SkyTeam Elite Plus Benefits (& Other Things You Should Know About the Status)

SkyTeam, like Star Alliance and oneworldoffers frequent travelers on its member airlines alliance-wide statuses. The alliance has two such statuses – Elite and Elite Plus.

In this article, I will take a close look at the latter which is harder to earn but also offers more benefits including airport lounge access compared to the former. Continue reading to learn more about the SkyTeam Elite Plus status.

SkyTeam Elite Plus
SkyTeam Elite Plus is the higher-tier of the alliance’s two statuses.

What Is SkyTeam Elite Plus Status?

Each frequent flyer status with an airline belonging to one of the three major alliances comes with an alliance-wide status as a perk. The airline status itself provides benefits when flying on the program’s airline. The alliance status, on the other hand, provides benefits when flying on any of the airlines belonging to the same alliance as the airline you earned your status with.

While an airline status is earned directly (i.e. by collecting enough status miles or reaching other similar requirements), an alliance status cannot be earned directly. Instead, it comes as one of the perks of an airline status.

SkyTeam has, as mentioned earlier, two alliance statuses – SkyTeam Elite and SkyTeam Elite Plus. The latter is the higher tier status of the two and thus offers more attractive benefits across all of the alliance’s member airlines.

SkyPriority
SkyTeam Elite Plus members get priority treatment at various points throughout their journey.

SkyTeam Elite Plus Benefits: A Complete List

The differences between SkyTeam Elite and ElitePlus are not as pronounced as they are between Star Alliance Silver and Gold, and oneworld Ruby and Sapphire. That said, SkyTeam Elite Plus still comes with “better versions” of overlapping benefits and some additional benefits.

Below is a complete list.

SkyTeam Elite vs. Elite Plus

Lounge Access

To me, lounge access even when traveling in economy class is the most attractive perk of SkyTeam Elite Plus – or any alliance status for that matter.

Elite Plus members can access over 750 business class lounges around the world when departing on a SkyTeam member airline within 24 hours. This is a more liberal policy compared to the other two alliances which only allow lounge access for flights departing by early morning the next day.

The status holder can bring in one guest traveling on a SkyTeam member airline flight. The guest’s flight doesn’t have to be the same as that of the status holder.

Depending on the airport, access might be provided to a SkyTeam Lounge, a SkyTeam member airline lounge, or a third-party contract lounge. The quality of the lounges varies greatly but in general you can expect to find a decent buffet and drink selection and a shower in the lounges you will have access to.

Some examples of lounges you can access as a SkyTeam Elite Plus member include the SkyTeam Lounge in Vancouver, the AirFrance-KLM Lounge in Bangkok (a member airline lounge), and the Vienna Lounge in Vienna (a contract lounge). You can use this tool to find the lounge(s) that will be available to you at your departure airport.

There are some exceptions to the above, most notably:

  • No lounge access is provided on purely domestic itineraries or itineraries between the United States and the Caribbean
  • Those with SkyTeam Elite status through Delta cannot access third-party contract lounges before taking a Delta flight
Sky Team Lounge Vancouver Airport
SkyTeam has a few alliance lounges in its network including one in Vancouver.

Extra Baggage Allowance

If you tend to travel with checked baggage then you will definitely also appreciate this perk. SkyTeam Elite Plus members can check in an extra piece of baggage where the “piece concept” applies or an extra 20 kg where the “weight concept” applies.

While this is useful if you need to travel with a lot of baggage, it is also useful in many cases when you only have one bag to check. That’s because the extra baggage allowance applies even if your ticket has no included baggage allowance.

In other words, you will be able to bring one checked bag with you instead of none. This, in turn, will save you money when flying on flights where discounted “no checked bag included” fares are offered. Unlike the other two alliances, SkyTeam doesn’t appear to have exclusions related to the cheapest fares for this perk.

SkyPriority

SkyPriority is SkyTeam’s name for a group of perks meant to make your journey through your departure and arrival airports smoother. It includes access to the below (the first two are also available to SkyTeam Elites):

  • Priority check-in and baggage drop-off desks and kiosks
  • Priority boarding (generally together with business class passengers)
  • Priority transfer and ticketing desks
  • Priority baggage handling
  • Priority immigration and security lanes

You will be able to enjoy the first two at more or less all airports before all your SkyTeam flights. Similarly, priority baggage handling is available in most cases (although how well it is implemented can vary greatly). The remaining perks from the list above are scarcer.

This tool on SkyTeam’s website lets you put in your flight details to see which of the SkyPriority benefits you will be able to enjoy on your trip.

SkyTeam Priority Check-in
SkyPriority check-in desks are easy to find thanks to their bright red marking.

Preferred Seating

Another benefit of SkyTeam Elite Plus that has the potential to save you some cash like the extra baggage allowance perk does is the ability to choose seats in advance for free.

The exact way this is implemented differs depending on the specific airline you will be flying, the type of flight (short-haul, long-haul, etc.), and so on.

While in some cases you might be able to choose seats at the time of your booking, in others you might have to wait until a specific time before departure. Similarly, while in some cases you might be able to choose from all seats, in other cases exit row and other similar seats might be excluded.

SkyTeam Status Seat Selection
Being able to choose seats in advance for free is a nice perk.

Guaranteed Reservation

If there’s a chance you will definitely need to be on a very specific flight and that flight happens to be sold out, then this perk might be of some value to you. As an Elite Plus, you will be definitely able to book an economy class seat on a SkyTeam member airline flight (albeit in the most expensive Y fare class) up to 24 hours before departure.

Otherwise, this benefit won’t be of much use to you.

Waitlist and Standby Priority

In a way similar to the above but more useful is the fact that as a SkyTeam Elite Plus member, you will get priority over Elites and those without a status on airport standby and reservation waitlists.

You might find this useful if you need to catch an earlier flight home but the flight is (nearly) full or if you want to travel on a certain date but there are no more seats available in your desired booking class. In reality, though, chances are you will not be using this benefit much.

How to Get the SkyTeam Elite Plus Status

As mentioned earlier, SkyTeam Elite Plus status is not something that you can earn directly. Instead, you first need to earn a frequent flyer status with one of the SkyTeam member airlines. Typically, the mid and top-tier airline statuses map to the SkyTeam Elite Plus alliance-wide status.

Below is a list of all SkyTeam frequent flyer programs and the status you need to earn with each in order to become an Elite Plus member.

Mileage ProgramStatusQualification CriteriaRetention Criteria
Aerolíneas Argentinas PlusPlatinoEither 50,000 status miles; 60 qualifying segments; or 30,000 status miles and 30 qualifying segments within 12 months
Aerolíneas Argentinas PlusDiamanteEither 70,000 status miles; 80 qualifying segments; or 40,000 status miles and 40 qualifying segments within 12 months
Aeromexico RewardsPlatinoEither 80,000 Premier Points or 80 qualifying segments in a calendar year
Aeromexico RewardsTitanioEither 100,000 Premier Points (including 80,000 on Aeromexico and Delta) or 100 qualifying segments in a calendar year
Air Europa SUMAGoldEither 32,000 Level Miles or 26 qualifying segments within 12 months
Air Europa SUMAPlatinumEither 60,000 Level Miles or 50 qualifying segments within 12 months
Flying BlueGold180 XP within 12 months of earning Silver
Flying BluePlatinum300 XP within 12 months of earning Gold
China Airlines Dynasty FlyerEmerald6 weighted trips on China Airlines/Mandarin Airlines and either 50,000 miles, 30 business class flights on China Airlines/Mandarin Airlines, or 40 eligible flights within 12 months6 weighted trips on China Airlines/Mandarin Airlines and either 80,000 miles, 40 business class flights on China Airlines/Mandarin Airlines, or 70 eligible flights within the status' two-year validity
China Airlines Dynasty FlyerParagon6 weighted trips on China Airlines/Mandarin Airlines and either 120,000 miles, 50 business class flights on China Airlines/Mandarin Airlines, or 80 eligible flights within 12 months6 weighted trips on China Airlines/Mandarin Airlines and either 180,000 miles, 60 business class flights on China Airlines/Mandarin Airlines, or 140 eligible flights within the status' two-year validity
China Eastern Eastern MilesGoldEither 80,000 points or 40 segments within 12 months
China Eastern Eastern MilesPlatinumEither 160,000 points or 90 segments within 12 months
Czech Airlines OK PlusGoldAt least 6 Czech Airlines flights and either 50,000 miles or 30 segments in a calendar year
Czech Airlines OK PlusPlatinumAt least 10 Czech Airlines flights and either 100,000 miles or 70 segments in a calendar year
Delta SkyMilesGold Medallion8,000 MQDs and either 50,000 MQMs or 60 MQSs in a calendar year
Delta SkyMilesPlatinum Medallion12,000 MQDs and either 75,000 MQMs or 100 MQSs in a calendar year
Delta SkyMilesDiamond Medallion20,000 MQDs and either 125,000 MQMs or 140 MQSs in a calendar year
GarudaMilesPlatinum30,000 tier miles within 12 months15,000 tier miles within 12 months
ITA VolareClub Premium60,000 points in a calendar year
ITA VolareClub Executive90,000 points in a calendar year
Kenya Airways Asante RewardsGold40,000 points or 30 segments within a year
Kenya Airways Asante RewardsPlatinum65,000 points or 60 segments within a year
Korean Air SKYPASSMorning Calm Premium Club500,000 lifetime miles on SkyTeam airlines
Korean Air SKYPASSMillion Miler Club1,000,000 lifetime miles on SkyTeam airlines
MEA Cedar MilesGold40,000 qualifying miles or 30 qualifying segments in a calendar year
MEA Cedar MilesPlatinum70,000 qualifying miles or 60 qualifying segments in a calendar year
Saudia AlfursanGoldEither 50,000 miles or 40 segments in a calendar yearEither 40,000 miles or 30 segments
Vietnam Airlines LotusmilesPlatinumEither 50,000 qualifying miles or 50 qualifying segments within 12 months
Vietnam Airlines LotusmilesMillion Miler1,000,000 lifetime qualifying miles on Vietnam Airlines
Virgin Atlantic Flying ClubGold1,000 tier points within 12 months
Xiamen Air Egret MilesPlatinumEither 100,000 miles or 60 segments within 12 monthsEither 180,000 miles or 120 segments during the 24 months the status is valid
Xiamen Air Egret MilesDiamondEither 150,000 miles or 90 segments within 12 monthsEither 280,000 miles or 180 segments during the 24 months the status is valid

Is SkyTeam Elite Plus Worth Getting?

First things first, if you travel exclusively in business and first class then having a SkyTeam Elite Plus status will not give you many benefits on top of what you can already enjoy (lounge access, priority queues, etc.) anyways.

If, on the other hand, you travel in economy class and premium economy class a lot, then it might be worth going out of your way to earn the status depending on, among other things:

  • How often you travel with checked baggage
  • How much you value lounge access
  • Whether you like to board as soon as possible or not
  • How much you value the ability to save some time at various points at the airport
Air France Lounge CDG
Being able to access airport lounges even when traveling in economy class is one of the most valuable perks of the status.

Summary

Elite Plus is the top-tier frequent flyer status offered by the SkyTeam alliance. Rather than being earned directly, it comes as a benefit of frequent flyer statuses earned with the alliance’s member airlines.

It offers perks similar to those offered by Star Alliance’s top-tier status and oneworld’s mid-tier status. As a SkyTeam Elite Plus member, you will be able to, among other things, enjoy airport lounges and priority queues even when flying in economy class. You will also be able to bring extra checked baggage with you.

All in all, if you tend to travel a fair bit with SkyTeam in economy class and you don’t need to take too many extra flights to earn the status, it’s definitely worth considering spending some extra money upfront to earn it to save time and money later on.

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