Air Travel News
United’s Star Alliance makes big advance into Latin America
United MileagePlus members who do business in Latin America can now access dozens more airports in the region through the addition of three more airlines to United’s family of international partners, the Star Alliance.
The newest members of that global alliance are Avianca, TACA Airlines and Copa Airlines. Avianca and TACA, owned by the same holding company, have hubs in Bogota, Colombia; San Salvador, El Salvador; Lima, Peru; and San Jose, Costa Rica. Together, they fly to more than 100 destinations in 25 countries with a fleet of 150 planes. Copa, with sister company Copa Airlines Colombia, has hubs at Panama’s Tocumen Airport and at Bogota, and operates to 64 destinations in 29 countries with a fleet of 80 aircraft.
United has had a code-sharing relationship with Copa for several years, and has now started code-sharing with Avianca as well on routes to Colombia.
United said that with the addition of Avianca and TACA to the Star Alliance, MileagePlus members can now earn and redeem miles throughout the route network of those two airlines. Mileage Plus has already been tied to Copa for some time.
In addition, “United Club members and MileagePlus Premier members with Star Alliance Gold status traveling on a same-day Star Alliance member flight can access Copa, Avianca and TACA lounges at the flight's departure city,” United said. “Avianca, TACA and Copa Star Alliance Gold members can access United Club lounges worldwide when traveling on a same-day Star Alliance member flight from the airport lounge location.” United and Copa jointly operate a lounge at Tocumen International Airport in Panama.
A Star Alliance spokesman said the addition of the three airlines will add some 50 new airports to the group’s international network. What’s more, “With the home bases of both airline groups being located in one of the fastest growing regions in the world, these are ideal markets for expanding Star Alliance Corporate Plus, Conventions Plus and Meetings Plus,” the spokesman said. Those are Star programs designed to give companies a single point of contact for airline contract negotiations, meeting discounts and convention planning across the alliance.