The Guide to Star Alliance Gold

Star Alliance Gold gets you additional perks on top of what's offered by your airline's elite status program.
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Written by Lee Huffman

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When airline travelers think about elite status, most focus on the loyalty programs offered by their favorite airline. While these airline perks can be valuable, alliance benefits enhance your flight experience when flying with partner airlines.

Here's everything you need to know about Star Alliance Gold benefits.

Star Alliance Gold benefits

Travelers who've earned Star Alliance Gold elite status enjoy numerous benefits when flying partner airlines. These benefits are in addition to the perks you get based on your elite status with the airline. Here are the best perks available when you fly Star Alliance Gold on United and other member airlines.

  • Priority airport check-in. Look for the Star Alliance Gold sign to skip the lines and check in quicker, where available.

  • Priority baggage handling. Your bags receive priority handling, so they're among the first on and off the plane. This minimizes your wait at the airport when you land.

  • Airport lounge access. Escape the crowds with complimentary entry for you and one guest in more than 1,000 airport lounges worldwide when flying a member airline. Lounge benefits vary by location, but most offer food and refreshments, free Wi-Fi, places to work and relax, and more.

  • Priority boarding. Get on the plane faster by boarding with first-class and business-class passengers, regardless of your ticket class.

  • Extra baggage allowance. The Star Alliance Gold baggage allowance provides an additional 44 lbs. (20 kg.) when weight limits apply or an extra piece of luggage when they don't. This benefit does not apply to all partner airlines or may only be available on connecting Star Alliance flights.

  • Gold Track priority screening. At more than 150 locations, you'll move through airport security and customs more quickly by using exclusive priority lanes.

  • Priority reservations waitlist. When your desired service class is unavailable when making a reservation, you'll receive priority access if seats open up. This benefit is not available when booking an award ticket.

  • Priority airport standby. When you want to make changes, but the desired flight is full, you'll receive priority access to the standby list. However, benefits do not apply to award tickets.

  • Heathrow Express upgrades. Get a free upgrade to Business First Class on the Heathrow Express when you purchase a standard class single or return ticket.

How to get Star Alliance Gold

With 26 member airlines, there are countless ways to earn Star Alliance Gold elite status. If you have elite status with a member airline, the Star Alliance website has a handy qualification tool that lets you know if you're eligible for Star Alliance Gold by selecting your airline and elite status level.

Let's look at the elite status necessary for qualification with two Star Alliance airlines based in the U.S. and Canada.

United Airlines

MileagePlus members who've achieved Premier Gold and above in United's elite status program receive Star Alliance Gold elite status. To earn United Premier Gold, you must earn 8,000 Premier Qualifying Points (PQPs), or you can take 24 Premier Qualifying Flights (PQFs) while earning 10,000 PQPs.

While you can earn PQFs and PQPs from crediting flights on partner airlines to United, you must take at least four flight segments on United or United Express to qualify for Premier status.

Air Canada

Air Canada members receive Star Alliance Gold benefits once they've achieved Aeroplan 50K status and above. Members can reach Aeroplan 50K status by spending $6,000 Status Qualifying Dollars (SQDs) and either flying 50 Status Qualifying Segments (SQSs) or 50,000 Status Qualifying Miles (SQMs).

Other ways to reach Star Alliance Gold

Take advantage of promotions

Star Alliance member airlines periodically offer promotions where you'll receive additional miles or elite status credits. Sign up for your favorite airline's newsletter and register for every promotion, even if you don't have immediate travel plans.

Many of these promotions have limited registration windows that may not be available when you need to book a flight.

Credit flights to one airline to increase your elite status

When booking a flight with a Star Alliance airline, you can credit your flight to any other member. You can achieve higher elite status faster by crediting your flights to one airline.

Depending on how much you fly, this strategy could earn you airline elite status and Star Alliance Gold benefits.

Benefits vary when flying on award tickets

The benefits available from Star Alliance Gold status may vary depending on how you paid for your flight. Cash fares generally unlock all benefits, while some benefits are unavailable on award flights. For example, flights paid for with miles do not receive priority standby if you need to change your flight schedule.

Request a status match

Many airlines provide status match opportunities when you hold elite status with another airline or hotel. When you accept a status match challenge, you'll enjoy those elite status benefits for a period. After that, however, you must meet the promotion's requirements to extend the benefits past the trial period.

For example, you may need to spend a minimum amount or fly a certain number of segments or miles to extend your elite status.

Marriott Bonvoy and Bilt Rewards also offer a status match opportunity with United MileagePlus. Marriott Bonvoy Titanium and Ambassador Elite members receive complimentary United MileagePlus Premier Silver elite status. And Bilt Rewards recently offered a 120-day trial of either Premier Silver or Gold status based on your Bilt status level.

How long does Star Alliance Gold status last?

Star Alliance Gold status is generally tied to the airline's elite status that qualifies you for membership. One of the most accessible paths to Star Alliance Gold elite status is from Asiana Airlines.

Travelers must earn 40,000 miles or take 50 flights with Asiana Airlines over 24 months to earn Asiana Club Diamond status for two years. And renewing Diamond status requires only 30,000 miles or 30 flights over the next two years.

Final thoughts on Star Alliance Gold status

Star Alliance Gold offers additional benefits for travelers who hold elite status with one of the 26 participating airlines. These benefits are in addition to the perks included with your elite status and improve your travel experience when flying with a partner.

Star Alliance Gold benefits provide airport lounge access, expedited check-in and security, extra baggage allowance, and more. While it can be challenging to place a value on these perks, Star Alliance Gold can save you money and time on your next flight.

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