Business Treaveler logo

Travel news, reviews and intel for high-flyers

SAS to Leave Star Alliance and Join SkyTeam: What it Means for Travelers

The founding member airline of the Star Alliance will swap to SkyTeam in August: here's what you need to know if you're a SAS frequent flyer

by Lauren Smith

April 8, 2024

Photo: Courtesy of SAS

SAS will depart the Star Alliance on August 31 and begin to transition to rival SkyTeam, joining its new owners, Air France and KLM.

Scandinavian Airlines, commonly styled SAS, was one of the five founding members of the Star Alliance in 1997. For over 25 years, its EuroBonus frequent flyers have enjoyed access to perks with United, Air Canada, Lufthansa, and other carriers.

With SAS departing from the alliance, its eligible EuroBonus members will lose their Star Alliance Silver and Star Alliance Gold status and the ability to earn Basic points on Star Alliance points after August 31. However, they can claim missing points for those flights until September 8.

Photo: Courtesy of Star Alliance

Then, starting on September 1, “SAS EuroBonus members will enjoy loyalty benefits similar to those offered today by Star Alliance airlines and most of SkyTeam’s airlines.” That includes the ability to earn Basic points on flights with SkyTeam airlines.

EuroBonus Silver members will enjoy extra baggage allowance and priority check-in with SkyTeam carriers, while EuroBonus Gold and Diamond members can claim lounge access and fast-tracked and priority boarding.

SAS hasn’t revealed which SkyTeam airlines will offer its travelers perks, stating that “more details will be shared as soon as possible.”

SAS’s Unprecedented Alliance Swap

SAS’s intention to join the rival SkyTeam was announced last fall when, as part of the airline’s Chapter 11 restructuring, SkyTeam members Air France-KLM took a 19.9 percent stake in it.

SAS had fallen into financial difficulty during the pandemic and filed for bankruptcy in 2022.

Photo: Courtesy of SkyTeam

While Air France-KLM will own SAS alongside the Danish state and investment companies Castlelake and Lind, SAS will be a fully-fledged member airline of the French aviation group. Air France-KLM also hopes to increase its stake in SAS in the future.

It’s still unclear when SAS will officially join SkyTeam. The airline says it is in “advanced negotiations with SkyTeam and many of its member carriers to develop and grow extensive commercial relationships.” It can take months or even years for airlines to join new alliances.

Paul Verhagen, chief commercial officer at SAS, said: “We are thrilled to progress on our alliance transition journey and pave the way for delightful new destinations and loyalty program benefits across the world.

Photo: Courtesy of Air France-KLM

“Our focus now is to guide customers and our EuroBonus members on each step during this transition.”

Meanwhile, Star Alliance emphasizes its continued presence in the region. It noted that 17 Star Alliance members will continue to fly more than 3,700 monthly flights to Scandinavia from 23 hubs worldwide.

Star Alliance said: “Loyal customers who travel to and from Sweden, Denmark, and Norway have come to appreciate the many benefits of the superior customer experience and loyalty reciprocation that Star Alliance member airlines proudly provide globally and in Scandinavia.”