A Star Alliance Gold frequent flyer card unlocks plenty of business class privileges and perks, even if you're flying in economy.
From priority check-in at the airport and a fast track through airport security to a larger free allowance for checked luggage and of course access to some of the best airport lounges, along with that ever-present chance for an upgrade – Gold status is the way to go.
And a Gold-grade frequent flyer card with any airline belonging to the Star Alliance family is recognised by every airline in the group.
That includes Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana, EVA, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Swiss, Thai and United Airlines, among others.
(Star Alliance is the world's largest airline alliance, so there are plenty of airlines waiting to shower you with a bit of VIP treatment.)
So how do get Star Alliance Gold status? The hard way – and the expensive way – is to fly tens of thousands of bum-numbing miles on a Star Alliance airline.
The easy way is to take advantage of a 'status match' offer through which a Star Alliance airline will provide free Gold membership in its frequent flyer scheme if you're already an equivalent Gold class member with a competing airline.
Right now, the best way to get free Star Alliance Gold status is through a status match promotion run by Star Alliance member Turkish Airlines.
Here's a rundown to make this super-easy.
What you need
To qualify for Turkish Airlines' free status match deal, you'll need a top-tier frequent flyer card from any airline belonging to the Oneworld, Star Alliance or SkyTeam groups.
Specifically, that's Oneworld Emerald, Star Alliance Gold or SkyTeam Elite Plus.
A few examples: Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum or Platinum One (as Qantas belongs to Oneworld), Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Gold or PPS Club (for Star Alliance) and Delta Air Lines Gold, Platinum and Diamond Medallion (for SkyTeam).
However, frequent flyer cards from airlines which don't belong to any of those alliances aren't accepted – which rules out the likes of Virgin Australia, Etihad, Emirates and Virgin Atlantic.
What you get
Any of those cards make you eligible for Elite status in Turkish Airlines Miles and Smiles frequent flyer program, which in turn is equivalent to Star Alliance Gold status.
How to get your free Star Alliance Gold status
First up, join the Turkish Airlines Miles and Smiles scheme – it's free.
Then scan or take a photo of your qualifying frequent flyer card, and grab a copy of your most recent account statement (for example, Qantas frequent flyers can obtain this by clicking ‘View activity statement’ on the Qantas website).
The process can take a few weeks, so be patient – but if you meet the criteria then you'll soon be able to tuck a Star Alliance Gold card into your travel wallet, ready for your next trip.
Additional reporting by David Flynn
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