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Can I Get Elite Perks When Flying a Partner Airline?

Dear Tim,

If you are Platinum on US Airways, does that apply to flights on all Star Alliance carriers also?


Dear Jeffrey,

By virtue of your Platinum Preferred status in US Airways’ program, you also have Gold status on all Star Alliance carriers.

Here’s how elite status works with the Star Alliance, a network of 17 airlines including United, US Airways, Lufthansa, and Singapore Airlines.

Each Star carrier has its own frequent flyer program, with its own elite tiers and qualification criteria. In order to recognize elite flyers of the member carriers when they travel on other airlines in the Star network, the alliance has its own elite program, with Silver and Gold tiers. Elite members of all Star airlines are assigned either Star Alliance Silver or Star Alliance Gold status. The same basic approach applies in the other two global airline alliances, oneworld and SkyTeam.

In the case of US Airways Dividend Miles members, Silver Preferred elites receive Star Alliance Silver status, and Gold Preferred, Platinum Preferred, and Chairman’s Preferred elites are Star Alliance Gold. Elite members receive all the benefits associated with their status when flying on any airline within the Star network.

But don’t get too excited—the benefits you receive on US Airways flights as an elite Dividend Miles member are far more generous than the benefits associated with Star Alliance Gold status.

The advantages of being a Dividend Miles elite member include such perks as upgrades and elite bonus miles when flying US Airways. However, the perks enjoyed by Star Alliance Gold members are limited to the following: priority status for check-in, airport standby, boarding, and wait-listing on fully booked flights; extra baggage allowance; and airport lounge access. Of those, the most meaningful benefit for most will be access to the airport lounges of other Star airlines.

For Star Alliance Silver members, the perks are very limited indeed: priority wait listing and priority airport standby status.

Ultimately, while elite status may be earned in both an individual airline’s program and in the global alliance in which that airline participates, the benefits differ considerably and should not be confused.

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