United Changes Star Gold Baggage Allowance

Based on the checked baggage tool on United’s website, it appears they’ve changed the checked baggage policy for Star Alliance Gold members.

Previously Star Alliance Gold members could check up to three bags weighing up to 70 pounds each, as is still the policy for Premier Gold members and above.


However, suddenly the baggage tool shows that Star Alliance Gold members are only allowed one checked bag weighing up to 50 pounds on domestic itineraries.


So they’ve not only reduced the number of permitted checked bags for Star Alliance Gold members by two, but have also decreased the weight limit by 20 pounds.

Best I can tell there was no announcement, aside from this message posted at the top of the checked baggage tool:

We have revised some of our checked baggage policies for travel worldwide. For the latest checked baggage updates, please review all relevant baggage pages before you travel.
Updated: October 17, 2013

What can really be said, other than…


Filed Under: United
  1. @lucky: A quick check of the 2013 Star Alliance Employee Reference Guide states: “Star Alliance Gold customers are entitled to one additional piece of checked baggage (piece concept) or an additional 20 kgs (weight concept)”. The guide was last updated right around the time that EVA Air joined Star Alliance; I’ll try digging up older guides to see if this was changed at that time.

    Given that folks flying Economy get charged for ALL bags that are checked in, United is technically following the Star Alliance rules. Consumer unfriendly? Yes. Alliance unfriendly? No.

  2. Awesome meme! It is interesting to the see the continuing destruction of alliances as we once knew them…they took so long to build and seem to be getting destroyed bit by bit into oblivion. While Star Alliance arguably has the greatest carriers in its network as a whole, OneWorld now seems to have the most congenial network. I’d imagine its only a matter of time before the other airlines follow suit in restricting other star members.

  3. Technically they’re not breaking alliance rules. Star Gold gives you “1 bag above the normal allowance.” The normal allowance is 0 …

  4. @lucky: A few things. One, the 2012 guide has the same rule: “one additional piece of checked baggage (piece concept) or an additional 20 kgs (weight concept)”.

    Two, back to the 2013 guide: a minor correction–United is listed as permitting *G members three bags of FIFTY pounds each. The SEVENTY pound limit was/is reserved for those flying F/C domestic.

  5. Seems fitting to me, particularly when we have *A members like SQ that refuse to admit UA *G to their lounges despite clear rules requiring entrance. Not to mention all those chintzy *A carriers that provide fewer EQM and RDM than UA does on Y and C tix. Payback is a b###

  6. As a UA *G this does not affect me but I give it two big thumbs down as it is not a sign of the cooperation or reciprocity I would like to see from an alliance. I urge UA to reconsider.

  7. @lucky: One last reference guide update–the 2011 guide states (everybody say it with me now): “one additional piece of checked baggage (piece concept) or an additional 20 kgs (weight concept)”

    Closer examination of the 2013 guide shows that, at the time of publication, United gave non-status, non-*A members one free checked bag in Economy, while non-status *G members got three free checked bag. Since the *G benefit is [not going to repeat this], by the rules *G should get only TWO free checked bags total. Thus, we have a mystery on our hands! An third bag that remains unaccounted for.

    Furthermore, back in 2012 while the two free bags for Economy kettles were FIFTY pounds, bag #3 for *G flyers in Economy was SEVENTY pounds back in 2012; this was changed to the standardized FIFTY pounds in 2013’s guide. Take note, however, that the first two bags remained a FIFTY pound limit even back in 2012. I believe this is where the confusion arose.

  8. How long until other *A reciprocate and start charging UA flyers for bags on their regional connecting flights?

  9. Not really sure what to think.
    When being start gold, UA’s was my first choice for flying because of baggage allowance. Now they have also “forced” me to retain at least Premier Gold status… so in that ence, closing in the customer is a smart move, but limit my choice of program.
    Now UA; please fix your calculator as it calculates incorrectly when not flying point-to-point on UA metal, but connects in from a Star Alliance partner

  10. I am Star Gold and on a recent award flight on US Air that I booked with United miles I was not allowed any bags free of charge. The agent said there were no fee waivers for baggage when flying on award tickets.

  11. Tom – I am UA silver and recently flew US Air on a UA award ticket. They gave both of us a free chcked bag. Go figure.

  12. Darn.. so just when I finally got a star gold on A3 (and was dreaming of carting 210 pounds of US shopping back to Singapore), I see this posting.

    At least I’ll still have the Red Carpet Club for domestic US itineraries unless United designates the men’s bathroom as their designated *A lounge.

  13. we got an alert from our travel company at work (Tower Travel) that they made the changes on October 17. The changes highlighted are star gold now gets 4 bags (as opposed to 3) in international F and 2 bags (as opposed to 3) in international Y. Also, domestic Y now gets 1 (as opposed to 3) and Star Silver domestic Y now gets 0 (as opposed to 1). hope this helps!

  14. @Tom: sorry to say, but complete nonsense from the US agent; award tickets are handled the same as a paid one… Well, typical US agent ;-))

  15. What’s funny is that for GlobalFirst, *G gets 4 bags, whereas the calculator shows 3 bags for everyone else, including GS!

  16. well, employees and retirees still get 2 bags at 50 pounds for free. I guess taking care of customers is trumped by taking care of ourselves.

  17. wow the no 1 free checked bag for UA flights with star alliance silver really kills the Aegean deal for me too.. was thinking of accumulating the 4k miles for aegean blue / *A silver but without the 1 free baggage there seems to be no point anymore..
    looks like i have to consider if i want *A gold to at least get one free bag domestically and up to 3 for international flights.

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