Guide to Oneworld Explorer Round-The-World Tickets

Oneworld airline route map. Image: Oneworld.
Oneworld airline route map. Image: Oneworld.

Did you know that the Oneworld alliance offers a special round-the-world airfare? The Oneworld Explorer fare can be used to travel on all Oneworld airlines, including Qantas, with up to 15 stopovers anywhere in the world. This can be very good value if you maximise the inclusions, and it’s also relatively flexible. Plus, you can easily earn Qantas Platinum status with a Oneworld Explorer ticket in Business Class.

The Oneworld Explorer product is offered in Economy, Business and First Class. Although a Premium Economy round-the-world ticket is not offered, you can upgrade individual sectors of an Economy itinerary to Premium Economy. The ticket price is calculated based on your class of travel and the number of continents that you visit.

What routings are possible with a Oneworld Explorer ticket?

Just about any trip is possible! You can fly anywhere that is served by a Oneworld airline, as long as your trip meets the routing rules. These airlines are in the Oneworld alliance and can be used:

As this is a round-the-world ticket, you would need to travel in one continuous direction, crossing both the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean exactly once each. Backtracking between continents is not allowed. Other rules include:

  • You must end in the country where you started the trip
  • Maximum 4 flights within any single continent (except North America, where you are allowed 6 flights)
  • Maximum 2 stopovers in the continent of origin
  • Surface sectors are permitted
  • The whole trip cannot take longer than one year

AFF member JohnM has been travelling around the world using Oneworld Explorer tickets every year for more than a decade! For some inspiration, you can check out his latest trip report here: A high and dry, wild and wet, majestic history medley – RTW 2018

Oneworld Explorer Continents

Remember, your fare is based on the number of continents you visit. That said, it appears that whoever classified the continents for the Oneworld Explorer was geographically challenged. This creates some interesting loopholes! Here are the Oneworld Explorer continental zones:

Oneworld Explorer continent zones
Oneworld Explorer continent zones

We love our abbreviations on AFF! On our forums, Oneworld Explorer tickets are often referred to as xONEx fares. The first “x” represents the booking class. In this case it’s “L” for Economy, “D” for Business or “A” for First Class. The second “x” stands for the number of continents. So, for example, a “DONE5” is a 5-continent Oneworld Explorer ticket in Business Class.

How to Book a Oneworld Explorer Ticket

You can book a Oneworld Explorer ticket with most travel agents. But you can also easily plan and book your own trip on the Oneworld website. The online tool is intuitive and easy to use.

The Oneworld Explorer booking tool in action.
The Oneworld Explorer booking tool in action.

 

How much does a Oneworld Explorer cost?

As a rough guide, here’s a sample 4-continent itinerary we put together starting in Perth:

At the time of writing, this trip would cost $4,761 in Economy Class or $13,278 in Business. First Class was not available on most of the flights in this itinerary, but a First Class round-the-world trip normally costs approximately $19,000.

This may sound like quite a lot of money. But it’s almost certainly cheaper than buying all of the flights individually! Don’t forget, a key benefit of the Oneworld Explorer is also the flexibility. You can change your dates free of charge after the booking is finalised (subject to availability).

The above prices apply to trips that start in Australia. Trips that begin overseas are priced differently – and are sometimes cheaper. In fact, you can often save thousands of dollars by starting your trip in a country such as South Africa, Sri Lanka or Japan!

Oneworld Explorer vs Oneworld Award

The Oneworld Explorer product is not to be confused with the Qantas Oneworld Classic Flight Reward, or Oneworld Award. The Qantas Oneworld Award is a frequent flyer redemption ticket that can be used to travel around the world with Qantas Frequent Flyer points. It is subject to different rules and is not actually a round-the-world ticket, so backtracking is allowed.

If you’re considering booking a Oneworld Explorer ticket, be sure to check out this thread on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum where our members discuss ways to maximise the benefits: Oneworld Explorer ticketing

There is also a Star Alliance Round the World fare and a SkyTeam equivalent.

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]