Complete guide to the Star Alliance Global Airline Network

Information verified correct on June 24th, 2016

star allianceMaximise your frequent flyer rewards with the 28 major airlines and over 1,000 airport lounges available with the Star Alliance

Star Alliance is the world's largest airline association with the highest number of member airlines, destination, and daily flights. The alliance was established in 1997 by five founding airlines from three continents.

These airlines include Scandinavian Airlines, United Airlines, Thai Airways, Air Canada and Lufthansa. It has since grown to 28 airlines that fly to 150 countries. Star Alliance is the world's largest airline association with the highest number of member airlines, destination, and daily flights. The alliance was established in 1997 by five founding airlines from three continents.

How does the Star Alliance work?

  • Airline network. If you are a member of an airline within the Star Alliance you can redeem points when flying with 28 member airlines. For example, if you are a member of Singapore Airlines' KrisFlyer Program and you travel with Lufthansa Airlines, you can still earn Krisflyer Miles for that flight.
  • How do I join? Once you have joined an alliance frequent flyer program you will be eligible to earn and redeem miles across the Star Alliance network.
  • How do I earn points? To earn points by flying with other member airlines you can either book directly through Star Alliance and enter your frequent flyer details during the booking process or when you check in for your flight which will automatically activate the mileage credit process. If there is an issue with the transfer process then it would be best to contact your home frequent flyer programme to request the points credit.
  • Airport lounges. Relax in comfort and style before your next flight at over 1,000 lounges worldwide when you travel on a Star Alliance member airline (available to Star Alliance Gold Members).

Which Australian credit cards can earn points with Star Alliance?

Unfortunately no Australian credit cards currently offer membership to a Star Alliance partner. Current cardholders of the Singapore Airlines Westpac Platinum or Gold Credit Cards (no longer offered on the market) are eligible to earn points with other Star Alliance members.

Airline alliances compatible with Australian credit cards

Member Airlines

Star Alliance currently includes 28 member airlines, and it serves over 641.10 million flyers every year through more than 18,500 daily departures. This alliance comprises over 4,600 aircrafts, more than 432,000 employees, and around 1,300 airports. It gives its members access to more than 1,000 airport lounges in over 190 countries. As a result, when you become part of this extensive network, you can look forward to flying to just about every destination in the world. Airlines that are part of the Star Alliance include the following:

  • Adria Airways
  • Aegean Airlines
  • Air Canada
  • Air China
  • Air New Zealand
  • ANA
  • Asiana Airlines
  • Austrian
  • Avianca
  • Brussels Airlines
  • Copa Airlines
  • Croatia Airlines
  • EGYPTAIR
  • Ethiopian Airlines
  • EVA Air
  • LOT Polish Airlines
  • Lufthansa
  • Scandinavian Airlines
  • Shenzhen Airlines
  • Singapore Airlines
  • South African Airways
  • SWISS
  • TAM Airlines
  • TAP Portugal
  • THAI
  • Turkish Airlines
  • United
  • US Airways
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What are the status levels and benefits?

Star Alliance offers two membership levels: Gold and Silver. Your current frequent flyer tier (amount of miles accumulated) will determine whether you have Gold or Silver status in the Star Alliance.  Each partner airline maintains its own status levels which equates to Star Alliance Gold or Silver membership. For example, if you are a premium member of South African Airways, you will have Star Alliance Gold status. Your frequent flyer program card will also show your respective Star Alliance status.

In essence, Star Alliance gives each frequent flyer from partner airlines access to a variety of perks internationally. Below are some of the benefits of being a Star Alliance Silver and Gold member:

  • Silver
  • Priority waitlisting
  • Priority airport standby
  • Gold

Same benefits as Silver and:

  • Airport lounge access. Enjoy and relax at over 1,000 lounges worldwide when you travel on a Star Alliance member airline regardless of your class of service (First, Business, Premium Economy or Economy).
  • Priority check-in
  • Priority boarding
  • Extra baggage allowance
  • Worldwide lounge access (some restrictions may apply)

Airport Lounge Access

Enjoy access to over 1,000 lounges worldwide with the following access policies:

  • International First Class

    Access all member airline International First Class lounges by simply showing your boarding pass in International First Class on a Star Alliance flight departing from the local airport. Also benefit from bringing one guest with you to relax in style. 
    Exceptions: LH HON/First Class Lounges in FRA/MUC; LX HON/First Class Lounges in ZRH/GVA; OS HON/First Class Lounges in VIE; TG Spa Lounge in BKK (subject to change).

  • International Business Class

    Access any member airline Business Class lounge. No guest passes are available on this class.

  • Domestic Business Class

    Receive access to any air lounges with compatible airlines who provide lounge benefits to Domestic Business fares. Restrictions apply with Business Class passengers travelling with United Airlines in the USA. No guest passes are available on this class.

  • Star Alliance Gold Status Members

    Enjoy access to any member airline lounge that displays the Star Alliance Gold logo.

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What are the benefits of flying with a Star Alliance partner?

There are a variety of benefits associated with flying with a Star Alliance partner. The alliance of 28 airlines means that you get unparalleled access to airport lounges and have the ability to earn and redeem points from any partner airlines.

  • Ability to earn and redeem points across airlines

This is a significant benefit to regular international travellers. You get to earn points or miles for the flights you book on Star Alliance member airlines. The points on your frequent flyer number can also be redeemed on any of the partner airlines.

  • Airport lounge access

Long waits at the airport used to be uncomfortable. By becoming a frequent flyer on a Star Alliance partner, you get access to airport lounges all over the world. This feature is available for Gold Status members who fly on any class category. Silver members can also access the airport lounges when they fly first or business class.

  • Star Alliance fares
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Star Alliance offers a number of special fare types. These are designed for those doing a fair bit of flying, and offer discounts and your own personalised itinerary.

  • Round the World Fare

Star Alliance lets you plan an unforgettable adventure with the Round the World Fare. This fare allows you to fly to 195 countries on any of the 28 participating airlines. It is a multi-destination fare that can take you anywhere from Australasia to the Middle East to the Americas.

  • Circle Pacific Fare

Visit exciting destinations in 25 countries with only one ticket when you take advantage of the Circle Pacific Fare. There are two fare mileage levels available under this category. Simply pick the one that choose your needs. It can be used to visit places in North America, South West Pacific, and Asia as long as it is within the mileage of your chosen level.

  • Airpass

Airpasses allows you to book up to ten individual flights to your chosen region or continent. There are six options to choose from including the Africa Airpass, Asia Airpass, North America Airpass, China Airpass, Europe Airpass, and Japan Airpass. Explore your favourite areas more deeply and enjoy the experience the beauty of the region with the Airpass.

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Star Alliance Business Benefits

Conventions Plus

Obtain discounts for your delegates travelling to international conferences with the Conventions Plus package from Star Alliance. If you're organising the conference, you'll only have one point of contact for all of your organisation needs to minimise the time you need to spend. Delegates can also get discounted flights to the conference using the supplied Conventions Code.

Meetings Plus

Businesses that have international meetings with more than 50 participants can get the Meetings Plus package to get group discounts. Organisers of the meeting also have the benefit of only have to deal with a single point of contact to make the process easier.

Corporate Plus

Large companies that require employees to travel regularly can take advantage of the Corporate Plus package.

Company Plus

This reduces the number of travel-related issues multinational corporations have to deal with. You'll have one Star Alliance contact who will organise all of your trips for you, and work to secure your discounts.

What are the differences between oneworld and Star Alliance?

Star Alliance, SkyTeam, and oneworld are the three largest airline alliances. The services they offer to passengers are generally similar. The main selling point of Star Alliance is that it has the largest coalition of airlines which flies to 194 countries and 1,329 destinations. In contrast, oneworld flies to 155 countries and 850 destinations.

Some of the member airlines on oneworld include Air Berlin, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, and Qantas Airways.

Frequently asked questions

How can I join a Star Alliance member airlines’ frequent flyer program?

You have to visit the member airlines website and complete the required formalities.

Do I get a Star Alliance card?

No, your frequent flyer program card comes linked to your Star Alliance account.

Do I earn miles or points through all Star Alliance member airlines?

Once you’re part of a frequent flyer program offered by a Star Alliance member airline, you stand to earn points or miles no matter which member airline you use.

Can I combine miles or points from different frequent flyer programs?

No. You cannot combine points and/or miles between two or more Star Alliance airline frequent flyer programs.

What do I have to do to redeem miles or points on Star Alliance member airline flights?

If you wish to redeem your points or miles for a flight onboard a member airline, you have to get in touch with your frequent flyer program service centre, and not that of the desired partner airline.

Is there a way I can find out about the location of lounges at different airports?

Yes. You can use the Lounge Finder Tool provided by Star Alliance, and you can also find maps of airports using Star Alliance airport information pages.

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2 Responses to Complete guide to the Star Alliance Global Airline Network

  1. Default Gravatar
    Chris | November 5, 2014

    Which card is the best card to use to gain points to use on Air Canada flights?

    • Staff
      Shirley | November 5, 2014

      Hi Chris,

      Thanks for your question.

      Please note that we don’t recommend specific products, services or providers – and unfortunately at this current point in time we don’t compare credit cards that let you earn miles for AirCanada.

      You may want to get in touch with someone from AirCanada to see what they can offer.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

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