United’s newest partner: Germanwings

Call it a small victory for United Airlines customers. As Lufthansa continues to shift much of their domestic and intra-Europe flying to their Germanwings operations those flights are – as of 27 October 2013 – eligible for earning and redemption in the MileagePlus program. Germanwings is still not a Star Alliance member so things like lounge access, free baggage and other benefits won’t apply. Also, the earning will be only for award miles, not towards elite status. Still, better than nothing. Here’s the earnings chart:

Germanwings earning rates when crediting to United's MileagePlus program
Germanwings earning rates when crediting to United’s MileagePlus program

From what I can see awards will book in to the P or U bucket. I’m seeing those buckets show up in my inventory search tool so I should be able to get an award search built for them reasonably easily. The United website doesn’t show them yet based on a couple quick searches I did. Also, the United computers do not appear to be updated yet to show the Germanwings flights as options for phone reservations either. I actually got to explain the airline code to an agent and show her where on the website it says they’re a partner because none of the internal systems seem to show it properly yet.

Nice to see that there is going to be at least a bit of earning opportunity here. And that theoretically the redemption will happen, too, though the details on that are a bit less clear. Still sucks that so many routes are no longer going to be fully associated with Star Alliance benefits, but this is better than nothing.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. So my flight from LHR-DUS is currently a LH flight, will this change to Germanwings?… Flying on 11/28. Would be bummer if no lounge access at LHR

  2. I expect GermanWings to be a member of *A soon…if not then similar to Lufthansa Group members.

    1. I don’t expect them to become a member of the alliance; everything they’ve done so far has been to get away from providing alliance benefits, not to get in to that. What makes you think they’d join?

    2. wont happen, you truly didnt understand the whole point of germanwings becoming the low cost carrier for inter-european LH operations.

    1. It is not, as far as I know, possible to book these with UA miles yet. In theory that should change at some point but no one at the company has been able to answer the specific details on that for me yet.

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