Planning to redeem your miles on Star Alliance carriers? This guide will help you understand when each airline releases reward seats, so you can be prepared to book as soon as they become available.
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Star Alliance Reward Seat Release Timeline
Below is a table showing when each Star Alliance airline typically opens up reward seat availability:
|Award Seat Opening Time
|Air New Zealand
|355 Days [328 Days for Partners]
|South African Airways
|339 Days (Economy) and 300 Days (Premium)
Navigating Unique Airline Practices
Now, let’s take a closer look at some of the unique practices and potential caveats you might encounter with some of these airlines:
Air Canada releases award seats 355 days prior to departure. While it follows a dynamic pricing model for its own Aeroplan members, it does adhere to a traditional award chart for partner airlines, giving a clear indication of the number of miles needed for each redemption.
Air New Zealand
Air New Zealand is somewhat notorious in the award travel community for its stingy release of premium cabin award seats. However, a consistent number of economy seats are typically released 350 days out.
ANA releases its award seats 355 days before departure, at 9 AM Tokyo time or 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. But be aware that if you’re trying to book an award online in the United States at this time, you won’t see the ability to book the award because your computer will show that you are 356 days from departure. For partner airlines, seats become available 328 days out. Furthermore, ANA usually only releases one First Class seat per flight and it often needs to be booked nearly a year in advance.
Lufthansa typically releases its award seats 360 days prior to departure, but be aware that Lufthansa First Class award seats are generally only made available to partners at most 15 days before departure.
Singapore Airlines opens its reward seat booking 355 days before departure. However, it’s important to note that the airline often reserves its best premium cabin award availability (especially in Suites/First and Business Class) exclusively for its own KrisFlyer members, which are typically not bookable on partner airlines.
With SWISS, it’s worth noting that the coveted Swiss International Air Lines First Class is nearly impossible to book unless you have top-tier Miles & More elite status.
TPG ran a post that said it was bookable via United but only if done 3 days prior to departure and also if the flight had a connection elsewhere – showing how incredibly hard it is to get a seat.
In 2023, United switched to fully dynamic award pricing. Award rates now vary by demand, regardless of fare class. While they do have an award chart, keep in mind that starting rates are not guaranteed, and can change depending on when you travel. For more details, check their award travel updates.
Keep in mind that the availability of reward seats doesn’t just depend on how far in advance you book, but also on the route, season, and the airline’s own commercial considerations. If you don’t see a reward seat available on the date you want to fly, remember that airlines may occasionally release more reward seats as the flight date gets closer.
Remember, it’s important to plan your award travel well in advance and be ready to book as soon as seats become available. Happy award travelling!
For more information about specific release dates and booking strategies for each airline, refer back to this page, or check out our dedicated guides on Oneworld seat release dates and SkyTeam member release dates.