What Are The Benefits Of Star Alliance Gold Status?

What Are The Benefits Of Star Alliance Gold Status?

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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 when you earn somewhere around 50,000 elite miles per year. 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.

At the moment there are some especially easy pathways to Star Alliance Gold status — Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer is offering it when you transfer 250K bank points, while Air Canada Aeroplan is offering status matches to members registered in the United States.

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 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?

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  1. Jerry

    The most annoying nonexistent perk for SAG is reserving a seat in advance for free when travelling with a partner airline

  2. Tennen

    @Lucky, you forgot to mention the huge lounge access devaluation this year. Guests must be traveling on the same flight as the *G member (or First Class pax). IIRC, it's supposed to be alliance-wide, but the *A website hasn't been updated. As far as I can tell, it affects LH group, UA, and A3 for sure.

  3. Kasper

    Maybe worth mentioning some member airlines offer life time Gold. Normally after you have earned it normally by yourself 10 years in a row.

    I have that from SAS, after being Gold (or some years their higher Diamond level) 10 years…..

  4. Rene

    Yes, this will work. Have done this several time.

  5. Explore

    I’d like to circle back to the scenario where you’re flying UA domestically in the US, ticket the trip through UA, and credit to UA - so you can get E+ seating as a United *G, for example. But you access the UA Club with your AC Aeroplan Elite 75K status by displaying the card (electronic or physical). Will it work?

  6. polarbear

    Star does not do free domestic upgrades for Elites?
    However elusive lately, I still consider it a Skyteam perk

    1. Wilhelm

      Free upgrades is an American thing. Non-US airlines do op-ups or sell upgrades only.

  7. Volleyball

    In Jan 2020, I flew to Singapore and flew to Vegas monthly except when they shutdown in the spring of 2020; thanks to reduced 2020 requirements, I earned United Platinum (2nd highest published status)...Delta offered a status challenge match to Diamond (highest published status) and just extended it for all of 2022. Now Air Canada just matched Delta so I'm now 75K and can now utilize United lounges when flying domestically

  8. Jason

    I’ve been a Star Gold for many years in the past. I always found it interesting how Singapore Airlines segregated Star Golds into the inferior “Krisflyer Gold” lounges, while Lufthansa gave Star Golds, even flying economy, access to their better Senator lounges while paid business class flyers only got access to the Lufthansa Business Lounge.

  9. John

    It's, of course, entirely subjective. For me, complimentary advanced seat reservations and a free checked bag even in basic eco/light/etc. fares is pretty important.

    That's more important to me than the lack of lounge access in case of purely domestic trips on Skyteam. There are further downsides with lounge access on Skyteam: e.g., Delta doesn't pay for contract lounges if all you got is your elite status (travelling in economy).

    However, an Amex Plat or...

    It's, of course, entirely subjective. For me, complimentary advanced seat reservations and a free checked bag even in basic eco/light/etc. fares is pretty important.

    That's more important to me than the lack of lounge access in case of purely domestic trips on Skyteam. There are further downsides with lounge access on Skyteam: e.g., Delta doesn't pay for contract lounges if all you got is your elite status (travelling in economy).

    However, an Amex Plat or such is an easy workaround for lounge access limitations.

    There's nothing you can do about the lack of free ASR or lacked of complimentary bag in HBO fares except to pay up.

  10. Matt

    Does anyone know if the free checked baggage allowance applies to TAP Portugal discount economy fares for those with Star Gold status?

    1. Jorge

      I’m Star Alliance Gold by being Gold on TAP Miles&Go and yes, you get one piece of checked-in luggage for having the status, so I suppose it applies for any airline of the group.

  11. Yreal

    Think easyst is still a3. 4 segments and 12k a year.

    One return to Greece and your basicly renewed lol

  12. Halo

    I’ve had passengers with *Gold that were very pleasant, and some who expect the world to bow down. While working a contract at a Lufthansa lounge I had one try to tin his way into the first class lounge. When we told him that as a *G member he was able to access the *G lounge but not the first class lounge he flew off the handle, telling us that his UAGS was “the equivalent...

    I’ve had passengers with *Gold that were very pleasant, and some who expect the world to bow down. While working a contract at a Lufthansa lounge I had one try to tin his way into the first class lounge. When we told him that as a *G member he was able to access the *G lounge but not the first class lounge he flew off the handle, telling us that his UAGS was “the equivalent of a Lufthansa HON”, and that he was entitled to the first class lounge. Yeah, no.

    Though they aren’t as bad as some *Silvers who just got their first status. I had a guy checking extra baggage to Khartoum once and when I told him there would be fees for the excess and overweight baggage he produced a United Premier card and said that he hoped *that* would “straighten things out”. Yeah, no.

  13. S_LEE

    Asiana Club is the easiest way to get *G status. You get diamond status with only 40K miles in 2 years. Their accumulation rate is quite generous so that you can earn 50% even when flying in United's basic economy. Too bad Asiana's being acquired by Korean Air..

    1. Jim Lovejoy

      Also with Asiana Club if you time it right, you get 2 years to get status and if you get status early you have status for the rest of the 2 year accumulation period and also for the next 2 years.
      Yep too bad their being acquired.

    2. S_LEE

      True. I got OZ *G status since Dec 2018 and my status was supposed to be active until Aug 2022, but Asiana has extended the accumulation period by a year so it's now active until Aug 2023. I haven't purchased any Asiana flight since 2019 and I still keep the *G status. I just flew other star alliance airlines and took all the benefits. How generous!
      I must be one of the cherry-pickers who contributed to the financial crisis of Asiana..

  14. Nick

    Ben- can you mention top 5-10 lounges to access with aeroplan status match for gold. Also ideas for cheap rt flights to maintain it through 2022. Thanks

  15. Rparagas

    You mention that as *Alliance Gold you can bring a guest into lounge, wondering if this applies to Fast Track as well? Also, just booked a discounted Econ seat with TAP and I’ve added my UA number (Platinum) but it doesn’t look like I can select a seat.

  16. mojo

    Let's say I took advantage of the current Air Canada Aeroplan status match utilising my AA Plat Pro status. Doing so grants me Star Alliance Gold with Aeroplan.

    Further, let's say I book a coach-class award ticket for myself with my United Airlines miles, utilising my United Mileage Plus non-elite member account. This reservation now has my UA Mileage Plus account # attached to it.

    Can I then (later, but pre-flight) *remove* my UA account...

    Let's say I took advantage of the current Air Canada Aeroplan status match utilising my AA Plat Pro status. Doing so grants me Star Alliance Gold with Aeroplan.

    Further, let's say I book a coach-class award ticket for myself with my United Airlines miles, utilising my United Mileage Plus non-elite member account. This reservation now has my UA Mileage Plus account # attached to it.

    Can I then (later, but pre-flight) *remove* my UA account # from said reservation and *replace* it with my newly minted Aeroplan *A Gold account # ? If not, then how would I be able to use my Aeroplan *A status in this booking scenario?

    Thanks :-)

    1. Weymar Osborne

      Yes, it should be possible to change the FFP # on the reservation. If not online, then definitely at check-in. You probably don't even have to do that though, I've always been able to just show my Star Alliance Gold card to the lounge agent and be let in. I don't have any personal knowledge of whether you have to have the *A Gold connected to the reservation to take advantage of the extra baggage requirement though.

    2. DCS

      The answer is "yes", as long as it's done before your flight, and done by calling UA customer service.

      Before the pandemic, I'd planned to credit all my flight miles to SQ in pursuit of KF Gold, so I set my default FF program in my UA account to SQ KF. After UA automatically extended and then made it easier to requalify for elite status because of the pandemic, I decided to put off...

      The answer is "yes", as long as it's done before your flight, and done by calling UA customer service.

      Before the pandemic, I'd planned to credit all my flight miles to SQ in pursuit of KF Gold, so I set my default FF program in my UA account to SQ KF. After UA automatically extended and then made it easier to requalify for elite status because of the pandemic, I decided to put off my pursuit of the SQ KF Gold status (I'll now just 'buy' it with Chase UR points in February '22). However, I'd forgotten that I'd made SQ KF my default FF program in my UA account. Then, recently, after booking a UA flight without paying attention, I later noticed that the reservation had the flight miles being credited to my SQ KF account, which I no longer wanted to do. I called the UA 1K desk and, without a fuss, they fixed the reservation so that the miles would be credited to my UA account. Voila!

  17. Scott Schultz

    Held Star Alliance Gold status through being a mix of United Gold/Platinum/1K/GS for about 5 years from 2014-2019. It was nice being based in Munich and having access to the to all the lounges even flying economy tickets when traveling around Europe on Lufthansa, Swiss, TAP & Aegean. Now I'm OW Sapphire through my BA Silver status being based in the UK. Haven't gotten much use out of it since 2019 when traveling on American...

    Held Star Alliance Gold status through being a mix of United Gold/Platinum/1K/GS for about 5 years from 2014-2019. It was nice being based in Munich and having access to the to all the lounges even flying economy tickets when traveling around Europe on Lufthansa, Swiss, TAP & Aegean. Now I'm OW Sapphire through my BA Silver status being based in the UK. Haven't gotten much use out of it since 2019 when traveling on American domestically in the United States a few times and accessing the Admirals Clubs. I would agree that OW Emerald is more lucrative and I would like to be able to reach Emerald and have access to the First Class lounges. I just don't see myself traveling enough in the next year with just having a baby to even maintain my Silver status, let alone getting BA Gold.

    1. Scott Schultz

      Would like to add that the seat selection with Star Alliance Gold was pretty consistent for me at least. I'd be able to select pretty much anywhere on any flight for free ahead of time when on an economy fare. Even when flying Air New Zealand domestically, I was able to get Row 1 without paying extra. That, and their lounges aren't too bad either. They can be quite crowded though. The priority baggage tag...

      Would like to add that the seat selection with Star Alliance Gold was pretty consistent for me at least. I'd be able to select pretty much anywhere on any flight for free ahead of time when on an economy fare. Even when flying Air New Zealand domestically, I was able to get Row 1 without paying extra. That, and their lounges aren't too bad either. They can be quite crowded though. The priority baggage tag didn't really mean much most of the time, but that didn't bother me much. I guess the big things for me were the lounge access and the seat selections.

  18. Reyyan

    Ben, I believe Skyteam Elite Plus is actually more consistent than Star Gold. Did you know that when you are a HON circle member, and you fly a light fare in the Lufthansa group, you do not get a suitcase included. Talk about crazy!

    Yes it's true that in the US lounge access is not included when flying Delta domestically. However, as far as I know, 1 extra suitcase is included on all ticket fares...

    Ben, I believe Skyteam Elite Plus is actually more consistent than Star Gold. Did you know that when you are a HON circle member, and you fly a light fare in the Lufthansa group, you do not get a suitcase included. Talk about crazy!

    Yes it's true that in the US lounge access is not included when flying Delta domestically. However, as far as I know, 1 extra suitcase is included on all ticket fares on all Skyteam airlines.

    + Consistent free seat selection upon booking across airlines (only a few Skyteam airlines I flew). I haven't seen that yet with Star Alliance. As a Star Gold member with TAP, I never got free seat selection on any other airline within Star Alliance.

  19. stevie b

    Do I need to ticket on the stock of "my" airline for the status to be recognized? For example if I want Star Gold with LH can I simply put my UA number in on the LH site or do I need to book the codeshare version of the flight via UA?

    1. Ben Schlappig

      @ stevie b -- No need to book a codeshare. :)

    2. François

      Nope, just need to add your FF number to your booking, doesn't need to be the codeshare. I was UA Gold once upon a time and added it to my NH flights with no issue so I could access fast track/lounges.

    3. DCS

      Correct. It is handled automatically. Just make sure to enter your FF number. A UA 1K flying with *A carrier will be issued a BP by that carrier that will have "UA*G" printed on it, and that does the trick.

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Jim Lovejoy

Also with Asiana Club if you time it right, you get 2 years to get status and if you get status early you have status for the rest of the 2 year accumulation period and also for the next 2 years. Yep too bad their being acquired.

Jerry

The most annoying nonexistent perk for SAG is reserving a seat in advance for free when travelling with a partner airline

Wilhelm

Free upgrades is an American thing. Non-US airlines do op-ups or sell upgrades only.

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