ONEWORLD SAPPHIRE – THE PRIVILEGES OF ELITE STATUS
Today we take a closer look at airline elite status and explore the perks that are offered with oneworld Sapphire status.
Oneworld Sapphire is the standardised mid-level range of status across the entire oneworld network.
This means that no matter whether you have American Airlines Platinum status, British Airways Silver status or Qantas Gold status, you’ll automatically have oneworld Sapphire status and you will enjoy the oneworld Sapphire benefits across the whole oneworld network, no matter where in the world you are.
Our preferred method of obtaining Sapphire is through the American Airlines Platinum Challenge, which we’ve covered in the past. This is an exceptionally generous way of achieving elite status with as little as one long haul return flight.
Obtaining oneworld Sapphire status opens up a whole world of perks from the moment you hit the airport. Today we break them down and walk you through the travel experience as a passenger with elite status.
Priority Check in
Having the ability to check-in through the priority queue is perhaps the most underrated perk of elite status.
Imagining turning up to the airport to see a queue of 100 people waiting for bag drop. It instantly ruins your holiday mood if you know you’ll be spending the next hour in a queue to check-in.
With Sapphire status, you’ll breeze straight past the lengthy queues and check-in through the priority queue.
From our experience, priority queues never have more than a couple of people waiting in them and this may save you over an hour waiting in line.
And we all know where that extra time is better spent – the airport lounge.
While we normally advocate packing light, there will be occasions where your suitcase is maxing out the scales. This can be expensive as airlines will charge you by the kilo for extra baggage.
However with Sapphire status the normal baggage weight rules don’t apply.
The following is taken from the oneworld website:
As a Sapphire frequent flyer the following special baggage privileges will apply when you fly on oneworld airlines.
- On international or domestic itineraries using the baggage allowance “weight” system you receive 15 kgs in addition to the ticketed Economy allowance.
- On international itineraries (including domestic sectors flown as part of international itineraries) using the baggage allowance “piece” system, you will receive a second bag, weighing up to 23 kgs, when the ticketed allowance is one bag.
- On domestic itineraries only with flights using the baggage allowance “piece” system, you are guaranteed at least one piece of checked baggage, weighing up to 23 kgs, even when the regular ticketed allowance has no free allowance.
Complimentary Seat Selection
If you don’t have the points to upgrade to business or first and you’re stuck in economy, the next best seats are exit row seats. However airlines now charge for these and they aren’t cheap.
With Sapphire status you’ll receive complimentary exit seats on the airline on which you have status. For example, if you have American Airlines Platinum status, you can choose exit seats for free when you fly American. This is a great benefit that can save you a lot of money, especially if you fly frequently. Having the extra legroom on a long-haul flight can really make a difference in terms of comfort.
Priority Security Queue
Not all airports offer a priority security queue, but if they do, you can potentially save a lot more time by using this queue.
Airport Lounge Access
We’ve covered airline lounge access before in many articles.
Lounge access is without doubt the best perk of airline elite status.
There’s simply no better way to start a trip than to kick back in a lounge and enjoy complimentary food and drink, away from the chaos of the terminal.
With Sapphire status you’ll have access to the entire range of oneworld lounges (not including the First Class lounges). While some lounges are better than others, there are some truly pimped lounges in the oneworld collection that can really add a new dimension to your flight experience.
Furthermore, you can bring in a guest with you, so you’ll always have a drinking buddy if you’re travelling with a partner.
Once you’ve finished in the lounge and you head to the gate you’ll often be greeted with another queue – this time to board the plane.
Again, you’ll have special privileges here and will be able to board through the priority queue.
Having the ability to board the plane when you want is a nice way to round off your airport experience.
You’ve avoided three queues, had a few drinks in the lounge and now you can board the plane in your own time and kick back and relax.
But the perks don’t finish there:
Another great perk of Sapphire status is that you’ll accrue extra miles when flying on any oneworld airline.
The miles you accumulate will be relative to the ticket class you booked. So a cheap economy ticket on BA might get you 0.5 miles for every mile flown if you’re an American Airlines Platinum status holder. However, the miles will be doubled with your Sapphire status.
It makes accruing miles much easier, and this means more free flights in the future.
Precise bonuses for exact booking classes can vary among the many airlines throughout the oneworld alliance, so be sure to check the specifics on your airline website before booking.
More Chance of an Upgrade
Complimentary upgrades are hard to come by these days.
However if you have status with an airline, you’re giving yourself the best shot at getting one, as airlines would prefer to upgrade their most loyal customers when possible.
We have covered other strategies for getting an upgrade here.
Overall, the perks of having oneworld Sapphire status open your entire flight experience to a whole new world. You’ll avoid the queues, save time, enjoy complimentary drinks in some amazing lounges, save money on exit seats and accrue extra miles for future flights. We highly recommend aiming for elite status through the American Airlines Platinum challenge here.