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WebFlyer Home > Programs > Ratings & Reviews

Ratings & Reviews

(Program Reviews - Side by Side Comparison - Website Reviews)


SkyTeam


7.62
(108 ratings)

7.70

This program was reviewed and rated by our editors in November 2009. Changes in the program past this date are possible, especially program partner information. We recommend you subscribe to the #1 source of frequent flyer information, Inside Flyer Magazine, to get the most current information possible.

The Sky Is Yours

Launched in June 2000, SkyTeam is the smallest of the three global airline alliances and includes nine members--Aeroflot, AeroMexico, Air France, Alitalia, China Southern, Czech Airlines, Delta Air Lines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Korean Air. Associate airlines include AirEuropa and Kenya Airways. SkyTeam offers passengers 13,133 daily flights to 856 destinations in 169 countries. Vietnam Airlines is expected to join the alliance as a full member in June 2010 and Tarom will join as an associate airline.

Like other global alliances, SkyTeam offers perks to frequent flyers including the ability to earn and burn miles on all partner airlines, to earn toward elite in your chosen FFP when flying the alliance airlines and its own alliance elite-level program. Around 116 million frequent flyers participate in a FFP of a SkyTeam member airline.


EARNING ABILITY:

8
Our
Rating:

8.50
If you're a member of any of the SkyTeam partners' frequent flyer programs, you can earn miles on any SkyTeam flight. But you'll only earn miles according to the specific rules of your program so it is a good idea to evaluate your typical flying behavior in order to maximize your earnings. If you regularly fly in coach, particularly on discounted fares, a U.S. program might be your best choice since international programs tend to reduce (or even eliminate) the amount of miles earned in the cheap seats. Discount economy fares on Delta, for example, earn 100 percent of miles flown, and all of those miles count toward elite status. On Air France, however, discounted fares earn between 25 percent and 75 percent of miles flown.

However, international programs have a tendency to give more miles to their high-paying passengers than American programs. A flyer in Premium Voyageur on Air France will earn 200 percent of mileage flown, whereas class-of-service bonuses on most American carriers max out at 150 percent.

In addition to the SkyTeam airlines, each partner also has a host of international, national and regional carriers with which miles can be accrued in addition to car rental, hotel, credit card and retail partners.

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AWARD CHOICES:

7.64
Our
Rating:

8.50
Miles earned in any partner program can be redeemed for award travel on any other SkyTeam-operated partner flight and members can travel on multiple SkyTeam carriers on one award. However, unlike oneworld, SkyTeam does not offer alliance-wide award levels, and the amount of miles required for award flights will vary by program. For example, American AAdvantage members can redeem miles for oneworld award tickets based on the total trip miles. A coach trip on multiple oneworld carriers between 1,501 and 4,000 miles in distance can be redeemed for 35,000 miles. A Delta SkyTeam member redeeming miles on SkyTeam carriers for a roundtrip flight between Atlanta, Ga. and San Jose, Costa Rica (a distance of around 3,260 miles) would also need 35,000 miles for the lowest level coach award.

Again, you will want to evaluate your flying behavior, this time looking at how you most frequently use your awards. Do you use award travel domestically or internationally? Many members find that the large North American programs can be the most economical in terms of global travel, but international programs often offer "cheaper" domestic flights. Another aspect to consider is whether a program frequently offers award sales. Air France routinely offers select awards at a 50 percent discount.

SkyTeam launched its Mileage Upgrades program last year and members can redeem miles to upgrade to business class on international itineraries on any SkyTeam carrier except for Alitalia. However, only the more expensive full-fare coach class tickets (Y class on many airlines) are eligible to be upgraded.

Aside from flight and upgrade awards, there are no other alliance-wide awards.

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PARTNERSHIPS:

7.63
Our
Rating:

8.50
Other than the core partnerships of the airline alliance members, there are no alliance-wide partnerships. Each airline partners with a wide array of car rental, hotel, financial, retail and other partners with which members can earn and (in some cases) redeem miles. If you're living and working within a specific region, it's probably best to stick with one local carrier to earn all of your miles in, as more credit card, car rental, hotel and retail earning options will be available to you to help you add to your mileage balance.

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ELITE-LEVEL PROGRAM:

7.96
Our
Rating:

8.00
Elite-level perks are one of the things that make global alliances so appealing to frequent travelers. While your elite status is dependent on the rules of your particular program, once attained, it translates to elite status in SkyTeam as well.

Since threshold levels vary by program, some members will achieve SkyTeam elite status sooner than others. Members can earn EQMs toward elite status on all eligible SkyTeam flights, although some exceptions may apply. Most SkyTeam partners offer entry-level elite status at just 25,000 miles flown; others require more. Korean Air SKYPASS, for example, requires 50,000 miles flown to earn its lowest level Morning Calm Club status, which equates into SkyTeam Elite status.

SkyTeam elite status is broken into two tiers: Elite and Elite Plus. Programs with two levels of elite status correspond directly to those two levels, while most programs with three levels offer Elite Plus status to the two highest levels. With Delta's new four-tier structure, both Silver and Gold Medallion level members receive SkyTeam Elite status and Platinum and Diamond members receive Elite Plus status.

Benefits for SkyTeam Elite members include priority check-in, preferred seating, priority boarding, priority reservation waitlist and priority airport standby.

Mileage requirements for attaining SkyTeam Elite Plus status vary greatly between partners and can even vary based on the nationality of the member. On Air France and KLM, Flying Blue Gold members (attained at 60,000 EQMs) receive Elite Plus status but Flying Blue Gold members residing in the U.S. or Mexico receive Elite status and must earn 90,000 EQMs to qualify for Platinum status in order to receive Elite Plus benefits.

In addition to the benefits that Elite members receive, Elite Plus members receive guaranteed full-fare economy reservations (with 24-hour notice) even on sold out flights, priority baggage handling and complimentary lounge access to SkyTeam partner lounges worldwide regardless of travel class when traveling on international itineraries.

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RULES AND CONDITIONS:

7.26
Our
Rating:

*
Members are subject to the rules and conditions of their individual programs. When choosing a program, look at rules about expiring miles, earning ability on low fares, earn-to-burn ratios, award availability, ease of achieving elite status, award levels and transferability and other policies. Be sure to quote your frequent flyer number every time you book with a member airline and save your passenger receipts and boarding passes. If your miles or points do not appear on your account, send your tickets and boarding passes to your frequent flyer program service center to have the miles credited to your account.

You are not able to transfer miles to others programs within the alliance.

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SERVICE SUPPORT:

7.32
Our
Rating:

*
Currently, there is no service center dedicated to answering SkyTeam questions. Members may contact their individual programs' customer service center for assistance.

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ONLINE SERVICES:

7.53
Our
Rating:

5.00
SkyTeam's Web site contains information about the alliance and member airlines and you can find airport information and city guides for SkyTeam destination cities. While you can learn about SkyTeam upgrades and award redemptions, you will need to contact your FFP to actually redeem miles and SkyTeam has links to each member airline's frequent flyer program to assist you. Unlike Star Alliance and oneworld, passengers are unable to purchase a round-the-world ticket or view available flights from the SkyTeam Web site. You will need to contact your preferred carrier and request the Round the World desk to make a reservation.

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PLUS FEATURES:
Elite Plus members have access to SkyTeam member's lounges, which is a valuable benefit. Members can earn and redeem miles to many worldwide destinations and the alliance will be adding new routes when Tarom Romanian and Vietnam Airlines join next year.

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MINUS FEATURES:
SkyTeam lost a major player when Continental Airlines switched to the Star Alliance. Upgrade awards can only be requested on full-fare coach tickets, making this option less useful to many travelers looking to upgrade cheaper fares.

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INFORMATION:
For a customer service representative, call any of the partner airlines with questions about the SkyTeam alliance. A comprehensive list of partner contacts is available at http://www.skyteam.com/en/tools/contact.jsp

  Earning Ability Award Choices Partnerships Elite-Level Rules & Conditions Service Support Online Services Overall Rating
Our
Rating:
8.50 8.50 8.50 8.00 * * 5.00 7.70
Member
Rating:
8 7.64 7.63 7.96 7.26 7.32 7.53 7.62

(108 ratings)

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