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Guide to the Star Alliance Global Airline Network

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Maximize your frequent flyer rewards with an airline network that’s 28 strong.

Star Alliance is the world’s largest airline association with the highest number of member airlines, destinations and daily flights. The alliance was established in 1997 by five founding airlines from three continents. It has since grown to 28 members that fly between more than 190 countries.

How does the Star Alliance work?

If you’re a member of an airline reward program within the Star Alliance, you can redeem points when flying with 28 member airlines. For example, if you are a member of United Airlines reward program and you travel with Lufthansa, you can still earn United miles for that flight.

Is there a Star Alliance credit card?

No, there isn’t a Star Alliance credit card. But you can get a United Airlines credit card to earn and redeem miles on flights with Star Alliance airlines.

Also, if you frequently fly United Airlines, United Express or any of its select partners, you can earn:

  • Premier qualifying miles (PQM)
  • Premier qualifying segments (PQS)
  • Premier qualifying dollars (PGD)

Once you accumulate enough of all three, you’ll upgrade to a United Premier status, which brings additional perks and benefits on Star Alliance flights.

Our pick for a Star Alliance airline credit card

Avianca Vuela Visa® Card

  • Enjoy a signup bonus of 40,000 LifeMiles after first card use
  • Earn 3 LifeMiles per $1 spent on Avianca purchases
  • Earn 2 LifeMiles per $1 spent at gas stations and grocery stores
  • Earn 1 LifeMile per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • 15% discount on purchases of miles with Multiply Your Miles
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Star Alliance Member Airlines

Airlines that are part of the Star Alliance include the following:

  • Adria Airways
  • Aegean Airlines
  • Air Canada
  • Air China
  • Air India
  • Air New Zealand
  • ANA
  • Asiana Airlines
  • Austrian Airlines
  • Avianca
  • Avianca Brasil
  • 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
  • TAP Portugal
  • Thai Airways International
  • Turkish Airlines
  • United Airlines
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What are the Star Alliance status levels and benefits?

If you travel often and own a cobranded credit card of a Star Alliance airline, you can get one of the two membership levels: Gold or Silver.

Both tiers come with specific perks and benefits, including:

  • Silver
  • Priority waitlisting
  • Priority airport standby
  • Gold

Same benefits as Silver and:

  • Airport lounge access.
  • Priority check-in
  • Priority boarding
  • Priority baggage handling
  • Priority security and immigration
  • Extra baggage allowance

How do I get Star Alliance status levels?

If you have a United Airlines credit card, the Premier status you achieve with your card will automatically apply to your Star Alliance status.

United Airlines Premier status Star Alliance status
MileagePlus Premier Silver Star Alliance Silver
MileagePlus Premier Gold Star Alliance Gold
MileagePlus Premier Platinum Star Alliance Gold
MileagePlus Premier 1K Star Alliance Gold

Airport Lounge Access

A woman relaxing in an airport lounge
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. You can also bring one guest with you to relax in style.

  • International Business Class

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

The best US airport lounges and how to get in

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

An alliance of 28 airlines means that you get unparalleled access to airport lounges and have the ability to earn and redeem points with any of its partner airlines.

  • Ability to earn and redeem points across airlines

This is a significant benefit to regular international travelers. You can earn points or miles for the flights you book on any Star Alliance member airlines. The points on your frequent flyer account 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, though there are some exceptions for United Airlines domestic flights. Silver members can also access the airport lounges when flying first or business class.

Star Alliance fares
Title

Star Alliance offers a number of special fare types. They’re designed for those doing a fair bit of flying, and offer discounts and a personalized 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 more than 190 countries on any of the 28 participating airlines.

It’s a multi-destination fare that can take you anywhere from United States to the Middle East to Australia.

  • Circle Pacific Fare

Visit exciting destinations in 25 countries with 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 fits your needs.

You can use it to visit places in North America, South West Pacific and Asia as long as it’s within the mileage of your chosen level.

Star Alliance benefits for businesses

  • Conventions Plus.

    Obtain discounts for your delegates traveling to international conferences with the Conventions Plus package. If you’re organizing the conference, you’ll only have one point of contact for all of your organization needs. 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 for group discounts. Meeting organizers also have the benefit of only having to deal with a single point of contact.

  • Corporate Plus.

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

  • Company Plus.

    You’ll have one Star Alliance contact who will organize 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 fairly similar. The main selling point of Star Alliance is that it has the largest coalition of airlines, which flies to over 190 countries. In contrast, Oneworld flies to 160 countries.

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

Compare airline credit cards

Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Annual Fee
10,000 miles after spending $500 in the first 3 months
2x miles at US restaurants and on purchases made directly with Delta and 1x miles on all other purchases
$0
Earn 10,000 bonus miles after spending $500 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months of card membership. Rates & fees
40,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
Earn 2 miles per $1 spent at restaurants, on hotel stays and on purchases from United. 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
30,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase in the first 3 months
2x miles on Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
30,000 bonus miles after you use your new card to make $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase in the first 3 months. Rates & fees
40,000 bonus LifeMiles after first card use
3x miles on Avianca purchases, 2x miles at gas stations and grocery stores and 1x miles on all other purchases. Plus 15% discount on purchases of miles with Multiply Your Miles
$149
40,000 bonus LifeMiles after first card use
20,000 bonus LifeMiles after first card use
2x miles on Avianca purchases, 1x miles on all other purchases. Plus a 15% discount on purchases of miles with Multiply Your Miles
$59
20,000 bonus LifeMiles after first card use

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Bottom line

Frequent international travelers can benefit from being part of an airline within Star Alliance’s rewards program. Additional travel benefits and the ability to redeem with a number of partner airlines makes it a hub of potential savings for serious globetrotters.

Frequently asked questions

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