This week, Bloomberg broke the hot news that Star Alliance, the world’s largest airline alliance, will launch a co-branded credit card.
The advantage of this product? A unique personal loan solution that will allow you to earn points and redeem Star Alliance has 26 airlinesPlus at least one non-airline partner.
Let’s dissect the news and see what might be included in the upcoming Star Alliance credit card.
What is a Star Alliance Credit Card?
The announcement of the Star Alliance credit card has been confirmed by Jeffrey Goh, CEO of Star Alliance. Although the key issues of the product and its general capabilities have been revealed to the public, it is a bit difficult to ascertain exactly what its capabilities might be.
First, the good news. Star Alliance has confirmed that it will allow credit card users to earn and redeem points on any one of their partner airlines.
Even better, it looks like all the airlines will be transfer partners, which means that the points earned on the credit card can be transferred to one of the airlines in question.
That’s pretty big news, and one that will launch any over-the-top aviation enthusiast like me into speculation overdrive. This decision indicates that a potential Pan-Star Alliance could be created.
Such a decision has significant implications, as it would mean that all of a sudden each point program would now have some sort of “base” exchange rate with the Star Alliance program.
More importantly, it will allow international customers to start earning from some of Star Alliance’s more secretive carriers. For example, I haven’t had the opportunity to consider exploring Japan as a result of the epidemic (despite having the same first name as their biggest brand of beer) and thus there is no reason for everyone to make money. The Mileage Club of Nippon Airways, though ANA offers one of the best business class products on the market.
With this credit card, I am able to suddenly redeem points within the ANA Mileage Club, which will make it easier to book one of their elusive first class flights or the ANA Round-the-World Awards.
On top of these benefits, Mr Goh has confirmed that at least one “non-airline partner” has been added to the credit card facility network, and so far it is speculated that this will point to one of Europe’s railways.
Since Europe is leaning towards green energy, and indeed many carriers (such as Lufthansa and Switzerland) offer train travel as part of their transportation services, this would probably seem to me.
That being said, I also think it is possible to name other partners, such as Uber, which has a co-branded credit card in the United States.
If I were an adventurer, it might even refer to a cruise line partner, although I think the most contrary to me is that it is very unlikely.
When and where will the Star Alliance credit card be launched?
For those of you who have been waiting, Star Alliance has confirmed that their first co-branded credit card will be launched. By 2022.
I hope there would have been a more specific date for this announcement, but given such a vague benchmark it is hard to imagine that this card would be available before Q3 or even Q4.
While the wait will be unfortunate, it is clear that a lot of thought has been given to the design of this credit card and the price offer to potential customers. It also appears that the product’s first voyage will be in an indefinite “regional market”, which I believe will exclude the United States.
With a population of less than 40 million and a distinct lack of strong “non-airline partners”, I think it is unlikely that this card would be as good as expected to be launched in the Canadian market.
My personal theory is that the initial offer for this product will be somewhere in Europe or East Asia, where heavy payment cards and the presence of Star Alliance such as Germany and Singapore have strong testing grounds.
A huge chunk of me would be happy, though, if the company throws us a huge carbball and decides to launch its initial test product somewhere with huge potential, which is rarely served by either the credit card issuer or the airline loyalty program, such as Ethiopia.
In the end, only time will tell but you can bet that we will follow every update here in Prince of Travel. Personally, I can’t help but hope that this card was introduced in the United States and then gradually made available around the world, giving us access to our US credit cards here in Canada.
Star Alliance Point: A Variable Currency?
While I’ve talked at length about how the introduction of the Star Alliance currency could allow Canadians to earn points that were previously difficult to access, I would also like to highlight the possibility that this could offer another benefit: Exchange from one program to another.
If member program points, such as airplane points, could be transferred to the Star Alliance currency, this would be Actually Then allow them to be transferred to other programs, such as Swiss Air’s infamous inaccessible Miles and more.
Then I will be able to book the world-famous first-class Swiss product without having to worry about being unilaterally canceled!
I’m hopeful that the introduction of the Star Alliance credit card, wherever it may be, will make the most sought-after aviation experience more accessible for those dedicated enough to follow the new product.
Creating a Pan-Alliance co-branded credit card should be exciting for every Miles and Points enthusiast. In fact, I think it’s a positive development for anyone interested in aviation, as it indicates that airline alliances are taking their post-epidemic cooperation more seriously.
Whatever happens with the Star Alliance credit card, I hope its bonuses and benefits are accessible to all Canadians and help make all the ambitious, once-in-a-lifetime bookings easier.
Until next time, check out your newsfeeds.