The big 3: Star Alliance, Oneworld & SkyTeam


What exactly is an airline alliance, how do they work and how can you benefit from them? Keep reading - has the answers! 

What is an airline alliance?

In short, an airline alliance is a partnership between two airlines or more. Airlines within an alliance have agreed to cooperate on a substantial level; which primarily means that a wider range of destinations can be offered to passengers. Around the world-travel, for example, is much more accessible thanks to alliances. Alliances also make it possible for passengers to  accumulate and redeem miles between airline alliance partners.

Today there are three major passenger airline alliances in the world; Star Alliance, Oneworld and SkyTeam. As of september 2019 as many as 61 out of the worlds airlines are a part of one of these alliances. 

Earn & redeem miles with an alliance

To earn miles with an alliance you need to join one of the  frequent flyer programs that the airlines within the alliance offer. Once you're a member of one of these programs there's no need to join another; you get full access to the entire network with just one. You can redeem your accumulated miles for seat upgrades, flight tickets and other rewards with a member airline of your choice. 

Star Alliance

Star Alliance was established in 1997 as the first global airline alliance in the world. Back then, the alliance consisted of the five airlines Air Canada, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Thai Airways and United Airlines. Today, Star Alliance is the world's largest airline alliance in terms of number of airlines. With a total of 27 member airlines Star Alliance can offer flights to 1 300 destinations in 194 different countries and regions.


Oneworld is the third largest airline alliance in the world. With its 13 members, including American Airlines, British Airways and Qatar Airways, the alliance can offer flights to more than 1 000 destinations in over 160 countries. The alliance was founded in 1999 and has its headquarters in New York. 


SkyTeam was founded in 2000 by AeroMéxico, Air France, Delta Air Lines och Korean Air. Today, the alliance consist of 19 member airlines and offer flights to over 1,150 destinations around the globe. SkyTeam offers nearly 15,000 departures each day, and each year more than 630 million passengers travel with an airline within the alliance.

Here you'll find a list of every airline and and the name of their frequent flyer program; Frequent Flyer Programs per alliance.