How To Find Star Alliance Awards 101

When looking for an award flight, a lot of times the airline you’re booking with doesn’t show all the partner airlines available to you. This means your search results are appearing to be slimmer than they really are. In all actuality, there are more routes and options than the website shows.

So I’ll start with Star Alliance and explain when sites show what airlines. Using the chart below, you’ll know exactly what flights are missing from your search results.

ANA is considered the most complete Star Alliance search engine tool. However, it’s painfully un-user-friendly. I’ll explain the difference below, but you may opt to simply use United or Air Canada as a beginner.

Which Airline Site Shows Which Partners:

 Airline Sites> United Air Canada ANA Lufthansa
Adria Airways Yes Yes Yes Yes
Aegean Airlines ? ? ? NO
Air Canada Yes Yes Yes NO
Air China Yes Yes Yes NO
Air New Zealand Yes Yes Yes NO
ANA Yes Yes Yes NO
Asiana Airlines Yes Yes Yes NO
Austrian Yes Yes Yes Yes
Avianca Yes Yes Yes NO
Brussels Airlines Yes Yes Yes Yes
Copa Yes Yes Yes NO
Croatia Airlines Yes Yes Yes Yes
EgyptAir Yes Yes Yes NO
Ethiopian Airlines Yes Yes Yes NO
EVA Yes Yes Yes NO
LOT NO Yes Yes Yes
Lufthansa Yes Yes Yes Yes
Scandinavian Airlines Yes Yes Yes NO
Shenzhen Airlines NO Yes Yes NO
Singapore Airlines NO Yes Yes NO
South African Airways Yes Yes Yes NO
Swiss Yes Yes Yes Yes
TACA Yes Yes Yes NO
TAP Yes Yes Yes NO
Thai Airways Yes Yes Yes NO
Turkish Yes Yes Yes NO
United Yes Yes Yes NO

 

Requirements To Search

  • United – requires nothing
  • Aeroplan – requires free membership number, easy
  • ANA – requires membership number and points in your account (or the work-around shown below)
  • Lufthansa – requires membership number that comes in the mail

United

For most, United.com is good enough (except in Asia where Singapore Airlines is a huge player), simply because it’s as easy as going to United.com.

  1. Go to United.com
  2. Check the box that says “Award Travel”

It’s really that easy. But if you want to learn more about how awesome United miles are, read these:

Aeroplan

  1. Create an account on aeroplan.com and save your number (skip if you have an account already).
  2. Login on aeroplan.com account
  3. On the “Use Miles” tab, click “Travel”
  4. Then do your “Travel Reward Search” by filling out the destinations and dates like a normal flight.

Aeroplan use miles

 

ANA

  1. Create an account
  2. Click Here to log into the award search pageThe next 3 steps are only if you don’t have miles already in your account. If you do have miles, you can just click “Use Star Alliance Member Airlines” on this screen, and then search. To get ANA miles, transfer from Amex or SPG.

     

  3. After logging in click “ANA International Flight Awards”
  4. Then do a search for an ANA route like NRT to HKG
  5. At the bottom of the results, you will then see the option to click “Use Star Alliance Member Airlines”

Screen Shot 2014-06-07 at 9.39.54 PM

 

Lufthansa

Once you go through the trouble of creating a Lufthansa account here, you can use the award booking tool. Although, I find Lufthansa a pain, the “Miles and More” loyalty program includes many premium european airlines: Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian, Adria Airways, Brussels Airlines, Croatia Airlines, and LOT Polish Airlines.

  1. Log in to Miles-and-More.com
  2. Click Flight Award in the box on the right side.

Screen Shot 2014-06-07 at 9.52.39 PM

 

While you can only search these airlines, it shows better results for members. So it’s really only accurate if you’re only planning on using Miles and More miles… but be vary aware of the massive fuel surcharges.

 

Why Not Just Use United?

It’s very seldom that United.com is not good enough. The biggest problem would be the lack of Sinagpore Airlines. Singapore is the largest airline in SE Asia and connects a lot of the world… plus, they have an awesome product. So without Singapore, not a lot of results show up for Asia flights.

People have found that there are false First Class seats showing, or also known as “phantom” results, as the airline is no longer actually releasing the seats. This is rare, and I don’t personally fly first class.

I think there are two main reasons to check with Aeroplan or ANA. 1) Aeroplan might think of different routes. and 2) ANA is a bit more thorough – it doesn’t leave anything out and shows 7 days of great results.

The only reason to use Miles and More is if you have Lufthansa miles. See, Miles and More releases more seats to the members (all the ones searchable by Miles and More), and thus it might show Lufthansa and Swiss First Class seats that ANA or United wouldn’t have available to them.

 

Conclusion

Star Alliance is actually a bit more basic in terms of having plenty of good options to find awards. It’s the best in that way.

One thing I want to add is that you need to see our fuel surcharges chart.

Click Here to see The Master Chart To Avoiding Fuel Surcharges

When Using United miles, you don’t have to pay any fuel surcharges on any airline. With Air Canada about half the airlines pass on fuel surcharges. And when using Lufthansa miles, nearly all the airlines pass on fuel surcharges. Knowing which airlines do and don’t is huge.

 

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9 Responses to How To Find Star Alliance Awards 101

  1. K says:

    Hi,

    I am wondering if there is any trick to find an award seat to GPS using United miles?

    Thanks,

    • ucipass says:

      Find someone willing to trade you lan kilometers for ua miles. Worked for me.

      • Drew Macomber says:

        Yea, I haven’t been able to find award seats, so LAN might be a good option. I believe LAN is a 1:1.5 transfer with SPG.

  2. Mr. Cool says:

    brussels searchable on UA?

    • Mr. Cool says:

      also AC consistently shows no award search results when UA does. need to figure out how to use ANA, but ANA only shows 1 week?

      • Drew Macomber says:

        Brussels is a funny thing, as they try to only give flights to Europe and Africa… but I did a search for DC to BRU and found seats on Brussels.

        ANA only shows a week at a time. I find AC and UA show different results… but they also have slightly different routing rules. But in general their computers are just different.

        • Mr. Cool says:

          just searched UA.com for IAD/JFK-BRU for all of august… no SN flights. which dates did you search please?

  3. Bruce says:

    Great post Drew! Can you do one for OneWorld as well?
    Thanks!

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