Got status? Insider tip on enjoying airline clubs when you travel

May 04, 2011
Fares from Washington DC:

    You probably already know that one of the benefits of obtaining elite status in a global airline alliance is that you gain entrance to those posh airport lounges, where you can while away the hours waiting for your flight, enjoying comfy chairs, free Champagne, snacks, and other perks. But did you know that the 27-airline Star Alliance is the only one of the three global airline alliances to extend comprehensive access to international business class lounges of alliance-member airlines if you're a paid member of Air Canada’s Maple Leaf Lounge, Continental’s Presidents Club, United’s Red Carpet Club, and US Airways’ Club members, when flying internationally? No matter what class of service you are flying or your elite status, simply flash your club membership card and you gain access to alliance member lounges across the globe.

    So let’s say you’re a paid member of the US Airways Club and you’re flying in economy class internationally on a Star Alliance airline, such as Lufthansa. Flash your membership card and a boarding pass for a flight that day, and you and a guest can enjoy Lufthansa’s business class lounge.

    This benefit is often underused since most people think that Star Alliance Gold status or travel in a premium cabin is required to gain club room access in the above scenario. 

    Use of any Star member business class lounge is eligible, but not all lounge agents are fully aware of this benefit.

    The SkyTeam alliance offers this benefit on a very limited scale, giving Delta SkyClub members access to a few alliance lounges scattered around the system, and oneworld only offers access to Qantas lounges.

    More details about Star Alliance’s free lounge access for paid club members of Air Canada, Continental, United and US Airways, visit this link: http://www.staralliance.com/en/benefits/lounges/lounge-access-policy/

    Another little known fact: members with Star Alliance Gold status earned on non-North American carriers but who are flying on North American-based airlines, such as United, get access to any North American lounge of Air Canada, Continental, United, and US Airways even when traveling domestically in the U.S. since they are considered an international traveler. That’s because their airline program affiliation is from overseas. (Read our article on how to get fast and easy Star Alliance Gold status).   

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