Asiana Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance and one of the two major Korean airlines. The airline is well-respected by both industry insiders and passengers for its excellent service and product.
Asiana Airlines’ loyalty program, Asiana Club, is a well-rounded program that offers good value on award flights and easy accrual of miles. Although some discounted fares only earn 70 percent of the miles flown, flights on Star Alliance carriers also earn miles. In addition to Asiana Club, Asiana Airlines also has a special program for kids under 12 called Magic Miles, where they can earn 0.75 miles for each mile flown.
The Family Mileage Plan for mileage transfers is a major Asiana Club benefit. Many airlines do not allow aggregating miles within a family. Asiana Club, though, has a generous sharing scheme that allows you to combine miles among spouses, children, parents, grandparents, grandchildren, siblings and even in-laws.
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One major downside of Asiana Club is that it adds fuel surcharges to award flights. However, almost all foreign airlines now add fuel surcharges to their flights, and Asiana’s are relatively moderate and not unreasonable, considering its superior product and services.
Aside from fuel surcharges, there are relatively few fees associated with the airline’s award flights, and those are generally very reasonable. Redepositing miles, for example, costs $30 or 3,000 miles, compared with $150 or more charged by many U.S. carriers.
|ASIANA CLUB||STAR ALLIANCE||MILES|
|POINTS TRANSFER PARTNER
|SPG (STARWOOD PREFERRED GUEST)|
|South African Airways
- Seoul Gimbo International Airport
- Seoul Incheon International Airport
How Can You Use Asiana Club Miles?
Asiana Airlines offers five classes on its U.S.-Korea flights: Economy, Business, Business Smartium, First Class and First Suite Class. The last three all feature lie-flat beds. The First Suite Class is very luxurious, offering a private compartment with a large entertainment screen, in-seat minibar and outstanding service.
Asiana Airlines and Star Alliance members have separate award charts, but flights cost about the same for both. Asiana does edge out its partners on flights to Asia though, because it offers excellent premium products such as Business Smartium and First Suite Class.
Asiana has one award fare. It doesn’t offer flex, market or other award levels that many other airlines have recently introduced. This makes its award charts simpler than some, but keep in mind that the cost given is for off-peak travel. During the peak season, it charges 50 percent more miles. For flights from the U.S., peak season is mid-May through early July, as well as most of the month of December.
Not surprisingly, booking in advance yields the most availability. Premium class award seats can be difficult to find on many airlines, particularly those offering exceptional services like Asiana’s First Suite Class. However, Asiana is generous with allocating premium award seats for its members. It’s possible to snatch two or even three First Suites on its flagship service between Seoul and New York or Los Angeles. There’s even a new A-380 service coming to New York this year that promises to be something special.
- The Family Mileage Plan makes it easy to share and pool miles among family members
- Economy class cabin is very comfortable, with excellent food and service, personal entertainment centers and spacious seats
- Round-trip domestic flights in Korea cost only 10,000 miles
- One-way awards available
- Miles can be used to pay for excess baggage
- Great redemptions available between the U.S. and Korea, Europe or Latin America
- Fuel surcharges on award flights
- Award tickets cost 50 percent more during peak season
- Upgrades are only available on Asiana flights, and award tickets cannot be upgraded
- Award flights on Star Alliance partners, Etihad and Qatar Airways are not bookable online
Best Value Awards:
Overall, Asiana Club award prices offer good value, especially in premium classes. But there are some exceptional deals flying off-peak between the U.S. and Korea on Asiana, or from the U.S. to Europe or Latin America on a Star Alliance partner using Asiana Club miles.
Compare Asiana’s and Star Alliance partner United’s business and first class redemptions between the U.S. and Korea. Business Smartium seats cost 125,000 Asiana Club miles, but 160,000 MileagePlus miles. First Suites cost 160,000 Asiana Club miles versus 240,000 MileagePlus miles.
Asiana Club award levels between the U.S. and Europe are even better, and it beats every U.S. airline in all classes. American is the cheapest U.S. carrier. It charges 60,000, 100,000 and 125,000 for economy, business and first, respectively. Asiana only charges 50,000, 80,000 and 100,000 miles.
Asiana splits Latin America into two regions for its award chart. The airline offers good redemption rates to the closer destinations of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru and Venezuela, but it offers outstanding value if you’re flying in a premium cabin to Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay or Uruguay. At 70,000 miles for business class and 90,000 for first during the off season, you’ll save 30,000 and 35,000 miles, respectively, over American Airlines awards.
Worst Value Awards:
The most expensive tickets in Asiana’s award chart are for premium cabins above standard business class on flights to Australia and destinations in Asia that aren’t Korea. Round-trip Business Smartium, First and First Suite tickets on these routes go north of 200,000 miles.
The Good Stuff: Upgrades and Elite Status
In addition to redeeming miles for a plane ticket, you can also upgrade your cash ticket with miles. You can only upgrade one class: economy to business, or business to first. If you are flying on Asiana between the U.S. and Korea, you can upgrade your economy ticket to business for 60,000 miles or to Business Smartium for 80,000 miles round-trip.
You can also upgrade with miles on Star Alliance partner airlines. Upgrades cost 76,000 miles round-trip on flights between the U.S. and Korea. Award tickets are not upgradable.
Asiana Club Elite Levels and Perks
Each level includes the perks of the previous level:
- Asiana Silver: Allows you to accrue miles
- Asiana Gold: Star Alliance Silver status, 5,000-mile discount on one award flight, two business lounge passes, 5 percent mile bonus on Asiana flights, dedicated elite member check-in counter, 10kg(***Ok style?–also later**) extra baggage allowance
- Asiana Diamond: Star Alliance Gold status, free lounge access for member and a guest, one discount coupon for a 50 percent discount on a miles upgrade or a 10,000-mile discount on an award ticket, 10 percent mile bonus on Asiana flights, 20kg extra baggage allowance, access to business class check-in counter
- Asiana Diamond Plus: Peak season award prices are waived, free access to the first class lounge for member and a guest, two discount coupons, 15 percent mile bonus on Asiana flights, access to first class check-in, 30kg luggage allowance on Asiana flights, lifetime membership after 500,000 miles or 500 boardings
- Asiana Platinum: Two discount coupons for every 100,000 miles flown, 20 percent mile bonus on Asiana flights, lifetime membership
Associated Credit Cards
There are two Asiana Airlines credit cards available in the U.S. Although both currently come with a 10,000-mile sign-up bonus, the Amex card sometimes goes up to 38,000 miles.
- Three miles per dollar spent on Asiana Airlines
- Two miles per dollar on gas and groceries
- One mile per dollar on all other purchases
In addition, you’ll receive two lounge passes, 10,000 bonus miles and $100 off an Asiana Airline ticket every year. The annual fee is $99.
The Asiana Visa Business Card offers fewer benefits. You’ll earn two miles per dollar on Asiana Airlines purchases and one mile per dollar on all other purchases. The annual fee is $80.