Reader Question: Turkish Airlines Codeshare On Garuda? Delta Or United Elite Benefits?

A LoyaltyLobby reader sent us a question regarding possible issues with Turkish Airlines (Star Alliance) marketed flights operated by Garuda Indonesia (SkyTeam).

Garuda Indonesia

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Here’s the question from the reader:

So I’m flying to Sydney on TK (TLV-IST-CGK-SYD-CGK-IST-TLV) and from Jakarta to Istanbul it’s a Codeshare on Garuda (skyteam). I’m wondering what will happen to my United premier gold benefits at the lounge in Jakarta and what is going to happen with united miles flown on Garuda.

I do have a Delta gold card as well. Should I use the delta number on the Garuda segment for points and lounge? Having said that:

will I have issue entering the lounge (sky team) in Jakarta or in Sydney before my flight back with my United or Delta card.

The reader must here mean that the CGK-SYD flights are Garuda operated on Turkish Airlines TK-code.

Here’s are issues:

1. Star Alliance doesn’t care about the marketing airline at all. The only thing that counts is the operating carrier. Sometimes it is difficult to figure out what is the underlying fare class on the operating airline because it is not usually the same as the code on the marketing one.

2. SkyTeam credits flights based on the marketing airline. Both the marketing and operating airlines must be SkyTeam member (unless there are airline-specific exceptions).

The issue that the reader has here is that the Jakarta – Sydney – Jakarta are TK coded flights but operated by Garuda. You cannot credit these flights to any Star Alliance or SkyTeam frequent flier program, perhaps outside of Miles&Smiles (check their website) or Garuda’s (check their eligibility as well).

There are often exceptions to the rules where you can credit these specific flights to the program of the marketing airline, but not always.

The reader won’t earn any United MileagePlus miles for the Garuda-operated segments, and they shouldn’t credit to Delta SkyMiles either. The reader can enjoy his Star Alliance Gold benefits only on the flights operated by Turkish Airlines.

I am almost certain, however, that the reader can access, at least, Garuda-designated lounges both in Jakarta and Sydney before respective flights.

Conclusion

Codeshares, especially when the marketing and operating don’t belong to the same alliance, are indeed a minefield when it comes to mileage credits, elite qualifying miles, and benefits.

It can even get more confusing with Oneworld, where most Qantas marketed flights, even those operated by Emirates, can be credited to all alliance programs such as BA and AA (or even QR).

I was facing this same issue a couple of years ago when I was thinking of buying Air China marketed flights operated by Finnair. I eventually didn’t because I would have faced the same situation as the reader here. Couldn’t have credited them anywhere.

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