STAR COMPANION TRAVEL
Travel Supplement regarding Star Alliance Companion Passes
We recently published some information concerning the availability of Star Companion Passes. As this is a relatively new option, more questions were presented than the original information anticipated. What I have discovered as a result of a series of inquiries to the Employee Travel Center (ETC) is as follows:
There is no section of the United Flying Together Website dedicated to Star Companion passes. In fact, it is actually not mentioned anywhere on the primary pages. It only appears in the actual “agreement” of the applicable airlines. So how it works is that there are now (as of October 30 2016) 8 of the Star Alliance airlines that permit this. They are:
If you decide to buy (for yourself or yourself and your spouse) a normal ZED (Zonal Employee Discount) fare on one of these participating airlines you may ALSO then buy a separate ZED fare ticket at the “HIGH” rate for up to two other individuals regardless of whether they are your “enrolled friends” in the United program...ie these can be anyone. You must purchase a ZED fare for each “companion” for each direction of travel. You are limited to 8 total “companion passes” per year and you (the retiree) MUST accompany them on every segment.
So for example:
You and 2 “companions want to fly DEN-FRA-FCO and return on Luthansa. You buy yourself a ZED fare at the “zone calculated” fare (low, medium or high). THEN you purchase ZED fares at the HIGH rate (regardless of distance) for each companion each way. So you have purchased 4 of your annual allotment of 8 Star companion passes for the year. You can fly more than one segment on a ZED fare in order to get to your destination (ie you can have a connection in Frankfurt in this example).
This is really not how I anticipated that this worked, so hopefully it will be helpful to anyone considering this type of travel. It “ain’t perfect” but it is a nice option...maybe.