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Transferring flexible currency—including Capital One Miles or Spark Miles—to partner loyalty programs can provide the greatest value compared to other uses of these miles. 

For Capital One, there are 15 airline partner programs. We have several related articles about Capital One transfer partners:

In this post, we’re addressing the six Star Alliance airline programs that are Capital One transfer partners: Air Canada Aeroplan, Avianca LifeMiles, EVA Air Infinity MileageLands, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go and Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles. Since Star Alliance is the largest airline alliance and some of these programs have many partners outside Star Alliance, it’s possible to book flights on a broad range of airlines. 

Air Canada
Air Canada is a member of Star Alliance, and Aeroplan also has many non-alliance partners.

Air Canada Aeroplan

Aeroplan is a transfer partner with American Express Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, Capital One Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy, so it’s easy to accumulate program miles.

Air Canada is a member of Star Alliance, and Aeroplan also has many non-alliance partners. Overall, Aeroplan has more airline partners than any other program.

Aeroplan has zone- and distance-based award charts, but there’s some variation in award pricing, particularly on Air Canada- and Emirates-operated flights. You can find a downloadable award chart and an award price predictor tool on Aeroplan’s website. The award chart below includes transatlantic flights between the U.S. and Europe or the Middle East.

Air Canada Aeroplan

An Aeroplan award utilizing this pricing is Chicago (ORD) to Athens, Greece (ATH), one way for 40,000 miles in economy or 70,000 points in business class. While this isn’t the cheapest award pricing between these two regions, it’s reasonable given that the connecting city, Istanbul, is on the border between Europe and Asia.

Air Canada Aeroplan

Aeroplan awards become more interesting if you want to add a stopover in a connecting city. For example, you can spend some time in Turkey before continuing to Greece by booking an award with a stopover in Istanbul (IST) for only 5,000 additional points.

Air Canada Aeroplan

Multiple factors contribute to Aeroplan’s reputation as a strong Capital One partner. These include:

  • Large number of partner airlines
  • Generally reasonable award chart pricing for partner flights
  • No fuel surcharges for partner airlines
  • Flexible routing rules with up to six segments allowed on a one-way award
  • Ability to add a stopover longer than 24 hours on a one-way ticket for 5,000 miles

Aeroplan fees should be considered when deciding to book through Aeroplan or another program that offers the same flights. Aeroplan’s award change and cancelation fees for its “lowest award” (Aeroplan also offers a “flexible award” for more miles) are higher than some other programs. Aeroplan also charges a booking fee on partner awards.

Some good value awards for partner awards booked through Aeroplan include:

  • 6,000 points for one-way economy flights up to 500 miles long within North America: This includes many nonstop flights on United from airports including: Newark, New Jersey (EWR); Washington (IAD); Houston (IAH); and San Francisco (SFO).
  • 55,000 points for one-way business-class flights up to 5,000 miles long between North America and Asia: This includes nonstop flights on Star Alliance airlines from western U.S. airports to Tokyo.
  • 60,000 points for one-way business-class flights up to 4,000 miles long between North America and Europe: This includes nonstop flights on Star Alliance airlines from East Coast airports to many European cities.
Colombia-based Avianca Airlines is a Star Alliance member, and LifeMiles can be redeemed on partner airlines, including Star Alliance and non-alliance partners.

Avianca LifeMiles

LifeMiles are fairly easy to obtain. American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points and Marriott Bonvoy currency can be transferred to Avianca LifeMiles. 

Although most airline frequent-flyer programs offer opportunities to buy miles, LifeMiles is one of the few programs that offers frequent opportunities to do this at a reasonable cost by offering bonuses over 150%. This makes it possible to buy LifeMiles for as low as 1.2 to 1.4 cents each.

Colombia-based Avianca Airlines is a Star Alliance member, and LifeMiles can be redeemed on partner airlines, including Star Alliance and non-alliance partners. The LifeMiles program has region-based award pricing with a single award chart for Star Alliance partners and separate award charts for each non-alliance partner. To find a specific chart, select a partner, and the details section will have a link to the award chart.

The Star Alliance award chart is large and awkward to navigate given the number and composition of regions. For example, the continental United States is divided into three regions; Alaska is part of “Rest of North America;” and Hawaii is its own region. The best way to figure out the rates of a specific award is to select one of the Star Alliance airlines and navigate from there. As an example for United Airlines, start at the Star Alliance chart, go to the section about redeeming miles, click the hyperlink “Find out how many LifeMiles you need for a ticket on United Airlines. Review here” and navigate to the regions of interest.

Avianca LifeMiles Star Alliance awards usually are competitively priced, and Avianca doesn’t add fuel surcharges. A few examples of awards that provide good value include:

  • One-way business-class awards between most of the U.S. and most of Europe for 63,000 miles on multiple Star Alliance partners 
  • One-way business-class awards between the U.S. and Africa for 78,000 miles on Star Alliance partners
  • One-way business-class transcontinental awards within the U.S. for 25,000 miles on United 
  • One-way economy awards within the U.S. for 7,500 to 12,500 miles on United 

LifeMiles can be a useful program, but you should be aware of some quirks. One beneficial quirk is certain awards cost less than the award chart indicates. There are two situations where this occurs:

  • Mixed-cabin awards: As an example, standard business-class award rates between many U.S. cities and many European cities require 63,000 miles each way. But if you book an award that is in business class for the overseas flight and economy class for a connecting segment in Europe, the cost of the award is prorated to reflect the percentage of the total trip in each class of service.
  • Awards between specific city pairs that price below the expected award chart price: Examples at the time of writing are New York (JFK) to Lisbon, Portugal (LIS), for 35,000 miles in business class; Denver (DEN) to Brussels (BRU) for 23,000 miles in economy; and New York (JFK) to Zurich (ZRH) for 29,500 / 56,000 miles in economy / business class respectively.

There are some negative aspects of LifeMiles awards including:

  • Fees: Avianca LifeMiles has higher award change and cancelation fees than some other programs, charges a partner booking fee of $25 per passenger and doesn’t show the final taxes and fees until near the end of the award booking process. The partner booking fee isn’t included in initial award pricing displayed. The LifeMiles website also sometimes incorrectly prices mandatory taxes until near the end of the booking process. Before transferring Capital One Miles to Avianca, it’s worth checking award taxes and fees on United’s website and estimating Avianca’s fees as the amount United charges plus the LifeMiles partner booking fee.
  • Award availability issues: For flights operated by Star Alliance airlines with award seats available to partners, LifeMiles should have the same award availability as other Star Alliance programs, but LifeMiles often displays less or no award seats compared to other programs. For example, a flight operated by Lufthansa with award availability through United MileagePlus also should be available to book through LifeMiles, but the flights don’t always show up in LifeMiles searches. Sometimes, changing the search criteria to specify the operating airline resolves this. Other times, the award can’t be booked online but might be bookable through LifeMiles agents.
  • IT issues: Avianca’s IT overall is problematic. The website sometimes is unavailable for award searches for long periods of time. In some cases, using a different browser or the mobile app resolves this issue. There also are cases where an award shows as available, but the booking can’t be completed online. LifeMiles agents often can resolve these errors, but it may take multiple calls.
  • Customer service: If something goes wrong or you need to contact LifeMiles, working with their customer service representatives can be challenging.
Eva Air
Taiwan-based EVA Air is a Star Alliance member, so you can use EVA Air miles to book awards on partner airlines or book EVA Air flights through other Star Alliance programs.

EVA Air Infinity MileageLands

EVA Air is a transfer partner of Capital One Rewards and Citi ThankYou Points. If you have both Capital One Miles and Citi ThankYou Points, it’s usually better to transfer from Citi, since ThankYou Points transfer 1:1 to EVA Air. The Capital One transfer ratio of 2:1.5 is less favorable.

Taiwan-based EVA Air is a Star Alliance member, so you can use EVA Air miles to book awards on partner airlines or book EVA Air flights through other Star Alliance programs.

The Infinity MileageLands program uses region-based award charts. Different award charts apply to EVA Air flights and Star Alliance flights. The Star Alliance awards, which are more expensive, apply if an itinerary includes a mix of EVA Air and Star Alliance partner flights.

A few things to consider about EVA Air’s Star Alliance awards are:

  • The downloadable Star Alliance award chart shows round-trip award rates, but one-way awards can be booked for half the price. 
  • EVA Air also has a round-the-world award, but the rates are much higher than ANA’s awards, which also allow travel on Star Alliance airlines.
  • It’s not always possible to compare EVA Air and Star Alliance award charts directly, because regions are defined differently and class of service doesn’t align completely.

The best value in the program is for business-class awards on EVA Air flights. While economy redemption rates are relatively expensive compared to other airline programs, EVA Air’s difference between economy, premium economy and business class for each region are relatively small, making business-class rates reasonable. 

For example, a one-way business-class award between western North America gateways and any part of Asia is 75,000 miles.

EVA Air Infinity MileageLands

Another reason you might want to consider booking EVA Air-operated flights through Infinity MileageLands is that the program makes more award seats available to its members.

However, there’s a big caveat. EVA Air Infinity MileageLands is a difficult program to use, so for many people and situations, it’s easier and sometimes cheaper to book through a different program. 

One thing that’s different about EVA Air is that you can’t book an award for someone else from your Infinity MileageLands account. Each traveler must have an Infinity MileageLands account, which is used to book that person’s award ticket. There are multiple steps involved to link and share miles between Infinity MileageLands accounts. EVA Air’s customer service presents some challenges, too.

Singapore Airlines
Singapore Airlines is in Star Alliance and also has several partners outside the alliance.

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

Singapore Airlines miles are easy to obtain because KrisFlyer is a transfer partner with American Express Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, Capital One Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points and Marriott Bonvoy.

Singapore Airlines is in Star Alliance and also has several partners outside the alliance.

Singapore KrisFlyer award prices are based on a series of region-based award charts, with different regions applicable to different airlines. In addition, Singapore Airlines has a miles calculator that provides award prices for specific origins, destinations and class of service. 

KrisFlyer award charts include:

  • Singapore Airlines award chart: This chart provides one-way award prices for flights operated by Singapore and has two types of awards: Saver awards, which are less expensive with limited availability, and Advantage awards, which are more expensive with more availability and other benefits.
  • Star Alliance award chart: This chart provides round-trip award prices for flights operated by Star Alliance partner airlines. However, one-way redemptions are available at half the price of round-trip awards.
  • Other partner award charts: Singapore has separate award charts for the following airlines that are outside Star Alliance: Alaska Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia, Vistara and Juneyao Air.

While Singapore KrisFlyer award prices generally aren’t the lowest, KrisFlyer redemptions can offer good value compared to other airlines’ dynamically priced awards, especially for premium-cabin travel or with KrisFlyer Spontaneous Escapes

Spontaneous Escapes are discounted awards available for a specific class of service, route (sometimes specific flights) and time period. Typically, the awards are released during one month for travel during the next month.

Additionally, Singapore Airlines is often considered to be a top airline for premium-cabin travel, and business- and first-class award availability on Singapore Airlines flights is much better if booking through KrisFlyer compared to partner programs. 

With few airlines offering long-haul first-class awards and/or severely limiting availability, using KrisFlyer miles to book Singapore Airlines first class is one of the better options. KrisFlyer first-class awards include the airline’s ultra-premium Singapore Suites product.

Singapore KrisFlyer redemptions allow complimentary stopovers exceeding 24 hours in some situations. Stopovers allowed depend on the type of award and whether booking one-way or round-trip awards. 

One stopover is allowed on a one-way Advantage award; one stopover is allowed on a round-trip Saver award; and two stopovers are allowed on a round-trip Advantage award. Since August 2022, additional stopovers can’t be purchased, and stopovers can’t exceed 30 days.

Let’s discuss some potentially good uses for KrisFlyer miles.

Singapore Airlines flights between the U.S. and Europe: Singapore operates two nonstop routes between the U.S. and Europe: New York (JFK) to Frankfurt, Germany (FRA), and Houston (IAH) to Manchester, England (MAN). Saver one-way award prices are 25,000 miles for economy, 52,000 miles for premium economy, 81,000 miles for business class and 97,000 miles for first class.

Singapore Airlines business- or first-class flights between North America and Southeast Asia: Award prices vary based on origin and departure location, since Singapore divides North America and Asia into different zones. Southeast Asia generally falls into zones 1, 2 or 3, and western U.S. and Canada are in zone 12. One-way Saver awards between these zones cost 107,000 miles for business class and 146,500 miles for first class. For example, flights from San Francisco (SFO) to Bali, Indonesia (DPS), require 107,000 miles in business class for a Saver award or 128,500 for an Advantage award.

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

Flights within North America on United Airlines or Alaska Airlines: In some cases, Singapore’s award prices are lower than the operating airlines’ award prices, but one important caveat is that the operating airline must have saver level space that is available for partner booking. While KrisFlyer award pricing for United premium-class travel within North America potentially costs less than United awards, at the time of writing, United Saver award availability in business- or first-class within North America is rare.

Some Singapore KrisFlyer redemption options to consider include:

  • One-way United economy flights between the mainland U.S. or Canada and Hawaii for 19,500 miles
  • One-way Alaska Airlines economy flights within or between zones 1 and 2, which include the western continental United States and Canada, for 8,500 miles
  • One-way Alaska Airlines economy flights between Alaska or Hawaii and the continental U.S. for 13,000 to 14,000 miles
  • One-way Alaska Airlines economy flights between U.S. zone 1, which includes California, Washington and Oregon, and Cuba, Costa Rica and Mexico for 13,500 miles 

There are a few other things to keep in mind regarding the Singapore KrisFlyer program:

  • Taxes and fees: Singapore Airlines imposes fuel surcharges on some carriers but not others. Generally, using KrisFlyer to book flights on Singapore Airlines or U.S. partners won’t involve significant fees.
  • Redemption nominees: Singapore allows booking awards for other people, but you have to add the traveler as a redemption nominee and need passport details to add someone. There are limitations on the number of redemption nominees and changes to the nominee list, but this won’t be an issue for anyone who books awards for fewer than five people and doesn’t change nominees frequently.
  • Mileage expiration: KrisFlyer miles expire 36 months after earning them, regardless of account activity. Because of this, we recommend not transferring miles to Singapore Airlines without having plans to use them.
TAP Air Portugal is a member of Star Alliance and also has non-alliance airline partners.

TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go

TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go allows transfers from Capital One Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy only.

TAP Air Portugal is a member of Star Alliance and also has non-alliance airline partners.

The Miles&Go program uses region-based pricing, and TAP Air Portugal provides a webpage to view lowest available award pricing for each destination region. This is a two-step process that involves selecting TAP, Star Alliance or Other Airlines and entering the starting region, class of service and other parameters.

For example, these are the results for one-way flights on TAP Air Portugal flights from North America in economy class.

TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go

There are situations in which you might want to consider booking a TAP Air Portugal award between the U.S. and Europe, but in most cases, these redemptions aren’t the best options for using Capital One Miles. Some additional details are:

  • Economy awards for TAP Air Portugal flights between the U.S. and Europe for 29,000 miles per direction aren’t the best redemption rates, but award prices are competitive with other airlines’ programs.
  • The lowest-priced business-class awards on TAP Portugal are at least 100,000 miles each way. There are better options through other programs for business-class awards.
  • TAP Air Portugal sometimes has low cash fares, so it’s worth looking at those before booking an award flight.
  • Awards on Star Alliance carriers are priced higher than TAP Portugal awards for similar regions. For example, Star Alliance one-way economy awards between “Canada, USA, Mexico, The Caribbean” and “Europe and North Africa” start at 50,000 miles, compared to 29,000 on TAP Air Portugal. The screenshots below show one-way Star Alliance partner pricing for economy- and business-class awards between “Canada, USA, Mexico, The Caribbean” and other regions. The award prices generally are inferior options compared to booking Star Alliance award flights through other loyalty programs.
TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go
TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go

While Miles&Go awards typically aren’t the lowest priced awards, there may be some good niche redemption opportunities. Besides the economy flights between North America and Europe discussed above, other reasonable redemptions include the following one-way TAP Air Portugal economy awards:

  • Flights within mainland Portugal from 3,250 miles
  • Flights between mainland Portugal and Madeira or the Azores from 5,500 miles
  • Flights between mainland Portugal and Spain or North Africa from 6,000 miles
  • Flights between mainland Portugal and Europe 1, which includes most of western Europe, from 7,500 miles 

Since Miles&Go isn’t a well-known or widely used program in the U.S., program changes won’t necessarily be reported in the points and miles community, and the program has a history of quietly making significant devaluations. 

For example, in late 2022, a Star Alliance redemption on United Airlines or Avianca from the United States to anywhere in South America was possible for 50,000 miles one way in business class, but at the time of writing, the website is showing these awards for 95,000 miles.

Other drawbacks with TAP Air Portugal include:

  • The program imposes fuel surcharges on award flights with some carriers.
  • Non-alliance partner awards can’t be booked online. 
  • Customer service generally is considered below average. TAP Air Portugal is infamous for refusing to issue refunds at the beginning of the pandemic.
Turkish Airlines is a member of Star Alliance and also has non-alliance partners.

Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles

Options for transferring flexible currency to Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles include Bilt Rewards, Capital One Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points and Marriott Bonvoy. Since American Express and Chase aren’t Turkish transfer partners, it’s not as easy to obtain Miles&Smiles currency compared to other programs that allow transfers from these sources.

Turkish Airlines is a member of Star Alliance and also has non-alliance partners.

Turkish Airlines uses region-based award charts to price awards on its own flights and on Star Alliance partners. Award charts show round-trip award prices, but one-way awards are available for half of the round-trip price.

There are two types of awards: Promotional and Standard, with Promotional awards rates being lower. There often is a large disparity between the two types of awards. For example, North America to Europe one-way business-class Promotional awards are 45,000 miles, while Standard awards are between 105,000 and 115,000 miles. Promotional awards require availability of Saver award space and aren’t always available.

We’re sharing business-class examples because they represent better value than economy awards, but Promotional awards also are offered in economy and first class. Economy promotional awards, such as North America to Europe for 30,000 miles per direction, are competitively priced with other programs.

First-class awards aren’t available in all regions, since many airlines don’t have international first-class cabins. When available, first-class awards generally are priced about 50% more than business-class awards.

Examples of when you can get excellent value with Promotional awards include one-way business class flights between:

  • North America and Europe (includes Turkey, Europe 1 and Europe 2) for 45,000 miles
  • North America and the Middle East for 47,000 miles
  • North America and Central Asia for 52,500 miles
  • North America and North Africa for 60,000 miles
  • North America and the Far East for 67,500 miles
  • North America and Central Africa for 72,500 miles
  • North America and South Africa for 85,000 miles

These prices apply to both Turkish-operated flights and partner flights.

Another excellent opportunity to get great value from Turkish miles is to use them for award travel within a region. This can be especially valuable when used to book flights operated by Star Alliance partners, such as United Airlines within the U.S. and more broadly within North America. 

  • According to the Turkish Airlines award charts, one-way Promotional awards within North America on partner airlines require 10,000 miles in economy or 15,000 miles in business / domestic first class.
  • In practice, award flights within the U.S. cost even less—7,500 miles in economy or 12,500 miles in business / domestic first class. This includes United flights between the mainland U.S. and Alaska, Hawaii or U.S. territories in the Caribbean.

Although award prices are the same for Turkish Airlines and partner flights, the Turkish Airlines website requires searching for the two types of awards separately. As of September 2023, the search interface has been improved to make it easier to search for Star Alliance partner awards.

To search for award flights on Turkish Airlines or partner airlines, log into your account and select “Award ticket – Buy a ticket with Miles” on the main search page or select “Award ticket” from the dropdown menu under your name.

The next screen shows two tabs for “Award Ticket” and “Star Award Ticket” searches. The former is used to search for Turkish Airlines award tickets, and the latter is used to initiate Star Alliance partner award searches.

Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles

While Turkish Airlines’ sweet spots make the program a favorite of many people in the points and miles community, there also are drawbacks and quirks that make the Miles&Smiles program less desirable:

  • The program imposes or passes on fuel charges for some airlines, and it has moderate fees for canceling or changing awards.
  • Miles&Smiles members who haven’t yet booked an award flight are able to search for only one award seat and book a flight for one person online. At least for the first booking, the Miles&Smiles member must call Turkish Airlines to book a travel companion’s award flight from the same account. If you’re planning to travel with others, this makes it more difficult to find and book awards on the same flight for two or more people. 
  • Turkish Airlines doesn’t always follow its regional award charts. Certain areas are listed in one region but price differently, or the program shows conflicting definitions. This can be an advantage or disadvantage.
  • Turkish Airlines’ website doesn’t always show Star Alliance airlines award availability on flights where partners have Saver award availability that should be bookable through Miles&Smiles.
  • Completing an award booking online sometimes is challenging due to website issues, such as the payment page not working.
  • Calling or emailing Turkish Airlines to ticket awards that aren’t displayed or can’t be booked online yields mixed results.

Final Thoughts

If you have Capital One Miles and are interested in traveling on a Star Alliance airline or another airline that is a partner in the Air Canada, Avianca, EVA Air, Singapore Airlines, TAP Air Portugal or Turkish Airlines loyalty programs, there are several options to consider. It’s often useful to compare programs, since award availability and pricing may vary.