Do Malaysia Airlines Codeshares On Emirates Earn AAdvantage Miles?

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A reader recently emailed me to ask whether he would earn AAdvantage Miles for a flight he’s taking with Emirates that he booked as a Malaysia Airlines codeshare.  I’m guessing this reader isn’t the first person to ask this question so here’s what you need to know.

Malaysia Airlines is a member of the OneWorld alliance which means that it partners with, amongst others, American Airlines….but that doesn’t necessarily mean that all tickets you purchase through Malaysia Airlines are eligible for AAdvantage mileage accrual.

Malaysia Airlines codeshares with Emirates are a very good example of a situation where passengers will not earn AAdvantage miles.american-malaysia-1

Recently, thanks to the very well publicised issues the airline has had, Malaysia Airlines has been making some significant (and often drastic) changes to its operations. One of those changes has been the cutting of a large number of routes that the airline used to operate and, after cutting most of it’s routes to/from Europe and the Middle East, Malaysia Airlines entered into a codeshare agreement with Emirates.

This means that customers can go online to the Malaysia Airlines website and book tickets to the Middle East and Europe (as they would have done in the past) but now, rather than flying on a Malaysia Airlines aircraft, the route is flown by Emirates.

When passengers book their tickets the flights will show a Malaysia Airlines flight number but, underneath, will be the words “flight is operated by Emirates”….


…and this is what can confuse some people.

To those unaccustomed to the idea of codeshares, a Malaysia Airlines flight number would appear to indicate a Malaysia Airlines flight. And, as Malaysia Airlines is a member of OneWorld, the logical next step is to believe that the flight will be eligible to earn AAdvantage Miles and AAdvantage elite status. Unfortunately it doesn’t work like that.

Why Don’t Malaysia Airlines Codeshares On Emirates Earn AAdvantage Miles?

Quite simply, because the rules say they don’t.

The rules for codeshares on Malaysia Airlines are clearly spelt out on the American Airlines website:

Earn AAdvantage miles when you fly on Malaysia Airlines marketed and operated flights as well as Malaysia codeshare flights operated by oneworld carriers and affiliates.

Emirates is neither a OneWorld carrier not is it a OneWorld affiliate (check here if you want to know which airlines are in OneWorld and which are affiliated to the alliance) so that makes Malaysia Airlines codeshares on Emirates ineligible for mileage accrual.

As far as I can work out, this rule applies to all but one codeshare agreement that OneWorld airlines have and, when I tell you which codeshare that is, you’ll see why it can add to the confusion.

Qantas Codeshares With Emirates

Malaysia Airlines isn’t the first airline to come up with the idea of cutting routes to Europe and then codesharing with Emirates to make up for it – Qantas did this back in 2013.

For reasons I’m not entirely clear on, Qantas’ codeshares on Emirates are eligible for AAdvantage miles and elite qualifying miles accrual and, if you take a look at the wording on the relevant American Airlines webpage, you’ll see a subtle difference to to the paragraph I quoted above relating to Malaysia Airlines codeshares:

Earn AAdvantage miles when you fly on Qantas marketed and operated flights as well as Qantas Airways codeshare flights.

There is no mention of the codeshares having to be operated by OneWorld carriers or affiliates.

Further down the same page there is an exception listed…..

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….but, for the purposes of this discussion, it’s not particularly relevant.

Bottom Line

Before you book a flight with an expectation of receiving a certain benefit (miles, status etc…) you should always carefully check the published rules on the relevant airline’s webpage. In this case the passenger was interested in accruing AAdvantage Miles so the appropriate webpages to look at are those published by American Airlines – it’s their loyalty program so they make the rules.