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This is how Star Alliance can learn from Oneworld Emerald status

Sept. 28, 2022
4 min read
Avianca Airbus A330 in Star Alliance livery
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Let's face it — besides the business-class lounge access and liberalized luggage policies, Star Alliance Gold benefits are somewhat lackluster. This is especially true when you compare its benefits to top-tier Oneworld elite status, Oneworld Emerald, a fan favorite here at TPG.

But what benefits should Star Alliance status offer? Let's take a closer look at Oneworld Emerald and discuss what a hypothetical top-tier Star Alliance should offer.

Oneworld and Star Alliance status tiers

First of all, it's important to note that Star Alliance only has two tiers — Silver and Gold.

Oneworld, on the other hand, offers three tiers — Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald.

With access to business-class lounges, priority boarding and its extra luggage allowance, Star Alliance Gold closely mirrors the mid-tier Oneworld Sapphire benefits.

But for upper elites, Star Alliance Gold falls short of offering the benefits that top-tier Oneworld Emerald elites enjoy. Therefore, what Star Alliance lacks is a status equivalent to Oneworld Emerald.

So for the purpose of this article, let's call a hypothetical Oneworld Emerald equivalent status tier "Star Alliance Platinum."

Current Star Alliance Gold benefits

United Premier Gold members and have select perks when traveling on partner airlines like Lufthansa. KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

While there are some notable exceptions — like no access to the United Club on domestic United flights and limited benefits for basic economy ticketed fares — Star Alliance Gold elites have the following perks when flying any of the 26 Star Alliance member airlines.

  • Priority waitlisting.
  • Priority airport standby.
  • Priority check-in.
  • Priority boarding.
  • Priority baggage handling.
  • Lounge access.
  • Extra baggage allowance.

This means that an Avianca elite with Star Alliance Gold traveling on a Lufthansa economy ticket would be eligible for business-class lounge access, free checked luggage and priority services along the way.

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Related: Which mileage program is best for getting Star Alliance status quickly?

Current Oneworld Emerald benefits

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

Now, let's look at the benefits that Oneworld offers its top-tier elites across the 13 member airlines. Remember, there are some exceptions here, too. For example, American and Alaska elites cannot access lounges without a separate membership on domestic flights.

  • Access to first- and business-class lounges.
  • Access to first-class priority check-in.
  • “Fast Track” or “Priority Lane” access at select airports worldwide.
  • Priority baggage handling.
  • Extra baggage allowance.
  • Priority boarding.
  • Priority on waitlists and when on standby.
  • Access to preferred or pre-reserved seating.

So if you're a British Airways Gold elite member (which includes Oneworld Emerald), you can access first-class lounges regardless of your class of service. That means if you fly Finnair economy from London's Heathrow Airport (LHR), you'll have access to the British Airways first-class lounge and enjoy complimentary checked luggage, fast-track security and other priority benefits.

Related: Act fast: How to earn Oneworld Emerald status for under $3,000 this year

What 'Star Alliance Platinum' should offer

The Lufthansa first-class lounge in Frankfurt Airport (FRA). ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

There are several benefits that Oneworld Emeralds enjoy that Star Alliance Gold members don't have. Two of the biggest exclusions are first-class lounge access and preferred or pre-reserved seating.

In addition to the existing Star Alliance Gold benefits, Star Alliance Platinum should give elite members access to first-class check-in and lounge access (on airlines that operate a separate business-class and first-class product).

That would open up aspirational locations like the new SilverKris First lounge at Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) and the Lufthansa first-class lounge in Frankfurt Airport (FRA). Plus, it would enhance the travel experience for the most frequent Star Alliance travelers.

Preferred or pre-reserved seating would also be an appealing perk for Star Alliance Platinums. Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Lufthansa and SWISS charge for advanced seat selection on most economy and premium seats. That can be an unwelcome expense on United flights with inter-Europe connections.

Related: Book this, not that: Star Alliance award tickets

Bottom line

Whether it's by improving the existing Star Alliance Gold benefits or creating a new Star Alliance "Platinum" tier, it's high time for Star Alliance top elites to enjoy some of the benefits that Oneworld extends to its top-tier elites.

By doing so, maximizing the Star Alliance partners to earn United status would be far more appealing. Star Alliance could once again set the standard in the airline alliance sphere.

Featured image by AARONP/BAUER-GRIFFIN/GC IMAGES
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
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Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023