I primarily fly with the Star Alliance network, mainly because it is the largest alliance in the world and I can get to anywhere I need quickly and by flying with some of the world’s top airlines. I have Star Alliance Gold and I fly mainly with the Lufthansa Group (Lufthansa, Austrian, SWISS), I also fly a lot with LOT Polish Airlines (since they are my “home” carrier), and I also fly a lot with United while in America. I love my Star Alliance Gold status because I can access over 1.000 lounges worldwide regardless of my class of travel. Star Alliance Gold also includes some other key benefits such as:
- Priority Check-in
- Extra Baggage Allowance
- Priority Baggage Handling
- Priority Security (where available)
- Worldwide Lounge Access
- Priority Boarding
- Priority Reservations Waitlist
- Priority Airport Standby
One key advantage of having Star Gold with any carrier except United is that you can use the United Clubs even when flying domestically with United. So if I have an Economy ticket with United and I have Lufthansa Star Gold, I can access the United Clubs. If I had an Economy ticket and United Premier Gold or higher, I wouldn’t be able to access the United Club. This is because United (and other U.S. airlines) like to sell lounge memberships and therefore they exclude their own elites from having access unless they have at least one international segment on their itinerary.
Having said all of that, I really want to maintain my oneworld status. I currently have oneworld Sapphire from airBerlin (I did the status match earlier this year) and it has been helpful to me when flying with airBerlin on short European routes for a small amount of miles whereas a revenue ticket could cost me hundreds of dollars. I have also used my Sapphire status with both airBerlin and British Airways to select my seats in advance for free, access lounges, receive priority check-in, boarding, etc.
So why oneworld? Well, sometimes it makes sense to fly with a oneworld carrier, especially on a short European route that can be redeemed for a small amount of Avios. Even redeeming Avios for American Airlines flights might make sense if the flight is short enough and would otherwise cost a ton of money.
I’m not leaving the Star Alliance. They will continue to be (and have always been) my primary alliance. However, I’m actually thinking about attaining status with British Airways as my oneworld status. I was thinking about simply keeping my airBerlin status and flying a few flights so I could extend it past next year and then use airBerlin topBonus as my oneworld status.
I thought about it… and I decided the best oneworld Frequent Flyer Programme for me will be British Airways Executive Club. Why? Because BA has the best redemption rates on short-haul flights… and that’s exactly where I plan to fly oneworld. Also given that BA partners with Alaska Airlines and I live in Seattle for a majority of the year, it should really come in handy to redeem Avios for short-haul Alaska flights.
I’m not going to go for status with American AAdvantage. It doesn’t make sense to me, plus I’m more than sure that they will impose a revenue dollar requirement for status in the next few years… and that’s what I hate. I would much rather stick with non-U.S. carriers for my loyalty and status since it is virtually impossible to trust the major American carriers due to the changes they constantly make.
So what do you guys think? Is there a better option for oneworld status? I have thoroughly analysed all of the options and it really seems like BA Executive Club is the best option for me… plus qualifying for BA Gold shouldn’t be that hard as BA has a tier points system for elite status.