New United Airlines program not right for you? Here are three other Star Alliance partners that may make sense
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.
United Airlines made waves last month after announcing some pretty radical changes to its MileagePlus frequent flyer program, and while it wasn’t all bad news, the updates to the program mean that many travelers are getting stiffed on status.
Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles is one of the easiest ways to gain Star Alliance Gold status for frequent flyers, as its status-match program offers instant elite status for one full year. To match, you’ll need to head over to Turkish Airlines’ customer service page and submit a request with proof of your existing airline status. You’ll then receive an email that looks like this:
As you can see, you’ll need to take at least one international flight with Turkish Airlines to keep your status for a year, though you’ll only need to fly an 15,000 additional miles in order to extend your status for another year. 15,000 miles for two years of Star Alliance Gold is a great deal.
Even better, as an elite with Turkish, all your domestic U.S. flights are considered ‘foreign’ flights, which means you’ll have United Club lounge access in the U.S. even when flying locally.
Turkish Airlines has recently redefined some borders in its award chart, which means that possibly one of the best deals — ever — to get to Hawaii in first class is via Turkish Miles & Smiles.
Egyptair has one of the most lucrative award programs for couples and families traveling together. Why? Because its frequent flyer program, Egyptair Plus, allows you to pool accounts together from a single family to earn both award miles and elite miles credit.
What does this mean, in practice? It means that if you and a partner take a round-trip flight together, you can assign all mileage earnings to a single account and the main account holder will receive the credit for all miles flown, per person.
In order to receive Star Alliance Gold, you’ll need 60,000 miles on your primary account. Earning differs according to whether it’s operated by Egyptair or a partner, so you’ll need to check each chart individually.
One of the best things about elite status with Egytpair Plus is that it’s valid for 24 months — and in order to maintain beyond that it you (and your family) only need to fly 30,000 additional miles every two years.
Other bonuses include the same domestic lounge access that Turkish Airlines elites enjoy — United Club access on U.S. domestic flights due to your foreign elite status.
Asiana is one of the most undervalued loyalty programs in Star Alliance, offering some pretty sweet spots on award travel. However, what really sets this airline apart is the low threshold for airline elite status — in order to acquire Star Alliance Gold status, you need just 40,000 miles over the course of 24 months.
Even better? Once earned, your status is valid for a full two years, which gives you plenty more time to rack up just 30,000 more miles to keep your status.
The Korean airline has no minimum requirement of flights on its own metal, so it’s entirely possible to earn status by flying other Star Alliance airlines (like United) and skipping Asiana altogether — though you might not want to.
Of course, like the above two airlines, Star Alliance Gold status via Asiana also includes lounge access on U.S. domestic flights, since you’re technically flying ‘internationally’.
If United’s changes to its frequent flyer program has hit you hard, it might be time to switch your loyalties. While it can be difficult to figure out which Star Alliance airline is the best place to credit your flying, these three offer generous returns and easy ways to earn and maintain elite status.
Featured photo courtesy of Star Alliance.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
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.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- 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.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- 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