Star Alliance Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond? The world's largest global airline alliance – which includes heavy-hitters such as Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa and United among its roster – is looking at adding one or more top rungs to its frequent flyer ladder.
Star Alliance CEO Jeffrey Goh confirmed to Australian Business Traveller that the group's board meeting in Sydney yesterday discussed introducing "one or more levels" above the Gold tier.
"It's a question that's been floating around for some while, at how we can upgrade the loyalty proposition of Star Alliance," Goh said, adding that part of this was "understanding there can be perhaps one or more levels above the Gold proposition. It's not an easy proposition to address but keep your eyes peeled."
Most of the 21 frequent flyer schemes represented in Star Alliance have the two or even three highest ranks of their frequent flyer scheme bunched together in the same Star Alliance Gold tier.
Adding Platinum or Diamond tiers above Gold would better align the alliance-wide scheme with the individual loyalty programs of its member airlines.
By way of example, this could see Singapore Airlines' KrisFlyer PPS Club and Lufthansa's Miles & More HON Circle shift into a more alliance-wide rarefied tier with increased benefits.
The competing SkyTeam alliance has an identical two-level structure with Elite and Elite Plus tiers.
However, Star's arch-rival Oneworld offers three levels – Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald – which generally match to the Silver, Gold and Platinum (or equivalent) grades of its member airline's frequent flyer programs.
Emerald-grade members subsequently enjoy access to the first class lounge of most Oneworld airlines even when flying in economy, while Sapphire card-holders are restricted to business lounges.