To the point
Here’s everything you need to know about the Skyteam Airline Alliance.
The SkyTeam Airline Alliance stands tall as one of the best airline alliances in the world. In the vast realm of global aviation, alliances play a pivotal role in shaping how we travel. With a shared commitment to excellence and seamless connectivity, the SkyTeam Alliance has become a trusted name in the aviation industry. In this article, we will delve into the world of SkyTeam, exploring its history, member airlines, benefits for passengers, and the future it envisions for air travel.
Introduction to SkyTeam Alliance
Founded on June 22, 2000, by members Aeromexico, Air France, Delta Air Lines and Korean Air, the SkyTeam Airline Alliance is the youngest global airline alliance. Comprising some of the world’s most renowned airlines, it brings together 19 carriers from various corners of the globe. Headquartered in Amsterdam, Netherlands, this alliance aims to provide passengers with an unparalleled travel experience by facilitating smooth connectivity, access to a vast network of destinations, and enhanced benefits.
Member Airlines of SkyTeam
The 19 SkyTeam Airline Alliance members are:
- Aerolíneas Argentinas
- Air Europa
- Air France
- China Airlines
- China Eastern Airlines
- Czech Airlines
- Delta Air Lines
- Garuda Indonesia
- Kenya Airways
- KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
- Korean Air
- Middle East Airlines
- Vietnam Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
- Xiamen Airlines
Frequent Flyer Programs
Does the Skyteam Airline Alliance have its own frequent flyer program? The short answer is no but after some digging, there is more to the story.
While the SkyTeam Airline Alliance does not have its own separate frequent flyer program, you can sign up for at least one member airline’s frequent flyer program and begin earning and redeeming frequent flyer miles. As part of this program, travelers can earn miles on a single member airline and across all 19 SkyTeam carriers, granting them access to a wide array of exclusive benefits and rewards.
In addition to having access to a bunch of different airlines, SkyTeam has established two status levels, Skyteam Elite and Elite Plus, to identify and give out benefits to active customers. To obtain SkyTeam elite status, you must first gain elite status with a qualifying airline of your choice, as each airline alliance member’s membership program is equivalent to one of the two status tiers within SkyTeam.
To begin accruing miles, you must first sign up for a qualifying member’s frequent flyer program. The airline you choose should align with your travel pattern. From there, you can monitor your miles, book flights, and redeem your rewards.
SkyTeam Elite & Elite Plus
As a SkyTeam Elite passenger, you can enjoy a ton of perks and benefits, including:
- Priority Check-In: SkyTeam Elite passengers can access dedicated check-in counters, allowing for a smoother and quicker check-in process.
- Priority Boarding: Elite passengers can board the aircraft early, ensuring ample time to settle in and store their carry-on luggage.
- Preferred Seating: SkyTeam Elite members often have access to preferred seating options, such as seats with extra legroom or near the front of the cabin.
- Additional Baggage Allowance: Elite members typically receive an increased baggage allowance, allowing them to bring more luggage on their flights.
- Airport Lounge Access: Elite passengers can enjoy access to luxurious airport lounges, offering a comfortable and relaxing environment to unwind before or after their flights.
SkyTeam Elite Plus offers all of the aforementioned benefits with the addition of the following:
- Guaranteed reservation on sold-out flights: Elite Plus passengers are guaranteed full fare on sold-out long-haul flights, at least 24 hours prior to departure.
- Priority Security and Immigration: Elite Plus members can take advantage of expedited security and immigration lines at select airports, saving valuable time.
- SkyPriority Services: Elite Plus members are granted access to SkyPriority services, including priority check-in, security, boarding, and baggage handling, providing a seamless travel experience.
- Global Alliance Recognition: Elite Plus status is recognized across all member airlines of the SkyTeam alliance, regardless of the airline where the status was earned
How to Earn and Redeem Points
Earning and redeeming miles is relatively easy to do so long as you book through your frequent flyer of choice on a qualifying SkyTeam flight. Frequent flyer miles are earned based on the distance flown and the fare class of your ticket. The number of miles earned may vary depending on the airline’s program and the specific route.
To redeem your frequent flyer points as a SkyTeam Elite status and Elite Plus member, you need to access your frequent flyer account on the website of the member airline you are enrolled in. Keep in mind that the specifics of earning and redeeming points may vary slightly between member airlines, so it’s always a good idea to refer to the frequent flyer program details and guidelines of the airline you are enrolled in.
Maximizing Your Rewards
If you did not see a Canadian Airline in SkyTeam as you may have seen in our Star Alliance article, don’t worry. As Canadians, there is a list of loyalty programs that offer point transfers to SkyTeam alliance member airlines. We have an article that details the major Canadian transferable points programs.
Credit cards to point out are those such as the American Express Cobalt® Card that can transfer Membership Rewards to Air France KLM Flying Blue. Since 2021, it has partnered with American Express Membership Rewards in Canada to expand its reach. Check out this article to learn more about the program and the eligible cards associated with it.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Flying with SkyTeam
The SkyTeam Airline Alliance has some advantages and drawbacks to consider. Some of the key benefits and drawbacks include:
- Global Connectivity: With an extensive network that s across the world, SkyTeam enables seamless travel to almost every corner of the globe. With over 1,088 destinations in more than 184 countries, passengers can easily plan multi-destination trips, relying on the alliance’s efficient connectivity.
- Smooth Transfers: SkyTeam member airlines work in harmony to ensure smooth transfers for passengers who have connecting flights. This minimizes layover times and enhances the overall travel experience.
- Global Recognition: Elite status with one member airline is recognized across all SkyTeam carriers, granting passengers consistent benefits and recognition, regardless of the airline they are flying with.
- Limited Alliance Hubs: SkyTeam’s major hubs are primarily located in Europe, Asia, and North America, which may not be as convenient for travelers with frequent trips to other regions. For instance, Aerolineas is the only airline operating out of South America which could result in less efficient travel routes and lack of flexibility when it comes to earning and redeeming points.
- Elite Status Challenges: Achieving and maintaining elite status in frequent flyer programs can be competitive and challenging. SkyTeam Elite and Elite Plus status may require significant flying and spending on specific member airlines, making it harder for infrequent travelers to enjoy elite benefits.
The SkyTeam Airline Alliance, with its diverse roster of member carriers, continues to revolutionize the way we traverse the world. By fostering cooperation and seamless connectivity, the alliance creates a cohesive travel experience for passengers across continents. Whether for business or leisure, SkyTeam’s commitment to excellence makes it a preferred choice for travellers seeking convenience, rewards, and a touch of adventure. Consider the wings of SkyTeam as you embark on your next trip, connecting you with the world and all its marvels. Bon voyage!