What Are Airline Alliances, How Do They Work, and Why Are They Important to Me?

Airline Alliances are partnerships between airlines around the world. There are 3 major alliances: oneworld, SkyTeam and Star Alliance. These are made up of large, international airlines and small, regional airlines. All major US carriers (American, United, Delta) are members of an alliance.


What Are the Benefits of Airline Alliances?

You can fly one alliance to almost any location in the world.

Many airlines are confined to geographical limitations on where they fly, but other Alliance members can pick up the slack where one airline may not operate. Say you fly United Airlines and want to fly from New York to Johannesburg , South Africa. United does not fly to South Africa, but South African Airways, an Alliance member of United Airlines, does fly to South Africa. You could fly from New York to London on United and then fly from London to Johannesburg on South African Airways on the same ticket.


You can earn and use miles on any airline within the same Alliance.

As an example, you have American Airlines miles and want to fly to Hong Kong. There are no available American Airlines flights, but there are flights on Cathay Pacific, an alliance partner with American. You can use your American miles to book the flight on Cathay Pacific which allows you more flexibility and sometimes may give you a better value on your points.


Which Airlines Are Members of the oneworld Alliance?

The oneworld Alliance serves 158 countries and over 1,000 destinations with 13 airlines:

  • American Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Finnair
  • Iberia
  • Japan Airlines
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Royal Jordanian
  • S7 Airlines
  • Sri Lankan Airlines

You should also check out oneworld airline affiliates, which provide more access to regional destinations around the world!


Which Airlines Are Members of the SkyTeam Alliance?

The SkyTeam Alliance serves 179 countries and over 1,000 destinations with 20 airlines:

  • Aeroflot
  • Aerolineas Argentinas
  • Aero Mexico
  • Air Europa
  • Air France
  • Alitalia
  • China Airlines
  • China Eastern
  • China Southern
  • Czech Airlines
  • Delta
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • Kenya Airways
  • KLM
  • Korean Air
  • MEA
  • Saudia
  • Tarom
  • Vietnam Airlines
  • Xiamen Air


Which Airlines Are Members of the Star Alliance?

The Star Alliance serves 192 countries and 1,300 destinations with 27 airlines:

  • Adria
  • Aegean
  • Air Canada
  • Air China
  • Air India
  • Air New Zealand
  • ANA
  • Asiana Airlines
  • Austrian
  • Avianca
  • Brussels Airlines
  • Copa Airlines
  • Croatia Airlines
  • Egypt Air
  • Ethiopian
  • Eva Air
  • LOT Polish Airlines
  • Lufthansa
  • SAS Scandinavian Airlines
  • Shenzhen Airlines
  • Singapore Airlines
  • South African Airways
  • Swiss
  • TAP Portugal
  • Thai
  • Turkish Airlines
  • United Airlines

Star Alliance’s Connecting Partners extends their regional reach, so you can get to more destinations.


It’s important to note that not every airline is a member of an alliance. Some notable US airlines that are not members of alliances are JetBlue, Southwest, Hawaiian and Frontier.


How to Maximize the Value of You Points

Airline alliances can be very beneficial for both the airlines and customers. At the same time, they can be very confusing, especially when it comes to the points world. That’s where we come in – we’re the experts so you can enjoy all of the benefits that come with alliances! RewardStock understands and takes all of these Alliances into consideration when showing you plans, so you can ensure you are getting the best value from your points.

*Prior to earning or using any points on any of these alliance members, you need to have a free account with the airlines. We have highlighted how to sign up for the main programs.


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