Point Me to the Miles

Navigating the Path to Great Travel

The Path to Free Airport Lounge Access

One way to get airport lounge access is to have upper-tier status, as recognized by an airline alliance.  So while each airline runs their own frequent flyer program (or programme, if you are British) each has an elite-status threshold if you will, that earns specific privileges within that entire alliance.  For example, while my Gold Medallion status solely comes from the Delta SkyMiles program, it earns me recognition across the SkyTeam alliance of airlines as a Sky Priority member.

Often, be it SkyTeam, Star, or OneWorld alliance, upper-tier membership benefits include lounge access.  However, when travelling domestically, due to a lack of profitability, if you hold your status with an American program, you will be excluded from entering a lounge based on your status.  Yet, a common loophole is that if you hold such mid-to-high tier status with a foreign carrier, that is enough to grant airport lounge access, even when flying solely domestically.

Thus, I recently followed Gary’s advice and matched my status with Delta to Turkish Air, of the Star Alliance.  By e-mailing a screenshot of my Delta account along and requesting a status match, I was granted “Elite Card”level status, which lasts for the next two years.  So any time I happen to find myself flying United, even if just domestic, not only do I get priority check-in and boarding, I also get free United Club access!

Ben posted recently that American was excluding One-World Sapphire and Emerald members, per the following verbage on their website:

American Airlines AAdvantage® members and oneworld top tier status holders, regardless of their tier status, cannot access lounges when travelling solely on North American itineraries within or between the U.S., Canada, Mexico (except Mexico City), the Bahamas, Bermuda and the Caribbean.

Were it to be upheld, American’s decision here leaves me looking for a 5-letter word, which I believe contains the letters C, H, E, A, and P!

Fortunately, this appears to be a goof, but it is still a good lesson:  If you want free airport lounge access, become elite in a foreign airline program!


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One thought on “The Path to Free Airport Lounge Access

  1. Pingback: Must Haves for Navigating the Path to Better Travel | Field Of Burch

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