As travel to Thailand gradually increases, many visitors will find that Thai Airways has mostly ceased flying domestically and to neighboring countries.
All non-widebody flying is handled by Thai Airways subsidiary, Thai Smile, which is not a Star Alliance member, unlikely its parent. It is, however, loosely affiliated as a Connecting Partner.
Notice on Thai Airways Domestic Lounge At Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport:
The problem is that none of the Star Alliance Gold member benefits apply for flights operated by Thai Smiles, regardless of who the marketing carrier is.
There is only the following exclusion for this:
On 25 February 2020, THAI Smile Airways became the second Connecting Partner of Star Alliance. Since then, customers enjoy the following:
Members of Thai Airways Intl. Royal Orchid Plus and members of the Austrian, Lufthansa and SWISS Miles & More Frequent Flyer Programmes may accrue and redeem miles on flights operated by THAI Smile Airways.
All passengers, regardless of their FFP status, connecting between THAI Smile and Austrian, Lufthansa, SWISS and Thai Airways under a single booking can be checked through with their bags to their final destination.
Star Alliance Silver Cardholders connecting between THAI Smile and Austrian, Lufthansa, SWISS or Thai Airways under a single booking may enjoy the following privileges*:
- Priority Airport Standby
- Priority Reservations Waitlist
In addition to Silver card holder privileges*, Star Alliance Gold Card holders connecting between THAI Smile and Austrian, Lufthansa, SWISS or THAI Airways under a single booking may enjoy:
- Priority Airport Check-in
- Extra Baggage Allowance
- Gold Track Security and Immigration
- Airport Lounge Access
- Priority Boarding
- Priority Baggage Handling
If you have Star Alliance Silver or Gold status and are connecting to or from Thai Smiles and Austrian, Lufthansa, Swiss, or Thai Airways flight and they are on the same booking, the benefits apply. However, Thai Smiles flights can only be credited and redeemed from Royal Orchid Plus and Miles&More programs.
There is really no benefit of flying Thai Smile over any other airline serving the city pair for Star Alliance Gold members (outside the small exclusion explained above).
I prefer not to fly on LCCs when “full” service airlines offer reasonable options. At least, you can fly on Bangkok Airways to most domestic destinations and many short-haul ones that Thai Airways has dropped.
Not sure what is the purpose of this Star Alliance Connecting Partner program when the uptake among the potential airlines has been so bad?