Oneworld Sapphire Benefits (& Other Things You Should Know About the Status)

Each of the three major airline alliances offers their member airlines’ frequent flyers alliance-wide statuses. While Star Alliance and SkyTeam have two tiers of such statuses, oneworld has three. Sapphire is the alliance’s mid-tier status – better than Ruby but not as attractive as Emerald.

Continue reading to learn what benefits you can enjoy as a oneworld Sapphire member and whether they make the status worth getting.

Oneworld Sapphire
Lounge access is one of the most attractive benefits of the oneworld Sapphire status.

What Is oneworld Sapphire Status?

Unlike an airline frequent flyer status which is earned by collecting enough status miles or reaching other milestone with a frequent flyer program, oneworld Sapphire is not earned directly. Instead, being an alliance-wide status, it is offered as a perk to those holding specific statuses with oneworld member airlines.

Those that earn an airline status that maps to oneworld Sapphire can then enjoy a variety of perks (more about those in the next section) on all oneworld airlines.

While the alliance-wide perks are typically more limited than the perks you will be able to enjoy on the airline that you have your status with, in the case of Sapphire (and Emerald) they are still significant.

Oneworld Sapphire Benefits: A Complete List

As you probably understand by this point, although it lacks some of the perks offered by oneworld Emerald, oneworld Sapphire still offers valuable perks on top of those offered by oneworld Ruby.

Oneworld Status Benefit Comparison

Overall, the benefits are roughly equivalent to those offered by the higher-tier statuses of the other two major alliances – Star Alliance Gold and SkyTeam Elite Plus.

Let’s look at them one by one.

(Business Class) Lounge Access

To many including myself, lounge access regardless of class of travel is the most valuable perk that comes with oneworld Sapphire. With some exceptions, Sapphire members can access oneworld business class and frequent flyer lounges when traveling on a oneworld member airline-operated flight departing on the same day or before 6AM the next day.

The most notable cases in which you will not be able to access a lounge using your Sapphire status include the following:

  • Alaska Airlines and American Airlines frequent flyer status holders (i.e. those who have their oneworld Sapphire status through those two programs) traveling on economy class itineraries within North America
  • SriLankan Airlines frequent flyer status holders on select routes
  • Qantas Domestic Business Lounges in Australia
  • Al Mourjan Lounges in Doha (Qatar Airways instead provides access to much inferior lounges like this one)

Oneworld Sapphire members can bring one guest with them when visiting a lounge. While the guest must be traveling on a oneworld member airline-operated flight departing no later than 5:59AM the next day too, he or she does not need to be traveling on the same flight as the status holder.

While the quality of the lounges you will be able to access as a Sapphire member varies, you can expect most lounges to have a decent buffet and drinks selection and to offer showers. To give you an idea, some of the over 600 lounges oneworld Sapphire members can access include the Finnair Business Lounge at Helsinki Airport, the Cathay Pacific Lounge at Vancouver Airport, and The Qantas Hong Kong Lounge.

The Qantas London Lounge
The Qantas London Lounge is one of the great lounges that Sapphire members can use.

Priority Check-in

Like Ruby members, oneworld Sapphire status holders can shave some time off their check-in wait time when traveling in economy and premium economy class by being able to use business class check-in counters.

How much time you will actually save will depend on how many business class counters there are compared to the counters you would have access to without a status and so on. Nonetheless, the perk is very nice to have, especially in cases where many passengers check in a lot of luggage and queues tend to move slowly.

Oneworld Sapphire Priority Check-in
Generally, Sapphire members can use business class check-in desks.

Advance/Preferred Seat Selection

In a world where more and more airlines are charging more and more money for selecting seats at the time of reservation rather than at check-in (or not allowing seat selection at all to those who do not pay), it is nice that oneworld Sapphire offers free seat selection as a perk.

There are two caveats to this perk, though:

  1. It does not apply to all oneworld member airlines
  2. Even when it does apply on the airline you will fly with, there might be some restrictions (e.g. inability to choose an exit row seat with extra legroom)

An example of an airline that offers this perk is British Airways which allows oneworld Sapphire members to choose their seats (excluding exit row seats on long-haul flights) from the moment they make their booking.

British Airways Seats
British Airways is one of the airlines that lets Sapphires choose seats in advance.

Waitlist and Standby Priority

Like oneworld Ruby members, Sapphire members have priority compared to those without a status when it comes to waitlists (i.e. waiting for a free space to open on a flight that is fully booked for the time being) and standby (i.e. waiting at the airport to see whether there will be an empty seat on a flight you would like to take).

Of course, Sapphire members have a higher priority compared to not just non-status holders but Ruby members too, and they place lower on the lists than Emerald members.

Due to its limited usefulness overall and the fact that you will be overtaken by Emerald members in many cases, this is one of the less valuable Sapphire status benefits in my opinion.

Priority Boarding

As a oneworld Sapphire member traveling in economy or premium economy class, you will be able to board earlier than your fellow passengers without a status. Generally, this will mean boarding together with business class passengers. That said, some airlines have different policies like having a boarding group dedicated to Sapphires and other status holders.

This perk is not really useful if you generally travel in business or first class or if you prefer to board as close to departure time as possible.

On the other hand, you will find it very valuable if you typically travel in economy or premium economy and like to get onboard as soon as possible to have time to settle in your seat or to make sure there is enough space for your carry-on in the overhead compartment.

Oneworld Sapphire Priority Boarding
Priority boarding is one of the perks you will either enjoy or not care about at all.

Extra Baggage Allowance

In the past, the extra baggage allowance perk that comes with oneworld Sapphire was only useful for those traveling with a lot of checked luggage. Nowadays, though, with increasingly more airlines offering “no checked luggage included” fares, this perk can be valuable to more people depending on their travel patterns.

When traveling on oneworld member airline flights, Sapphire members’ baggage allowance increases by:

  • 15 kg on economy class itineraries using the “weight baggage allowance” system (more on higher class itineraries in some cases)
  • 1 piece (max. 23 kg) up to a total of 2 pieces on international itineraries using the “piece baggage allowance” system
  • 1 piece (max. 23 kg) on domestic itineraries using the “piece baggage allowance” system booked without checked baggage allowance

The above does not apply to passengers traveling on British Airways’ “hand baggage only/basic” tickets.

Priority Baggage Handling

Last on the list of oneworld Sapphire benefits is another one that has the potential to shorten your overall trip time by a few minutes. That’s because as a Sapphire member, your bag will be handled with priority (similar to the bags of business class passengers).

Two caveats: this perk is not offered to those traveling on British Airways and on airlines that offer it, how well it works depends on a variety of factors including the airports you travel through.

Is oneworld Sapphire Worth Getting?

The Sapphire status offers plenty of perks that can make your journey both faster (like priority check-in and baggage handling) and more comfortable (like lounge access and advance seat selection).

With the notable exception of security check and immigration fast track access which is reserved to oneworld Emerald members, oneworld Sapphire offers roughly the same perks as comparable statuses with Star Alliance and SkyTeam.

Because of that, if you travel frequently enough on oneworld member airlines then spending some time figuring out if you could earn the Sapphire status by crediting all your flights to a single program (not necessarily that of the airline you fly with the most) or by flying a couple extra flights is definitely worth it.

JAL - Oneworld Member
JAL is just one of the more than ten oneworld airlines on which Sapphire benefits can be enjoyed.


Oneworld Sapphire is the alliance’s mid-tier status that offers perks similar to the higher-tier statuses of the two other major alliances. Among other things, it provides lounge access even when flying in economy class, extra baggage allowance, and priority at various points throughout your journey.

It is a status that is definitely worth going out of your way a bit to earn in case you fly with oneworld airlines frequently enough.

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