Search Star Alliance Award Availability
The Star Alliance is the largest international network of airlines in the world. Registering for a frequent flyer program allows you to earn miles when flying for any airline in their alliance. After gaining enough miles, the next step is searching for Star Alliance award availability.
Here we discuss the different ways to look for such seats in any class available.
Star Alliance Search Options
Asian Miler has already covered details of some of the useful Star Alliance programs like Asiana Club, Singapore Krisflyer and Avianca LifeMiles. There are different ways you can earn – or buy – miles for these programs.
There are a few things you should keep in mind when booking awards on particular airlines:
- Singapore First or Suites class and Swiss First class can only be booked from their respective programs, Singapore KrisFlyer or Miles & More (Senator members only).
- Lufthansa First class is only available to partner programs within 14 days of departure date.
- On United and Aeroplan websites, some ‘phantom space’ may appear. If you’re going to transfer miles to book what you see online, confirm with customer support agents regarding the award space.
- Not all award space is available to all partners. To avoid unnecessary phone calls with agents, use more than one site to compare or confirm award space. To have the best award availability, use the airline’s own frequent flyer program — i.e., use KrisFlyer to have the best access to Singapore Airlines award seats.
- It is hard to find Air New Zealand business-class award space.
With these points out of the way, let’s check the different search tools at our disposal.
ANA (All Nippon Airways)
Amongst the Asian carriers, Japan-based ANA has the best available Star Alliance award online search engine. Only members of the ANA Mileage Club could access the engine, but it’s free to register for.
As part of ANA redemption rules you cannot redeem one-way award flights, so this can be a slight challenge. The best you can do is to use the multi-city option but an itinerary must have at least two flight segments.
One good thing is that the engine allows you to search for availability for a range of days around your target date. This way you don’t have to do searches for every single date for the same route, whether on ANA or on partner airlines. Once a date is selected, ANA slots are listed first, followed by partner entries.
When you perform open-jaw, multi-city or multi-class search, availability for the different cabin types will be shown.
Probably the best part is, if you have more than a few itineraries in mind, you can search flight segments and dates simultaneously. This is especially useful if you’re mainly after Star Alliance partner segments.
You can register an account and give the ANA search engine a go to start your Star Alliance search.
If you’re aiming to redeem a Singapore Airlines premium cabin such as their enclosed, flat-bed A380-800 Suites class, it’s inevitable for you to be earning KrisFlyer miles. That’s because long-range premium routes are mainly available only to KrisFlyer members.
As part of their recent improvements, Singapore Airlines has finally improved their online award search site to include partner carriers as well. Since late last year they’re still in the process of bringing all of the Star Alliance award availability online.
When you redeem a flight, you can search award flights for Singapore Airlines or SilkAir (their regional subsidiary carrier), Star Alliance or other partners. You can immediately know how many miles you’d need for the award.
The same applies for partner airline options. If no such flight is available, however, you are prompted on the site to try another itinerary or try again later. Note that KrisFlyer has separate award charts for Singapore Airlines and partner carriers so your mileage may vary… quite literally.
Note that you cannot search for multiple cabin classes simultaneously. You have to do another search if you want to look at other cabin availability for the same itinerary. Additionally, you won’t know right away if there is indeed availability on partner airlines until you switch to those views (only at which point you’re told none is available).
You can check the Singapore Airlines website to try out some searches.
Colombia-based Avianca LifeMiles has become a more popular program to search award for because it is easy to earn (or rather, buy) miles for. And it is also just as relatively easy to look for award slots as well.
The LifeMiles search engine is straightforward enough. After logging in, it allows you to search for specific airline or Star Alliance award space. But the default option is the best way to go and saves you the most time and effort in your inquiry.
Note that the multi-city option only allows you to book a circular route award; that is, your itinerary must be from city A to city B, then to city C, and then back to city A.
For every city-pair in your itinerary, the search engine shows you all available slots across all cabin class in one page, which is convenient. It also allows you to search for availability on days around your original date; if none is available or you’re not satisfied with the flight options.
Remember that there are no stopovers permitted in a city-pair itinerary, so if you intend to stay for a while at a transit point you have to split them (and therefore your miles cost will also differ).
If you’re doing a quick Star Alliance award search, the LifeMiles award search engine is one good option. Just keep in mind that LifeMiles, as with other programs, may not see all available space inventory.
Go to the Avianca LifeMiles site to register and give it a try.
United Airlines is the US-based Star Alliance carrier. Their search engine provides a comparable award search experience. What’s good is that you don’t have to be a MileagePlus member to try it.
Once you search for award travel for an itinerary, the engine shows you all available space, including those on partners. It also shows you availability across different cabin classes.
Beware of phantom space: a quick lookup may show space but the internal inventory on customer support might say otherwise.
Additionally, you may see more premium space when you log in and search as a Premier member, or with a co-branded credit card. So you could be stuck with a lot of transpacific or transatlantic award search results on economy only.
You can look for United or Star Alliance award space on the United website.
Searching for airline award space can be a challenge, but there are various search tools at your disposal. Many Star Alliance members make it easier for you to book your own itinerary online.
ANA, Singapore Airlines, Avianca and United have their respective online search engines for this. When you’re planning for that next award itinerary, these should be your first go-to tools. Other than that, you can always use an award booking service, which is a separate topic altogether.
So how about it, are you ready to look for your next adventure or escape? Do you find these helpful? Let us know.