The Three Best Ways to Earn Oneworld EMERALD Status

Cathay Pacific Entrance

No matter if your work includes boarding a plane once a week or if it’s just the yearly vacation you’re going on: frequent flyer benefits are something that most of us love having — passing by the lanes, visiting a lounge before getting on the aircraft. It’s just great to feel like a VIP.

There are several ways to obtain top tier with an airline loyalty program. If you’re entirely new to this topic, check out our beginner’s article on how to earn miles. We’ve also already covered the possibilities to obtain elite status with one of the big airline alliances: Star Alliance Gold, Oneworld Sapphire, and SkyTeam Elite Plus.

So this time, we want to take it a step further: we’re not interested in obtaining a top tier. We want to know if there’s an easy way to the top tier of an alliance: the Oneworld Emerald status.

Sure, most benefits that travellers are looking for are already included in the Sapphire tier. But Oneworld’s highest status provides access to first class lounges as well as the option to use a first class check-in counter. So, if you want to set yourself apart from the masses, this is the tier you might be aiming for.

To get things straight right from the start: there is no “easy” way to obtain Oneworld Emerald status. Such a top tier is not just given away by any airline. But some ways are easier than others. And that’s what we will focus on in this article.


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Before we go into details about the programs that could pave your way to Oneworld Emerald, let’s just have a brief look at some of the benefits you’ll receive once you reach the tier:

  • Access to business and first class lounges: visit not only the business but also the first class lounge with an Oneworld ticket in any cabin class. And bring one guest.
  • Access to first class priority check-in: most carriers that offer a first class cabin on board will also have a dedicated check-in counter for their most valued customers. And with Oneworld Emerald, you’re one of them.
  • Fast track at select security lanes: no need to get into further explanations, we’d think.

While there are more benefits, those are the main ones. Also, you will have an even higher priority in waiting lists or when on stand-by. Now, let’s have a look at the programs that make it easy to overcome all hurdles.

British Airways Executive Club Gold

British Airways named its Emerald tier Gold, which includes the Oneworld Emerald 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 earned according to a distance chart and your cabin class. The booking class also has some 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).

For instance, a long-haul flight somewhere between 2,000-6,000 miles will get you 140 Tier Points if you’re flying business class. You will need at least 1,500 tier points to reach Gold status. In other words: fly between London and New York 11 times (one-way), and you will obtain Oneworld Emerald. As already mentioned, the price of the ticket won’t make a difference.

An easy way to earn the status is flying from Europe to Hawaii twice in business class, e.g. with stops in New York and Los Angeles.

British Airways Executive Club Gold
Executive Club Gold card


  • Qualification: 1,500 Tier points during your membership year are needed to obtain Gold membership. Also, you will need at least 4 segments flown on British Airways, Iberia, or at least with a BA flight number.
  • Validity: Current qualification year + another 13 months.
    Example: The qualification year ends on March 31, 2025 → your status will be valid until April 30, 2026.
  • Additional benefits:
    • 50-100% bonus Avios on flights with British Airways, Iberia, American Airlines and Japan Airlines.
    • No booking or service fees for Priority Reward bookings.
    • Additional reward flight availability in economy.
    • Free seat selection at the time of booking.
    • Lifetime Gold status (Oneworld Emerald) if you manage to earn 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.
  • Soft landing: Yes → 1 Year Silver (Oneworld Sapphire) → 1 Year Bronze (Oneworld Ruby)

Bottom Line

While no path will lead to Oneworld emerald status without flying a lot and spending some money, BA’s Executive Club is a great option if you’re flying in business class a lot but don’t care for high-priced fares. One Tier Point can often be earned for around €2 in ticket prices. So, in theory, you should be able to put together a mileage run for about €3,000 and become an Oneworld Emerald member.

The fact that you will have to fly British Airlines might seem like a restriction. But you will find similar requirements with other airline loyalty programs. And it shouldn’t be that hard to fly the UK carrier a couple of times if you’re living somewhere in Europe.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

Alaska Airlines joining the Oneworld alliance in 2021 was good news for those aiming for an easy Oneworld status. While getting the status may be slightly harder than at the British Airways Executive Club, Alaska’s program does have a few upsides that may have you choosing this program instead.

Unlike most programs (in any alliance), Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan lets you earn status miles (or Elite-Qualifying Miles, to be precise) on flights with non-alliance partners. The list of airlines this applies to is not too shabby, including airlines such as Aer Lingus, Condor, EL AL, Icelandair, Korean Air, and Singapore Airlines. Furthermore, you won’t need those 4 British Airways segments, as Alaska Airlines absolutely doesn’t care where you earn those 75,000 miles.

To put 75,000 miles in perspective: That amounts to roughly 5 long-haul business class round trips. Another example would be 2 long-haul business class round trips + 4 premium economy round trips. Feel free to use our status calculator to try out other combinations.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Logo


  • Qualification: 75,000 miles are needed to obtain MVP Gold 75K membership.
  • Validity: Current year + next full year.
    Example: You reach 75,000 miles on September 27, 2024 -> your status will be valid until December 31, 2025.
  • Additional benefits:
    • 100% more award miles: Earn a bonus of 100% on every eligible flight.
    • 50,000 award miles will be credited to your account once you reach the status.
    • Premium Class upgrades at the time of booking (except for Saver fares)
    • First Class upgrades 120 hours before departure (2 hours for Saver fares)
    • 3 checked bags for everyone on the same Alaska Airlines booking
    • 4 Alaska Lounge day passes
    • Avis President’s Club status
  • Re-qualification: 75,000 miles
  • Soft landing: No

Bottom Line

If you’re likely to not only fly Oneworld but also want to have more options, Alaska Airlines could be a good choice for you. The list of their non-alliance partners is quite large and has attractive airlines in them. The additional benefits are also not bad, with free upgrades on Alaska Airlines flights, and a whole bunch of award miles – at a program that actually has quite a few attractive redemption options.

Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum

The Australian national carrier and its Frequent Flyer program are typically not the most popular ones in Europe. That’s because the airline doesn’t serve too many European airports, and if they do, they offer – big surprise – flights to Australia (and Singapore). So many of us probably have never sat on board a Qantas aircraft and maybe never will. And if that’s so, then the loyalty program won’t be the right one for you either. Even though the program allows you to reach Oneworld status pretty fast, it can’t be done entirely without flying Qantas.

But if you manage to fly at least four segments on Qantas or Jetstar, you might want to stay with us here. Similar to the Executive Club, Qantas also differentiates between award miles (Qantas Points) and tier points. Qantas calls the latter Status Credit. The basic idea is that you will earn a certain amount of Status Credit according to the distance, booking class, and cabin class you’re travelling in. Unfortunately, Qantas is not as generous when it comes to booking classes, as British Airways. In fact, you will only earn tier points for certain fare types. A chart of all eligible booking classes can be found here.

To obtain Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum – and with it Oneworld Emerald status – you will need to earn 1,400 Status Credits. To get an idea of what that means: a flight from London to Sydney in Qantas business class will get you 295 Credits in each direction. So, five of those one-way trips per year would do the trick.

Qantas FF cards
Qantas Frequent Flyer cards


  • Qualification: 1,400 Status Credits are needed to obtain Platinum membership. Also, you will need at least 4 segments flown on Qantas or Jetstar.
  • Validity: Current membership year + another full year.
    Example: Your membership year ends on November 30, 2024 -> next membership year will end on November 30, 2025, and therefore, your status will be valid until November 30, 2025.
  • Additional benefits:
    • 100% more Qantas Points: Earn a bonus of 100% on every eligible flight with Qantas, Jetstar, and American Airlines.
    • Priority International upgrades: Successful international upgrade requests will be confirmed starting 48 hours before departure.
    • Preferred seating: Your seat will be allocated based on your seat preference.
    • Preferential access to Qantas award seats.
    • Status Hold: a parental leave benefit that lets you keep your status even if you’re not able to fly.
  • Re-qualification: 1,200 Status Credits until the end of your membership year.
  • Soft landing: Yes

Bottom Line

Qantas Frequent Flyer is a great program to earn Emerald tier. But (and it’s a big one) only for those that really fly the carrier. Next to the four segments that you will need to obtain status, the airline also favours those who travel with them. The same flight in the same cabin class can earn you way more Status Credits if it’s a Qantas flight. So be aware of your travel patterns!

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Comments (4)

  1. Andreas says:

    Thank you for your interesting report.
    I have been collecting tier points at BA for years.
    Many flights have become significantly more expensive. That’s why I’m a bit surprised about the calculation example of €2 per TP, which is supposed to be “OFTEN”. I hope for your help here.
    Unfortunately, I only know of very few examples where this ratio can be achieved: e.g. Finnair flights HEL-LIS or HEL-AGP as return. These are just above the 140 TP limit and therefore bring at least 280 TP at around €620. Of course, I also know the often cheap, 80 TP flights LHR – SOF/OTP (from at least €360 as return), but then, as far as I know, it is already quite limited, with TP racetracks currently still available. I would be very grateful if you could publish a few more examples of the ratio mentioned here.
    Thank you in advance and always have a safe flight.

  2. Martin says:

    I fully agree on your description of the QF program. Great program and benefits if you manage to fly at least those 4 segments on QF or Jetstar.
    It can be a bit tricky if you are looking on flying partner airlines to get your required 1400 (1200 at renewal) credits. Flights on BA, IB, AY and RJ are mostly fine, but if you fly CX or QR many booking classes will not be credited at all or in case of MH with credits equivalent of economy instead of business.
    Two remarks on your description:
    a) membership year always ends at the end of the month, not on the 8th etc.
    b) for 1400 points (1200 for renewal) you get Platinum status – Oneworld Emerald

  3. Richard Callis says:

    Having read Royal Jordanian’s program rules it looks like the minimum flight requirement apply not just to sectors but to miles flown also. I think you need to fly 20 Royal Jordanian sectors if you fly the 65000 miles too.

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