If you are travelling for business or pleasure then you want to
be as comfortable and hassle free as possible. If you are
travelling frequently then you are probably a member of one, if
not more than one airlines frequent flyer club. You may not know
what to do with all the points you are earning, or even how they
work, however there are many other simpler ways to benefit.
Trying to stay with one airline club does have enormous
benefits, especially if it falls into one of the two biggest
airline alliances, namely, Star Alliance or oneworld. As your
miles increase and as you travel more the more you will eventually
become one of their 'elite' members, with a superior status to the
standard membership level. Some airlines will recognise their most
frequent flyers by giving them the Gold Card or the next tier of
membership. This alone is worth it especially if you have earned
it the hard way - through economy class travel.
Your superior status will generally give you additional
kilogram's, priority check in, priority upgrades, priority
boarding, priority on waitlists (some airlines are even beginning
to offer immediate confirmation), and very importantly the use of
the airport lounges.
Airport lounges vary enormously, some offer great food and
drinks, with shower facilities, work stations, perhaps even a
massage service, or computer games to help you pass the time.
Some though, are cramped and their 'extra' services
really are only a comfortable chair, and complimentary drinks.
Choosing which lounge to use can be a complicated yet very
important part of your comfortable travel experience.
There is, both outside and inside the travel industry, an
enormous misunderstanding that you can only use the lounge of the
airline that you are travelling on. NOT SO. This means that you
have a lot more choice than you previously thought, if you are
travelling as a Gold Card Member of one of the two alliances
Let's say for example that you are travelling as a gold
card member of Royal Orchid Plus (Thai Airlines) which is a member
of the Star Alliance. As long as you are flying on any of the Star
Alliance airlines then you can use ANY of the lounges that falls
under Star Alliance, you are not restricted to using Thai's lounge
if you are flying Thai. You could use any of the lounges such as
United, SAS, Air Canada, Lufthansa, Varig, Ansett Australian, Air
New Zealand, All Nippon Airways, and of course Thai.
All you have to do is present a same day boarding pass on
a Star Alliance airline, and your gold card, and you will be let
This gives you enormous choice. For example the Thai lounge at
Hong Kong's International Airport is great and they serve
wonderful Dim Sum in the mornings, the food however in the
afternoon however is not that great, so you may be better using
United's, which has excellent fruit and some cheese selections.
United's lounge also has much better computer facilities and is
larger thus less cramped.
In London, if you smoke you will not
be able to do so at Thai's lounge but you can at United and SAS's
lounges . Again United's lounge at Heathrow Terminal 3 is
enormous, with excellent computer facilities, a very large smoking
section and very highly trained professional staff.
you the ability to choose, if for example you need to connect to
the Internet with your computer, and all the four terminals at
Thais lounge in Singapore are taken, you could always go and see
if the stations at United's lounge are free.
airlines aren't too happy with this as more often than not the
other airline lounge charges the one you are flying with, but at
present there is nothing that they can do.
Feel you won't be
able to make it to gold status or above or just want to make sure
you can make use of a lounge when flying? Find out how you can buy
your way into lounges with
Priority Pass or
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