Do you know about Star Alliance? It is the largest airline alliance in the world.
If, like the majority of the thousands of Milesopedia members, you are enrolled in Air Canada’s Aeroplan program, you have de facto access, when available, to seats on flights of the 26 Star Alliance partner airlines.
And that’s not counting the other privileges and benefits offered by the consortium.
What is the Star Alliance Network?
Star Alliance was the first major airline alliance to be created in 1997. It was followed by two others, Skyteam and One World, but remains to this day the largest, of which Air Canada is a part. It is headquartered at Frankfurt Airport in Germany and a second office opened in Singapore in 2021.
- The Star Alliance network reaches 98% of the world’s countries – exactly 195 countries and 1,300 destinations. It is therefore possible to travel around the world with Aeroplan points.
- The combined fleet of the member partners is over 5,000 aircraft, which in non-pandemic times make approximately 19,000 daily departures.
- Star Alliance has won several aviation awards (e.g. Air Transport World Market Leadership Award).
The goal of this grouping is to:
- facilitate customer transfers within this global transportation network
- recognize and reward frequent flyers of these airlines
Star Alliance is proud to report that its 50 employees come from 15 different countries.
Star Alliance member airlines
The 26 Star Alliance member airlines are
- Aegean Airlines
- Air Canada
- Air China
- Air India
- Air New Zealand
- Asiana Airlines
- Brussels Airlines
- Copa Airlines
- Croatia Airlines
- Ethiopian Airlines
- EVA Air
- Polish Airlines LOT
- Scandinavian Airlines
- Shenzhen Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- South African Airways
- TAP Air Portugal
- Turkish Airlines
Each member has their own reward program and it is not mandatory to join more than one to gain access to other companies’ flights. Instead, points are managed separately from company to company and cannot be transferred or combined into one rewards program.
In addition, miles flown, segments used and dollars invested in the same loyalty program will lead to elite status that will open up benefits.
For us Canadians, Aeroplan is the priority program. Aeroplan allows us to collect and redeem points to fly on Star Alliance airlines.
Earn and redeem points
Check out the Aeroplan Ultimate Guideto understand how to earn points, which can then be used to fly on Star Alliance member airlines.
But let’s remember that to earn points, one must:
- get Aeroplan affiliated credit card bonuses,
- get credit card bonuses that offer points transferable to Aeroplan,
- make purchases charged to these credit cards,
- make purchases made through the Aeroplan e-store,
- buy flights on Air Canada and Star Alliance partners,
- and more.
To use points to book flights, simply register with Aeroplan and simulate trips paid for with points or cash, whichever you prefer, before you buy.
Partner airlines appear as choices when Air Canada does not offer these flights and they have award seats available.
Star Alliance: Network Benefits
The Customer Experience
Among the advantages of traveling on board airlines that are members of a grouping such as the Star Alliance, we can think of a synergy that will favour the customer experience:
- a common ticketing system,
- easy-to-book tickets to many destinations around the around the world,
- check-in and baggage services that are one-stop shopping,
- optimized connections – thanks to dedicated teams in the main airports,
- customized services for large corporate clients traveling in business class. One can think of Corporate Plus for multinationals.
Star Alliance: Elite Status
No matter which of the 26 Star Alliance member airlines you subscribe to, all of them offer elite status levels according to their own criteria.
These can then join the elite status of the Star Alliance consortium. This is a recognition of the partner networks frequent travelers.
The two levels of Star Alliance status are:
- Star Alliance Silver
- Star Alliance Gold
They are associated with benefits and privileges.
For example, at Aeroplan:
- 25,000 qualifying miles (MQS), or 25 qualifying segments (SQS) or $3,000 qualifying dollars (DQS) earns Star Alliance Silver status.
- 50,000 Qualifying Miles (MQS), or 50 Qualifying Segments (SQS), or $6,000 Qualifying Dollars (DQS) equals the highest status: Star Alliance Gold.
Star Alliance Silver status
Star Alliance Silver status gives you:
- priority on the waiting list when there are no more seats available on the desired flight
- priority on the list of passengers waiting for a flight
Star Alliance Gold status
Star Alliance Gold status provides these same two benefits in addition to:
- a complimentary upgrade to business class at no extra charge in Heathrow Express,
- priority check-in at the airport when Star Alliance Gold is present,
- priority baggage delivery,
- priority boarding with business and first class passengers,
- an additional baggage allowance,
- fast passage through the security zones when the “Gold track security” has been implemented,
- access to more than 1,000 partner airline lounges with one guest
Star Alliance offers customers of the airlines it serves two tools to support frequent flyer planning:
- The Round the World
- The Circle Pacific
They are available in French, English, Japanese, German, Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese.
In both cases, the number of people who will travel, the classes and the targeted dates are indicated first. Finally, the targeted route.
The latter will be validated or not by the tool. If necessary, it will point out what needs to be corrected. For example, your next stop must be on the other side of the Pacific.
Using the Star Alliance tools is a breeze. They show the flight schedules, the airlines that operate the routes as well as the applicable fares. It is interesting to know the availability of the popular companies and the type of aircraft planned for the trip.
It’s then easy to go back to the Aeroplan website with this information in hand to see how much it would cost in points. And if the cash rate is right for you, it’s this way: Book and Fly.
Finally, Star Alliance airport search tool allows you to see at a glance which lounges there is, their schedule and location. In addition, it shows the airlines that serve this airport.
Routes by theme
If you need some inspiration, Star Alliance has several itineraries on its website based on the destinations covered by member airlines. The themes are really appealing.
For example, there are:
- Around the Roofs of the World for Students
- Animals of the Earth, for families
- Romantic Journey for honeymooners
- and several other themes.
The Network's commitments
In its 2020 Annual Report, the Star Alliance Network is highlighting its intentions and members’ efforts to pursue environmental, social and corporate sustainability.
In this major project, it joins the United Nations objectives of energy consumption, waste management, responsible procurement and social responsibility.
Closer to home, Air Canada’s strategies in this regard have been to:
- Sign the 2030 ambition statement of World Economic Forum‘s #CleanSkies4Tomorrow which supports the transition to carbon neutral aviation.
- Reduce the use of single-use plastics on board.
- Recycle 500 Apple tablets that have become unusable for pilots, thus avoiding the burial of hundreds of KGs. The partnership was established with GREENTEC.
The Star Alliance Network is a leader with many member airlines covering 98% of the world’s countries. Its 25 years of service experience has proven that connectivity is the way to go when it comes to delivering a better customer experience.
Rewards for frequent flyers who remain loyal to their airline and are members of the network also enhance the value of travel. Star Alliance tools make it easy to plan.
We applaud the initiative that now allows more travelers to enjoy access to the six Star Alliance airport lounges for a fee.
Finally, we hope that the network’s commitment to the planet, which is in great need of it, will continue to be reflected in many actions that really bear fruit. As travelers, we want to continue to fly, but we now know that this is not without consequences. Let’s find the right balance together.
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