Clarifying Star Alliance Gold lounge access policy

If you’re an expert, skip this post, but I figured I’d remind people of this policy, as it really seems to surprise some people. It even confused me for years.

As a Star Alliance Gold member you get access to any Star Alliance Gold lounge whenever you fly a Star Alliance airline. That means, for example, when you’re an Air Canada Elite you get access to any Star Gold lounge, even when flying domestically. As a United Premier Executive you get access to the Air New Zealand Koru lounges when traveling within New Zealand.

The only exception to getting lounge access, is Continental, United, and US Airways elites. They restrict access to each others’ elites when traveling domestically within the United States. That means as a Continental elite you can’t use a Red Carpet Club when flying domestically without a membership. As a US Airways elite you don’t get access to a Presidents Club when traveling domestically. Note that this isn’t a Star Alliance policy, but rather a mutual agreement between those three carriers.

You do, however, get access to all other Star Alliance Gold lounges when traveling domestically. Now they’re somewhat limited here in the US, and some are in terminals that are hard to access when flying domestically, but they’re out there.

That means as a United Premier Executive flying between Washington Dulles and Tampa you can use the Lufthansa Senator Lounge at IAD. That means as a Continental Gold you can use the Lufthansa Senator Lounge at DTW when traveling between Detroit and Newark. That means as a US Airways Platinum you can use the Singapore Airlines Silver Kris Lounge when traveling on United between San Francisco and Los Angeles. That means (in theory), that you can use the Swiss business class lounge at New York JFK when traveling between New York JFK and Charlotte on US Airways as a Star Gold, since that lounge is landside.

So while the lounges are tough to find and often inconveniently located, you do have access to a few very nice lounges when traveling domestically, even as a Star Gold member with a US carrier.

Filed Under: Advice, Continental
  1. IF you’re a non-UA/CO/US star gold, do you get access to PCs or RCCs when traveling domestically?

  2. @ Iceman — Yes. That’s one of the reasons I always maintain Star Gold with at least one non-US carrier.

  3. To clarify, I believe as a US/CO/UA *A Gold member, USA domestic lounge access to Red Carpet Club/Presidents Club/USAir Club is restricted to travel in conjunction with an international flight. Which means that RCC restricts access not only to US/CO elites but also to UA elites when traveling domestically.

    I wasn’t aware that I could access the other *A Gold lounges though when traveling domestically!! I’ll try that out – thanks!

  4. Remember that some lounges – e.g. Singapore’s in Singapore give access to a Third Party Lounge only. You cannot access the proper, nice lounge.

  5. And quite honestly, once you experience the lounges of foreign carriers (and I include AC in this) you will find it very difficult to go into the RCC, US Club, and Presidents Club and still enjoy them. I know I’ve pretty much switched to only going into the RCC during IRROPS, because the other options are so much better

  6. Just one quick verification of a verification….

    I am flying (ugh!!!) Delta next week. I have a connection in ATL on the way up and in DTW on the way back. Since I am NOT flying on a Star Alliance ticket, I would not have access to the Lufthansa lounges in those cities, correct? Honestly, I think that my connections are too short anyway, but were I to get stuck there for any length of time….it’s good to know.

    Thanks for this very helpful info.

  7. Steve, I think you need Star Alliance to get in, but it wouldn’t hurt to try it out and report back to us.

  8. @Steve, LH policy is extremely strict: no card = no entry (even if status is shown on the BP). I would expect them to also not let you in unless you were traveling on Star.

    Also a point of clarification: Connecting to domestic flight from an international Star itinerary (excluding Canada/Mexico) does provide for access to a UA/CO/ lounge. But you have to be an Star Gold in that carrier’s frequent flier program. Ex. UA *G gets RCC access, CO*G gets PC access. NO access for a UA*G trying to get into a CO club.

  9. I’ve never thought of using the foreign Star Alliance lounges for domestic travel. Seems like a great trick! Is there any handy list of such lounges, perhaps with some brief discussion of their location and convenience to CO, UA and US flights? Thanks!

  10. Hi Lucky, I am Star Alliance Gold (United 1K) and I am flying ORD-CLT-STT roundtrip in economy on USAir. I remember reading somewhere that St. Thomas is considered International for lounge access, but I can’t find it now. Would you have an answer to this and the link to the written rule? I’d like to print it out so that I have proof. Thanks. And great blog!

  11. @ Kay — I doubt you’ll need to print it out, but you are entitled to lounge access. See here:*RCC/ADMIT

  12. So………….if I have read all the discussions above, I believe that with a planned trip my wife and I are taking on US Air to St. Maarten from the US that we should be able to access the US Air Lounges in Philly and Charlotte during our trip? I am a US Air Preferred Gold member so my wife should be able to access the lounges with me, right?


  13. Quick, related question. I will be traveling economy on Turkish through IST. I am a Delta Gold medallion. I do not have any Star Alliance status. I do want to get into the CIP Turkish lounge in IST, however. What are ways to do this? I know I can status match to Turkish. Are there any other ways? Thanks a bunch!!!

  14. @ AGA — Status matching would be your best bet, as they don’t belong to Priority Pass or sell access to the best of my knowledge.

  15. I’ll be flying from ord-phl-ath. Can I access any Star Ally gold lounge in both ord and phl? Any recommendations? ­čÖé first time as gold *A

  16. @ Alex — Yep, you sure can. You can use the United Club in Chicago and US Airways Lounge in Philadelphia.

  17. @lucky- Thank you sir ­čÖé It says I can also access SAS and Swiss business lounge too, but per *A policy any passengers on UA or USair int’ flights can only access UA and USair clubs ­čÖü

  18. @ Alex — If you’re traveling internationally you could theoretically access the SAS/Swiss lounge, the only issue is they leave from a different terminal in Chicago so there’s no way you could access them airside.

  19. Lucky, what happens is you have a AA boarding pass and you try to go into the star lounge.

    Can you just flash your star gold card and not show them the boarding pass?

    Or do they usually ask to see your boarding pass.

    Can you also credit flights to a different carrier and use another airline’s gold card to get in.

  20. @ *Gold — You need to show your Star Alliance boarding pass as well, they never ask just for the card in my experience. Yes, you can credit to a different airline than the Star Gold card you use.

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