A Complete Guide To Elite Status In The Star Alliance

With status tiers, the only real perks start at Gold.

Star Alliance is the world’s largest airline group by several measures, including members and passengers carried. With 26 airlines to pick from, what are the elite tiers you can reach and how quickly is it possible? The answer isn’t simple and may not be as exciting as status with the other major alliances.

Only two tiers

To keep things simple, the Star Alliance only offers two tiers, Silver and Gold, similar to rival SkyTeam. However, you have likely noticed most airlines have three or even more levels of status. These are only matched across to Silver and Gold on the alliance level, meaning your benefits will remain the same on partner airlines.

Silver on Star Alliance comes with the following guaranteed benefits when flying with any member:

  • Priority Reservation Waitlist
  • Priority Airport Stand-by

These benefits are quite self-explanatory, giving you higher priority when trying to book into any cabin or when trying to fly standby on any carrier. However, these guaranteed benefits fall short of other alliances. For comparison, oneworld Ruby (the lowest elite status of three) throws in guaranteed access to business class check-in queues, while SkyTeam Elite (the lower of two tiers) even guaranteed priority boarding and an extra checked bag!

As you might have guessed, each airline has its own policy when it comes to Silver status and Star Alliance is actually trying to giving carriers flexibility by not imposing benefits. Nearly all members will allow priority boarding and check-in for their members and those of other alliance partners. For instance, United MileagePlus Silver (Star Alliance) will give you Group 2 boarding access and an extra checked bag, not dissimilar to Gold on American Airlines AAdvantage (oneworld Ruby, American’s lowest elite tier).

Big step up for Gold

While Silver leaves something to be desired, Star Alliance Gold is a desirable status for any frequent flyer. Here are some of the guaranteed benefits with Gold:

  • Access to business class lounges when flying a member airline (first class with some airlines)
  • Priority boarding, check-in, baggage handling, and security (where available)
  • One extra checked bag (20kgs/44lbs)
  • ‘Gold Track’ Lanes at select terminals

Read more about miles, loyalty programs, and points here!

What makes Star Alliance unique are the lounge offerings of its members, such as Turkish Airlines’ lounge at Istanbul Airport or Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer Gold lounge (dedicated to elite members). Given its large network across six continents, it’s no surprise why Star Alliance Gold is considered a prized possession and not one that is easy to achieve.

Not easy to get

Star Alliance Gold is not easy to come by, requiring many hundreds of flying hours in premiums cabins or dozens of shorter services. If you do get there, status usually lasts one year, but can even be two with some generous airlines. Overall, Star Alliance Silver isn’t the one to chase, but if you have a path of Gold, it is well worth it.

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