If you’re an expert, skip this post, but I figured I’d remind people of this policy, as it really seems to surprise some people. It even confused me for years.
As a Star Alliance Gold member you get access to any Star Alliance Gold lounge whenever you fly a Star Alliance airline. That means, for example, when you’re an Air Canada Elite you get access to any Star Gold lounge, even when flying domestically. As a United Premier Executive you get access to the Air New Zealand Koru lounges when traveling within New Zealand.
The only exception to getting lounge access, is Continental, United, and US Airways elites. They restrict access to each others’ elites when traveling domestically within the United States. That means as a Continental elite you can’t use a Red Carpet Club when flying domestically without a membership. As a US Airways elite you don’t get access to a Presidents Club when traveling domestically. Note that this isn’t a Star Alliance policy, but rather a mutual agreement between those three carriers.
You do, however, get access to all other Star Alliance Gold lounges when traveling domestically. Now they’re somewhat limited here in the US, and some are in terminals that are hard to access when flying domestically, but they’re out there.
That means as a United Premier Executive flying between Washington Dulles and Tampa you can use the Lufthansa Senator Lounge at IAD. That means as a Continental Gold you can use the Lufthansa Senator Lounge at DTW when traveling between Detroit and Newark. That means as a US Airways Platinum you can use the Singapore Airlines Silver Kris Lounge when traveling on United between San Francisco and Los Angeles. That means (in theory), that you can use the Swiss business class lounge at New York JFK when traveling between New York JFK and Charlotte on US Airways as a Star Gold, since that lounge is landside.
So while the lounges are tough to find and often inconveniently located, you do have access to a few very nice lounges when traveling domestically, even as a Star Gold member with a US carrier.