What Are The Benefits Of Star Alliance Gold Status?

What Are The Benefits Of Star Alliance Gold Status?

21

There are three major global airline alliances — Star Alliance, SkyTeam, and oneworld — and each offers some level of reciprocal elite recognition. In this post I wanted to talk about the benefits of Star Alliance Gold status. The Star Alliance is the world’s largest airline alliance, and Gold is Star Alliance’s highest reciprocal elite tier.

What is Star Alliance status?

One of the major benefits of the global alliances is reciprocal elite recognition across airlines. While you’ll generally be treated the best when flying “your” airline, there are certain perks you can expect regardless of which member airline you fly.

You don’t earn elite status directly with Star Alliance, but rather you earn status with a Star Alliance member airline, and that status maps over to an alliance elite tier. In other words, if you’re a Star Alliance Gold member through United MileagePlus, you can expect some level of recognition, regardless of whether you fly Air Canada, Brussels Airlines, EgyptAir, Singapore Airlines, SWISS, or many more airlines.

The Star Alliance offers reciprocal elite recognition

What are the benefits of Star Alliance Gold status?

Every Star Alliance airline offers frequent flyers the opportunity to earn Star Alliance Gold status. This can typically be earned with somewhere around 50,000 elite miles per year (though the qualification requirements can vary considerably across airlines).

Gold status is Star Alliance’s highest elite tier, and most Star Alliance frequent flyer programs offer this status somewhere around their middle elite tier (for programs with three or more tiers). For example, in the case of United MileagePlus, you earn Star Alliance Gold status when you earn Premier Gold, Premier Platinum, or Premier 1K status. It’s just Premier Silver members who don’t receive Star Alliance Gold.

Below I wanted to share the benefits of Star Alliance Gold status, roughly in the order in which I value them.

Star Alliance Gold lounge access perks

The biggest perk of Star Alliance Gold status is lounge access — you get access to over 1,000 Star Alliance member lounges around the world when flying a Star Alliance member airline the same day. You can even bring a guest with you for free.

Lounges accessible by Star Alliance Gold passengers will typically have the Star Alliance Gold logo at the entrance. The quality of these lounges varies significantly:

  • In some cases, airlines have a dedicated Star Alliance Gold lounge that’s worse than the business class lounge (for example, this is the case with Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer Gold lounges)
  • In most cases, the Star Alliance Gold lounge is the same as the business class lounge
  • In some cases, airlines have a dedicated Star Alliance Gold lounge that’s better than the standard business class lounge (for example, this is the case with Lufthansa Senator lounges)
Receive lounge access around the world with Star Alliance Gold

There’s one important exception with this lounge access perk — if you’re a Star Alliance Gold member through United MileagePlus, you can only access United Clubs when flying internationally the same day, and not when exclusively flying United domestically.

In other words, a Star Alliance Gold flyer through Air Canada Aeroplan could use a United Club when flying United from Los Angeles to San Francisco, while a Star Alliance Gold flyer through United MileagePlus couldn’t.

There are some restrictions around United Club access for MileagePlus elites

Star Alliance Gold extra baggage allowance

Star Alliance Gold members receive an extra baggage allowance:

  • Receive an extra 20kg (44 pounds) of checked baggage where the weight concept applies
  • Receive an extra piece of checked baggage where the piece concept applies

Note that this benefit isn’t offered on all ticket types. For example, it doesn’t apply on:

  • “Light” fares offered by Lufthansa, Austrian, and SWISS
  • “Check&Go” fares on Brussels Airlines
  • “Go light” fares on SAS
  • “Seat” fares on Air New Zealand

Star Alliance Gold priority check-in

Star Alliance Gold members receive priority check-in when flying with all Star Alliance airlines. Always be on the lookout for the Star Alliance Gold logo at check-in counters.

In most cases Star Alliance Gold members can check-in with business class passengers, while some airlines will allow Star Alliance Gold members to check-in with first class.

Receive priority check-in as a Star Alliance Gold member

Star Alliance Gold priority boarding

Star Alliance Gold members get priority boarding when flying with Star Alliance airlines. Each airline has a different policy when it comes to when Star Alliance Gold members can check-in, so make sure you listen to the announcements at the gate.

While it’s most common that you can board with business class, there are some exceptions. For example:

  • Lufthansa lets Star Alliance Gold members board with first class, HON Circle, and Senator members, ahead of business class
  • United lets Star Alliance Gold members board immediately after first & business class
Receive priority boarding as a Star Alliance Gold member

Star Alliance Gold priority baggage handling

If you have Star Alliance Gold status, your checked bags will receive priority tags. In theory these should be among the first bags out on the baggage claim belt, though the execution of that varies — some airlines are great about getting priority tags out first, while on other airlines it doesn’t seem to make much of a difference.

Spend less time at baggage claim as a Star Alliance Gold member

Star Alliance Gold fast track security

Star Alliance Gold members receive priority airport security screening at Gold Track priority lanes. These are available at select airports around the world.

Star Alliance Gold members can use Gold Track security

Star Alliance Gold priority waitlist & standby

While the exact terms vary, as a general rule of thumb Star Alliance Gold members receive priority for waitlisting on sold out flights, as well as standby when trying to change flights same day.

Individual airline policies vary surrounding when standby is allowed, as it can vary based on the market, type of fare you booked, etc.

Receive priority on sold out flights as a Star Alliance Gold member

How does Star Alliance elite status compare to others?

Star Alliance is the world’s largest airline alliance, so there’s big value to having reciprocal perks on all member airlines. That being said, how does the status as such compare to status with oneworld and SkyTeam?

  • I’d say Star Alliance Gold is better than SkyTeam Elite Plus (the equivalent status with the SkyTeam alliance), as there’s more consistent and generous recognition; for example, SkyTeam Elite Plus members don’t get lounge access when traveling within the United States
  • I’d say Star Alliance Gold is marginally better than oneworld Sapphire status, which is oneworld’s mid-tier elite status
  • However, I love how oneworld has a higher elite tier, oneworld Emerald, which I consider to be the best alliance elite status; this offers access to many oneworld international first class lounges, and Star Alliance doesn’t have anything equivalent
  • One thing I find frustrating about Star Alliance Gold status is that preferred seats on partner airlines aren’t a perk
There are some incredible oneworld Emerald lounges

Bottom line

Star Alliance Gold status is the top reciprocal status offered by the world’s largest airline alliance. Star Alliance Gold offers perks like lounge access, extra baggage allowance, priority check-in, boarding, baggage handling, and more.

Star Alliance Gold status can be incredibly valuable, especially when flying a partner airline on which you wouldn’t otherwise have status.

If you’re a Star Alliance Gold member, what has your experience been like?

Conversations (21)
The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.
Type your response here.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Anyone can comment, and your email address will not be published. Register to save your unique username and earn special OMAAT reputation perks!

  1. Luke Guest

    There should be a status above gold, I think most (if not all) star alliance frequent flier programmes have tiers above gold. Which could then be an OW Emerald equivalent which I think is lacking.

  2. Andrew Guest

    i hate the exclusion for baggage on the select fare types so stupid. shame on LH group, Sas and Air NZ.
    “Light” fares offered by Lufthansa, Austrian, and SWISS
    “Check&Go” fares on Brussels Airlines
    “Go light” fares on SAS
    “Seat” fares on Air New Zealand

    another uniuque thing is Air Canada *Gold and United *Gold along gives access to lounges when flying Air Dolomiti and Eurowings with a Smart fare and...

    i hate the exclusion for baggage on the select fare types so stupid. shame on LH group, Sas and Air NZ.
    “Light” fares offered by Lufthansa, Austrian, and SWISS
    “Check&Go” fares on Brussels Airlines
    “Go light” fares on SAS
    “Seat” fares on Air New Zealand

    another uniuque thing is Air Canada *Gold and United *Gold along gives access to lounges when flying Air Dolomiti and Eurowings with a Smart fare and up. staff have needed to be reminded of these agreements though. this is quite nice as you can also earn Aeroplan SQS/SQM for these airlines flights

  3. iamhere Guest

    It is interesting to see how the membership benefits compare. Judging from this article that means you should earn Gold status on other airlines and not United due to lounge access (or lack there of) in the US. Also what you are forgetting when comparing it to other alliances is the other forms of access. Amex Platinum with Delta Sky Lounges for example.

  4. Blubot Guest

    Agreed, One World Emerald rocks, esp first class access and even first class pre-boarding ahead of all the other 'elite' and business class travellers. That's a neat perk. Not too impressed with Star Alliance Gold, I do still have it from the Singapore Airlines promo from a year ago or so, but lounges across the world leave a lot to be desired...might as well go Priority Pass. I guess I am spoiled by Emerald.

  5. Tennen Gold

    @Ben, you forgot to include a huge caveat with lounge access. The guest must be traveling on the same flight as the primary pax. IIRC, this also applies to guests of *A F pax and *A lounge members.

    IMHO, *G would be so much better with the addition of a seating benefit. It would also help if they stopped airlines from carving out an exception for baggage on "light" fares...

    On the topic of *A...

    @Ben, you forgot to include a huge caveat with lounge access. The guest must be traveling on the same flight as the primary pax. IIRC, this also applies to guests of *A F pax and *A lounge members.

    IMHO, *G would be so much better with the addition of a seating benefit. It would also help if they stopped airlines from carving out an exception for baggage on "light" fares...

    On the topic of *A benefits, *S is worthless. At least entry-level elites get priority check-in with OW and ST. Why can't *A do the same? (At the very least, they should have some sort of actually useful benefits instead of "priority waitlist & standby." -_-

  6. wcpierce62 New Member

    As a United Plat and *A gold I enjoy the SEN lounge access, which is usually at least marginally better and usually less crowded than the LH BIZ lounges.

    In my experience if I speak in person to an LH phone agent I can get preferred seats in advance without a fee. They seem consistently to warn me that there is a fee, which I accept, but when they select the seat the system turns...

    As a United Plat and *A gold I enjoy the SEN lounge access, which is usually at least marginally better and usually less crowded than the LH BIZ lounges.

    In my experience if I speak in person to an LH phone agent I can get preferred seats in advance without a fee. They seem consistently to warn me that there is a fee, which I accept, but when they select the seat the system turns up no fee. This is not true with self selection on line.

    My appreciation for *A Gold has fueled my last lap push for Million Mile status on UA. Should hit it around the turn of next year.

  7. TravelinWilly Diamond

    When the *A first formed in the late 90s, UA allowed status pax (*Silver and *Gold) from other *A partner airlines to reserve Econ+ seats; that stopped in the early aughts. When I switched airlines/ff programs from Thai to United in 2000, I was always able to book Econ+ seats until I made 1K on UA that year.

  8. ORD_Is_My_Second_Home Member

    I'm *G through UA, and the only thing I'm annoyed about is a lack of elite seat selection on partner airlines. I got a little disappointed when flying AC on a UA ticket recently and not having any seat selection until check-in. However, that's the only thing I'm dissatisfied with. I'm glad I'll at least be *G next year (should make it by the end of next month). Now the trick is to keep my 1K...

    1. david Guest

      LH is the same way. Which is why I routinely flew ET to from ADD before the route was dropped during the pandemic.

  9. TravelinWilly Diamond

    Unless I'm missing something, I don't see a lot of benefit to *any* alliance status if flying on a business class or first class ticket, other than a moderate extra luggage allowance. Having status with Air France (FB Plat) / SkyTeam Elite Plus (what a name...), the only thing I really see when flying on an AF La Première ticket is an allowance for an extra suitcase.

    1. Tennen Gold

      @TravelinWilly, I can think of one advantage of *G, at least in the US. If you don't have status and are on an international First or Business Class ticket, (for the most part) you won't have lounge access on your connections. You'd have to be flying UA J long-haul. IIRC, OW & ST give premium cabin pax lounge access throughout their eligible trip, but *A doesn't require it.

      Examples:
      UA F MCO-IAD, LH F...

      @TravelinWilly, I can think of one advantage of *G, at least in the US. If you don't have status and are on an international First or Business Class ticket, (for the most part) you won't have lounge access on your connections. You'd have to be flying UA J long-haul. IIRC, OW & ST give premium cabin pax lounge access throughout their eligible trip, but *A doesn't require it.

      Examples:
      UA F MCO-IAD, LH F IAD-FRA = lounge at IAD only, but if in UA C IAD-FRA = lounge at MCO, too.
      NH C HND-SFO, UA F SFO-DEN, UA Y DEN-COS = lounge at HND only, but if in UA C HND-SFO = lounge at SFO and DEN, too (including Polaris at SFO).

  10. Bruno Guest

    Brussels Airlines doesn't have Check&Go fares anymore. They now aligned their fare structure with the rest of the Lufthansa Group and call it Light fares.

  11. Vítor Silva Guest

    One free item of checked luggage and preferred seats, along with being able to fly earlier or later on the same day in all partner airlines, regardless of fare, would be a sign of full recognition.

  12. Tony Guest

    I still value Skyteam E+ higher than gold due to the seat selection policy which I value a lot. Whilst I agree that domestic lounge access is a big gap, this is mostly a problem in the US and my travel patterns rarely involve solely a domestic flight there.

    Also, I believe it is still the case that *G get free upgrades to First class on the Heathrow Express (present gold card to controller when they come by).

  13. Cedric Guest

    The only real perk for me is the star gold lounges like the SEN lounges. Everyhting else you get with a business class ticket...

  14. digital_notmad Diamond

    One interesting tidbit: I had a situation where the exception to the extra baggage allowance for Lufthansa Group Light fares mattered; I learned from a phone agent that luckily OS has a specific internal policy that, notwithstanding that LG exception, OS *will* offer the extra baggage for *G pax. I pressed further on this point, because I didn't want to show up at the airport and find out that the agent was misinformed, etc., but...

    One interesting tidbit: I had a situation where the exception to the extra baggage allowance for Lufthansa Group Light fares mattered; I learned from a phone agent that luckily OS has a specific internal policy that, notwithstanding that LG exception, OS *will* offer the extra baggage for *G pax. I pressed further on this point, because I didn't want to show up at the airport and find out that the agent was misinformed, etc., but the agent was very knowledgeable, assured me that there is in fact a written internal policy, and indeed I had no issues at the airport at all.

    1. rjb Guest

      OS will offer the extra baggage allowance. Does this mean you two checked bags if you paid for one or you get one checked bag for free on a "light" fare?

    2. digital_notmad Diamond

      I got one checked bag free on a Light fare, which weighed close to 70lbs. (My no-status companion did as well; not sure if the companion benefit is expressly included in this policy or if that check-in agent was just doing us a solid.)

    3. Samo Guest

      The exemption you mention only applies to longhaul tickets. It doesn't work on European itineraries. The same policy exists for the entire LH Group.

  15. Jeff Guest

    I'm a Star Alliance Gold through Asiana, Diamond status. I'd generally agree with everything you said here. Some extra thoughts.

    On United, I get Premier Access. At check-in, I can change flights for free if I wanted. I also can choose a preferred seat for free if something is open. I also get to board in group 1.

    It is nice to use the various lounges even on a domestic flight on United. I've been...

    I'm a Star Alliance Gold through Asiana, Diamond status. I'd generally agree with everything you said here. Some extra thoughts.

    On United, I get Premier Access. At check-in, I can change flights for free if I wanted. I also can choose a preferred seat for free if something is open. I also get to board in group 1.

    It is nice to use the various lounges even on a domestic flight on United. I've been in several United Clubs along with a Maple Leaf Lounge at LAX and the Turkish and Lufthansa Senator Lounge at IAD.

    I'd say my worst experience is with Copa. The boarding is very inconsistent for Star Alliance Gold. I've been in the lowest boarding groups and it was never clear that we had any priority boarding or announcements given. On my last flight I just gave up and boarded with business class no questions asked.

    It's been a while since I actually flew Asiana, but I did get all the perks mentioned here.

    1. Andrew Diamond

      Asiana makes me sad. It was such a gem in terms of some redemptions and getting gold status, and now between the merger and BoA cutting their credit card, the writing is on the wall for that program.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Blubot Guest

Agreed, One World Emerald rocks, esp first class access and even first class pre-boarding ahead of all the other 'elite' and business class travellers. That's a neat perk. Not too impressed with Star Alliance Gold, I do still have it from the Singapore Airlines promo from a year ago or so, but lounges across the world leave a lot to be desired...might as well go Priority Pass. I guess I am spoiled by Emerald.

2
wcpierce62 New Member

As a United Plat and *A gold I enjoy the SEN lounge access, which is usually at least marginally better and usually less crowded than the LH BIZ lounges. In my experience if I speak in person to an LH phone agent I can get preferred seats in advance without a fee. They seem consistently to warn me that there is a fee, which I accept, but when they select the seat the system turns up no fee. This is not true with self selection on line. My appreciation for *A Gold has fueled my last lap push for Million Mile status on UA. Should hit it around the turn of next year.

2
Tennen Gold

@Ben, you forgot to include a huge caveat with lounge access. The guest must be traveling on the same flight as the primary pax. IIRC, this also applies to guests of *A F pax and *A lounge members. IMHO, *G would be so much better with the addition of a seating benefit. It would also help if they stopped airlines from carving out an exception for baggage on "light" fares... On the topic of *A benefits, *S is worthless. At least entry-level elites get priority check-in with OW and ST. Why can't *A do the same? (At the very least, they should have some sort of actually useful benefits instead of "priority waitlist & standby." -_-

1
Meet Ben Schlappig, OMAAT Founder
5,163,247 Miles Traveled

32,614,600 Words Written

35,045 Posts Published

Keep Exploring OMAAT