Star Alliance has a new video promoting the benefits of Gold status within the alliance.
Gold is top tier within Star (there are only two tiers offered). Each member program has their own rules about how to get there.
Benefits of Star Alliance Gold
The biggest benefits of most frequent flyer programs are held for their own elite members. But Star Alliance Gold status generally gets you lounge access (although United and US Airways qualifying elites only get access to those airlines lounges when flying internationally), priority check-in, priority boarding, priority waitlisting, and also a free checked baggage allowance.
Getting Star Gold via Status Match
Turkish Airlines is one of the few non-U.S. programs that offers status matches where they will give you status based on status you already hold with another airline. They will even match United and US Airways status much of the time. Their status lasts two years, and is a path to free lounge access on domestic U.S. itineraries.
You can read about status matches, and which airlines offer them, here.
Getting it Quickly Starting from Ground Zero
If you don’t already have airline status with which to get a match, the quickest path by flying to earn Star Alliance Gold is with Aegean’s Miles&Bonus.
I outlined the Aegean program back in June when I was comped to Aegean’s Gold status (based on my british midland Gold) although they do not generally offer status matches. And then last month theyimproved their change policies on award tickets. And I flagged the Aegean as a non-obvious program to consider.
You receive 1000 miles just for joining, earn Star Alliance silver status after just 4000 miles within a year (including the 1000 for joining) and then need only 16,000 more within a year for Gold.
In contrast, both United and US Airways require flying 50,000 miles to earn Star Alliance Gold status — and their Star Gold members do not get to access United and US Airways lounges when flying domestically within the U.S., but Turkish and Aegean Star Golds do get access to those lounges on purely domestic U.S. itineraries.
Do note that while all US Airways fares earn 100% of miles flown, many discount United fares earn only 50% in the Aegean program — and Aegean elites do not earn a bonus for flights (other than the class of service bonus that everyone flies).
Downsides to Being Star Gold Versus and Airline’s Own Elite Member
And there are downsides to flying on a partner’s Star Alliance Gold as opposed to having equivalent status with the airline you’re flying.
Star Gold status doesn’t get you Economy Plus extra legroom seating on United, whereas United’s elites can access those seats for free. And partner elites aren’t eligible for complimentary upgrades, either.