Choosing an alliance and sticking with it is one of the best, and fastest, ways of racking up loyalty points. With those points [miles], you can redeem them for discounted and/or free flights! No traveller get’s more excited than when the words “free” and “flights” are put into the same sentence.
When beginning the process of looking for an alliance to commit yourself to, it can be overwhelming. There are plenty of factors that go into it, some of which I’ll outline later in this post. Although I’m not too happy about it, I chose the Star Alliance, over groups like One World and Sky Team. The reason I say unfortunately is because, in the United States, United is the weakest link in terms of large domestic carriers, the ones I’d most commonly be flying. This is opposed to Delta or American Airlines.
However, there are other factors that made me stay with them, and here’s why.
They Fly A Lot of Places
Washington D.C. (both IAD and DCA) is my main hub. It’s where I live, it’s where I go to school, and it’s where I fly out of most of the time. With United and their partners, there are over 7000 destinations I can reach. When I did the same search for One World, I found that I could reach only 4900. That’s a significant difference.
I doubt I’ll use all 7000 flights, but the availability is nice. To know that I could is the point.
Their Team Members Pick Up the Slack
If you look at the chart, not only does the Star Alliance have more members, but in my opinion, it has better members. Yes One World has Cathay Pacific and Brittish Airways, and yes, Sky Team does have KLM and Air France, but the Star Alliance has Turkish, Lufthansa, and ANA! Note: This chart is a little out of date. Since its creation, some major changes have been: Qatar Airways has joined One World, Continental and United have merged, and US Airways and American Airlines have merged.
Star Alliance has every major area covered, Lufthansa – Europe, ANA – Asia, Turkish – Middle East, Air New Zealand – Pacific, everywhere! Their coverage is extensive, and the quality of service is off the charts. Lufthansa, easily my favorite airline. That being said…
They Have Lufthansa
Like I said, best airline ever. Their customer service is superb, their in-flight meals are delicious, their flight status is impeccable, I have yet to have a bad experience with Lufthansa. I’ve taken a total of eight legs with them: IAD-MUC, MUC-TBS, TBS-MUC, MUC-IAD, IAD-FRA, FRA-DOH, DOH-FRA, FRA-IAD. AND! Their prices are phenomenal. How many airlines offer round trip IAD-DOH for $750? Not many.
Now Choose Yours
Picking an alliance is a very independent decision. If you’re looking for most route varieties, my alliance may not be the same as yours! And yours may not be the same as the next guys. It’s important to research which alliance offers more flights from where you’re based, know where your most common destination is and make sure that alliance can get you there, and also research their loyalty programs! Some may offer sweet deals when you sign up for their credit cards, offering 2:1 or even 3:1 miles:dollars ratio! Each alliance has an interactive route map on their website, so check each one out and choose which is best for you!