As platinum and Gold members of United Airlines, my daughter and I both have Star Alliance Gold Membership. On our recent trip to Spain, Portugal, Morocco, and England, the advantages of the Star Alliance and the benefits it offered made our travel experience more than a pleasure.
First, we were both booked in economy class for our trip from Newark to Barcelona. At the airport we requested a Business Class upgrade. The flight still had seats available, so our status as Gold and Platinum members allowed us to be bumped to the top of the upgrade list! For a typical Business Class upgrade, we would have to use 20,000 United Airline Miles as well as pay $550. Considering our economy ticket was purchased a few months ago at less than $800, clearing Business Class for $1350 total would be a great fare. Approximately 1 ½ hours before our flight, we both cleared Business Class — just goes to show how the advantages of sticking with one airline and gaining status was instrumental in helping us achieve this upgrade!
After two days in Barcelona, we headed to Lisbon, Portugal. I chose TAP Airline, which is a member of the Star Alliance. Once at the airport, we were able to go to a special check in counter which had no wait! If we weren’t part of this alliance, we may have had to wait at least 30 minutes to check in. In addition to a speedy check in, we were not charged any additional fees for our overweight bags. We also received Fast Track so we could go through a special security check in place. Additionally, we had priority boarding and excellent seats on the plane. So as you can see, the benefits of flying in your airline alliance are numerous and have an inevitable impact on your travel experience.
A few days later, we departed Lisbon and flew on TAP airline to Marrakech, Morocco. The benefits were afforded to us: Priority check in, Baggage Allowance, Fast Track for Security, Priority Boarding and unbeatable seats on the plane. These are simply a few examples of staying with an alliance of airlines…you truly are treated like family!
Departing Marrakech was not a smooth as our previous stops. We flew British Airways (One World) which had a direct flight from Marrakech, Morocco to London, England instead of flying Star Alliance. Just with flying outside of our typical airline alliance, the travel experience was noticeably less pleasant. We did not have priority check in, so we had to wait in line, pay for our baggage (50 Euros per bag), sit in row 14 (not too bad), and board the plane in group 4. We had arrived at the airport 2 hours prior to departure time and we still almost missed our plane. The security line was so long and of course being out of our alliance gave us no privileges here.
All in all, the benefits of staying within your airline alliance are clear: priority boarding, baggage allowance, better seats assignments, and a faster security line check in process.
As a pointster and avid traveler, I highly recommend you always stay with your airline of choice. The more you fly, the higher member status you achieve, the greater the benefits! It’s as simple as that!