Star Alliance Adds a New Connecting Partner for Flights in Asia

Jun 3, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

The Star Alliance is getting a new member. Well, sort of. The global airline alliance has announced its adding Thai Smile Airways as a Star Alliance Connecting Partner.

Star Alliance is one of the world’s largest alliances, and its full members include airlines like United, Lufthansa, TAP Portugal, Avianca and South African Airways. Thai Smile is the second Star Alliance Connecting Partner. Chinese carrier Juneyao Airlines was added as the first Connecting Partner in 2017.

Star Alliance Connecting Partners operate differently than a normal full-on, Star Alliance partner. Whereas a full member airline must have “commercial relationships” with all other members, a connecting partner only needs to have relationships with a minimum of three airlines.

Still, flyers on connecting Star Alliance itineraries will enjoy standard benefits such as passenger and baggage through check-in. Those with Star Alliance Gold Status will be able to enjoy Thai Smile elite benefits, like priority check-in, Thai Smile lounge access and priority baggage delivery — when flying on an itinerary that includes a connection to a full Star Alliance member. It’s unclear if you’ll be able to earn and redeem miles of Star Alliance airline on Thai Smile flights, but you can already do that on Juneyao Airlines, so it’s likely it will be the same for Thai Smile. 

So why add Thai Smile, an airline with just a small fleet of 20 Airbus A320s, to the Star Alliance? The group says that Connecting Partners help “close network gaps that may exist” on a regional basis. Once Thai Smiles is fully incorporated, it will add 11 new destinations to the Star Alliance network, which already comprises more than 1,300 airports in 194 countries.

Thai Smile is a fully owned subsidiary of the larger Thai Airways, also a Star Alliance member but with a much more extensive route network and fleet. Thai Smile has been branded as a low-cost carrier and serves domestic Thai destinations as well as international destinations like Myanmar, China, India, Taiwan and Hong Kong out of its main hub in Bangkok.

It will take a while before the airline is integrated into the Star Alliance system as the airline is just now starting to implement the “technology and commercial links” to begin serving Star Alliance connecting passengers in 2020.

The Oneworld alliance announced a similar partnership with Fiji Airways in 2018, with the airline joining as a Oneworld Connect member.

Featured image courtesy of Star Alliance.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase within the first three months. Offer ends 7/28/21.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
  • Limited Time Offer: Plus, get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable 15.74%-24.74%. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
  • Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
0% on purchases for 12 months
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.