THAI Smile Joining Star Alliance as a Connecting Partner

Thai Airways has transferred a lot of its domestic and regional flying to THAI Smile, its lower cost subsidiary which operates 20 Airbus A320 aircraft. That makes award travel to many Thai cities problematic, because THAI Smile isn’t a Star Alliance member so miles from United, Aeroplan, LifeMiles and other Star programs don’t allow redemption on THAI Smile flights.

Thai Airways itself no longer operates any narrowbody aircraft.

THAI Smile will be joining Star Alliance as a Connecting Partner in 2020. This will not help with award booking. Instead it will provide benefits when flying THAI Smile in conjunction with another Star Alliance airline on the same itinerary.

Star Alliance Gold members flying an itinerary including THAI Smile will be eligible for priority check-in, lounge access, and priority baggage delivery. No additional benefits have been announced at this time.

Star Alliance announced its connecting partner model in 2015 with South African Airways’ low cost carrier Mango as the first member, but that never happened due to financial challenges at the parent company. Instead the first Star Alliance connecting partner became Shanghai-based Juneyao Airlines. oneworld has since copied the idea with the ‘connect partner’.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. 2 comments:

    1 – Wherever I flew Thai smile Thai also flew a 777 or a 747. I’m not sure how they want to simplify anything like that.

    2 – Thai smile fares are so cheap and the service is so good, I really don’t see much of an enhancement for Star Alliance here. It would be a great waste of money to burn miles on a carrier you can fly everywhere to for close to nothing.

  2. Fun airline. Only flew once but they play “Just for Laughs” clips in their Premium Economy product and the food is absolutely perfect in presentation and quality. Not to mention their staff is easy on the eyes.

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