up flying 8 flights! This one trip alone pushed me quite far up the status ladder towards oneworld Sapphire. But which airline gives us the easiest way to get the status just by flying enough times?
- The best option for everyone: Finnair Plus (46 flights) NOTE: You cannot qualify after early 2024
Finnair Plus is the best option regardless of where you live because you can get oneworld Sapphire with as few as 46 flights. The best part is that you don’t need to fly Finnair at all! You can fly any oneworld airline you want, which makes this the best choice for you regardless of where you live. As a reminder for our American readers, a status with any other oneworld airline apart from American Airlines and Alaska grants you lounge access even on domestic flights. However, Finnair is currently adjusting their frequent flyer program and they will remove the ability to gain status by number of flights in early 2024
There are some regional alternatives that are easier than Finnair Plus, but there is a catch because you will need to fly some of your flights on these airlines
- Royal Air Maroc 30 flights (10 out of which on Royal Air Maroc)
- Royal Jordanian 30 flights (10 out of which on Royal Jordanian)
- SriLankan Airlines 40 flights (20 out of which on SriLankan)
The airlines listed above do offer an easier route to oneworld Sapphire than Finnair, but only if you fly them as well. This means that if you live in one of those countries or visit them frequently, their frequent flyer programs might be worth your while. There is no way to beat as few as 30 flights for Sapphire status.
Oneworld Sapphire by points
Points, miles, kilometres – a beloved child has many names and frankly, oneworld has one of the most confusing qualification criteria for a status. Some airlines give you points based on the actual distance you fly, while others give a fixed number of points for flights the distance of which falls between fixed intervals. Mostly, oneworld members give more points for their own flights and less points for flights from other airlines. In this section, we will look at how close to the oneworld Sapphire level you will get if you fly a) a short (200 km) flight, b) a medium (2000 km) flight and c) a long (8000 km) flight in a full fare economy class or in the cheapest business class. I will report how close to Sapphire one flight gets you if you fly the airline’s own flight or on the average any other oneworld member airline.
Note: I do not report anything for American Airlines for their own flights because you earn points based on dollars, not based on distance for American Airlines flights in the AAdvantage program. This makes me question why anyone would ever go with American Airlines…
A short flight
In the plot, you can see four bars for each airline; two for economy and two for business class. For both classes, you can see how far the flights make you reach oneworld Sapphire in each frequent flyer program. It is easy to see that business class is the way to go for most of the airlines. If you fly a lot of short business class flights, British Airways is the clear winner regardless if you fly them or some other oneworld airline. Qantas is also a solid choice if you mostly fly Qantas.
If you mostly fly in economy class, then none of the programs gets you too far, however Qatar and Malaysia Airlines are the best choices for you. Malaysia Airlines is good in the sense that they give you the same amount of points even for other oneworld airlines.
A medium flight
For medium distances, British Airways and Qantas are again the best choices for Business class passengers. For economy class, the situation is sadder. It already becomes evident that in many cases, the airlines’ own frequent flyer program is the best choice, although Malaysia Airlines still gets you closer to oneworld Sapphire in general.
A long flight
British Airways is still the best choice for business class passengers. While Royal Air Maroc and Royal Jordanian seemingly give more points for their own passengers, it is very difficult to find such long distance flights from these two airlines.
For economy class passengers, your best choice is to stick with the airline you fly the most or Royal Jordanian or Royal Air Maroc in some cases. Again, Malaysia Airlines gives you a very solid number of points regardless of which airline you fly.
A combination of all three flights
When we combine all three flights together, a business class passenger in British Airways program is almost halfway there to oneworld Sapphire. For economy class passengers, it is either the airline you fly most frequently or Malaysia Airlines that has become the solid choice. Japan Airlines and American Airlines programs are to be avoided at all costs.
If you fly short flights frequently, you might consider aiming for status based on the number of flights. In this case:
- Finnair Plus (until 2024)
- Unless if you live in Sri Lanka, Jordan or Morocco, then go with SriLankan Airlines, Royal Jordanian or Royal Air Maroc
If you aim for oneworld Sapphire based on points i.e. you fly long distances, then
- If you fly mostly in business class
- British Airways Executive Club
- If you fly in economy
- Malaysia Airlines Enrich
- Unless if you mainly fly one of the following Iberia, Finnair, Alaska Airlines, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian or SriLankan Airlines, then go with the frequent flyer program of the airline you fly the most
So all in all, for those who do not want to bother their brain too much: Finnair for number of flights, British Airways for business class passengers and Malaysia Airlines for economy class passengers.
That’s it, phew. At any rate, don’t forget to use the flight search available on our homepage that shows you exactly how many status points you will get for your flights even before you book them.