Star Alliance took home the award for the World’s Best Airline Alliance at the 2019 Skytrax World Airline Awards earlier this summer.
Airline alliances are industry agreements among airlines that increase the range of their networks and expand frequent flyer benefits. The three main airline alliances are Oneworld, Star Alliance and SkyTeam. Star Alliance, which includes United, Air Canada, Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa and roughly two dozen others, is the oldest and largest of the three.
While this is the 10th time Star Alliance won the award since it was announced in 2005, the alliance isn’t resting on its laurels. Here are five things Star Alliance is doing right.
1. More destinations
Compared to the other two major airline alliances, Star Alliance has more partners and flies to more locations.
Star Alliance advertises 28 partners and flights to over 1,300 destinations, compared to Oneworld’s 13 airlines and 1,000+ destinations and SkyTeam’s 19 airlines and 1,150 destinations. With 19,000 daily flights to over 194 countries, there's a good chance Star Alliance can get you where you're going.
2. Good partnerships
Along with expanding the network geographically, Star Alliance strategically seeks out partnerships that maximize the overall quality of their alliance. In the latest 2019 World Airline Awards by Skytrax, Star Alliance airlines won 46 total awards, ranging from World’s Best Cabin Crew to World’s Best First Class Seat.
3. Great lounges
Star Alliance also won the Skytrax World Airline Award for World’s Best Airline Alliance Lounge. Star Alliance operates eight branded lounges for elite members of the Star Alliance loyalty program and provides access to over 1,000 lounges through its members. At the 2019 Skytrax airline awards, Star Alliance airlines took home a number of other lounge-related awards:
World’s Best Business Class Lounge Dining, Air Canada.
Best Business Class Lounge in the USA and the World’s Best Business Class Lounge, United Airlines.
World’s Best First Class Lounge, Swiss Air Lines.
Best First Class Lounge in Asia and Best Business Class Lounge in Asia, Singapore Airlines.
» Learn more: Credit cards with airport lounge access
4. Technological advancements
Star Alliance CEO Jeffrey Goh expressed his commitment to simplifying the traveler experience through the use of technology in a recent interview with Skift. When you’re flying multiple airlines on one ticket there can be hiccups, and technology disguises the massive behind-the-scenes effort to make that process as seamless as possible to travelers.
Some things Star Alliance envisions for the future are integrated mobile apps — use your United app to track all legs of a multi-carrier journey — and expansion of how you can use reward points. Imagine using your United frequent flyer miles not just to travel anywhere in the world with Star Alliance, but also to purchase duty-free items in the air or to invest in seat or baggage upgrades with other Star Alliance carriers.
5. Simplicity of redeeming miles and gaining status
Star Alliance airlines like United, Air Canada and Avianca make it easy to search and book award travel online. As with other alliances, you may not get a full picture of partner award availability when you use just one site — you may have to use several — but the United site in particular is user-friendly and offers a pretty complete picture of what's available.
Looking to gain frequent flyer miles fast for a Star Alliance flight? United’s MileagePlus credit cards might be an option. Alternately, the Citi Premier® Card, which has an annual fee of $95, has the following sign-up bonus: Earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. These points can be transferred to Avianca, a Star Alliance carrier.
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice: Find the best travel credit card for you How to get started with frequent flyer programs Earn more points and miles with these 6 strategies