Star Alliance Lounge Access: First, Business, Gold, Silver & More

One of the most useful perks that business and first class passengers can enjoy on the ground is lounge access. The same applies to those holding higher-tier frequent flyer statuses.

While the exact lounge you will be able to access depends on the airline you are flying with, when flying with a Star Alliance member airline, you will be able to access not only lounges operated by the airline you are flying with but also by one of its partners.

Continue reading to learn all you need to know about accessing lounges when flying on one of Star Alliance airlines.

Star Alliance Lounge Access: First, Business, Gold, Silver & More
SAS Lounge at Copenhagen is one of the lounges available to Star Alliance passengers.

Star Alliance Lounge Access Policy: General Rules

In the following sections, I will break down Star Alliance lounge access based on classes of travel and frequent flyer status levels. First, though, here are some basics that apply regardless of the way you are eligible to access a lounge:

  • You need to be traveling on a Star Alliance flight; in other words, even if there is an ANA Lounge at the airport you are departing from, for example, you will not be able to access it if you are flying on JAL (there are some exceptions to this when non-Star Alliance airlines have contracts with Star Alliance lounges)
  • You need to be traveling on a paid or an award ticket
  • Your flight needs to be departing on the same day or by 5AM the next morning
  • In cases where you can bring in a guest, the guest needs to be traveling on the same flight as you
Star Alliance Lounge
Lounges are great places to grab a bite to eat or take shower among other things.

Star Alliance Lounge Access by Travel Class

Like with other airlines, if you do not have a frequent flyer status, you will generally have complimentary lounge access if you are flying in business class or first class on Star Alliance member airlines.

That said, depending on the airline you are flying you might also be able to access a lounge in one way or another as a premium economy or economy class passenger.

First Class

If you are traveling in first class on a Star Alliance airline, you will be able to access Star Alliance first class and business class lounges. At airports where neither of those is available, you will be provided access to a third-party contract lounge, as long as there is one. You will be able to enter the lounges with one guest traveling on the same flight as you.

The one exception here is United Airlines’ domestic first class which only comes with complimentary lounge access if you are connecting from an international United business class flight. In other words, US domestic first class itineraries generally do not include lounge access.

When it comes to actual first class lounges like the ANA Suite Lounge, on the alliance level, you will only be able to access those when departing in first class but not during your transfer to a flight in a lower class of service. On the airline level, though, you will in many cases be able to access a first class lounge even if you are connecting to a business class flight.

For example, if you were to fly from Tokyo to Frankfurt in first class on Lufthansa and then connect to Vienna in business class, you could access one of the first class lounges in Frankfurt. That’s because Lufthansa’s rules allow first class passengers entry into its first class lounges on arrival.

Another thing to keep in mind is that not all first class lounges are available for alliance-wide use. Lufthansa and Swiss First Class Lounges are only available to the two airlines’ own passengers, and so is Singapore Airlines’ The Private Room.

Star Alliance First Class Lounge
ANA Suite Lounge at Tokyo Narita is the airport’s Star Alliance first class lounge.

Business Class

If you are traveling on a Star Alliance airline in business class, you will be able to access Star Alliance business class lounges or, in some cases, third-party contract lounges. In either case, unlike when traveling in first class, you will not be able to bring a guest with you unless you have a frequent flyer status.

In many cases when there are multiple Star Alliance airline lounges at an airport, you will be pointed to a specific lounge during check-in.

Typically, this will be the lounge closest to your departure gate. Even in that case, however, you can still access other Star Alliance lounges or even “hop” between them. For example, when checking in for my EVA Air flight from Tokyo Narita, I was pointed to Narita’s United Club. I could have gone to one of the ANA Lounges if I wanted to, though.

Star Alliance Business Class Lounge
Turkish Airlines Lounge is one of a number of Star Alliance business class lounges at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport.

Premium Economy and Economy Class

Lastly, if you are traveling in premium economy or economy class on Star Alliance, you will generally not receive complimentary lounge access unless you also hold a frequent flyer status (more about that in the next section).

There is also no alliance-wide policy on airlines having to offer lounge access to economy class passengers in any other way. That said, to generate additional revenue and give those otherwise ineligible the option to enter a lounge, some Star Alliance member airlines like LOT sell lounge access to their own lounges to otherwise ineligible passengers.

Additionally, those traveling in premium economy on Japan’s ANA get access to ANA Lounges. This is a rare exception of passengers traveling in a class lower than business class receiving complimentary lounge access.

Star Alliance Lounge Access with a Frequent Flyer Status

Having a frequent flyer status with Star Alliance can be helpful when it comes to lounge access both when flying in premium economy and economy class, as well as in business class.

Star Alliance Gold

If you have a status equivalent to Star Alliance Gold, you will be able to access lounges before departing on Star Alliance airline flights. You will also be able to bring a guest with you – this is not only useful if both you and your companion are flying in economy but also if you are flying in business and your companion in economy since business class in itself doesn’t offer guesting privileges.

One special case here is, once again, flying domestically on United Airlines. In that case, if your Star Alliance Gold status is through airline other than United Airlines, you will be able to enjoy lounge access. If you are a Star Alliance Gold member through your United MileagePlus account, though, you will not have complimentary lounge access on the basis of being a Star Alliance Gold member.

Typically, the lounges you will be able to access as a Star Alliance Gold will be the same as those that business class passengers can enter. For example, at Warsaw Airport, Star Alliance Gold members can use LOT Business Lounge Polonez and LOT Business Lounge Mazurek.

That said, some airlines have separate lounges for business class passengers and for Star Alliance Gold members. One such example is Lufthansa which invites its business class passengers to Lufthansa Business Lounges and Star Alliance Gold members to Lufthansa Senator Lounges. Another example is EVA Air which has The Star Lounge for Star Alliance Golds and The Infinity Lounge for business class passengers.

At airports where no Star Alliance airline lounges are available, you might have access to a third-party contract lounge. That said, some airlines only provide access to these lounges to their business and first class passengers and not those flying in economy with a status.

Lastly, when flying on the airline you have a status with, depending on the status level you might be able to enjoy access to better lounges. For example, while ANA Diamond members are equivalent to Star Alliance Gold members on the alliance level, they can access first class ANA Suite Lounges when flying on ANA because they are ANA’s top-tier frequent flyers.

Business Class and Senator Lounges
Lufthansa, Swiss, and Austrian offer Senator Lounges to status holders.

Star Alliance Silver

On an alliance level, Star Alliance Silver status doesn’t come with lounge access as a perk. However, that does not mean you will definitely not have lounge access when flying in economy class.

That’s because some airlines offer lounge access (either unlimited or in the form of a limited number of entries) to those holding their status. These are airline-level perks, though, and so only typically apply when flying on the airline with which you have your status.

For example, Aegean Airlines Miles+Bonus Silver members get four lounge access coupons that can be used to enter Aegean Airlines lounges when flying on Aegean Airlines.


You will generally have access to Star Alliance airline lounges (and third-party contract lounges in some cases) when either flying in business/first class or holding a Star Alliance Gold status. When flying in first class or with a Star Alliance Gold status, you will also be able to bring in a guest traveling on the same flight as you.

The one notable exception when it comes to lounge access is domestic travel on United Airlines where generally first class doesn’t come with complimentary lounge access and where those having Star Alliance Gold status through United cannot access lounges for free either.

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