What is an airline alliance? Why are these important?
An airlines alliance is a centralized partnership between two or more airlines that is mutually beneficial. This allows for code sharing (a flight scheduling thing), marketing, greater rewards potential for customers and most likely some back office business matters. If you use your frequent flyer miles, points or segments, knowing which alliance an airline is in may help you better utilize your flight options. Often, if you have rewards with one airline, you can use them on another major airline for reward redemption.
Below is a full list, to my understanding, on existing alliances and their supporting members. Below that is a list of major airlines that offer airlines that offer frequent flyer programs on their own.
The Three Major Airlines Alliances;
Star Alliance (EST. 1997, 27 members)
*Thai Airways International
Other members: Adria Airways (2004), Aegean Airlines (2010), Air China (2007), Air India (2014), Air New Zealand (1999), All Nippon Airways (1999), Asiana Airlines (2003), Austrian Airlines (2000), Avianca (2012), Brussels Airlines (2009), Copa Airlines (2012), Croatia Airlines (2004), EgyptAir (2008), Ethiopian Airlines (2011), EVA Air (2013), LOT Polish Airlines (2003), Shenzhen Airlines (2012), Singapore Airlines (2000), South African Airways (2006), Swiss International Air Lines (2006), TAP Portugal (2005), and Turkish Airlines (2008).
Oneworld (EST. 1999, 14 members)
*American Airlines, founder
*British Airways, founder
*Cathay Pacific, founder
Other members: Aer Lingus (2017), Air Berlin (2012), Finnair (1999), Iberia Airlines (1999), Japan Airlines (2007), LATAM Chile (2000), LATAM Brasil (2014), Malaysia Airlines (2013), Qatar Airways (2013), Royal Jordanian (2007), SriLankan Airlines (2014), and S7 Airlines (2010).
SkyTeam (EST. 2000, 20 members)
*Delta Air Lines
Other members: Aeroflot (2006), Aerolíneas Argentinas (2012), Air Europa (2007), Alitalia (2009), China Airlines (2011), China Eastern Airlines (2007), China Southern Airlines (2007), Czech Airlines (2001), Garuda Indonesia (2014), Kenya Airways (2007), KLM (2004), Middle East Airlines (2012), Saudia (2012), TAROM (2010), and Xiamen Airlines (2012)
Vanilla Alliance (EST. 2015, 5 members)
*Air Austral, founder
*Air Madagascar, founder
*Air Mauritius, founder
*Air Seychelles, founder
*Int’Air Îles, founder
U-FLY Alliance (EST. 2016, 5 members)
Other Members: Eastar Jet (2016)
Value Alliance (EST 2016, 7 members)
*Cebu Pacific, founder
*Jeju Air, founder
*Nok Air, founder
*Tigerair Australia, founder
*Vanilla Air, founder
NON Alliance Airlines: Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Air, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue, Spirit Airlines, Southwest Airlines, WestJet, Virgin America, Emirates, IndiGo, Fuji Airways, easyJet, Icelandair, Ryanair, Norwegian Airways, Virgin Atlantic and several others.
However, some of the above are working on future partnerships so I would check with the airline directly for additional details on reward programs. Also, there are many airlines that partner with one another but are not within an alliance. Read my short blog post on this here.
Interested to know which airlines rewards are the best (worth the most)? This blog post is coming shortly (pending).