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11 Best Star Alliance Credit Cards of 2022: Everything You Need to Know

11 Best Star Alliance Credit Cards of 2022: Everything You Need to Know

If you're looking for the best Star Alliance credit card, you can choose from the United℠ Explorer Card to earn airline miles or the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card if you want more flexible points.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more. Citi is an advertising partner.

Top Star Alliance credit cards of 2022

United℠ Explorer Card

United Quest℠ Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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The Star Alliance is an airline alliance consisting of 26 airlines from around the world. You can earn points in the frequent flyer programs of any of the Star Alliance members, and redeem them to fly on any of the airlines in the alliance.

While there isn't one specific Star Alliance credit card, there are a variety of different credit cards that can earn miles that you can use to fly with the Star Alliance. Making a smart decision can get you miles to help you fly just about anywhere in the world.

Compare the best Star Alliance credit cards of 2022

Welcome Offer
Credit Needed
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Annual Fee
United℠ Explorer Card
United℠ Explorer Card
Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.660 - 850$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
Apply Now
On Chase's Secure Website
United Club℠ Infinite Card
United Club℠ Infinite Card
Earn 100,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.720 - 850$525
Apply Now
On Chase's Secure Website
United Quest℠ Card
United Quest℠ Card
Earn 80,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.660 - 850$250
Apply Now
On Chase's Secure Website
Compare all cards
Welcome Offer
Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
Earn 100,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Credit Score Needed
?
660 - 850
720 - 850
Annual Fee
$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
$525
Apply Now
On Chase's Secure Website
Apply Now
On Chase's Secure Website

Best Star Alliance credit cards that are co-branded airline credit cards

There are many different credit cards that can help you fly with the Star Alliance. The first group of Star Alliance credit cards are co-branded between the bank and an airline loyalty program. These cards will directly earn airline miles that you can use to fly with the Star Alliance.

United℠ Explorer Card

On Chase's Secure Website

Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95

19.49% - 26.49% Variable

660 - 850

  • Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining, hotel stays, and United® purchases
  • Up to $100 Global Entry, TSA PreCheck® or NEXUS fee credit
  • 25% back as a statement credit on purchases of food, beverages and Wi-Fi on board United-operated flights and on Club premium drinks when you pay with your Explorer Card
  • Free first checked bags - a savings of up to $140 per roundtrip. Terms Apply.
  • Enjoy priority boarding privileges and visit the United Club℠ with 2 one-time passes each year for your anniversary
  • Get one-year complimentary DashPass, a membership for both DoorDash and Caviar that provides unlimited deliveries with $0 delivery fees and lower service fees on eligible orders. After that, you are automatically enrolled in DashPass at the current monthly rate. Activate by 12/31/24.

Airline perks

  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining, hotel stays and United® purchases. 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Free first checked bag for the cardholder and one other passenger
  • Up to $100 as a statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® every 4 years
  • 25% back on purchases of food, beverages and Wi-Fi when flying United
  • 2 one-time use passes for an United Club airline lounge

The United℠ Explorer Card is one of our favorite co-branded airline cards for the United alliance due to the reasonable annual fee and the fact that United's large airline network will get you most places you want to go. The card earns United MileagePlus miles and is great for frequent United flyers. It comes with a free checked bag and discounts on in-flight purchases, all for an annual fee of $0 Intro for the First Year, then $95.

United Club℠ Infinite Card

On Chase's Secure Website

Earn 100,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

$525

19.49% - 26.49% Variable

720 - 850

  • Earn 100,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 4 miles per $1 spent on United® purchases including tickets, Economy Plus, inflight food, beverages and Wi-Fi, and other United charges.
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on all other travel
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining including eligible delivery services
  • Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Up to $100 Global Entry, TSA PreCheck® or NEXUS fee credit
  • Free first and second checked bags - a savings of up to $320 per roundtrip. Terms Apply
  • Get one-year complimentary DashPass, a membership for both DoorDash and Caviar that provides unlimited deliveries with $0 delivery fees and lower service fees on eligible orders. After that, you are automatically enrolled in DashPass at the current monthly rate. Activate by 12/31/24.

Airline perks

  • Earn 4 miles per $1 spent on United® purchases, 2 miles per $1 spent on all other travel and dining and 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Complimentary United Club access
  • Free first and second checked bags for the cardholder and one other passenger
  • Up to $100 as a statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® every 4 years
  • 25% back on purchases of food, beverages and Wi-Fi when flying United

For Star Alliance members looking for airline lounge access, the United Club℠ Infinite Card is the way to go. The card comes with a $525 annual fee, but its major perk is a United Club membership. That will allow you and your eligible travel companions to access United Clubs and airline lounges around the world.

United Quest℠ Card

On Chase's Secure Website

Earn 80,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

$250

19.49% - 26.49% Variable

660 - 850

  • Earn 80,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • $250 Annual Fee
  • Earn 3x miles on United® purchases, 2x miles on dining, select streaming services & all other travel, 1x on all other purchases
  • Earn 3x miles on United® purchases
  • Earn 2x miles on dining including eligible delivery services, select streaming services, and all other travel
  • Earn 1x mile on all other purchases
  • Each year, receive a $125 credit on United® purchases and two 5K-mile anniversary award flight credits. Terms apply.
  • Get one-year complimentary DashPass, a membership for both DoorDash and Caviar that provides unlimited deliveries with $0 delivery fees and lower service fees on eligible orders. After that, you are automatically enrolled in DashPass at the current monthly rate. Activate by 12/31/24

Airline perks

  • 3 miles per $1 spent on United® purchases. 2 miles per $1 spent at restaurants, on select streaming services & on all other travel. 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases. Plus, each year, receive a $125 credit on United® purchases and two 5k-mile anniversary award flight credits. Terms apply.
  • 500 PQPs for every $12,000 in net purchases (3,000 maximum)
  • $125 annual United purchase credit
  • Free first and second checked bags for the cardholder and one other passenger
  • Up to $100 as a statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® every four years
  • Two 5,000-mile anniversary award flight credits
  • 25% back on purchases of food, beverages and Wi-Fi when flying United

If you're pursuing status with the Star Alliance, the United Quest℠ Card is a great card to have, since you can boost your elite status with United Airlines (and consequently with the Star Alliance) just by spending on the card. The card offers up to 3,000 Premier qualifying points (PQPs) each year (500 PQPs for every $12,000 in purchases on the card) — nearly enough to boost you to United Silver status, from Silver to Gold or from Gold to Platinum.

It comes with a $250 annual fee but has many powerful benefits in addition to its status boost feature and the United MileagePlus miles that you'll earn with every purchase. You'll get two free checked bags, a $125 credit on United purchases each year and two 5,000-mile award flight credits.

Avianca Vuela Visa® Card

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40,000 Bonus LifeMiles after first card use

$149

14.74% - 27.74%, based on your creditworthiness

660 - 850

  • 40,000 Bonus LifeMiles after first card use
  • Earn 3 LifeMiles per $1 spent on Avianca purchases
  • Earn 2 LifeMiles per $1 spent at gas stations and grocery stores
  • Earn 1 LifeMile per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 15% discount on purchases of miles with Multiply Your Miles
  • Free additional piece of baggage for travel between the United States and Central America
  • A 50% discount on an award ticket redeemed for travel to Central America or Colombia from the United States after $12,000 spent each year
  • An additional 50% discount on an award ticket redeemed for travel to Central America or Colombia from the United States after $24,000 spent each year
  • 0% Introductory offer for 12 months on Balance Transfers
  • Chip-enabled card provides added security
  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver
  • Travel Accident Insurance
  • Protection against unauthorized charges
  • Emergency Card Replacement
  • Online Account Management
  • Electronic Statements
  • Auto-pay option

Airline perks

  • Earn 3 LifeMiles per $1 spent on Avianca purchases, 2 LifeMiles per $1 spent at gas stations and grocery stores and 1 LifeMile per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • 15% discount on purchasing Avianca miles
  • 50% discount on an award ticket from the United States to Central America or Colombia after spending $12,000 each year. Another 50% discount after spending $24,000.

The Avianca Vuela Visa® Card is mostly useful for people who fly frequently to Central America on Avianca airlines. Avianca LifeMiles can be very powerful if you are an advanced user, but many people will find them challenging to use. Coupled with a $149 annual fee and not a lot of travel benefits, there are better credit cards to use with the Star Alliance.

Miles & More® World Elite Mastercard®

Generic art
Not available on ValuePenguin

50,000 bonus miles if you make $3,000 in purchases within the first 90 days and pay the annual fee.

$89

16.24%, 20.24% or 25.24% Variable

See website for details

  • Free Companion Ticket (economy class) upon the first use of the new Lufthansa World MasterCard, and on the anniversary of your account opening
  • Redeem miles for flight awards and upgrades on Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, SWISS, Star Alliance airlines and other partners
  • 1 mile for every $1 spent

Airline perks

  • Earn 2 award miles per $1 spent on ticket purchases directly from Miles & More integrated airline partners. Earn 1 award mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Two complimentary Lufthansa Business Lounge Vouchers each year
  • A Companion Ticket after each account anniversary

The Miles & More® World Elite Mastercard® is a good option for those looking to fund a flight across the Atlantic to Europe. The card's sign-up bonus is enough for a roundtrip economy ticket between the U.S. and Europe. Besides that, there isn't a whole lot of value from this card, and Lufthansa miles are difficult to acquire.


Best Star Alliance credit cards with flexible points

In addition to co-branded airline credit cards, you might also consider a card that earns flexible or transferable points, like Chase Ultimate Rewards® or American Express Membership Rewards points. These points can then be used either to transfer to airline partners or spend directly towards purchasing flights.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Earns transferable points

Star Alliance partners:

  • Singapore Airlines
  • United Airlines

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® card is Chase's luxury credit card, and comes with a $550 annual fee. While that is a lot to pay for a credit card each year, there's no denying that the Chase Sapphire Reserve® has plenty of perks. These include a $300 annual travel credit that applies to most travel purchases and wipes out a large part of the annual fee, Priority Pass airline lounge access and a Global Entry, TSA PreCheck or NEXUS statement credit.

The card offers a mountain of points that you can use for flights on the Star Alliance. In addition to a large sign-up bonus, you earn 5x points on flights and 10x points on hotels and car rentals through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. You can transfer your Ultimate Rewards points 1:1 to either Singapore or United, or use them to purchase airfare or other travel at a value of 1.5 cents per point.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

On Chase's Secure Website

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

$95

18.99% - 25.99% Variable

720 - 850

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself BackSM, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
Earns transferable points

Star Alliance partners:

  • Singapore Airlines
  • United Airlines

If you're looking to earn valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards® points but aren't ready to pay the higher annual fee of the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you can also consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. The card offers an exceptionally large sign-up bonus, and valuable flexible points on travel and dining: 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases.

At an annual fee of only $95, you can still transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to airline partners or use them to book travel directly.

Citi Premier® Card

On Citibank's Secure Website

For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

$95

19.74% - 27.74% (Variable)

660 - 850

  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Earns transferable points

Star Alliance partners:

  • Avianca Airlines
  • EVA Air
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Thai Airways
  • Turkish Airlines

The Citi Premier® Card earns Citi ThankYou points, which can be transferred to airline partners or used to book travel directly. The Citi Premier® Card has several bonus categories: Earn 3X points per $1 spent at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels and 1X per $1 spent on all other purchases. Cardholders also enjoy a $100 credit toward a hotel booked on thankyou.com each year.

The American Express® Gold Card

See Rates & Fees. Terms Apply. On American Express' Secure Website

60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

$250

19.74%-26.74% Variable

660 - 850

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
Earns transferable points

Star Alliance partners:

  • All Nippon Airways
  • Air Canada
  • Avianca Airlines
  • Singapore Airlines

The American Express® Gold Card earns an exceptional number of valuable Membership Rewards points that can be transferred to Star Alliance airlines. Cardholders Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X), and 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com. Terms apply.

While you can use those to book flights directly with airlines, it's not a great value unless you also have the Business Platinum card (and its 35% points rebate). A much better value is transferring them to airline partners like ANA, Air Canada or Singapore Airlines. The American Express® Gold Card has a $250 annual fee, but easily makes up for it, thanks to its annual fee and benefits like up to $120 in dining credits annually (enrollment required).

For rates and fees of American Express® Gold Card, please click here.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

On Capital One's Secure Website

Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

$95

18.99% - 26.99% (Variable)

660 - 850

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Enjoy two complimentary visits per year to Capital One Lounges or to 100+ Plaza Premium Lounges through our Partner Lounge Network
  • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase—or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
  • Transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs

Star Alliance partners:

  • Air Canada
  • Avianca Airlines
  • EVA Air
  • Singapore Airlines

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card lets you Earn unlimited 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day; 5 Miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel; 5 Miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world’s largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023. The value of the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is the utter ease of earning miles and redeeming them. The miles that you earn are worth 1 cent per point toward any type of travel purchases.

However, Capital One also has a variety of Star Alliance airline transfer partners that are another option for travel. Most of these (like Avianca Airlines) even let you transfer miles at a 1:1 ratio.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card

On Chase's Secure Website

Earn 3 Free Night Awards (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after spending $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card!

$95

18.99% - 25.99% Variable

660 - 850

  • Earn 3 Free Night Awards (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after qualifying purchases.
  • Earn 3X points per $1 on the first $6,000 spent in combined purchases each year on grocery stores, gas stations, and dining.
  • Earn 1 Elite Night Credit towards Elite Status for every $5,000 you spend.
  • 1 Free Night Award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.
  • Earn up to 17X total points per $1 spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy® with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Card.
  • 2X points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Receive 15 Elite Night Credits annually, automatic Silver Elite Status each account anniversary year, and path to Gold Status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each calendar year.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
Automatic elite status

Star Alliance partners:

  • All Nippon Airways
  • Aegean Airlines
  • Air Canada
  • Air New Zealand
  • Asiana Airlines
  • Avianca Airlines
  • Copa Airlines
  • Singapore Airlines
  • TAP Portugal
  • Thai Airways
  • Turkish Airlines
  • United Airlines

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card is one of the few hotel cards we would recommend for Star Alliance members. Normally it's not a good idea to transfer hotel points to airline miles, but the Marriott Bonvoy program is one exception. In addition to using your Bonvoy points to stay at Marriott hotels, you can also transfer them to many different airlines, including 13 that are members of the Star Alliance.

You can transfer to most airline mileage programs at a rate of 3:1, and you'll get a 5,000 mile increment for every 60,000 Bonvoy points that you transfer. (You also get a 10% bonus for transferring to United Airlines.) That makes 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points transfer to 25,000 airline miles for most airline programs.

United Gateway℠ Card

On Chase's Secure Website

Earn 30,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, 0% intro APR for 12 months from account opening on purchases.

$0

19.49% - 26.49% Variable

660 - 850

  • Earn 30,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. 
  • No annual fee
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on United® purchases, at gas stations and on local transit and commuting
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on United® purchases
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent at gas stations, on local transit and commuting
  • Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • 25% back as a statement credit on purchases of food, beverages and Wi-Fi on board United-operated flights and on Club premium drinks when you pay with your Gateway Card
  • Get one-year complimentary DashPass, a membership for both DoorDash and Caviar that provides unlimited deliveries with $0 delivery fees and lower service fees on eligible orders. After that, you are automatically enrolled in DashPass at the current monthly rate. Activate by 12/31/24.

Perks

  • 25% rebate on United in-flight purchases

United's entry-level airline credit card, the United Gateway℠ Card is an option for people with limited credit histories who are looking to fly United Airlines and earn airline miles to fly with Star Alliance airlines. While it's not a student or secured credit card, you're more likely to be approved for the United Gateway℠ Card than some of United's more premium credit cards. Plus, the welcome offer of 30,000 United MileagePlus airline miles can get you well on your way to your next destination, all for $0 annual fee.

How to choose the best Star Alliance credit card

If you're looking to pick the best Star Alliance credit card, here are a few factors you'll want to consider:

Sign-up bonus

The initial welcome offer on a card is one of the biggest sources of value that you'll get.

Of all the cards on this list, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers one of the most valuable sign-up bonuses, with flexible, valuable miles that you can transfer to a number of Star Alliance airlines.

Ongoing spending

You should make sure the card's earning categories match up with your spending habits.

For example, the United℠ Explorer Card offers category bonuses on restaurants, hotel stays and United Airlines purchases. If you tend to travel on a variety of airlines rather than United, you might be better off with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. These cards offer a category bonus on all types of travel, including flights on any airline.

Annual fee on the card

Of course, a lower annual fee is generally better, but you should compare the value of the benefits to the annual fee for each card. Often, you'll get more than the annual fee through the benefits.

The United Quest℠ Card is a good example of the benefits exceeding the annual fee. For a $250 annual fee, you get, among many other benefits, a $125 credit toward United purchases, up to $100 credit for Global Entry/TSA precheck and two free checked bags on United (that's a $70 value each way).

Airline-specific perks

If you fly one airline primarily, it's usually a good idea to have their co-branded card for perks like free checked bags.

The United Quest℠ Card offers some of the best airline-specific perks out of all the cards on this list, including a $125 annual United purchase credit, free first and second checked bags for the cardholder and one other passenger, two 5,000-mile anniversary award flight credits and the chance to earn elite status with United (and with the Star Alliance) through your spending on the card.

Elite status

If you're aiming for status with a particular airline, you'll want to pick a credit card that can help you meet your goals.

If you fly frequently enough that you're likely to earn elite status, you'll likely be better off picking a co-branded airline credit card that will help you towards that status (like the United Quest℠ Card). Casual travelers should consider the flexibility of a card that earns transferable points.

What is the Star Alliance?

The Star Alliance is a partnership of 26 member airlines around the world. It was founded in 1997 by United Airlines, Air Canada, Lufthansa, SAS and Thai Airways. The point of the Star Alliance is to provide airline partnerships throughout the world to help their passengers connect to almost any destination while enjoying loyalty programs rewards and perks.

Star Alliance airlines

  • Aegean Airlines
  • Air Canada
  • Air China
  • Air India
  • Air New Zealand
  • All Nippon Airways
  • Asiana Airlines
  • Austrian Airlines
  • Avianca
  • Brussels Airlines
  • Copa Airlines
  • Croatia Airlines
  • EgyptAir
  • Ethiopian Airlines
  • EVA Air
  • LOT Polish Airlines
  • Lufthansa
  • Scandinavian Airlines
  • Shenzhen Airlines
  • Singapore Airlines
  • South African Airways
  • Swiss International Air Lines
  • TAP Portugal
  • Thai Airways
  • Turkish Airlines
  • United Airlines

Why should you apply for a Star Alliance credit card?

Here are a few of the reasons it can make sense to apply for a Star Alliance credit card:

Earn rewards redeemable for flights on Star Alliance airlines

With a Star Alliance card, you're earning miles that you can use to fly on member airlines of the Star Alliance. You'll earn miles corresponding to whichever credit card that you're using. You can then choose to redeem those miles to fly that airline or one of its other Star Alliance partners.

Boost your way to elite status

The Star Alliance has two different levels of elite status — Silver and Gold. You can't earn Star Alliance elite status directly; instead, you earn Star Alliance elite status based on the elite status that you hold with one of its member airlines. As an example, if you have United Silver status, you will earn Star Alliance Silver status. United Gold Status and higher maps to Star Alliance Gold elite status.

Star Alliance status levels

Benefits
Silver
Gold
Priority Airport Check-in
Priority Baggage Handling
Airport Lounge Access
Priority Boarding
Etra Baggage Allowance
Priority Reservations Waitlist
Priority Airport Standby

The best way to earn elite status is through flying on a Star Alliance carrier, but some credit cards can help as well. For example, the Lufthansa Miles & More® World Elite Mastercard® allows you to transfer award miles to elite status miles at a rate of 5:1. Also, the United Quest℠ Card offers 500 PQPs (up to 3,000 total each year) for each $12,000 you spend.

Qualify for airline perks

Having an airline credit card can also help you qualify for various airline perks and benefits that you might enjoy. Some examples of that include:

  • Priority boarding
  • Free checked bags
  • Priority check-in

Free checked bags are a common credit card perk on many co-branded airline credit cards. If you get to Star Alliance Gold elite status, you will also get many of those airline perks when you are flying other Star Alliance airlines as well.

How to get a Star Alliance credit card

There is not a specific Star Alliance credit card, but instead there are credit cards offered by the various airlines that are members of the Star Alliance. These credit cards can let you earn miles that can be used to fly on Star Alliance airlines, and give perks that can be used when flying with the Star Alliance. To get a Star Alliance credit card, simply find the relevant credit card that makes the most sense for you and fill out an application.

Star Alliance credit card FAQs

There is not a single Star Alliance credit card, since there is no separate Star Alliance loyalty program. However, there are several credit cards that earn miles in the loyalty programs of the different airlines that are Star Alliance members. These miles can be used for flights across the Star Alliance.

While Star Alliance has two different elite status levels — Silver and Gold — there is not a separate Star Alliance membership card. Instead, you will show a digital or physical version of the loyalty program of one of the Star Alliance member airlines.

Star Alliance Gold elite status is the highest tier of elite status within the Star Alliance. Each member airline maps its own elite status level to either Star Alliance Gold or Silver. For example, United Airlines Silver maps to Star Alliance Silver and any higher status level maps to Star Alliance Gold. Currently there are not any credit cards that automatically give a status that equates to Star Alliance Gold status.

The members of the Star Alliance are the airlines that make up the alliance. There isn't a separate Star Alliance loyalty program to join. Instead, you can just join the loyalty programs of any of the individual Star Alliance airlines.

Yes, Lufthansa is one of the airlines that is part of the Star Alliance. It was one of the five founding members of the Star Alliance in May 1997.

Yes, United Airlines is part of the Star Alliance. United Airlines was one of the five founding members of the Star Alliance in May 1997 and continues to be a part of the Star Alliance to this day.

There aren't specific "Star Alliance miles." Instead, each of the Star Alliance member airlines have their own frequent flier miles. Those miles can be used in accordance with the rules of that specific program. Generally speaking, the miles that you earn with Star Alliance member airlines can be used to fly on most if not all other Star Alliance airlines.

Methodology

To make choosing the right card easier, we've looked at credit cards reviewed on ValuePenguin as well as cards on major issuer sites to compile a list of the best Star Alliance credit cards available right now. Our recommendations are based on the additional value you can earn with the cards — including the rewards value, cost of ownership and perks with the Star Alliance airlines like free checked bags, elite status and lounge access. Our choices are not influenced by our advertisers. Learn more on how we calculate rewards.

For rates and fees of American Express® Gold Card, please click here.

The information related to Avianca Vuela Visa® Card and Miles & More® World Elite Mastercard® has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.

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How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).