Star Alliance Round the World Ticket Guide

Star Alliance Round the World Ticket Guide
Star Alliance offers a round-the-world ticket with lots of flexibility. Photo: Star Alliance.

Want to fly around the world on Star Alliance airlines? Although the mini-RTW fares offered by Lufthansa Group airlines can offer great value, the Star Alliance Round the World fare is the most comprehensive and flexible option.

With a Star Alliance Round the World (RTW) ticket, you can fly up to 39,000 miles with up to 15 stopovers along the way. You can fly anywhere that is served by a Star Alliance airline; you just have to circumnavigate the globe and finish your journey in the same country as you started in.

Of course, you can also earn frequent flyer miles and status with a Star Alliance airline of your choice with one of these tickets! With a round-the-world ticket, you could be well on your way to earning Star Alliance Gold status with Turkish Airlines, Asiana, or – if your travel plans include Greece – Aegean Airlines.

The Star Alliance RTW fare is available in Economy, Premium Economy, Business and First Class.

Star Alliance Round the World fare routing rules

The Star Alliance RTW fare is extremely flexible. As long as you meet the routing rules outlined below, and there are flights available in the relevant booking classes for your dates, your itinerary will be allowed.

With this ticket, you can fly with any of the 26 Star Alliance member airlines:

Star Alliance network (2020)

As this is a round-the-world ticket, you must travel in a continuous direction – either east or west – crossing both the Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean exactly once each. Some backtracking is permitted, but only within continents. Other rules include:

  • You must end in the country (but not necessarily the same city) where you started your trip
  • There is a limit of 3 stopovers (of more than 24 hours) in any single country, except the USA where 5 stopovers are allowed
  • You cannot stopover in the same city twice
  • Up to 5 surface sectors are permitted, however these count towards your 16 permitted flight sectors and the mileage is also included
  • For travel originating in Australia or New Zealand, the minimum trip duration is 7 days for Economy & Premium Economy bookings. There is no minimum duration for Business & First class, and the maximum total trip length is 1 year.

When thinking about your itinerary, also keep in mind that there are around 60 fifth-freedom flights on Star Alliance airlines that neither start nor end in a Star Alliance hub airport.

The full terms & conditions are available on the Star Alliance website.

How much does a Star Alliance Round the World fare cost?

The base fare is priced according to the number of miles flown, however the final price will depend on the exact routing, airlines used, taxes and exchange rate fluctuations.

For each class of travel, there are different price points based on the number of miles, and some special fares are available in Business and Economy class if your itinerary includes between 3 and 5, 7, 10 or 12 stopovers. Clearly, you’ll get the best value by getting as close to the maximum mileage for a given zone as you can, without going over. (Note that the minimum stay shown in the below table from the Star Alliance employee portal applies to fares originating outside of Australia & NZ).

List of Star Alliance RTW fares
List of Star Alliance RTW fare types

As an example, we got a quote for the following itinerary which commences and ends in Brisbane:

Sample Star Alliance RTW itinerary
Sample Star Alliance RTW itinerary.

The price for this itinerary in Economy class was $6,013 and in Business class the price was $14,948. For Premium Economy, the fare was $8,908; however, only two of the flights (Brisbane-Vancouver on Air Canada, and Newark-London on United) actually had Premium Economy seating available. The remaining flights would book into Economy class.

This is a little expensive, however it’s still much cheaper than buying the flights individually. Also keep in mind that a key benefit of the Star Alliance round-the-world fare is flexibility. After booking, you can change your travel dates (subject to availability) free of charge. You can also change your routing for a fee of USD125, or cancel the whole trip for USD150.

We did not get a quote for First class because the cabin was not available on any flight in the itinerary. If you wanted to book in First class, you would need to carefully construct your itinerary around Star Alliance airlines and routes where First class is offered. In general, you could expect to pay just shy of $20,000 for a round-the-world ticket in First class.

If you’re booking in Business class and there is no Business cabin on your flight, you’ll be re-accommodated in Economy. An exception is two-class domestic flights within the USA (on United) or China (with Air China), where you’ll be upgraded to First class for no charge.

Some surcharges are applicable for travel in Business or First class on certain Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300ER and A380 flights, and some long-haul Asiana Business class flights.

Infant tickets cost 10% of the adult fare, and children under 12 years old are priced at 75% of the full price.

How to book a Star Alliance Round the World ticket

Most travel agents will be able to book a Star Alliance RTW ticket for you, but you can also easily construct your own itinerary on the Star Alliance website. The online journey planner is user-friendly. You can easily add & remove flights and see how many stopovers or miles you’ve used.

Star Alliance round-the-world booking tool
Star Alliance round-the-world booking tool

After selecting your routing, you’ll be able to choose the exact flights you want for each sector.

Star Alliance round-the-world booking tool
Star Alliance round-the-world booking tool

You’ll then receive a final quote (which, in our case, worked out to be higher than the estimated fare). Once you’re happy, you’ll be able to complete the booking directly on the Star Alliance website. If you book online, the ticketing airline will be Lufthansa.

Star Alliance round-the-world booking tool
Star Alliance round-the-world booking tool

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]