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Airport lounges can be an oasis from the hubbub of the terminal and provide a place to relax, have a drink or snack, and get some work done when traveling. While some airlines have their own lounges (like Delta Sky Club or American Admirals Club) and charge for membership, others permit entrance based on passengers' elite status or ticket class. There are also Priority Pass lounges, which let Priority Pass members enjoy the lounges regardless of status or ticketed cabin.
Star Alliance, the major global alliance that includes airlines like United Airlines, Lufthansa, All Nippon Airways, TAP Portugal and Thai Airways, among others, has its own small network of alliance-branded lounges. These are in addition to (and different from) the network’s airline-branded lounges like United Clubs.
Here's what you need to know about Star Alliance lounges and how you might be able to access one on your next trip.
About Star Alliance lounges
Star Alliance gives certain frequent flyers access to more than 1,000 lounges around the world, including six of its own branded lounges and hundreds more in the form of airline-branded lounges from the 26 alliance members.
The six Star Alliance-branded lounges are located in busy airline hubs. If you want a preview, Star Alliance includes virtual tours of many of these lounges on its website. There’s also a "lounge finder" tool, which lets travelers search by airport to find an eligible lounge.
Who gets access to Star Alliance lounges?
Passengers traveling in premium cabins, as well as Star Alliance Gold members traveling on a Star Alliance flight in any cabin, can access member-airline and alliance-branded lounges.
If you're traveling with someone, guest access policies vary depending on your airline loyalty program status or ticketed cabin. For example, Star Alliance Gold members can bring one guest who's traveling on the same flight with them.
» Learn more: Your guide to airline alliances
How to get Star Alliance Gold status
Achieving Star Alliance Gold status depends on the level of elite status you earn with a member airline’s frequent flyer program.
For example, United elites with Premier Gold, Premier Platinum or Premier 1K status all qualify for Star Alliance Gold status. Air Canada Aeroplan 50K, 75K and Super Elite members are also Star Alliance Gold members and can access eligible lounges.
Star Alliance lounge day passes
A new feature of some Star Alliance lounges is the ability to purchase a day pass, even if you don’t have access via elite status or premium cabin ticket. The following day passes are available:
Rio de Janeiro (GIG) — $55 per person.
Los Angeles (LAX) — $70 per person.
Buenos Aires (EZE) — $50 per person.
Further, if you join a Star Alliance member frequent flyer program (or are already a member), you are eligible for a discount of up to 5%.
» Learn more: How to choose a travel credit card
Star Alliance lounge locations
So, which airports have Star Alliance lounges? Here’s where you can find them.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Location: On the Schengen side next to gate area D, labeled Lounge 27.
Hours: 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
More info: Star Alliance Amsterdam
The Amsterdam lounge is a welcome hangout for Star Alliance passengers in what is otherwise territory for competing alliance SkyTeam. This airport is airline KLM’s primary hub, so it’s often a sea of blue planes.
This modern lounge features Dutch design details and furnishings. It's divided into a work zone with ample power outlets and a relaxation area with a serviced bar and hot and cold buffet. It has space for 150 people.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Location: After passport control, follow the signs to VIP Lounges and go to floor 2, near gate 11.
Hours: 24 hours.
More info: Star Alliance Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is another SkyTeam hub (for Aerolineas Argentinas) with a Star Alliance lounge presence. The lounge at Ezeiza International Airport comes with dining, drinking and relaxation facilities. It also features a shower suite.
The lounge takes its design inspiration from the region’s countryside, with light colors and locally produced furnishings. Priority Pass cardholders can also access the lounge.
The Star Alliance lounge in Buenos Aires is one of three Star Alliance lounges that sells day passes.
Los Angeles, U.S.
Location: In the Tom Bradley international terminal, past security on the sixth floor.
Hours: 9 a.m. - 1 a.m. daily.
More info: Star Alliance Los Angeles
The Star Alliance lounge in Los Angeles features an outdoor area with a fire pit and great views of the runway.
A wall of wine welcomes guests to the impressive buffet selection, which often features soups, salads, snacks, hot food and an open bar. The lounge also has shower suites, and there's a separate section of the lounge for first class passengers.
The lounge sells day passes.
» Learn more: 5 things Star Alliance is doing right
Location: In Terminal 1, the lounge entrance is on the 11th floor between the Hermes and Laduree shops.
Hours: 5:30 a.m. - 8:30 p.m. Monday - Thursday; 5:30 am - 9 p.m. Friday - Sunday.
More info: Star Alliance Paris
The Star Alliance lounge in Paris is temporarily closed, but here's a look at what you would find there.
French artwork and Parisian neighborhood-inspired privacy dividers give the lounge local character. There’s also a smoking lounge and an outdoor garden for fresh air.
Long-haul travelers will be happy to find shower suites, and first class passengers have their own section of the lounge. The lounge is part of Priority Pass, so if you’re flying from Terminal 1 (no matter which airline), you can access it with a Priority Pass membership.
» Learn more: How to maximize your Priority Pass Select membership
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Location: On the third floor, past the duty-free shops.
Hours: 24 hours.
More info: Star Alliance Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro's Star Alliance lounge offers great views of city landmarks like Sugarloaf Mountain and the Christ the Redeemer statue. Brazilian wood was used in the lounge’s design, and the menu often features Brazilian flavors.
There’s a serviced bar plus a self-service buffet. Unusually, the lounge is also "open to TAP Corporate customers, Edelweiss Business Class customers and Star Alliance Gold members traveling on Edelweiss operated flights," which is an exception to the typical entry rules, as welcoming these additional groups is not common among Star Alliance lounges. These passengers are not allowed to bring guests, though, according to Star Alliance regulations.
Location: In the Intra-Schengen section of Terminal 3 on the upper level of gate area A.
Hours: 5:15 a.m. to 7:45 p.m daily.
More info: Star Alliance Rome
Rome-Fiumicino’s Star Alliance lounge features Italian decor and catering, including a staffed bar that serves Italian espresso as well as other drinks.
Visitors can enjoy views of the airport while dining on regional recipes and snacks prepared from an open kitchen. There is space for as many as 130 travelers.
Can United Club passes be used at Star Alliance-operated lounges?
It is not possible to use United Club passes at a third-party lounge like Star Alliance lounges. United Club passes are for the United Club only, but travelers with United elite status (Premier Gold or higher) will get access to a Star Alliance lounge based on the airline they are flying.
» Learn more: 6 new rules for smarter European travel
Star Alliance lounges offer a nice alternative
You can get into Star Alliance lounges by flying in a premium cabin or holding Star Alliance Gold status. Some lounges also offer access via Priority Pass or day passes.
However you access a Star Alliance lounge, it's a great place to enjoy some peace and quiet before a flight.
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