Your complete guide to the SkyTeam alliance

With SkyTeam, one frequent flyer card can be your ticket to earning points and enjoying perks across 19 member airlines.

By Staff Writers, July 20 2023
Your complete guide to the SkyTeam alliance

Founded in 2000, the 19 member-strong SkyTeam is one of the big three airline alliances – together with Oneworld and Star Alliance – and has a combined wingspan across over 1000 destinations in 184 countries. 

Every time frequent flyers jet off on its member airlines they have the ability to earn and redeem miles, with each flight helping them unlock the benefits of SkyTeam Elite status or the gilded perks of SkyTeam Elite Plus. Lounge access is just the beginning.

Here’s what you need to know about SkyTeam, whether taking wing on household names such as Delta Air Lines, Korean Air and Air France or discovering one of its lesser-known gems.

Which airlines are members of SkyTeam?

  • Aerolíneas Argentinas
  • Aeromexico
  • Air Europa (based in Spain)
  • Air France
  • China Airlines (based in Taiwan / Republic of China)
  • China Eastern (based in China / People’s Republic of China)
  • Czech Airlines
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • ITA Airways (based in Italy)
  • Kenya Airways
  • KLM (based in the Netherlands)
  • Korean Air
  • Middle East Airlines (based in Lebanon)
  • Saudia (based in Saudi Arabia)
  • TAROM (based in Romania)
  • Vietnam Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic (based in the United Kingdom)
  • XiamenAir (based in China / People’s Republic of China)

Aeroflot is also traditionally part of the long-running alliance, however its membership is currently suspended.

What are the SkyTeam frequent flyer tiers?

Every SkyTeam member operates its own loyalty program (Air France-KLM being an exception), and in doing so, chooses the name of its own status tiers. Most adhere to precious metals, though some are more creative – Korean Air’s ‘Morning Calm Club’, for example.

Instead of making travellers join each individual scheme, which on top of being a logistical nightmare is a surefire way to never leave the bottom rung of the loyalty ladder, the alliance maintains two equivalent tiers: SkyTeam Elite and SkyTeam Elite Plus.

Members can enjoy equivalent status across all airlines.
Members can enjoy equivalent status across all airlines.

These streamlined status levels allow members of one SkyTeam-aligned frequent flyer program to enjoy assorted benefits whenever travelling on another member airline.

Here’s how that looks across several popular frequent flyer programs, comparing membership tiers in their respective ‘home’ program, and how they align across the SkyTeam Alliance.

Program / SkyTeam Tier

SkyTeam Elite

SkyTeam Elite Plus

Air France-KLM Flying Blue


Gold, Platinum

Delta SkyMiles


Gold, Platinum, Diamond

Garuda GarudaMiles



Korean Air Skypass

Morning Calm Club

Morning Calm Premium Club, Million Miler

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club



To see how the SkyTeam levels align in other frequent flyer programs, browse the SkyTeam Frequent Flyers page and select the program and tier from the drop-down menus.

Benefits of SkyTeam Elite

Across the alliance network, SkyTeam Elite members enjoy fast-track perks on the ground such as priority check-in and bag drop, as well as priority boarding – keep an eye out for the lanes marked “Sky Priority”.

In addition, SkyTeam Elite members can pack either 10kg of extra baggage under the ‘weight’ system, or one additional bag under the 'piece' system, when travelling with a SkyTeam airline.

SkyTeam Elite members may also be able to select more favourable seats on board versus non-frequent-flyers, and if waiting on airport standby, will take priority over non-elite members.

Benefits of SkyTeam Elite Plus

SkyTeam Elite Plus builds upon the base benefits of SkyTeam Elite.

For instance, SkyTeam Elite Plus members also get an increased checked baggage allowance, but on flights using the weight system, the boost is 20kg, rather than 10kg for Elite.

There's also priority baggage handling, priority processing at immigration and security lanes (where available), priority at airport transfer desks, and the ability to make guaranteed reservations on sold-out flights.

Added to that, of course, is airport lounge access. However, in most cases, access to lounges is only offered when the member is travelling internationally, not on domestic-only bookings.

While there are some exceptions to this rule, this unfortunately positions SkyTeam behind both Oneworld and Star Alliance, which both offer domestic lounge access as standard across the alliance, whenever a frequent flyer from one member airline travels with another.

Earning frequent flyer points across SkyTeam

In addition to enjoying benefits right across the alliance, SkyTeam frequent flyer members can earn and spend frequent flyer points across SkyTeam, when travelling on eligible fare types.

When it comes to earning miles, you’ll do so in your chosen airline’s frequent flyer program: for example, Air France/KLM Flying Blue, Korean Air Skypass, or one of the many other options.

By attaching this frequent flyer number to your SkyTeam bookings, you'll be able to earn miles when travelling on an eligible airfare, right across the SkyTeam network.

Exactly how many miles you can earn will firstly depend on the structure of your 'home' frequent flyer program, as well as the airline operating your flight, the type of fare purchased, and cabin flown.

The distance of your flight, the price paid for the ticket or the region of your travel may also be taken into account, depending on your chosen frequent flyer program.

Using frequent flyer points for flights across SkyTeam

A natural progression from the ability to earn points whenever travelling on paid airfares across the SkyTeam network is the opportunity to spend them too.

Redeeming points in exchange for reward flights is, as always, subject to availability. The exact number of points or miles required also depends on your native frequent flyer program, when and where you’re travelling, the cabin, and the airline.

Air France's long-range business class is certainly worth redeeming points for.
Air France's long-range business class is certainly worth redeeming points for.

It’s important to note you may not always be able to book your preferred flight using miles, as airlines choose whether or not miles can be spent on each flight, based on factors such as the expected load of fare-paying passengers.

With this in mind, it’s fair to say you’ll have a much better chance of spending miles on travel in off-peak times and on less popular routes, rather than key destinations in the middle of school holidays. That said, you may get lucky. 

Upgrading flights with frequent flyer points across SkyTeam

Unlike Star Alliance, SkyTeam doesn’t operate a unified alliance-wide upgrade system for travellers hoping to use SkyTeam miles from one member airline to upgrade on another.

Various SkyTeam airlines do maintain direct partnerships between themselves, making upgrades a subject of those direct partnerships, rather than being under alliance-wide benefits.

To see whether the miles you’ve earned can be used to upgrade your next flight, check with the airline operating your frequent flyer program.

Where are the SkyTeam branded lounges?

In some airports, SkyTeam Aliance operates its own-brand SkyTeam Lounges – separate to those operated by a particular SkyTeam member airline.

These can be found in Dubai, Istanbul, Santiago de Chile and Vancouver. Sydney also has its own SkyTeam Lounge, which emerged with a fresh look in 2022. 

Private booths and VIP seating is available in addition to the standard array of lounge seating.
Private booths and VIP seating is available in addition to the standard array of lounge seating.

Where a SkyTeam Lounge exists, it is normally shared between a number of member airlines. SkyTeam Lounges are most commonly found in airports popular with its member airlines, but where a member airline is not itself based.

21 Sep 2011

Total posts 71

It's interesting to note that according to the websites of the 2 China based carriers, Aeroflot never left SkyTeam. 

Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Your complete guide to the SkyTeam alliance