You might be wondering what program to focus on if you are collecting Star Alliance points by flying with one of 26 Star Alliance member airlines or using a cobranded credit card.
The best Star Alliance airline to earn miles is
These are our top picks for the Star Alliance’s best miles program.
Top Star Alliance airline to earn miles
Star Alliance miles are the best option for most miles collectors. It offers both usability and opportunities to win premium cabins. You will want to be flexible in how your miles are used. This is because you’re looking at both domestic and international travel in the United States.
The top Star Alliance carriers that earn miles offer an excellent combination of value and usability for domestic travel within the United States.
If you’re looking for award opportunities in North America and affordable premium cabins for long-haul flights, Air Canada is the best choice. It’s the best Star Alliance airline to earn Miles.
Air Canada’s loyalty programme, Aeroplan, publishes a chart that allows you to see how many miles flights with partner airlines cost.
There are many sweet spot redemption options that can be used by the airline. You can get awards between North America and Hawaii for as low as 6,000 miles. Hawaii flights are available at 12,500 per way. Business class awards between North America, Europe and Asia start at 60,000 miles.
Aeroplan also has one of the strongest sets of non-alliance Star Alliance partners, giving you more flexibility in using your Aeroplan miles.
United is a well-known name for U.S.-based flyers. It’s a great way to earn miles, especially if your miles are highly redeemable for travel within the U.S.A or you prioritize cancel flexibility.
NerdWallet rates United MileagePlus miles as 1.2 cents per mile. This is partly due to the fact that United doesn’t have the most attractive award prices. United is a great program if you are looking for easily redeemable miles.
United is praised for its flexibility. All non-basic economy tickets that are not from the U.S. and which originate within the U.S. can be changed at no cost. All United tickets are exempted from this change fee, even award tickets. United currently waives all change or redeposit fees when award travel is with an international origin.
Avianca’s LifeMiles frequent flyer program is a staple for Star Alliance awards. It doesn’t charge fuel surcharges to any partner award redemptions. It is also a partner in most major transferable points programs such as:
Avianca was selected for its combination of high-value awards and the ability top off your account with multiple transferable points programs.
Avianca LifeMiles is a good option if you are looking to book mainly one-way and round-trip flights. You can even search for available awards by using the calendar view. You may need to search for awards by certain carriers for some routes, but the Avianca website can be used for simple award redemptions with very little effort.
There are some drawbacks to the LifeMiles program. Your miles will expire after twelve months of inactivity if there is no activity in your LifeMiles Account.
Avoid miles expiration easily by regularly transferring points to LifeMiles.
Avianca doesn’t have the best reputation for customer service if you are affected by a cancellation or schedule change. Be prepared to contact Avianca multiple times via email and phone.
Other Star Alliance frequent-flyer programs worth looking
These airlines offer easy-to-book awards, program sweet spots, and “gotcha free” travel for most point and mile enthusiasts.
ANA Mileage Club
If you are looking for long-distance travel, or a round the world trip, ANA Mileage Club is a great choice. The ANA program offers the best long-distance redemptions, and the miles are worth 2 cents each. Its best spots include travel between the U.S., Japan, Australia, and the U.S., as well as round-the-world tickets that can provide great deals depending on your itinerary.
Earning ANA miles is not for the faint-hearted. The mileage expires 36 months after it is earned. They cannot be extended. The airline allows for a temporary extension of the mileage expiration date until March 31, 2023. ANA miles must be used by the expiration date. Otherwise, they can be lost.
The round-the-world journey, ANA’s most expensive redemption, must be booked by phone.
Turkish Airlines Miles &Smiles
If your destination is Hawaii, the Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles program is a must-see. These flights fly between the U.S. continental and Hawaii at a very affordable price of only 10,000 miles in economy class or 15,000 in business class.
Business-class seats at 45,000 miles per way to Europe are another option for North American-based travelers. This award is less expensive than similar redemptions with Star Alliance airlines like United, Lufthansa, or Air Canada.
Even though there are great deals, booking Turkish Airlines award flights can be difficult. Although the airline does allow online bookings for award flights, there are many options that don’t exist on the Turkish Airlines website. Many itineraries can only be booked by phone or email.
Miles andSmiles miles expire 36 months after earning them, just like ANA. Although the airline allows members to extend their validity, they charge $10 per 1,000 miles for three-year extensions. It’s better to plan ahead to use your miles before they expire.
Lufthansa Miles & More
Flying Lufthansa first-class is the best way to earn miles via Lufthansa Miles and More. The premium cabin of Lufthansa is highly regarded, especially if you are based in Frankfurt.
You will need Miles & More points to book an award flight in Lufthansa’s first class. Only members of the frequent flyer program can book first-class tickets in Lufthansa first class more than two weeks before departure.
You will have to pay for your award seat in Lufthansa’s first class. Lufthansa charges fuel surcharges for award redemptions between the U.S.A and Europe. This means that you will likely pay several hundred dollars for an award ticket.
TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go
TAP Air Portugal has tickets to Europe from North America for as low as 29,000 miles. The airline also offers free stopsovers of up to five night in Lisbon or Porto. According to NerdWallet analysis, Miles&Go points are worth one per cent if you stay within TAP Portugal’s limited range of redeemable options.
Top Star Alliance airlines for earning miles.
Most people will choose to redeem and earn Star Alliance miles with Avianca, United, and Air Canada.
You can tailor your strategy to suit your needs if you have a history of flying to a specific destination or want to earn miles to purchase a travel experience.
TAP Air Portugal, Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa, ANA and Turkish Airlines offer easier access to certain awards. Other Star Alliance members airlines may be able to match your frequent travel routes and preferred travel experiences better.
The best Star Alliance program is the one that offers redemptions that meet your travel goals.
Maximizing your Rewards
A travel credit card should be able to prioritize what is most important to you. These are our top picks for the top travel credit cards for 2022.