The problem is: there’s currently no way to fly STARLUX without paying cash, since the airline has no partners or alliance membership.
But that’s now set to change, with Alaska Mileage Plan announcing a tie-up with STARLUX that will see reciprocal miles earning and redemptions.
“Our Mileage Plan members can now earn miles on all STARLUX flights, and soon they’ll be able to redeem miles on STARLUX. When redemptions become available this summer on STARLUX flights between Los Angeles and Taipei, they will start at 20,000 miles for economy, 40,000 for premium economy and 60,000 for business class for a limited time.”
You’ll now be able earn Alaska Mileage Plan miles on your STARLUX flights, and in due course redeem transpacific Business Class awards for just 60,000 miles each way.
Earning Alaska miles on STARLUX
Effective immediately, Alaska Mileage Plan members can earn miles for STARLUX flights, according to the following table.
It’s impressive that they’re offering 100% mileage accrual on all Economy fares, even the discounted ones. And even if they weren’t, keep in mind that STARLUX miles aren’t much good right now, given its lack of partners. Crediting them to Alaska Mileage Plan is a much better way of going about things, since you can redeem those miles with more than 20 partners.
|✈️ Alaska Mileage Plan Partners
To earn miles, simply include your Alaska Mileage Plan number when making a STARLUX booking.
Redeeming Alaska miles on STARLUX
As nice as it is to earn Alaska miles on STARLUX, I think it’s the redemption feature that will get people most excited.
Alaska Mileage Plan will add STARLUX award flights from “this summer”, with an introductory one-way award rate between Taipei and Los Angeles of:
- Economy Class: 20,000 miles
- Premium Economy Class: 40,000 miles
- Business Class: 60,000 miles
A few things to note:
- STARLUX First Class will not be available for redemption through Alaska Mileage Plan
- These rates are marketed as “limited-time”, which implies they’ll eventually increase. We all remember Alaska’s no-notice devaluation of Japan Airlines awards, so I wouldn’t hold my breath about getting advance notice
- We don’t yet know the rates for intra-Asia routes, or how much it’ll cost to fly on a route like Singapore-Taipei-Los Angeles
60,000 miles for a transpacific redemption is comparable to the 50,000 miles rate offered by Cathay Pacific for Business Class awards between Singapore and the USA, although it needs to be emphasised again that we don’t know whether Singapore-Taipei-Los Angeles routings will cost more.
What’s the STARLUX experience like?
In a word: premium.
STARLUX pulls out all the stops. Business Class passengers can expect San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna water, Bollinger champagne, with food and cocktail menus designed by celebrity chefs (and taste every bit the part too). Even the Economy Class lavatory has HANN amenities and pre-ordering of meals. All passengers get 4K entertainment touchscreens and Bluetooth connectivity, and the service is polished (many crew are EVA/China Airlines alumni).
I’ve written reviews of my experience in STARLUX Business and Economy Class on the A330neo, so be sure to check those reports out.
The A330neo’s seats are solid, but they’re intended for regional flying. STARLUX’s best of the best will be found on its long-haul A350-900s, which comes to Singapore from June 2023.
This features 306 seats in a four-cabin configuration: First, Business, Premium Economy and Economy. First and Business Class seats convert into full flat beds with sliding privacy doors.
It’s long been rumoured that STARLUX will join an alliance, though its current fleet of 20 aircraft probably doesn’t represent the critical mass required yet.
Since EVA Air is part of Star Alliance and China Airlines part of SkyTeam, oneworld seems the only logical remaining choice. The fact that Alaska Airlines is part of oneworld will only add fuel to the speculation. However, others believe that oneworld founder Cathay Pacific will be opposed to STARLUX joining, given the overlap of turf (THAI was similarly incensed when Singapore Airlines joined Star Alliance).
How this plays out remains to be seen, but from a consumer point of view, it’d be awesome to be able to redeem Avios or other oneworld currencies for STARLUX flights.
Alaska Airlines has announced a tie-up with STARLUX that allows for reciprocal mileage accrual, and in time to come award redemptions with reasonable rates (initially at least!) This gives miles collectors a practical way to redeem STARLUX flights and enjoy its excellent hard and soft products.
While First Class redemptions won’t be available (unsurprising, given that the cabin is available on only one aircraft type, with just four seats), 60,000 miles for a one-way Taipei to Los Angeles Business Class award is very attractive indeed.