A year ago Star Alliance CEO Jeffrey Goh teased the idea of increased award availability and a new top tier within the global alliance. Unfortunately, passengers who have “kept their eyes peeled” as Goh suggested are unlikely to see a new Star Alliance elite tier any time soon. In an update at the IATA Annual General Meeting in Seoul this weekend Goh indicated that no such development is expected soon.
A key challenge for adding the new tier was determining what benefits that might include. Goh indicated that the alliance had conversations with both program operators and top travelers to feel out what benefits might be compelling for that new elite tier. At the same time, however, the alliance considered a number of options around expanding offerings to the existing Star Alliance Gold and Silver tiers. It appears that plan will win out, at least for now.
While the news may be disappointing for some hoping to qualify for the new tier, it does not mean that new benefits will not be forthcoming. During his briefing on Sunday morning Goh announced, “The priority at this time is to pursue delivering additional benefits to existing tiers, either from the member airlines or things we can coordinate as an alliance through other travel partners.”
The idea of an alliance driving and delivering benefits, rather than depending on the member airlines, presents significant potential for the industry. Historically the alliances served as coordinators more than innovators. They work as middlemen to deliver lounge access and priority check-in. Expanding the benefits beyond just the airport experience, to other steps along the travel ribbon, presents a huge opportunity for transformation in the industry.
Exactly how that will play out remains unclear. Much like with the conversation last year around adding the new tier, finding the right mix of offerings that will resonate with consumers and be affordable to the group is likely to prove difficult. But Star Alliance is working on that.
More from the IATA AGM 2019
- Star Alliance pulls back on Diamond tier plans
- Thai Smile to join Star Alliance as connecting partner
- Korean Air plans interior overhaul, inflight connectivity service
- Investment & Innovation: KLM’s sustainability initiatives
- Air France goes all-in on RFID bag tracking
- A Hong Kong Surprise: PaxEx Update (16 August 2019)
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Thorough check in would be nice.
Seth Miller says
But that has nothing to do with elite status.
Tri Hoang says
Free seat selection for economy / extra leg room seats when available.
Whoever gets to this imaginary Diamond level will not need extra anything in coach because it is somebody that flies premium cabins. I imagine they want to compete with the “private jet experience” and attract those who are not price sensitive.
Seth Miller says
I think you might be surprised about how much time even top tier (HON/PPS/GS/CK/DL360) pax spend in economy. Also, it isn’t happening anyways so the debate about what the benefits might be is moot.
Too many elites in Star Alliance, every man and his dog with a fancy US credit card, I wish they would start a Diamond Elite, so that gives us who actually fly less time with the riff-raff in the Business Lounges. Diamonds using the First Lounges. Now that would be nice Star Alliance. One World Emerald are doing it
Seth Miller says
It isn’t going to happen. Also, there aren’t enough first class lounges for that to make sense anyways.
And the US credit cards come with a lounge membership, not status.