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Finding a Star Alliance member reward scheme

Plymouth, United...
posts: 25
reviews: 18
Finding a Star Alliance member reward scheme

I have a flight booked on TAP Portugal in a few days. They are part of the Star Alliance scheme covering over 20 airlines, some of which I might travel on over the next few years. Having looked at some of the TAP scheme, they give discounts off their flights, but some of the other benefits can only be taken if you live in Portugal, whereas I live in the UK. If you have one reward scheme, then you can travel on any of the member airlines and have points credited to that account. This means it might be worthwhile to join a frequent flyer scheme for this flight.

Does anyone know of which scheme might be best to join, some of the criteria I'm looking for are points that don't expire after 3 years such as with TAP, or being able to use points for an airport lounge even if flying with a non member airline, or gift vouchers to spend in UK shops.

2 replies to this topic
Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 15,396
reviews: 5
1. Re: Finding a Star Alliance member reward scheme

Martin,

I think your expectations may be on the high side. These are Frequent Flier programs, and the benefits only become significant (such as lounge access) if you fly frequently. Lounge access requires that you reach Star Alliance Gold, which for me (United in the US) means fly at least 50,000 miles a year. And you won't get general access into any lounge, only a Star carrier when flying Star. If you want general lounge access you're best looking at premium credit cards, or lounge membership programs such as Priority Pass.

As for miles not expiring, you'll have to check each program. Most do have an expiry, but that means only if you have no activity at all in your account. If you accrue miles in any way (flying, have a few miles added through car rental, etc) all your miles remain for x years/months after the last activity. That's also true if you redeem miles. One thing you can look at is getting a credit card branded for the FF program you choose, then every time you spend money using the card, your FF account updates and your miles are secure. That's also a way of getting more miles for flights, upgrades and such.

As for which program to choose? Well, since BMI was eaten up by BA there aren't any UK airlines in Star. United is probably the most generous (certainly here in the US, the US airlines' programs usually are). Miles and More (Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian, Brussels) looks to be rather stingy. It may be worth looking at Aegean. They're getting a lot of interest as you need only 20,000 miles in a year to reach Star Gold so they look promising (though I don't know much more about that program).

Good luck.

Happy flying.

Edited: 10:20 am, October 16, 2013
New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 7,648
reviews: 53
2. Re: Finding a Star Alliance member reward scheme

If you're looking for a program where you don't want the miles to expire due to inactivity then it probably won't matter which scheme you choose. To be honest you're likely earning so few it won't make much difference.

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