Singapore Airlines has tightened the lounge entrance requirements at SFO, now refusing to let in Star Gold members traveling on purely domestic itineraries.
Here’s the official Star Alliance policy on lounge access for Star Gold members:
Star Alliance Gold Customers Travelling in Any Class: Customers have access to any Star Alliance member carriers’ owned lounges with the Star Alliance Gold logo at the entrance.
- Customer must present a valid frequent flyer programme Star Alliance Gold level card
- Customer must also present a boarding card for a same day Star Alliance flight departing from the local airport
- Customer is entitled to one guest
- Continental, United, and US Airways Star Alliance Gold customers may only access the Presidents Club, Red Carpet Club and US Airways Clubs within the U.S. when travelling in conjunction with a Star Alliance international flight.
As you can see, there is no exception for Singapore Airlines’ lounges.
With the recent remodeling of the lounge at SFO (pictures here), there is even more seating than before so I cannot imagine that the problem is lack of seating.
It would not surprise me if the root of this problem is that United is not paying Singapore for the members who access their lounge. We do not know how much airlines pay each other when members access partner lounges, but it is rumored to be in the ballpark of $20-25. Unfortunately, I will not be passing through SFO anytime soon, but I have reached out to SQ’s Station Manager at SFO for a clarification of the policy. I will share any updates I receive with you here.
I would also be interested to know if only UA or UA/CO/US flyers are being denied, or whether all Star Alliance Gold members are denied. While the policy seems to apply to all Star Alliance golds, flyers with a British Midland or other "foreign" Star Alliance gold card might still be able to gain access.
If this policy sticks, it marks a dangerous precedent in terms of Star Alliance lounge access for domestic travelers in the United States who hold Star Gold status. This move could prompt Lufthansa, which offers a tremendous lounge at Washington Dulles, to implement a similar policy.
From Flyertalk, apparently this policy decision was made by a woman named Cynthia. If you happen to be passing through SFO in the weeks ahead, may I kindly suggest you knock on the door of the lounge (open from about 0900-1200 and 2100-0000) and express your dissatisfaction of the new policy to Cynthia?