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The Ultimate Guide to the SkyTeam Alliance

The SkyTeam is a leading airline alliance with over 20 members and associates worldwide. Prominent members of the SkyTeam include Delta Air Lines, Air France, and KLM. Considering a new airline credit card? Fly often with one of the members of the SkyTeam? Or maybe you’re already a member of SkyMiles, Korean Air’s SKYPASS, or another frequent flyer program and want to maximize your rewards. No matter what you’re looking for, you’ll find it here in our ULTIMATE Guide to the SkyTeam Alliance!

skyteam guide

What is SkyTeam?

SkyTeam is an alliance of 20 global airline carriers, boasting over 4,000 aircraft in its combined fleet and covering approximately 1,000 destinations around the world. The SkyTeam is the second-largest carrier alliance, behind Star Alliance and ahead of Oneworld.

SkyTeam Member Airlines

Aeromexico

Air Europa

Aeroflot

Aerolineas Argentinas

Air France

Alitalia

China Airlines

China Eastern Airlines

Czech Airlines

Delta Airlines

China Southern Airlines

Garuda Indonesia

Kenya Airlines

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

Korean Air

Middle East Airlines

Saudia

TAROM

Vietnam Airlines

XiamenAir

SkyTeam Member Affiliates

Alitalia CityLiner (Alitalia)

Shanghai Airlines (China Eastern Airlines)

JinAir (Korean Air)

Flying Blue

Flying Blue is a loyalty program of which several SkyTeam partner airlines are members. The following airlines make up the Flying Blue loyalty program:

  • Aeroflot
  • Aerolineas Argentinas
  • Aeromexico
  • Air Corsica
  • Air Europa
  • Alaska Airlines
  • Alitalia
  • Air France
  • Air Mauritius
  • Bangkok Airways
  • Chalair Aviation
  • China Airlines
  • Comair
  • Copa Airlines
  • Czech Airlines
  • China Eastern
  • China Southern Airlines
  • Delta Airlines
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • GOL
  • Japan Airlines
  • Jet Airways
  • KLM 
  • Korean Air
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Middle East Airlines
  • Saudi Arabian Airlines
  • TAAG
  • Twin Jet
  • Ukraine Int. Airlines
  • Vietnam Airlines
  • Xiamen Airlines
  • Wijet

SkyTeam Lounges

SkyTeam Lounge Locations

The SkyTeam and its partner airlines operate over 750 lounges across the globe. For more information about individual lounges, please check with your departure or the connecting airport’s website.

SkyTeam operates standalone lounges in the following international destinations:

  • Beijing
  • Dubai
  • Hong Kong
  • London
  • Sydney
  • Vancouver

SkyTeam Lounge Access Policy

SkyTeam lounge access is available within 24 hours of your scheduled departure time.

  • First Class and Business Class Passengers: All first class and business class passengers have complimentary access to SkyTeam lounges when traveling on or connecting to/from an international flight operated by a SkyTeam partner on the same day as their travel. Lounge access is only available at departure and connecting airports, and not at the destination of arrival. For those passengers connecting (regardless of whether the travel is domestic or international), all travel segments must be booked as either first or business class fares, and the entire journey operated by a SkyTeam member airline.
  • SkyTeam Elite Plus Passengers: All SkyTeam Elite Plus passengers have complimentary access to SkyTeam lounges when traveling on or connecting to/from an international flight operated by a SkyTeam partner on the same day as their travel. Lounge access is only available at departure and connecting airports, and not at the destination of arrival. For those passengers connecting (regardless of whether the travel is domestic or international), all travel segments must be booked through a SkyTeam member airline.
  • Guests: SkyTeam Elite Plus passengers are entitled to invite one guest that is also traveling on a SkyTeam member airline flight with evidence of the guest’s boarding pass.
  • Purchasing Lounge Access: Some SkyTeam member airlines, such as Alitalia, allow travelers to purchase access to lounges at an additional cost. For more information about the availability of purchasing lounge access on any segment of your trip, contact your airline before travel or speak to a member of staff at the check-in counter.

SkyPriority

SkyPriority offers members priority services at over 1,150 airports around the world. These signs are easily distinguishable at airports with their red markings and can quickly guide you through airports without fear of bottlenecks. SkyPriority is available to first-class and business class passengers, as well as SkyTeam Elite Plus members, regardless of their ticket class.

SkyPriority offers priority:

  • Ticket Office Access
  • Check-in
  • Baggage Drop-off
  • Security Lines
  • Boarding
  • Transfers
  • Baggage Handling
  • Immigration

Earning SkyTeam Frequent Flyer Miles

Flying with SkyTeam Members

The easiest way to earn miles with SkyTeam is by making bookings with a SkyTeam member airline. All passengers need to do is provide their frequent flyer number when making their booking or checking in.

To earn miles, the airline shown on the ticket, as well as the operating airline, must be a SkyTeam member. Additionally, the fare purchased must qualify for earning miles.

Miles are also applicable retroactively, provided the traveler has already flown and the miles were never credited to the account.

Booking with Affiliate Partners

Travelers can also earn points when booking with select SkyTeam or member airline partners:

SkyTeam Partners:

  • Hertz Rental Cars – Travelers can earn bonus miles when they rent their vehicle with Hertz. Simply enter your frequent flyer number to earn miles when renting qualifying vehicles. Members can also receive 10% off their rental.

Flying Blue Partners:

Flying Blue members can earn bonus miles with the following partners:

  • Le Club Accor Hotels
  • Hilton Honors
  • Marriot Bonvoy
  • Avis Rental Cars
  • Batavia Stad Fashion Outlet
  • Best Western
  • Budget Rental Cars
  • Driving Blue taxi Service
  • Enterprise Rent-A-Car
  • Europcar Rental Cars
  • Golden Tulip Hotels
  • Hyatt Hotels
  • InterContinental Hotels
  • My Boutique Hotel
  • Radisson Hotels
  • Shangri-La Hotels
  • Sixt Ren-A-Car
  • The Bicester Village Shopping Collection
  • Thrifty Car Rental
  • World Hotels Collection
  • Yotel Hotels

Earning Bonus Miles with Airline Partners

For more information regarding earning points with SkyTeam member airline partners, please see each airline’s official site, listed below:

Do Miles Expire?

Miles earned with partner airlines are subject to the terms and conditions of each member carrier. As such, some miles expire, while others may not. Here is what you need to know about miles expiration with SkyTeam member airlines:

  • Aeroflot– Miles expire after 24 months of inactivity on the account
  • Aerolineas Argentinas– Miles expire after 36 months of inactivity on the account
  • Aeromexico– Miles expire after 24 months of inactivity on the account
  • Air Europa– Miles expire after 24 months of inactivity n the account
  • Alitalia– Miles expire annually on 1/31, regardless of activity
  • Air France– Miles expire after 24 months of inactivity on the account
  • China Airlines– Miles expire after 36 months, regardless of account activity
  • Czech Airlines– Miles expire after 36 months, regardless of account activity
  • Delta Airlines– Miles do not expire
  • China Eastern Airlines– Miles expire on the 12/31 36 months after they were earned
  • China Southern Airlines– Miles expire after 36 months, regardless of account activity
  • Garuda Indonesia– Miles expire after 36 months, regardless of account activity
  • Kenya Airlines– Miles expire after 24 months of inactivity on the account
  • KLM Royal Dutch Airlines– Miles expire after 24 months of inactivity on the account
  • Korean Air– Miles expire after 10 years, regardless of account activity
  • Middle East Airlines– Miles expire after 36 months, regardless of account activity
  • Saudia – Miles expire on the 12/31 36 months after they were earned
  • TAROM– Miles expire after 24 months of inactivity n the account
  • Vietnam Airlines– Miles expire after 36 months, regardless of account activity
  • XiamenAir – Miles expire on the 12/31 of the 4th calendar year in which they were earned

Blackout Dates

Blackout dates may apply when redeeming rewards and miles. Check with your card issuer to see if blackout dates apply to the itinerary you are booking. If you’re redeeming rewards with a partner carrier, please be aware that there may be different terms and conditions that apply to blackout dates with the partner; it’s best to check with them, as well, to ensure that you won’t be affected by blackout travel dates when booking using rewards miles.

How to Redeem Miles

Miles gained with SkyTeam members are applicable for the following:

  • Purchasing flights with a member airline
  • Upgrading to the next class of service on a member service

Restrictions on Redeeming Miles

  • Miles from different members’ frequent flyer programs cannot be combined.
  • Some airlines restrict the use of miles for purchasing partial flights – please check with your preferred carrier when booking.
  • Some airlines do not permit the use of miles for open-jawed travel. Open-jawed travel refers to departing from Point A and landing at Point B, while the return flight departs from Point C to Point A. Check with your preferred airline before booking.

Transferring Miles

  • Miles cannot be transferred from one member’s frequent flyer program to another member’s frequent flyer program.
  • Miles may be transferred to family members, though fees or surcharges may apply.

SkyTeam Status Levels

SkyTeam has two status levels travelers can achieve: SkyTeam Elite and SkyTeam Elite Plus. To recognize the frequent flyers in each of the SkyTeam partner airlines, these two tiers were created to identify and deliver the appropriate benefits to SkyTeam frequent flyers.

According to SkyTeam, earning Elite status in the frequent flyer program of the traveler’s preferred airline does not permit the transfer of this status to another airline. Once, however, a passenger earns Elite status, they are automatically recognized as a SkyTeam Elite member, which is applicable across all SkyTeam partner airlines.

SkyTeam Elite

Achieving Elite status equates to the basic level of a SkyTeam partner’s frequent flyer membership. With Delta Airlines, for example, Delta Silver status members automatically qualify for Elite status. Reaching Delta Silver status requires a traveler to accumulate either 25,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) or $3,000 Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) and 30 Medallion Qualification Segments (MQSs).

SkyTeam Elite members receive the following benefits:

  • Priority airport standby
  • Reservation wait-listing priority
  • Priority check-in
  • Preferred seating
  • Priority boarding
  • Additional checked baggage allowances

SkyTeam Elite Plus

SkyTeam Elite Plus status is the highest tier of SkyTeam frequent flyer membership. Earning Elite Plus status is reserved for those travelers who hold the highest levels of membership with a partner airline. Elite Plus status, for example, is equivalent to Delta Gold status (the Elite Plus is also available to Platinum, or Diamond status customers). To earn Gold status, a traveler must gain 50,000 MQMs or $6,000 MQDs and 60 MQSs.

Elite Plus members receive all the benefits of Elite members, as well as the following additional perks:

  • Extra baggage allowances
  • Priority boarding at leisure
  • Priority luggage handling at their destination, regardless of the class of travel
  • A guaranteed full-fare Y-class reservation on a sold-out, long-haul flight with at least 24-hour notice before departure
  • SkyTeam lounge access worldwide – regardless of the class of travel – within 24 hours of departure
  • Admittance of one guest into a SkyTeam lounge, provided they have proof of travel on a member-operated the flight

SkyTeam Elite and Elite Plus Additional Benefits Explained

Below you will find more information about what Elite and Elite Plus status members can expect priority when they travel:

    • Reservations Wait-List: When a preferred flight is sold out, Elite and Elite Plus members have priority on the wait-list, should additional seats become available.
    • Seating: Elite and Elite Plus members have access to select seats when booking – seats that are not available to the general public during booking.
    • Check-in: Members have priority check-in through dedicated priority check-in lanes only available to Elite and Elite Plus status members.
    • Extra Baggage Allowance: Travelers are entitled to carry an additional 22 lbs. (10 kg) or check one extra piece of luggage at no added cost.
    • Standby: Members have priority on standby lists at the airport, should their travel plans change.
    • Boarding: Elite and Elite Plus members have priority to board the aircraft before other passengers, or at their leisure.
    • Luggage Handling at Destination: Those with Elite or Elite Plus status can expect their luggage to be dealt with first at arrival, meaning they can quickly collect their belongings at the carousel and depart the airport.

Current SkyTeam Credit Cards

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About: Cory
Cory Santos

Cory is BestCards.com's "Jack of all trades" and resident rewards expert, covering all facets of the points game – especially travel, hotels, and airlines. In addition to credit cards, Cory finds that jogging, cats, and memes are essential parts of a balanced day.