Singapore Airlines, Aegean Airlines and United all have excellent Star Alliance frequent flyer programs. As a result, these airlines rightfully receive plenty of attention. But, bizarrely, one of the very best value Star Alliance frequent flyer programs is virtually unknown in Australia!
In our view, Asiana Club is the most undervalued Star Alliance frequent flyer program. The loyalty scheme of Korea’s Asiana Airlines, this program makes it extremely easy to earn Star Alliance status. You’ll also get to keep your benefits for at least two years, instead of the usual one year. Plus, Asiana Club miles are a valuable currency.
Earning Star Alliance Status
Asiana Club is one of the easiest frequent flyer programs to earn Star Alliance status with. You would need to either take a minimum number of Asiana flights or earn a minimum amount of miles from Star Alliance flights. There is no requirement to actually fly Asiana if you’re earning status based on mileage.
With Asiana you also have two full years to earn status. With almost all other airlines, your status credits or qualifying miles reset after just one year.
Your status resets at the end of every two-year “membership term”. This term begins on your “base date”, which is the date that you joined Asiana Club. For example, if you were to join on 1 September 2018 then you would have until 31 August 2020 to earn the required miles or Asiana sectors.
Here are the requirements for earning Star Alliance status via Asiana Club:
Asiana Club Gold (equivalent to Star Alliance Silver)
- Fly 30 Asiana sectors within 2 years of the base date, or
- Earn 20,000 miles from Asiana/Star Alliance flights within 2 years of the base date
- To renew, fly 20 Asiana sectors or earn 15,000 miles in the next membership term
Asiana Club Diamond (equivalent to Star Alliance Gold)
- Fly 50 Asiana sectors within 2 years of the base date, or
- Earn 40,000 miles from Asiana/Star Alliance flights within 2 years of the base date
- To renew, fly 30 Asiana sectors or earn 30,000 miles in the next membership term
You could earn 40,000 miles – enough to earn Star Alliance Gold status for at least two years – in just two round-trips from Sydney to London or New York, flying Asiana on an Economy Classic fare. Two return Business Class trips with Air New Zealand from Melbourne to Los Angeles (via Auckland) would also qualify.
Miles are earned as a percentage of the distance flown and your fare class. Beware that some fare classes on Star Alliance partner airlines do not earn any miles.
Once status has been earned, the number of flights you’ll need to re-qualify for Asiana Club status in future membership terms is even lower.
Enjoying your Star Alliance Status
Once earned, you’ll keep your status for the remainder of your current membership term and for the following two years. For example, if you joined in August 2018 and earned Asiana Club Diamond status by October 2018, you would receive all the Star Alliance Gold benefits until August 2022!
Star Alliance Gold status gives you benefits including lounge access when flying on any of the 27 Star Alliance airlines. These include Singapore Airlines, Air New Zealand, United, Thai Airways, Air China and South African Airways.
Lifetime Star Alliance Status via Asiana Club
Asiana Club also offers lifetime Star Alliance Gold status. Members can earn lifetime “Diamond Plus” Asiana Club membership by earning 500,000 miles on Star Alliance airlines or taking 500 Asiana flights.
A Great Choice of Frequent Flyer Program
John Blom is one of the few Australians to use Asiana Club as their main frequent flyer program. A professional tennis umpire, Blom has been a member of Asiana Club since 2009. He has already earned lifetime Star Alliance Gold status, having achieved this flying mostly on airlines other than Asiana.
“I got to 500,000 miles pretty quickly. I remember as I got closer and closer thinking there is no way this will last and at some point they will remove this deal – probably just as I am about to achieve it. But as of today it is still there,” Blom said.
Blom describes Asiana Club as “no frills”, saying “there are no bells and whistles at all, no great bonus point deals, (as a Diamond Plus member you get a whopping 15% bonus on miles earned, but only on Asiana) and no free upgrades, like with other airlines.”
For earning Star Alliance status, though, it is unbeatable value.
“I think the pros of the program certainly far outweigh the cons, but it really depends what one is after.”
Redeeming Asiana Club Miles
Asiana Club miles are also a valuable currency! You can redeem miles to fly on any Star Alliance airline as well as Etihad Airways. Miles expire after 10 years.
Unfortunately, the process for redeeming Asiana Club miles is a little complicated as partner award bookings cannot be made online. But redeeming miles is possible, and awards are very good value. Last year, John Blom managed to redeem 330,000 Asiana Club miles (plus $1,000 in taxes) for two return Business Class tickets from Canberra to Tbilisi, Georgia. The booking process required a phone call to Asiana’s Sydney office. But the Asiana staff were able to do everything over the phone – including suggesting some alternative flights.
See our guide to redeeming Asiana Club miles for more information.
Unfortunately, it’s not that easy to earn Asiana Club miles in Australia without flying on Star Alliance airlines. But if you live in Australia, the main reason to use Asiana Club is really the ease of earning status. The miles you’ll earn from flying on the Star Alliance network are a bonus.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Star Alliance Gold via Asiana club.