The Ultimate Guide to Star Alliance For Canadian Travellers

star alliance app icon

Imagine if you had to book individual flights and make separate arrangements for your luggage for every leg of an international journey. Thanks to global aviation alliances like Star Alliance, you don’t have to. Star Alliance’s network of partner airlines makes booking international travel fast and easy, but that’s not all. 

Apart from making it easier to travel internationally, Star Alliance rewards its most frequent flyers through a tier system of perks that make travelling more comfortable and convenient. With travel credit cards offering reward points for everyday spending, not to mention bonus reward points just for signing up, achieving Silver or Gold Elite Status is easier than ever.

Understanding Star Alliance: An Overview

Before we delve into the nitty-gritty details, let’s start with the basics. What exactly is Star Alliance? In simple terms, Star Alliance is the largest global airline alliance, hosting some of the best airlines in the world. It brings together 26 leading airlines from around the world, including Air Canada, offering you unparalleled access to an extensive network of destinations. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and explore the fascinating history of Star Alliance.

The History of Star Alliance

Star Alliance is a global airline alliance that was established in 1997. It was founded by five airlines – Air Canada, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Thai Airways, and United Airlines – with the goal of forming a partnership that would enhance the travel experience for passengers.

Star Alliance was created to address the growing demand for seamless travel and connectivity in an increasingly globalized world. By collaborating and sharing resources, the member airlines aimed to provide passengers with a more convenient and efficient travel experience.

Over the years, it has grown from its humble beginnings to become the world’s largest and most comprehensive airline alliance. Today, it boasts an impressive network that spans over 1,300 destinations in 195 countries.

Since its establishment, Star Alliance has continuously expanded its network and strengthened its partnerships. It has welcomed new member airlines and forged alliances with other airlines outside the alliance to provide even more travel options for passengers.

Through strategic collaborations, code-sharing agreements, and joint ventures, Star Alliance has revolutionized the way we travel. It has paved the way for smoother connections, expanded route options, and enhanced passenger benefits.

One of the key milestones in Star Alliance’s history was the introduction of the Star Alliance Connecting Partner concept in 2016. This innovative concept allows smaller airlines to connect to the alliance’s network without becoming full members. It further expands the reach of Star Alliance and provides passengers with even more travel choices.

Which Airlines Are Star Alliance Members?

Having familiarized yourself with the background of Star Alliance, let’s take a look at an overview of its member airlines, their country of origin, their individual rewards programs, and the availability of popular flying routes to Canada.

AirlineCountry of OriginRewards ProgramPopular Canadian Route
Aegean AirlinesGreeceMiles+BonusNone
Air CanadaCanadaAeroplanVancouver – Toronto
Air ChinaChinaPhoenixMilesShenyang – Vancouver
Air IndiaIndiaFlying ReturnsNew Delhi – Toronto
Air New ZealandNew ZealandAirpointsAuckland – Vancouver
ANAJapanANA Mileage ClubTokyo – Vancouver
Asiana AirlinesSouth KoreaAsiana ClubNone
Austrian AirlinesAustriaMiles & MoreVienna – Montreal
AviancaColombiaLifeMilesBogota – Toronto
Brussels AirlinesBelgiumMiles & MoreNone
Copa AirlinesPanamaConnectMilesPanama City – Toronto
Croatia AirlinesCroatiaMiles & MoreNone
Egypt AirEgyptEGYPTAIR PlusCairo – Toronto
Ethiopian AirlinesEthiopiaShebaMilesAddis Ababa – Toronto
EVA AirTaiwanInfinity MileageLandsTaipei – Vancouver
LOT Polish AirlinesPolandMiles & MoreWarsaw – Toronto
LufthansaGermanyMiles & MoreFrankfurt – Montreal
SASSwedenEuroBonusStockholm – Toronto
Shenzhen AirlinesChinaPhoenixMilesNone
Singapore AirlinesSingaporeKrisFlyerSingapore – Vancouver
South African AirwaysSouth AfricaSAA VoyagerNone
SwissSwitzerlandMiles & MoreZurich – Montreal
TAP Air PortugalPortugalTAP Miles&GoLisbon – Montreal
Thai AirwaysThailandRoyal Orchid PlusNone
Turkish AirlinesTurkeyMiles&SmilesIstanbul – Toronto
United AirlinesUnited StatesMileagePlusNew York – Toronto

How Star Alliance Works for Canadian Travellers

With 26 airlines and an impressive network that spans over 1,300 destinations in 195 countries, Star Alliance is clearly a global enterprise. But how does Star Alliance specifically cater to Canadian travellers? Let’s take a closer look.

The Role of Air Canada in Star Alliance

Air Canada, Canada’s flag carrier, plays a pivotal role in the Star Alliance network. As a founding member of Star Alliance, Air Canada opens up a world of possibilities for Canadian travellers. With its extensive domestic and international network, Air Canada connects you to destinations near and far, making your travel dreams a reality.

Not only does Air Canada provide a wide range of flight options, but it also ensures a high level of service and comfort. From spacious cabins to delicious in-flight meals, Air Canada strives to make your journey as enjoyable as possible. As a Star Alliance member, you can rest assured that you are in good hands when flying with Air Canada.

How to Earn and Redeem Points for Star Alliance Airlines in Canada

Earning and redeeming points with Star Alliance member airlines is a breeze for Canadian travellers. Since points from Air Canada’s Aeroplan rewards program are the same as those of any other Star Alliance member, you can earn points not only when you fly with Air Canada but also when you fly with any of the other Star Alliance members such as Lufthansa or Turkish Airlines.

In Australia, HSBC provides the Star Alliance credit card, allowing Australians to accumulate Star Alliance points. These points can later be transformed into the points and miles of any other airline that is a member of the Star Alliance. In Canada, there isn’t a specific card for earning Star Alliance points, but you can choose to accumulate Aeroplan points instead, as Aeroplan is a part of the Star Alliance network.

For instance, when you book a flight with Air Canada to explore the vibrant streets of Osaka, not only do you earn points for an Air Canada flight from Vancouver to Tokyo, but you also earn points if you have connecting flights from Tokyo to Osaka with other Star Alliance airlines, such as ANA. This means that every journey you take within the Star Alliance network brings you closer to exciting rewards and benefits.

Furthermore, if you are using one of the best Aeroplan credit cards in Canada, then you are quickly earning Star Alliance points on everyday expenses, since Aeroplan points can be spent on flights and upgrades with any of the Star Alliance members.

[Offer productType=”CreditCard” api_id=”60dd1b25125e5019eaa05c6c” id=”146104″]

Once you have accumulated points, you can redeem them for flights, upgrades, or even hotel stays. The flexibility of the Star Alliance program allows you to tailor your rewards to suit your travel preferences. Whether you want to treat yourself to a luxurious business class experience or extend your vacation with a free hotel night, the choice is yours.

While each Star Alliance member operates its individual loyalty programs, the alliance itself also features a dedicated membership program catering to frequent flyers, providing a wide range of perks and advantages. Let’s take a closer look!

Star Alliance Membership Tiers

Being a Star Alliance member offers significant advantages, such as the opportunity to earn and use points across various airlines. Regardless of the specific Star Alliance airline you choose to fly with, you can accumulate points and strive for enticing rewards. 

If you have a considerable collection of Aeroplan points, you can use those points with the reward programs offered by Star Alliance members. Similarly, if you’ve accumulated a substantial number of points through other member airlines, you have the flexibility to redeem these points for Air Canada flights.

Every member of the Star Alliance has its own distinct membership program. To ensure that individuals holding prestigious status with one airline can enjoy their status perks with other affiliated airlines, Star Alliance has introduced its own membership initiative aimed at harmonizing these privileges across all partner carriers. At the moment, Star Alliance recognizes two primary levels of status: Silver Status and Gold Status. Let’s delve into the details of each tier and find out how you can be eligible.

Star Alliance Silver Status

Experience the perks of Star Alliance Silver status, specially tailored for avid travelers who frequently fly with Star Alliance airlines. Among the two noteworthy benefits, the first one is the priority waitlist. With Silver status, you gain the advantage of being prioritized on waitlists, significantly increasing your chances of securing preferred flights even during busy travel seasons. The reassurance of knowing you have an improved likelihood of getting a seat on that previously fully-booked flight you’ve been eyeing is truly priceless.

As a Silver member, you also have enhanced priority on the standby list for your preferred flight in case of any travel arrangement changes or when flights are fully booked. It’s essential to remember that this perk does not apply when you’re traveling on an award ticket.

To attain Star Alliance Silver status, the process varies depending on the member airline. If you are a Canadian flying with Air Canada, you need to achieve the Aeroplan 25K status, which automatically qualifies you for the Star Alliance Silver status as well.

While Star Alliance Silver status undoubtedly comes with attractive benefits, it pales in comparison to the abundance of perks provided by the coveted Gold status. This elite status offers numerous advantages to frequent Star Alliance travelers, making it the epitome of prestige within the alliance. So, let’s explore the remarkable privileges of the Gold status and elevate your travel experience to new heights!

Star Alliance Gold Status

Star Alliance Gold Status is the pinnacle of membership in the alliance. It represents the highest level of recognition and comes with a host of extraordinary privileges that truly elevate your travel experience to new heights.

As a Gold member, you’ll receive all the benefits of Silver status and more. One of the most coveted perks of Gold status is priority boarding. Be among the first to step on board the aircraft, ensuring that you have ample time to settle in and make yourself comfortable before the rest of the passengers board. No more rushing or jostling for overhead bin space.

Another remarkable advantage of Gold status is priority baggage handling. Your luggage will be treated with utmost care and given priority throughout the entire journey. Say goodbye to long waits at the baggage carousel and hello to the convenience of having your bags among the first to be delivered.

But the privileges don’t end there. Gold members also enjoy access to first class lounges, providing an unparalleled level of luxury and refinement. Immerse yourself in the lavish surroundings, indulge in gourmet cuisine and premium beverages, and take advantage of exclusive amenities such as spa treatments and shower facilities. These opulent retreats are designed to cater to your every need, ensuring that you feel pampered and refreshed before your flight.

As mentioned before, each Star Alliance member has different rules when it comes to qualifying for either of the two Star Alliance tiers. However, if you are a Canadian flying with Air Canada, you need to reach Aeroplan 50K to automatically unlock Star Alliance Gold status.

[Offer productType=”CreditCard” api_id=”60dd3b4e378dfd0f231527b7″ id=”146180″]

With Star Alliance Gold status, you truly experience the VIP treatment wherever your travels take you. From the moment you arrive at the airport until you reach your destination, every aspect of your journey is enhanced, making your travel experience seamless, convenient, and unforgettable.

Being part of Star Alliance opens up a world of possibilities for travel enthusiasts. With access to an extensive network of destinations, you can explore new and exciting places with ease. And while it’s possible to enroll in multiple Star Alliance programs at the same time, it’s not necessary. You can accumulate and use miles or points within a single program across all airlines that are part of the Star Alliance. Our suggestion is to consider joining the program of the airline you anticipate flying with frequently, which in the case of most Canadians would be Air Canada.

Maximizing Your Star Alliance Membership

Now that you are well-versed in the world of Star Alliance, let’s explore some tips and tricks to make the most out of your membership.

Tips for Earning More Points

There are many ways to boost your point accumulation. One strategy is to focus your travel on Star Alliance member airlines whenever possible. Be sure to provide your frequent flyer number when booking flights to ensure that you receive the points you deserve. Additionally, keep an eye out for promotions and bonus offers that can fast-track your point accumulation.

But the best way for earning points that can be used or converted to Star Alliance member airlines is to use one of the best Star Alliance credit cards. While Star Alliance does not offer a direct way of earning Star Alliance points in Canada, Canadians do have the option to accumulate points with credit cards that are affiliated with Aeroplan or the American Express Membership Rewards Program.

[Offer productType=”CreditCard” api_id=”5faebd6ecee9031232939393″ id=”256911″]

Amex Membership Rewards points can be converted to Aeroplan points at a 1:1 ratio, while Aeroplan points in turn can be used for any other Star Alliance member airline, since Air Canada is part of the Star Alliance. Some of these credit cards also provide attractive welcome bonuses, enabling you to rapidly accumulate a substantial number of points, so make sure to compare credit cards and enjoy the flexibility of redeeming them within the Star Alliance network.

Best Ways to Redeem Points

When it comes to redeeming your hard-earned Star Alliance points, it’s essential to consider your options to maximize their value. One of the most rewarding ways to spend your points is by using them for purchasing flight tickets. Star Alliance offers a remarkable advantage in this regard, as your points can be used to secure flight tickets across any of the 26 member airlines, providing you with an extensive selection of travel destinations to choose from.

Beyond flight tickets, your points can also be employed for booking accommodations and car rentals, extending the value of your points to encompass the entirety of your travel experience. If you’re seeking a comprehensive vacation solution, you can plan an exceptional holiday through Air Canada Vacations, allowing you to indulge in seamless travel arrangements while making the most of your points.

[Offer productType=”CreditCard” api_id=”631783e23fb86e5793a23a43″ id=”201507″]

Alternatively, Star Alliance points offer versatility beyond travel necessities. You have the option to exchange your points for merchandise and gift cards, affording you the opportunity to treat yourself, your friends, or your family to a diverse range of products and experiences.

When contemplating the best ways to spend your Star Alliance points, the possibilities are abundant. From flight tickets spanning a vast network of airlines to holistic travel packages, accommodations, car rentals, and even non-travel-related rewards, your points hold the potential to transform your experiences into truly remarkable memories.

Arthur Dubois is a personal finance writer at Hardbacon. Since relocating to Canada, he has successfully built his credit score from scratch and begun investing in the stock market. In addition to his work at Hardbacon, Arthur has contributed to Metro newspaper and several other publications