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I know we all try to stay loyal to a couple airlines in order to maximize our miles and achieve the all mighty top echelon of status, but no matter how hard we try there are some instances where we just can’t travel our preferred carrier. Which usually means last on the list as far as boarding goes equating to “give me the ticket so when you gate check my bag I have some way of locating it after the handler forgets to put it on the plane”.
This doesn’t necessarily always have to be the case. If you’re flying on a Star Alliance carrier and at least Gold level status with one of the members, the others will let you board with their preferred/elite members. Giving you that precious head start on overhead bin space. I’m Gold with US Airways, but end up on United some of the time. I’ve used this process every time with no problems yet. The process is pretty simple.
When you book your flight, make sure that your membership number with the carrier holding your elite status is included instead of the membership number at the lesser carrier. You can’t always do this through the website. I usually hit up the gate agent and he/she will exchange my ticket. One time I was running late and just showed the agent my card on the way through the line and away I went.
Give it a shot. It works.