Star Alliance halts plan for new Platinum, Diamond status tiers

Star Alliance halts plan for new Platinum, Diamond status tiers

Star Alliance is no longer actively considering new alliance-wide elite tiers above the Gold level – such as Star Alliance Platinum, or even Star Alliance Diamond as tipped in 2018 – with the alliance instead redirecting its focus to bolstering benefits for its long-standing Star Alliance Silver and Gold levels.

Speaking with Australian Business Traveller on the sidelines of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Annual General Meeting in Seoul, Star Alliance Vice President Customer Experience, Christian Draeger, elaborates:

“There were some thoughts around that third (or even fourth) tier, but after looking at that, we decided that instead of doing that, we rather want to focus on solidifying our benefits that we currently offer.”

“We're in the middle of a review on this,” Draeger continues, “but it's not only about new benefits: it’s also the extension and the upgrading of existing benefits.”

This includes the ongoing expansion of Star Alliance Gold Track – offering business and first class passengers, and Star Alliance Gold frequent flyers, a clearly-signposted and expedited path through the usual airport formalities – which the airline has now rolled out to over 200 airports worldwide.

Australian Business Traveller understands that during meetings between Star Alliance member airlines, some of those members indicated a strong preference to maintain the exclusivity of their existing high-level loyalty tiers and the perks they provide, so the alliance’s focus shifted to increasing the experience for Star Alliance Silver and Gold members.

Star Alliance CEO Jeffrey Goh explains that a key part of the review is on “keeping and pursuing (Star Alliance) Gold customers, (through) benefits the airlines themselves can offer, or benefits we can have in partnership with other parties related to the travel industry.”

Draeger tips that “it would be too early to say what some of those benefits are – I don't know, free inflight WiFi or things like that – and it might very well be that (the third tier) will be periodically looked at again. But right now, we’re just really focused on the benefit side.”

Chris Chamberlin is attending the IATA AGM in Seoul as a guest of IATA.

PREVIOUS [June 4 2018, by David Flynn] | 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.

Read: Why Oneworld Emerald is the best status a frequent flyer can have

Chris Chamberlin
Chris Chamberlin is a senior journalist with Australian Business Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!
 

12 comments

  • jeppetto367

    jeppetto367

    4 Jun, 2018 10:51 am

    If this happens, I would image we would see *A Platinum flyers finally get SilverKris Lounge access in Changi. Hopefully this would extend to VA Platinum when flying SQ too. All just hopeful in the end...
    Member who gave thanks

    Ecab54

  • fresh  thoughts

    freshthoughts

    4 Jun, 2018 12:44 pm

    This would make Star alliance a lot more competitive against one world as at the moment this is definitely one of the biggest advantages one world has.
    No member give thanks

  • vantage03

    vantage03

    4 Jun, 2018 01:35 pm

    This would totally make *A more competitive, but in general their FCLs are smaller and couldn’t cope with much more extra traffic.

    That said, if we’re talking a big jump in qualification requirements, I’m sure LH FCLs could cope with the few Solitaire PPS members passing through their airports, and likewise with SQ’s The Private Room coping with a couple of HON Circle members here and there.

    The thing with these tiers, especiallly LH HON, is that they make QF Platinum One look easy and cheap to achieve (and that says something)... so we’re talking small numbers and the benefits would be greatly appreciated for those travelers.

    Anyway, positive news!
    Member who gave thanks

    koji

  • elchriss0

    elchriss0

    6 Jun, 2018 11:37 am

    SQ have a separate First lounge for Star partner airlines to send their F pax, so they'd probably use that rather than have additional entry to TPR
    No member give thanks

  • Himeno

    Himeno

    4 Jun, 2018 04:36 pm

    Wait, Star Alliance had a board meeting in Sydney when it doesn't have any members in Australia?
    Member who gave thanks

    spankee

  • David Flynn

    David

    4 Jun, 2018 05:06 pm

    Airline CEOs are in Sydney for IATA summit.
    No member give thanks

  • Tristan

    tris06

    4 Jun, 2018 07:41 pm

    Sky team would likely struggle to get all members to add another level in the program. And to be honest the biggest issue would be with the Chinese airlines.
    China Southern and China Eastern only have 2 elite levels (Gold and Silver). Plus they never allow members to use their business class or first class lounges on international or domestic flights. Instead all elite members can only use the 3rd class members lounge. So using CZ as an example i am not sure they would ever allow members on the top rung into even a business class lounge run by themselves..

    And Oneworld flyers want them in their program?
    No member give thanks

  • Zee

    Zee

    6 Jun, 2018 08:20 pm

    China Eastern actually added the Platinum membership 2 years ago, and both China Eastern and China Southern are known to have invite-only elite membership for the VVIPs. Also, it has been rumored than China Southern will add another elite level to their FFP in the near future catching up with Air China and China Eastern.
    No member give thanks

  • John Harley

    jch

    3 Jun, 2019 09:40 am

    Good news for anyone scraping through with enough miles for Asiana *G every two years :)
    No member give thanks

  • k  lane

    londoner

    3 Jun, 2019 11:24 pm

    Star Alliance huge draw back is they do not reward or award status for all flights on member airlines - recently flew LHR - Shenzhen - LHR in business class ( discounted business class ) to discover no air points or status points with these flights with my primary account on Air NZ as £2300 ticket was an excluded award class
    Completely unacceptable when a fellow colleague paying half the price in economy was awarded by his Lufthansa miles & miles.
    One World recognizes and rewards all flights - SA needs to get it act together
    No member give thanks

  • rocketship

    rocketship

    4 Jun, 2019 08:42 am

    > One World recognizes and rewards all flights

    Not always true - Qatar Airways flights in cheaper fare buckets often don't yield any points or status credits, which is pretty disheartening if you do a return to Europe!
    No member give thanks

  • elchriss0

    elchriss0

    4 Jun, 2019 08:58 am

    oneworld most definetely do not reward all flights
    No member give thanks

Guest

20 Jun, 2019 01:38 am

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