SkyTeam: The Ultimate Guide

What is SkyTeam?

SkyTeam is the second largest of the three major global airline alliances, the other two being Star Alliance and oneworld. The SkyTeam network consists of 19 member airlines who as a whole fly to over 1,000 destinations around the globe. Their fleet is comprised of more than 4,300 aircraft and transports over 569 million passengers per year.

What are the different elite frequent flyer status levels?

The SkyTeam Alliance offers two levels of status: SkyTeam Elite and SkyTeam Elite Plus. The Elite Plus status is their top tier and offers significantly more benefits for frequent flyers than their Elite status does.

How do I attain elite status with this alliance?

SkyTeam doesn't offer a frequent flyer program, however, joining any SkyTeam Members' Frequent Flyer Programs will allow you to earn and redeem miles across the network. SkyTeam's 19 members align with 16 different frequent flyer programs. Each program is operated independently and with its own rules, so be sure to check our comparison chart below to learn more. To ensure that you'll receive credit for your miles/points/segments from flying, enter your frequent flyer membership ID when booking your flight reservation.

How do I qualify for SkyTeam Elite or SkyTeam Elite Plus status?

The SkyTeam partners' frequent flyer programs each have their own tiers that translate to the SkyTeam Elite status. The status can be attained in a variety of ways, generally through flying a certain number miles (15000 - 50000 qualifying miles) or segments (10 - 50 segments). Therefore, if you take long flights (those with more miles), you would most likely obtain your status through the amount of miles flown as opposed to obtaining the status through segments if you fly shorter flights. Some Frequent Flyer Programs (FFPs) also require there to be a minimum of both miles and segments in addition to meeting one of the requirements for either miles or segments in order to obtain elite status. Elite Plus status usually requires a traveler to fly more than double the amount necessary for Elite status in both the miles and segments categories. More information on each airline's frequent flyer program qualifying rules can be found in the chart below.

Frequent flyer miles / points rules:

  • You cannot transfer miles and points from one SkyTeam airline member's frequent flyer program (FFP) to a different SkyTeam airline member's FFP.
  • You cannot combine miles or points from one SkyTeam airline members' FFP with a different SkyTeam airline members' FFP. For example, if you had miles on both the Aeroflot Bonus program and the Flying Blue program, those miles cannot be counted towards one program.
  • You can redeem your miles or points earned in one program for travel awards on any of the SkyTeam partner airlines.
  • You can transfer your mileage to a family member. However, certain fees may apply. Contact your airline's FFP.
  • You can use miles or points to upgrade to the next class of service on many of the SkyTeam member airlines. You can request the upgrade when booking your flight reservation.

What are the benefits associated with each status level?

Overview of Benefits for each Elite Level

SkyTeam Elite
SkyTeam Elite Plus
Elite Qualification MilesXX
Priority Airport StandbyXX
Priority Reservations WaitlistXX
Priority BoardingXX
Preferred SeatingXX
Priority Check-InXX
Extra Baggage AllowanceXX
Priority Baggage HandlingX
Guaranteed Reservations on Sold-Out FlightsX
Lounge AccessX

SkyTeam Elite

The benefits of SkyTeam Elite status include:

Extra Baggage Allowance*

Elite members are allowed to carry an extra 10 kg (22 lbs) OR one extra piece of luggage. Please check with each carrier, as each carrier's criteria vary.

*Delta Air Lines passengers within and between US/Canada/Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands and to/from Brazil and Economy class passengers traveling transpacific routes on Korean Air are not eligible from this perk and instead have their own rules about baggage on these routes.

Priority Check-In

Being an Elite member of SkyTeam allows you to check in faster though the priority queues. All that you have to do is show your frequent flyer card.

Preferred Seating

Choose your favorite seat: SkyTeam Elite and Elite Plus passengers can book select seats that are available only to them at the time of booking.

Priority Boarding

Board early to get that convenient overhead space or board last to spend less time on the plane - it's up to you. You have the flexibility to board at your leisure.

Priority Reservations Waitlist

Is your desired flight booked? SkyTeam Elite Members have a higher priority on the reservations waitlist.

Priority Airport Standby

Should travel plans change, you receive priority on the standby list for your requested flight as an Elite Member.

Elite Qualification Miles

You can earn Elite Qualification Miles on all valid SkyTeam flights in whichever frequent flyer program you choose.

SkyTeam Elite Plus

The benefits of SkyTeam Elite Plus status include those of SkyTeam Elite (see above) and:

Extra Baggage Allowance*

Elite members are allowed to carry an extra 20 kg (44 lbs) OR one additional piece of luggage. Please check with each carrier, as each carrier's criteria vary.

*Delta Air Lines passengers within and between US/Canada/Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands and to/from Brazil are not eligible from this perk and instead have their own rules about baggage on these routes.

Airport Lounge Access

Enjoy the SkyTeam partner lounges with a guest of your choice at airports to alleviate some of the stresses of traveling.

Guaranteed Reservations on Sold-Out Flights

Booking a last-minute flight? No problem. SkyTeam Elite members are guaranteed a Coach/Economy Class reservation on any long-haul SkyTeam flight.

Priority Baggage Handling

Your baggage gets priority treatment too. Since they arrive at the baggage claim first, you're free to leave the airport earlier.

SkyTeam Lounge Access Policy

Skyteam Lounge, Istanbul Ataturk Airport

Which SkyTeam flyers are eligible to access lounges?

Your class of travel and your frequent flyer status usually determine whether you have access to lounges. The alliance access policy states that the following groups of travelers should receive lounge access:

International First Class and Business Class

By presenting your same-day SkyTeam ticket for an international first class or business class flight, you are allowed to enjoy over 564 worldwide SkyTeam-carrier-operated lounge in the airport you are departing from or connecting in. You cannot bring a guest in with you. Please refer to the LoungeBuddy App for specific lounge locations.

SkyTeam Elite Plus Members

With an Elite Plus membership and same-day ticket for an international SkyTeam flight, you and one guest can enjoy any SkyTeam lounge. The guest must also be flying on SkyTeam.

Paid Lounge Members

Certain SkyTeam carriers (i.e. Alitalia) allow you to pay for entrance to their lounges. Depending on the carrier, these passes can be purchased at the airport or through their call center/website. A day pass to a lounge might also permit a guest, but this varies across carriers. Please check the LoungeBuddy App for lounges that allow pay-per-use and specific guest allowances.

Arrivals Lounges

Should a carrier have an Arrivals Lounge, you are generally allowed access upon arrival after a flight if you traveled with that carrier on First or Business Class ticket, or with a certain elite status. Rules vary by carrier, so please check the LoungeBuddy App for specific access methods.

SkyTeam Lounge Amenities

SkyTeam carriers' lounges offer a diverse variety of amenities. In general, most lounges in the network offer high-speed Wi-Fi, beverages and light snacks, and areas to work or relax. In order to obtain more specific details about the amenities in each lounge, download the LoungeBuddy App, free on the Apple App store and the Google Play Store.

Lounge Locations

SkyTeam offers lounges in airports all over the world. For specific airports and locations within the airports, get LoungeBuddy today.

SkyTeam Partner Airlines

Aerolineas Argentinas
Air Europa
Air France
China Airlines
China Eastern Airlines
Czech Airlines
Delta Air Lines
Garuda Indonesia
Kenya Airways
Korean Air
Middle East Airlines
Vietnam Airlines
Xiamen Airlines


Schiphol Boulevard 367
Tower B, 8th Floor
1118 BJ Schiphol
The Netherlands

Online Presence:

SkyTeam Official Site

SkyTeam on Facebook

Contact Info:

Email: website@skyteam.com

Slogan: "Caring more about You"

Tip: SkyTeam is sometimes abbreviated as ST or STA (SkyTeam Alliance) when chatting with frequent flyers. Thanks @FlyerTalk

(This article was last updated on 9/24/2014)

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