Star Alliance, the world’s largest airline alliance in the world with 26 participating member airlines, recently modified the terms of lounge access for their Gold members, the highest tier of elite status in Star Alliance.
Gold members in Star Alliance are given the benefit of accessing airline lounges before their flights with a Star Alliance member. Typically, they will be directed to the Star Alliance lounge of the airport. In the (rare) case that the airport does not have a Star Alliance lounge, Star Alliance will direct the passenger to a third-party contract lounge that they have ties with.
However, going forward, Star Alliance is no longer obligated to provide lounge access to its Gold members where third-party lounges are concerned. Business class passengers will still have access to these third-party lounges, while Gold members will still have (confirmed) access to Star Alliance lounges.
Why did this change come about?
Earlier this month, United Airlines, one of Star Alliance’s biggest airlines, remodified their terms and conditions for its own Gold members, restricting them to only a select few of contract lounges when its own equivalent of Star Alliance Gold members are flying. For instance, Ajay from Live from a Lounge reports that United Airlines has no longer offered lounge access to its Gold members in Mumbai where there is no Star Alliance Lounge.
Right now, it seems that Star Alliance has quickly followed suit so that all of its member airlines are held by the same standard rather than otherwise.
It seems like the trend where loyalty programmes cutting down benefits for its top-tier benefits just keeps on rolling (yes, I’m referring to you Grab). This is no doubt a downside to being an elite member of Star Alliance, considering how much a lounge changes the entire flight experience.
Perhaps its time to switch to Oneworld..