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What is the best Star Alliance credit card?

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What credit card should you get if you want to redeem for flights with a Star Alliance airline? Let’s find out.

This article was updated on 1st December 2022, and all of the information is correct as of that date. Ignore the original publication date shown.

Who are the members of Star Alliance?

The bulk of major global airlines have formed three alliances – oneworld (which includes British Airways), Star Alliance and SkyTeam.

What is the best UK star alliance credit card?

Star Alliance is the largest of the three, both in terms of member airlines (26) and destinations serviced (almost 1,300).  This means that it can be handy to have access to miles in a Star Alliance frequent flyer programme in order to redeem across these carriers.

The full Star Alliance member list is: Aegean, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana, Austrian, Avianca, Brussels, Copa, Croatia, EgyptAir, Ethopian, EVA, LOT, Lufthansa, SAS, Shenzen, Singapore, South African, SWISS, TAP, Thai, Turkish and United.

Picking a UK credit card to earn Star Alliance miles

When bmi British Midland still existed, it was easier to get around the world with airline miles.  British Airways was a core member of the oneworld alliance, and bmi British Midland was part of Star Alliance. Between them, you could redeem to pretty much anywhere.

Even better, both schemes allowed one-way redemptions so it was easy to mix and match.  bmi also had an insanely cheap redemption chart because, as a primarily short-haul airline, they assumed that no-one would be able to run up high balances.  They got that wrong ….

Now that bmi is no more, it is tougher to maintain a Star Alliance mileage balance.

What is the best Star Alliance credit card in the UK?

One of the key determinants for me when joining a mileage programme is the ability to earn miles via a credit card. There is often a generous sign-up bonus to be had, and earning via a credit card lets you top up your mileage balance if your flying reduces. A credit card is also a good way to ‘top off’ a mileage programme you intend to abandon after one last redemption.

All of these cards add a 3% foreign exchange fee so you might want to get a separate free credit card to use abroad.

Unfortunately there are no travel rewards cards without a foreign exchange fee.  One option is to get a free card from Currensea. Currensea is a simple but clever idea. You pay abroad with your Currensea Mastercard debit card. Currensea translates the cost to Sterling with just a 0.5% fee (83% less than the usual rate) and withdraws the money from your bank account. You can find out more by clicking here. Currensea is free so there is no risk in giving it a try.

Which Star Alliance airlines have their own UK credit card?

It’s a very short answer – none of them.

The only UK card which did allow you to earn Star Alliance miles directly was the Miles & More Global Traveller Card from Lufthansa. This card was closed in early 2021.

What is the best Star Allance credit card?

Which Star Alliance airlines are Amex Membership Rewards transfer partners?

The easiest way of earning Star Alliance miles indirectly with a UK credit card is by transferring American Express Membership Rewards points.

You can earn American Express Membership Rewards points with, primarily, these five cards:

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

American Express Rewards

The only ‘free for life’ Amex card which earns Membership Rewards Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

Looking at the Amex Membership Rewards catalogue you see the following Star Alliance airlines are transfer partners:

  • SAS: 1 mile per 1 Membership Rewards points
  • Singapore Airlines: 2 miles per 3 Membership Rewards points

Click the links to our reviews above to learn more about these five cards and their sign-up bonuses.

Mariott Bonvoy American Express credit card is the best star alliance credit card

Which Star Alliance airlines are Marriott Bonvoy American Express transfer partners?

Whilst American Express Membership Rewards points are easy to earn, SAS and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer represent a pretty restricted list of Star Alliance partners.

Your answer is the Marriott Bonvoy American Express card.

The Marriott Bonvoy American Express awards points in the Marriott Bonvoy hotel loyalty scheme, covering 30 hotel brands. 

You can convert Marriott Bonvoy points to 40 airlines.  The transfer rate is nominally 3 : 1, with the credit card earning 2 point per £1. This is increased to 3: 1.25 if you convert 60,000 Bonvoy points at once.

Here are details about the card, which comes with a sign-up bonus of 20,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

Bonus: 20,000 points

Read our full reviewApply here

Other information:

  • 15 elite night credits per year to help you towards higher status
  • Free night, up to 25,000 points, when you spend £25,000 per year.
  • Upgrade to Gold Elite status when you spend £15,000 in a card year
  • Annual fee: £75

Representative 44.8% APR variable based on an assumed £1,200 credit limit and £75 annual fee. Interest rate on purchases 27.2% APR variable.

See if you qualify for the 20,000 points sign-up bonus +

You will receive 20,000 points as a sign-up bonus on the Marriott Bonvoy American Express card if you spend £3,000 within 90 days of signing up.

To qualify for the bonus, you must NOT, currently or in the previous 24 months, have held any other personal American Express card.

You are OK if you had a supplementary card on someone else’s American Express account.

You are OK if, currently or in the previous 24 months, you have held a Business American Express card.

For clarity, you can still apply for the Marriott Bonvoy American Express card even if you do not qualify for the bonus.  You would still benefit from the 15 elite night credits per year, the free night (up to 25,000 points) for spending £25,000 and Gold Elite status for spending £15,000.

Learn more about the card benefits +

You will receive 15 elite night credits per year in Marriott Bonvoy.  The first batch will arrive within 60 days on applying and then in Spring in each subsequent year.

15 elite nights will automatically get you Silver Elite status in Marriott Bonvoy and put you nearer to Gold Elite and higher tiers.

If you spend £15,000 per card year, you will be upgraded to Gold Elite status in Marriott Bonvoy.

If you spend £25,000 per card year, you will receive a free night voucher, valid at any hotel where reward nights cost up to 25,000 points.

These are the Star Alliance members which are Marriott Bonvoy airline partners.   The earning rates shown ignore the 25% bonus if you convert 60,000 Bonvoy points (20,000 miles) at once.

  • Aegean: 0.66 miles per £1
  • Air Canada: 0.66 miles per £1
  • Air New Zealand: 0.66 points per £66
  • ANA: 0.66 miles per £1
  • Asiana Airlines: 0.66 miles per £1
  • Avianca: 0.66 miles per £1
  • Copa Airlines: 0.66 miles per £1
  • Miles & More: 0.66 miles per £1 (currently suspended)
  • Singapore Airlines: 0.66 miles per £1
  • South African Airways: 0.66 miles per £1
  • TAP Air Portugal: 0.66 miles per £1
  • Thai Airways: 0.66 miles per £1
  • Turkish Airlines: 0.66 miles per £1
  • United Airlines: 0.73 miles per £1

In most cases, the Marriott Bonvoy American Express card is your best option for earning Star Alliance miles from UK credit card spend.

What other Star Alliance airlines have credit card partnerships?

HSBC Premier is an option if you want Singapore Airlines, TAP Air Portugal or EVA Air miles.  It has an excellent Visa / Mastercard rate (0.5 miles per £1 on the free card, double on the paid card).  You need a HSBC Premier current account, however, which has tough income and savings criteria.

What is the best credit card for collecting star alliance miles


There are plenty of options here for anyone wanting to earn Star Alliance miles from a credit card. As far as I can see, the only members with no earning ability are Egyptair and Ethiopian.  Shenzhen Airlines uses Air China’s PheonixMiles programme.

Want SAS or Singapore Airlines miles?

The free (in year one) American Express Preferred Rewards Gold card is probably your best choice if you want SAS or Singapore Airlines miles.  You earn 1 point per £1 and the sign-up bonus is 20,000 Membership Rewards points. The points convert at 1:1 into SAS and 3:2 into Singapore Airlines. You can apply here.

Want miles with any other Star Alliance airline?

The £75 Marriott Bonvoy American Express is probably your best choice for Star Alliance miles with all other airlines. 

The Marriott Bonvoy Amex has a number of partners at a decent conversion rate of 0.825 miles per £1 (assuming you convert in 60,000 Bonvoy point chunks) and may be a good way to hedge your bets about which Star Alliance programme you want to redeem through.  

You can, of course, also redeem your points for Marriott hotel rooms if you change your mind about airline miles.  My full review of the Marriott Bonvoy American Express card is here. You can apply here.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibly to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points. The site discusses products offered by lenders but is not a lender itself. Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as an independent credit broker.

Comments (20)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Blanco says:

    One useful addendum; for travel in Euro area Virgin Atlantic credit card has no forex fee. Also includes Sweden and Romania.

    • Sandgrounder says:

      Also worked fine in Iceland this summer, and I’ve heard other EEA currencies are fine too, but as always try a small test purchase.

  • Neil says:

    Is there any word on Miles and More extending the mileage protection if they don’t get another card launched by the end of the year? I’ve got a large balance which I’d rather not have to waste on gift cards

  • Wollhouse says:

    You forgot to mention Creation’s amazing customer service….. 😉

  • Andrew says:

    I never really quite understood how BMI could have misinterpreted their passenger data to be so generous with points. Although, I suppose 20 years ago data wasn’t quite so easy to manipulate.

    If you worked for BoS or RBS in the late 90s or 00s BMI had fixed price flights for staff (leisure travel) that could be booked right up until check-in closed. A domestic return was £79, and came with full points.

    On a Friday evening, book the 18:XX for £79, be near guaranteed BMI staff would be waving £50s at the queue looking for people willing to be bumped. So, a weekend flight home would be a net £29.

    Miss those days, a last minute domestic weekend flight on BA can be close to £700 now.

  • Arkadiusz says:

    The earning of miles is not a problem as there are numerous other ways (Hotel&Cars, Economist subscription etc.). The problem is securing the validity of the miles as Cornercard card was the only way to protect them. I would live to hear any ideas.

  • Arkadiusz says:

    *love to hear*

  • Paul Pogba says:

    If redeeming Amex MR for Star Alliance points is EuroBonus or KrisFlyer more effective? The charts look like Business from Europe to Asia are 200k return SAS, or 120k one way (240k rtn) Singapore. So Amex MR (return) 200k SK, 360k SQ – do SAS charge significantly higher taxes/charges than Singapore?

    • Sam G says:

      Singapore Airlines only releases its own availability to Krisflyer for Business so that’s one thing to consider. Taxes and fees on Swiss and Lufthansa can be vv high from what I’ve seen. So have to play around and do the numbers on a specific route basis I think

    • BuildBackBetter says:

      In addition to what Sam mentioned above, there can be some sweet spots or advantages in Krisflyer. SIN-IST is a a sweet spot. You can also add a stopover in Singapore for $100 (one way) if you are flying to another destination in Asia, but pay less miles than if it were separate tickets. Free stopover on return tickets. If I can afford the miles and taxes, I’ll prefer SQ.

  • Alex Sm says:

    Not credit card related but M&M. You can get an easy 100 miles if you log in into the app/website, activate the s.c. “Challenge” and visit 5 airlines pages on the website. 2 mins work and you get almost as many miles as you get from a 2-hour discounted economy flight!

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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