I that I true, Vik, I continue to be amazed that so many travellers – even frequent ones – aren’t aware of all the benefits available to them. One only has to look at the number of posts on FlyerTalk where people ask about benefits
However, as has been referenced in this thread, it is important to be aware of the distinction between:
(a) alliance-wide benefits such as lounge access
(b) carve-outs from alliance-wide benefits (such as the fact that under oneworld, members of QF and AA site cards are not able to access domestic lounges since they offer paid equivalents and don’t want to undermine that revenue stream
(c) additional benefits offered by individual members of alliances to their own members (such as the anytime lounge access I have on CX)
(d) additional membership tiers that individual alliance members have that don’t correspond to alliance tiers (BA’s GGL, CCR and Premier, for example)
(e) mileage reward programmes – these I don’t regard (largely speaking) as being an alliance benefit in and of themselves. The ability to earn and burn across alliance is, of course, an alliance benefit, but each reward programme is so different that they can’t easily be compared across alliances – and many airlines offer reduced earning on flights operated by other carriers (CX has, for instance, just changed to a points-based system similar to Avios rather than the mileage-based system they used before – so the MH return trip I just did will not earn an effective ? bonus for MH from April (before I would get c. 20,000 miles for flying MH due to the longer routing, as opposed to c. 15,000 for flying direct on CX – after the change the earning will be the same despite the additional flights). As another example, above Martyn refers to the ease of using Avios on shorthaul flights – great, but if you are in another oneworld member’s programmes you may not find that the same applies. Frankly, although – as I said – earning-and-burning is an alliance-wide benefit, the utility of that is highly contingent on the reward programme in question so an alliance-to-alliance comparison seems to me to be virtually impossible
Hope that helps!