Starlux Airlines’ COSMILE Frequent Flyer Program

Filed Under: Other Airlines

Starlux is the new Taipei-based “luxury” airline that is launching operations in January. They just began selling tickets as of today, and I can’t wait to fly with them.

It’s really only today that they published their full website (coinciding with ticket sales), and in this post I wanted to take a look at their new frequent flyer program, which they also just launched.

Starlux Airlines’ Frequent Flyer Program

COSMILE is the name of Starlux Airlines’ new frequent flyer program. For one, it’s cool to see an airline introduce a (nearly) fully formed frequent flyer program from day one, which we don’t often see.

Starlux Airlines doesn’t have any airline partners as of now (and hasn’t announced plans to have any), so this program will be the only way to directly earn and redeem miles for their flights.

So let’s look at mileage earning, elite status, elite benefits, and some other aspects of this new program.

Starlux COSMILE Mileage Earning

Starlux has a distance based mileage earning chart, so you earn miles based on a combination of the fare class you book and the distance you fly. You earn anywhere from 0% to 175% miles, as follows:

As you can see, economy fares earn anywhere from 0% to 100% mileage, while business class fares earn anywhere from 130% to 175% mileage.

The airline also offers elite sectors, and you earn zero for the cheapest economy fares, and one sector for all other fares (it’s interesting that there’s no multiplier there for business class tickets).

Starlux COSMILE Elite Qualification Requirements

The COSMILE program has four tiers, including three elite tiers:

  • Traveler, which you get just for joining the program
  • Adventurer, which you get for earning 30,000 tier miles or 25 sectors in 12 consecutive months
  • Explorer, which you get for earning 50,000 tier miles or 50 sectors in 12 consecutive months
  • Insighter, which you get for earning 120,000 tier miles or 100 sectors in 12 consecutive months

It’s interesting that they publish both upgrade qualifications and renewal qualifications, because the metrics are the same. I’m not sure if they plan to lower requirements for requalifying long term, or what…

I’m guessing they’re looking at this program from a long-term perspective, given that the airline should launch long haul flights in 2021.

For the time being it seems really difficult to earn status with the program, given that they only fly to Macau, Da Nang, and Penang. That’s especially true when you consider that these are primarily leisure destinations and not business destinations.

For example, their longest announced route will be from Taipei to Penang, so a roundtrip ticket in the most expensive business class fare class would earn you ~6,870 elite miles. So you’d need to fly roundtrip 18 times in 12 months to earn top tier status.

On the other end of the spectrum, Taipei to Macau is their shortest route, so if you booked that in their cheapest economy fare that’s eligible for mileage accrual, you’d need to fly roundtrip 191 times in 12 months to earn top tier status. At least that’s if you qualified based on mileage, though in reality 50 roundtrips would earn you the status based on segments.

Starlux COSMILE Elite Benefits

So what are the perks of each of the three elite tiers?

COSMILE Adventurer members receive:

  • An extra 10KG baggage allowance for the member only
  • An exclusive check-in counter for the member only
  • Priority baggage handling for the member only

COSMILE Explorer members receive:

  • An extra 20KG or extra one piece baggage allowance for the member only
  • An exclusive check-in counter for the member and one companion
  • Starlux VIP lounge access for member and one companion
  • Priority boarding for member and one companion
  • Priority baggage handling for the member and one companion

COSMILE Insighter members receive:

  • An extra 20KG or extra one piece baggage allowance for the member only
  • An exclusive check-in counter for the member and two companions
  • Starlux VIP lounge access for member and two companions
  • Other airline VIP lounge for member and one companion
  • Priority boarding for member and two companions
  • Priority baggage handling for the member and two companions

A few things to note:

  • It seems Starlux will have their own lounge at TPE, so do we know anything about this lounge yet?
  • I understand the logistical reasons for this, but I find it interesting that Insighter members get two guests at the Starlux lounge and one guest at other lounges; so if you’re flying roundtrip with two companions, that creates a pretty inconsistent experience
  • These are fairly basic benefits, and if you’re paying for business class then it seems the only potential benefit is a greater baggage allowance
  • It seems they’re not even offering elite bonus miles as an elite perk
  • I really want to be a COSMILE Insighter member…

Starlux COSMILE Mileage Redemptions

The COSMILE award redemption rates are as follows:

  • 15,000 miles for a one-way upgrade
  • 17,500 miles for a one-way economy ticket
  • 25,000 miles for a one-way business class ticket

Those costs are reasonable, I’m just curious to see what award and upgrade availability is like.

Starlux COSMILE Status Match

The Starlux COSMILE program is offering a status match opportunity from day one, which is pretty cool.

The details are limited as of now, though the page about it states that:

  • The application is for “high-tier” members of other airline frequent flyer programs
  • You need to enroll in COSMILE first, and then fill out the status match application form, and include a copy of the other airline’s member card and a flight record
  • I’m not sure if this is accurate, but according to the terms, “before December 31st, 2020, for those who submit the application, the validity of COSMILE card tier will be adjusted to 4 years after approved
  • Getting approved could take up to 30 days

I’m not sure if they’re actually allowing status matches for four years, or if something is lost in translation here…

You can read about my experience getting a Starlux Airlines status match here.

Starlux COSMILE Family Accounts

The Starlux COSMILE program is offering family accounts. This can include up to five people, including a spouse and then children between the ages of two and 20.

Proof of relationship must be attached to the application, and this allows you to only pool award miles, as there’s no option to pool status miles — those will be earned in individual accounts.

The primary member can delete sub-members from the account at the cost of 10USD for each account deletion. If you want to apply for a family account, you can do so here.

Bottom Line

It’s cool to see Starlux Airlines launch with a frequent flyer program.

The benefits don’t seem particularly compelling, though I guess given that they are a small airlines with no partners and with a small business class cabin, there’s only so much they can offer as of now.

I’m going to give a COSMILE status match a try just to see how it goes, though I’m not expecting to have much luck.

What do you make of the Starlux COSMILE program?

  1. I actually worry for them. Will EVA & China allow them room for long term expansion? Their widebody orders seem ambitious, and that’s putting it mildly

  2. Can’t join if your postal code contains an Alpha character. Can’t complain about a website issue unless you specify the Origin city of the flight you flew. I’ll give them some time to get their sea legs

  3. From reading the Chinese language website, when you status match before Dec 2020, your status will be valid for four years(!), after that, status matches will be for twelve months. Agreed that a bit of it has been lost in translation.

    Exciting, and makes a lot of sense as they already have lounges, and need some people to fill them somehow.

  4. 1. It wouldn’t take 191 Macau roundtrips to earn top tier. 50 roundtrips would fulfill the 100 sectors requirement.
    2. The 4 year adjustment means if you are matched to, for example, Insighter, your membership tier will last for 4 years (rather than the common 1 year, or sometimes 2 years), if you’re matched before 2020 end-of-year. Presumable because the lack of long haul flights (or destinations in general) make it difficult to extend your status by flying.
    3. Dynamic award is unlikely. They’re a new airline with no alliance or partnership as of now, and their competitors (EVA and China Airlines) do not do dynamic pricing, so it would simply not be competitive to making pricing dynamic.

  5. I guess you’ve not been to Penang then? Plenty big companies manufacturers all sorts of things there. You know, small, unknown companies like Osram (ok, they changed the LED business name to something else earlier this year, but I can’t remember it now), Bosch and AMD, among others…
    And there would be some business traffic between there and Taiwan for sure. That said, if it’s Taiwanese, they’ll most likely be in economy, as Taiwanese companies are quite stingy.

  6. I guess they haven’t published award rates because no one has earned miles with their programme yet, given their first flight is in January. I suppose by the date of their launch they should publish award rates.

  7. I’m confused why this is worthy of a post given many other bigger airlines’ frequent flyer programs haven’t had any coverage on your blog. Airlines like PR, AT, etc. or even many alliance ones.

  8. @ keitherson — Because I’m really fascinated by this new airline. If Global Ghana Airlines or Air Belgium or Baltia launched frequent flyer programs, I would have been among the first to cover those as well. 🙂

  9. @ Bruce — Fair, but if they’re publishing mileage earning rates, you’d think that you’d also want to know just how much those miles are worth.

  10. @keitherson
    based on the status of Eva had enjoyed within the circle, its a worthy pursuit to follow Starlux.
    Don’t know how these other programs are doing, nobody else has said a thing about them.

  11. Hi Ben, they have an award chart in Chinese. It’s in the COSMILE -> “COSMILE Manual” tab. The English version only has one page, but the Chinese version has 16. The chart is on page 12. There is only one region: intra-Asia. Economy round-trip award costs 35,000 miles, and business round-trip award costs 50,000 miles. One-way trip is half the cost. I can help you translate the rest of the terms if you want.

  12. The redemption is shown once you have an account (on account home page). It says 15,000 mi for upgrades, 17,500 mi for one way economy ticket, 25,000 mi for one way business ticket, 35,000 mi for economy round trip, and 50,000 mi for business round trip

  13. Being funded by deep pockets and people who used to run EVA, there is a possibility that they know what’s going on and the weakness of their rivals. I am rooting for Starlux.

  14. The rivalry begins! The founder of this airline was suppose to inherit EVA but it went to his brother. I would love for them to join oneworld, one could dream right?

  15. Starlux IS the successor to EVA Air.

    EVA Air has a brand problem that spans many many levels.

    Firstly, it suffers from a brand recognition problem. The airline’s English name EVA Air, is the result of a failed attempt at naming the proposed airline Evergreen Airlines. With troubles intiially faced during startup, they basically created a mashup of Asia’s Star Alliance members livery, which for the longest time, being the outcast actually allowed them to basically copyright infringe for the longest time until now…

    The airline’s English name has no relevance to its IATA code nor to its Chinese name. This is reflected in EVA Air’s almost lack of short haul routes, to China compared to CI and SkyTeam

    Starlux, in a very nostalgic way, is reminiscent of Air New Zealand, which I believe, led by UA, AC and SQ, restructured the airline and built it up bottom up standards, from which Star Alliance would eventually impose. I could certainly see Starlux as the concept of short/ medium-haul Star Alliance ttavel if only to convince customers that it is workable, viable and that intra Asia travel won’t become cheapened the way it did in Europe.?

  16. @Lucky you are fascinated by airlines that seem to go out of business or never start. So this is not a good sign for Starlux!! 😉

  17. They have a pamphlet you can download on the website with T&C.
    35K for Economy R/T within Asia and 50K for Business R/T (O/W at 50%)
    15K for Economy upgrades (Req. 80%+ fare)

  18. Can anyone download the status match form? When I click on the link, I get this response in Chinese, which I can’t read: 您似乎迷路了…稍後我們將帶您前往首頁!

  19. Hi Lucky, Is there an email where you have to send the form, other airline’s member card and a flight record? Thanks

  20. Hi Ben, just received an e-mail from STARLUX and I’ve been upgraded to INSIGHTER (from ANA’s Diamond applied on 24th Dec). And it’s good until January 2024!

  21. My status match was a successful as well. I am from Slovakia, Oneworld emerald at Qatar Airways and currently live in Taipei. I got Insighter status valid for four years.

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