Star Alliance launches round-the-world premium economy fares

By Chris Chamberlin , July 29 2015
Star Alliance launches round-the-world premium economy fares

Star Alliance is chasing the comfort-centred but budget-minded traveller with the launch of new round-the-world (RTW) premium economy fares.

The overall cost varies depending on your country and city of origin, chosen route and any additional government taxes and fees, but falls into three major pricing bands depending on the distance travelled: up to 29,000 miles; up to 34,000 miles and up to 39,000 miles.

Savvy travellers have long used Star’s first class, business class and economy RTW fares to book multi-city journeys on a single ticket – usually for less than the cost of booking each flight separately – a saving now available to premium economy travellers with 11 Star Alliance airlines.

That list includes Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, EVA Air and Singapore Airlines, along with ANA, Lufthansa, LOT Polish Airlines, SAS, Thai Airways and Turkish Airlines.

Use the fare to book Singapore Airlines' new A380/B777 premium economy seats...
Use the fare to book Singapore Airlines' new A380/B777 premium economy seats...

Read: Singapore Airlines premium economy to debut on August 9

For maximum flexibility, RTW travellers can also include flights with Star Alliance airlines that don’t provide a premium economy service – such as United, Air India, South African Airways and SWISS – instead travelling in economy on those parts of the journey.

Star Alliance frequent flyers will also be able to earn miles for their travels in any Star Alliance frequent flyer program when booked in an eligible fare class, along with status/tier miles that provide a passage towards the Star Alliance Silver and Gold levels.

On reaching the heights of Star Alliance Gold, frequent flyers can enjoy benefits such as priority check-in and boarding before every Star Alliance flight through to lounge access and a boosted baggage allowance even when travelling in economy.

Exploring the new Star Alliance premium economy round-the-world fare

With Star’s cheapest premium economy RTW fares maxing out at 29,000 miles, you’re also free to make up to 15 stops: provided you cross both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans once and generally track either east or west, except for within the same continent.

Here’s a sample premium economy round-the-world itinerary that stays in the least-expensive band and maximises your time spent at the pointy end:

  • Sydney to Singapore with Singapore Airlines
  • Singapore to Beijing with Singapore Airlines
  • Beijing to Frankfurt with Lufthansa
  • Frankfurt to Copenhagen with SAS
  • Copenhagen to New York (Newark) with SAS
  • New York to Chicago with United (economy)
  • Chicago to Los Angeles with United (economy)
  • Los Angeles to Auckland with Air New Zealand
  • Auckland to Sydney with Air New Zealand

That weighs in at just 26,144 miles, so there’s also room to explore more destinations – such as within Asia, Europe or North America – without clicking over to the next mileage band.

Star Alliance RTW bookings can be made through travel agents, directly with a Star Alliance airline or by using the Book and Fly tool on the Star Alliance website, which will soon be updated to support premium economy.

Also read: How to plan and book a Star Alliance round-the-world trip

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Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Oct 2013

Total posts 714

Does this mean the Economy upgrades will go?

You use to be able to book a RTW Economy online and if the flight had PE then you could click to upgrade and pay more which made it useful to have long flights in PE and short flights in Economy

It's unfortunately $1000 or so overpriced. We have basic premium economy round the world airfares for around $4000 and you can easily fill out with seperate internals in economy. So the inclusions of the *A fare just don't stack up enough to warrant that price tag. $1k less and it'll book well. 

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 744

RTW doesn't seem like what it used to be.

Back in 2002 I booked a RTW fare on Qantas and BA for about $1500, which was less than a Sydney to London return was going for at the time. SYD-LAX-JFK-LHR-TXL-LHR-NRT-SYD. That was an unusually good deal even at the time, but RTW tickets for the same cost as Australia-Europe was pretty standard.

Nowadays it seems you no longer get much of a discount at all (which is no doubt due to improved yield management on the part of the airlines). Sticking those cities in, I just got a quote of $4,547 in economy, which is well over twice the cost of a SYD-LHR return. 

Of course it's not surprising that things have got more expensive in the last fifteen years, but most longhaul airfares actually *haven't* increased since 2002 while RTW tickets have.

The alliance fares have increased, there are a lot of great deals out there outside of that though. Finnair and Cathay offer great basic RTW fares like that for $2-3k. Qantas can be cheap at certain times of the year but also have basic fares a lot less than a full oneworld ticket. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Dec 2014

Total posts 26

This is great hopfully One World will follow suit.  Speaking of One World, you can book some great fares with CX.  Recently I booked BNE-HKG-LHR // JFK-HKG-BNE in PE for $3850 inc taxes.  The London to New York leg I used my Qantas points (25000 for econ or 50000 biz).  Well worth a look if you're booking a basic itinerary such as this, and not forgetting you'll earn QF points and status credits.

You can get the LON-NYC included in PE to complete the RTW and it prices at around $4400-4600 if not using the points. We sell it all the time. So a CX PE RTW is around $4.5k which is why *A is a bit overpriced with their offering. The Lufthansa PE RTW is even cheaper than CX again.

qantas

23 Jun 2014

Total posts 12

Hugo is totally right - RTW's have got far more expensive and much less use.

Not only has the price moved up *A now at least AU$ 4000 but, much worse, the number of segments you are allowe has dropped: 29 when I first did a AU$ 1600 trip, then 20 now a measley 15 segmants. If you want to use the 15 stop overs the only way is to stop at airline hubs.  

They were good value, no longer and One World efforts are even worse with restricted segments allowed in each of their ridiculous continents

16. 

There are more RTW products than Star Alliance and oneworld. But a oneworld 4-5 continent trip via South America still represents good value as the internal flights there are very expensive so the inclusions are worthwhile. 

But via North America/Europe/Asia etc where internal flights are cheaper nowadays it has made the alliance round the world airfares less relevant. Most people are buying basic round the world airfares starting from $1800 up to mid $2k range in economy to cover 3-5 stops and getting excellent value for money then filling in with some cheap internal travel on top. So you can't write off the whole concept blanektly. $3600-4100 in premium or $6500-7000 in business class for 3-4 stopovers is exceptional value for money. 

*full disclosure I own a company specialising in RTW fares so I am naturally biased. 

qantas

23 Jun 2014

Total posts 12

PS premium economy is a total con - a very small increase in space but at around double the price.  Also fixed seat arms on several carriers means that is it more comfortable long haul to fly economy - at least then (if you find flights with low load factors) you can bag three/four seats to sleep on!

qantas

23 Jun 2014

Total posts 12

Mark, 15 for star & OW but only 15 for skyTeam

16 segment for any e-ticket as a maximum. 15 stopovers, 16 segments on all 3 fares. A segment is any travel between two points on the ticket including surface sectors and even airport changes which is a real killer in places like NYC/LON. 


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