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STAR alliance

The way the earth connects

Upon its founding in May 1997, Star Alliance became the first airline alliance in the world, and has since grown to become the largest. With 26 full members and 40 affiliates, Star Alliance has an annual passenger count of over 760 million people. A world leader in global connectivity, its airline network stretches across 195 countries and almost 1,300 airports. Star Alliance rewards its most loyal passengers with their two-tier loyalty program (Silver & Gold) which offers various incentives such as upgrades and priority boarding. Scroll through the page below for more information on Star Alliance.

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Members

With 26 member airlines, Star Alliance stands as the largest airline alliance in the world. Click below to find out more information on each member airline.

Alliance at a glance

Star Alliance offers a two-tiered loyalty program; frequent flyers have the ability to obtain Star Alliance Silver or Gold status, each of which come with their own privileges and benefits. All of the below mentioned benefits work in conjunction with any benefits you may enjoy via your status with your chosen Star Alliance member airline's frequent flyer program.

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GOLD

  • Priority airport check-in

  • Priority baggage handling

  • Airport lounge access *

  • Priority boarding

  • Extra baggage allowance

  • Gold Track (priority security lanes)

  • Free upgrades on Heathrow Express

  • All benefits of Star Alliance Silver

SILVER

  • Priority reservations waitlist

  • Priority airport standby

Head on over to Star Alliance's website for additional information about status benefits.

How to earn & Obtaining status

Starting your journey to Gold status is quick and easy - simply sign up for any member airline’s frequent flyer program and get flying! There is no standalone “Star Alliance” frequent flyer program. Rather, membership with any single member airline’s frequent flyer program gives you access to the entire Star Alliance network, and there is no need to sign up for any other additional frequent flyer programs other than the one you choose.

Earning status on your Star Alliance airline of choice will subsequently earn you status within Star Alliance itself. In other words, you cannot simply obtain Star Alliance status without obtaining status on your choice airline. So, while you are flying and earning towards your status with your choice airline, you are also actively working towards your Star Alliance status.

For example, United's status tier correspondence with Star Alliance looks like this:

Star Alliance Gold = Premier Gold, Premier Platinum, and Premier 1K

Star Alliance Silver = Premier Silver

Every airline has their own status tiers and elects how those status tiers correspond with Star Alliance status. It is a good idea to become familiar with how your choice airline sets its status correspondence.

The best part about airline alliances is that you don’t need to fly exclusively on your favorite airline's metal in order to earn miles/points towards your status. Members of any frequent flyer program can earn miles/points for flying with any other member airline, regardless of where in the world they may be traveling.

For example, a United MileagePlus member would be able to earn MileagePlus miles while flying on a Lufthansa-operated flight from Munich to London by simply entering their MileagePlus number when booking their tickets.

Because this flight will earn you MileagePlus miles, it will count towards your MileagePlus status, which in turn will count towards your Star Alliance status.

Customers are able to sign up for more than one member airline’s frequent flyer program, but since each of these programs are managed independently, miles and points that are earned with different airlines cannot be transferred to other airlines or combined together in any way. It is recommended choosing one frequent flyer program through which you would like to earn and using it every time you fly, as this will help you obtain your status much faster.

LOUNGES & Lounge Access Policy

Not only do Star Alliance’s member airlines have airport lounges scattered across the globe, but Star Alliance also operates a few of their own “Star Alliance” branded lounges. All-in, the Star Alliance network boasts over 1,000 lounges that are available for their passengers to use and enjoy before flight departure. How can you gain access to these lounges while traveling? Star Alliance has a specific access policy as outlined below:

Star Alliance Gold members

Gold members traveling in any class of travel on a Star Alliance member airline operated flight have access to any member lounge at the airport given the following criteria are met:

  • The lounge displays a Star Alliance Gold logo at the entrance.

  • You have a same-day boarding pass for any Star Alliance member airline operated flight, the latest departure time allowed being 05:00 am the next morning.

You are allowed to bring one other passenger into the lounge with you provided that you will both be traveling together on the same flight. If you are a United MileagePlus & Star Alliance Gold member, you may only access United Clubs (unless you possess the paid membership) if you are departing on an international Star Alliance member airline operated flight.

International Passengers

First Class

International First Class passengers have access to International First Class lounges and any Star Alliance member airline’s lounges* where your flight departs given that the following criteria are met:

  • The lounge displays the Star Alliance logo at the entrance

  • You have a same-day boarding pass in First Class for any Star Alliance member airline operated flight, the latest departure time allowed being 05:00 am the next morning.

Passengers are entitled to bring one guest traveling on the same flight into the lounge, regardless of their flying class. 

* excluded lounges include the HON/First Class lounges at FRA, MUC, ZRH, GVA, and VIE, and the Thai Airways Spa Lounge at BKK

Business Class 

International Business Class passengers have access to any Star Alliance member airline’s Business Class lounges where their flight departs given the following criteria are met:

  • The lounge displays the Star Alliance Gold logo at the entrance

  • You have a same-day boarding pass in First Class for any Star Alliance member airline operated flight, the latest departure time allowed being 05:00 am the next morning.

Passengers are not entitled to bring any guests into the lounge if traveling in Business Class.

Domestic Passengers

First Class

If traveling in Domestic First class, some member airlines grant lounge access at the airport you will be departing from. Exceptions include United Airlines domestic First Class passengers traveling in the US, where they do not have access to the United Club lounges. For those who would qualify for lounge access, you would need to show your same-day boarding pass for a Star Alliance member airline operated flight. Passengers will be allowed to bring one guest into the lounge who is also traveling on a Star Alliance member airline operated flight on the same day.

Business Class

If traveling in Domestic Business class, some member airlines grant lounge access at the airport you will be departing from. Exceptions include United Airlines domestic Business Class passengers traveling in the US, where they do not have access to the United Club lounges. For those who would qualify for lounge access, you would need to show your same-day boarding pass for a Star Alliance member airline operated flight. Passengers are not allowed to bring guests into the lounge.

Paid Lounge Memberships

Both United (United Club) and Air Canada (Air Canada Maple Leaf Club) offer paid lounge memberships that give its customers access to its own lounge networks (United Club lounges and Maple Leaf Lounges, respectively). If you hold one of these paid memberships, you are allowed access in to any Star Alliance member airline’s Business Class lounges* at your airport of departure given that you are traveling on a Star Alliance member airline operated flight. You are entitled to bring one guest that is also traveling on a Star Alliance member airline operated flight from the same airport on the same day.

* excluded lounges include the Singapore KrisFlyer lounge at SIN and all United Polaris lounges

A note about Guests...

As mentioned above, certain passengers that are granted access to these lounges are allowed to bring one guest into the lounge with them. All guests must enter the lounge accompanied by the eligible customer, and must also present their valid boarding pass upon entry. Any person over the age of two is considered to be a guest - any children under two years old may accompany the customer into the lounge and are not considered guests. Eligible customers cannot exceed one guest, and cannot exit the lounge and re-enter with a separate guest. Eligible customers are only allowed to bring one guest into the lounge, even if they are eligible to enter the lounge in more than one manner (i.e. a Star Alliance Gold member that also holds United Club membership).

Trust us, keeping track of all of these access policies and restrictions can be confusing. Luckily for us, Star Alliance has a tool they dub the “Lounge Finder” that does all the work for you. Just simply fill in the details of your departure and let the tool show you which lounges you have access to pre-departure. Bon voyage!

This page was last updated on November 2, 2021
 

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