With 28 international members, the potential redemption opportunities for a Star Alliance credit card are vast. Whilst there is no such thing as a specific Star Alliance UK credit card there have been two interesting developments over the last 12 months.
MBNA closed its various airline rewards cards earlier this year and with this came the loss of the Lufthansa Miles & More Credit Card as well as the United Airlines MileagePlus credit card. Both were big hitters in terms of being able to redeem Star Alliance air miles flight from the UK. Those seeking to carry on earning miles were forced to look elsewhere until Lufthansa launched its new Diners Club and MasterCard (reviewed here). There are also several other opportunities to earn miles which we’ll cover in this Star Alliance credit card UK review.
Let's break this post down...
Why would you want to earn Star Alliance miles?
Star Alliance is the largest of the big three major airline alliances (with SkyTeam and Oneworld being the others) flying to over 1,300 destinations serviced by 28 different airlines. Their carriers arguably have one of the best, First-Class products in the sky – the new Singapore suite – as well superb ground services at the likes of Frankfurt Airport with the Lufthansa Business and First-Class lounges. A full list of carriers is set out below:
There are some pretty amazing travel hacks with some of these operators as well. An example of this would be one of the cheapest long-haul, Business-Class air miles redemptions between Europe and Dubai. It’s possible to use 50,000 Singapore air miles which can be earned using an American Express Rewards Card to redeem either return Lufthansa or Swiss Air Business-Class tickets between Europe and Dubai. An equivalent redemption booking with Lufthansa directly would require 70,000 points.
Specific airlines providing Star Alliance Credit Cards
I recently reviewed the Miles & More Global Traveller card from Lufthansa, which is the only Star Alliance credit card on which you can earn air miles directly. The slightly strange combo pack of the Diners Club and MasterCard come with an annual fee of £79, however the earnings rate is strong at 1.25 mile per £1 spent and there’s also a further sign-up bonus of 10,000 miles.
Star Alliance American Express Members
As I mentioned earlier, there are a small number of Star Alliance members who are partnered with American Express Rewards. This allows you to collect points using either the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold or American Express Platinum Card which can then be converted directly to either SAS or Singapore Airlines at a rate of 1 point to 1 mile.
Both the Gold (reviewed here) and Platinum (reviewed here) cards come with market-leading sign-up bonuses and strong, ongoing earnings rates. You’ll earn a total of 10,000 reward points when you spend £2,000 on the Gold card in the first 3 months. This can be increased to 12,000 points if you use this specific link. The card is free for the first year and then £140 pa thereafter (although I suspect most people cancel before the first 12 months is up).
The Platinum Card comes with a 30,000 point sign-up bonus (increased to 35,000 points if you use this link) and increased, ongoing earnings of 1.5 miles per £1 spent. The card comes with a whopping fee of £575 pa, however read recent review to find out why the perks may be worth it for some, making this a potential option for a Star Alliance American Express substitute.
Starwood Preferred Guest
With the recent amalgamation of the Starwood and Marriott reward programmes, there are now 43 airlines that points earned with Starwood Preferred Guest can be transferred to. This is a staggering number – considerably more than I had realised. Take a look at all the options here. This compares to American Express where there are a possible 12 direct partners (still quite a significant number).
The Starwood Preferred Guest American Express (reviewed here) provides an earnings rate of 3 SPG points for every £1, which for most of the airlines can be transferred at a rate of 3:1 making the equivalent earning of 1 point for every £1 spent. The card also comes with a 30,000 SPG point sign-up bonus (approximately 10,000 air miles) when you spend £2,000 in the first 3 months. This can be increased to 33,000 points if you use this link and scroll down to the correct card. The card comes with a £75 pa fee.
Star Alliance Credit Card UK Summary
For those who’ve recently lost their Star Alliance UK credit card or for those wanting to branch out and earn Star Alliance points, there are still several options in the UK market. The only directly branded credit card is the Miles & More Global Traveller card from Lufthansa. The combo Diners Club and MasterCard have an exceptional earnings rate for a MasterCard at 1.25 miles for every £1 spent. The bonus of 10,000 points also offsets the annual fee of £79 pa.
For those seeking real flexibility the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express (reviewed here) provides access to over 40 airline reward schemes. Don’t forget to opt in for the increased sign-up bonus of 33,000 points by using this link and scrolling down to the Starwood card.
Finally if it’s value for money you’re after then the American Express Gold Card is best suited. The card is free for the first year (at which point most people cancel) and comes with a sign-up bonus of 10,000 points (12,000 if you use this link). Don’t forget to explore the possibility of using Singapore to redeem cheap flights with Lufthansa or Swiss Air.
Thanks for taking the time to read this Star Alliance credit card UK review and please do not hesitate to drop me an email if I can help with anything.
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