August, 2002 å- Star Alliance, the airline network for Earth, has completed the launch of Star Alliance Awards across all airlines in the alliance, with UK member bmi making final system adjustments and scheduled to introduce the program over the next few weeks.
Star Alliance Awards enable customers to use just one frequent flyer award ticket for travel to more that 700 destinations worldwide on any combination of Star Alliance airlines.
Previously, an award ticket could only combine two Star Alliance airlines at the most. Now customers can book any combination of Star Alliance airlines on one ticket for their award travel, providing passengers with added convenience and flexibility. By eliminating the need to use two or more award tickets to reach certain destinations, Star Alliance Awards in some cases also reduce the total number of miles required for award travel to those destinations.
An Around-the-World award - previously not offered in many programs - will also be available within most Star Alliance Awards charts.
“Star Alliance Awards add value to the member airlines’ frequent flyer programs by enabling them to offer their customers simplified routings and a greater choice of award destinations that they could not offer on their own,” said Denise Martineau, Director - Loyalty, Star Alliance. “This program allows each airline to maintain its own frequent flyer program structure, while giving customers the chance to take full advantage of the entire Star Alliance network, with added flexibility.”
To improve the award ticket booking process, Star Alliance developed a computer function that allows its member airlines to book available seats in “real time” on all other Star Alliance airlines. The function, called Redemption Availability and Sell (RAS), creates an alliance-wide ability to deliver faster award bookings and more flexibility in the choice of available flights.
“Booking an award ticket on another airline used to be very time consuming, including the time needed to call customers back and rebook them when space could not be confirmed,” noted Martineau. “Feedback on this new technology enhancement indicates that it is already improving service by shortening award booking call lengths, reducing customer callbacks and improving productivity.”
Star Alliance was established in May 1997 as the first truly global airline alliance to provide customers the benefits of global reach and a smooth travel experience. The member airlines are Air Canada, Air New Zealand, All Nippon Airways - ANA, Austrian Airlines, bmi, Lauda Air, Lufthansa German Airlines, Mexicana, SAS Scandinavian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways International, Tyrolean Airways, United Airlines and VARIG Brazilian Airlines.
Asiana Airlines of South Korea, LOT Polish Airlines and Spain’s Spanair are scheduled to join Star Alliance in 2003. The future member carriers will further enhance the Star Alliance network, which currently serves 729 airports in 124 countries with almost 11,000 daily flights.