How to get Star Alliance Gold for LIFE with Aegean Airlines

Apart from British Airways, Head for Points focusses more on mileage accumulation than status accumulation. However, it is certainly something that we DO cover, and it is about time that I ran an introduction to the world of Aegean Miles&Bonus.

Aegean Airlines joined Star Alliance in June 2010. The company was only formed in 1999, and is now the largest domestic airline in Greece. It only operates short-haul flights, with a fleet of 29 Airbus A319 / A320 / A321 aircraft. It is not something that would usually get much attention, even amongst the 28 airlines inside Star Alliance.

Aegean

However, what makes Aegean special is that its frequent flyer programme is easiest in the world (I think) to obtain top-tier Gold status. It is certainly the easiest way to get Star Alliance Gold.

And, as part of Star Alliance, a Gold card from Aegean gives you the same benefits as a Gold card issued by Lufthansa – lounge access with all Star Alliance members (plus a guest), priority boarding, extra baggage allowance etc.

The programme is idiot-proof to understand:

You receive 1,000 status miles for signing up – these miles have generally counted towards status although some recent reports suggest they don’t any longer

Credit 3,000 (4,000 if the 1,000 don’t count) further status miles within 12 months and you become ‘Blue’

Credit 16,000 (17,000 if the 1,000 don’t count) further status miles within a further 12 months and you become ‘Gold’

Once you are Gold, you will remain Gold forever (or until Aegean change their rules!) as long as you credit one flight to your account every 36 months

None of these flights need to be on Aegean

The programme runs on a yearly basis from when you change tiers and does not work by calendar year

And that’s it!

Getting 20,000 status miles is relatively easy – although, as ever, you should make make sure that your tickets are in relevant qualifying fare classes. (Not all discounted economy tickets will earn 100% mileage, for instance.)

Here are the qualifying fare classes for all Star Alliance airlines on Aegean. These may be different to those used by other airlines, so check carefully before crediting anything. However, getting those 20,000 status miles for lifetime Star Gold is as easy as flying 10,000 miles in, say, Lufthansa business class in a C, D, Z or J booking class.

I am not recommending that you move all your Star Alliance flights to Aegean. As it happens, the ‘spending’ chart is not too bad. The good news is that they allow one-way awards and the mileage needed is average-to-good based on route. However, they do not allow stopovers. In reality, though, once you’ve credited the initial 20,000 status miles to Aegean you can reassess where you send your future Star mileage.

You can learn more about obtaining Aegean Gold in this Flyertalk thread, although I have covered all of the basics above. It seems unlikely that this generosity will last forever, but if you fly Star Alliance then it is worth looking at this opportunity seriously.

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Comments

  1. Felixstowe Flyer says:

    Hi Raffles.
    Many thanks for your site which is my first call every day. I am not a very frequent flyer but want to build up my miles and status. I obtained Aegean Gold this year with a 2000 point sign up, an economy return flight with South African Airlines LHR-DUR and a 2 segment economy flight to Athens via Frankfurt. Now looking at possible status matches elsewhere as I’m getting hooked on this miles collecting. A pity no oneworld carrier seems to status match

  2. olybeast says:

    Hi raffles, I’ve been looking into this for a couple of months and I think the cheapest way to do it out of Heathrow is LHR-GRU on united on a V ticket (which is economy) this has been at 800-900 quid for a while and should get 19000 miles. I think it stops in MAD before heading to GRU. I think all economy flights on united earn 100% mileage on Aegean. I’m going to do this next feb for my birthday

    • olybeast says:

      Also found it on US on a 100% earning fare for £685 for 17232 miles in feb. depending on where you transit the US the miles vary

      • GUWonder says:

        Most economy class tickets for flights on UA metal do not credit to A3 accounts with 100% miles for the distance traveled. US metal however does credit 100% over to A3 accounts for all regular paid economy class tickets.

      • olybeast says:

        UK passport holders also don’t need a VISA to enter brazil.

  3. Shhhhh Raffles…… :-)

  4. creampuff says:

    I’ve got *A Gold via Aegean.

    Just one single trip:
    London – Venezuela return in biz class on Lufthansa. Business trip. There for a week, only 1.5 days actual work, hotel was right on the beach, on full expenses. It was real hardship! Often I couldn’t decide to eat the steak or the lobster 😉

    Unlike many Aegean members, I have actually flown on them – took a holiday to Greece this year. I thought Aegean was quite OK.

  5. This seems incredible – am I right in thinking I can do this in (virtually) one go? I have an upcoming business trip to Hong Kong which I could switch to Lufthansa and I reckon accrues 19,500 miles according to the M&M calculator. So if I set up an Aegean account and credit it to this I just need to make one of my monthly trips to Basle on Swiss instead of BA, and I get lifetime Gold?

    • creampuff says:

      Well I did it in one go see above London-Caracas return in business, so if you are going to HK in biz class it may also work out.

      However Lufthansa business class blows in comparison to Cathay Pacific (I’m assuming you are on CX; doesn’t apply as much to BA). Unless you plan on doing some economy class Star Alliance trips, where you will benefit from the lounge etc, then I don’t know I’d voluntarily move myself off Cathay Pacific on to a lower standard of biz class.

    • Yes – until Aegean changes their rules! However, you will get a card valid for December in 3 years time (so Dec 2016) so its fine for at least that long.

      Is Lufty on the new flat bed seat?! If not, consider switching to Swiss – the new seats there look good.

  6. Sir Stamford says:

    I have two concerns with regards to A3 namely the mileage earnings ability and so-called lifetime *G status.

    Earnings

    Any FFP needs to be evaluated from both the earn and spend perspective. It is relatively difficult for UK based members to earn miles apart from flying as there are currently no UK based credit cards which allows for mileage accrual either directly or indirectly.

    This has been previously covered by Raffles.
    http://www.headforpoints.com/2013/07/22/what-are-the-best-star-alliance-credit-card-options-for-uk-residents/

    As far as I see, Booking.com and Hertz are the only two main non airline partners.

    Lifetime

    Why would anyone bother accumulating 1 million miles or 1,000 flights with, say, Asiana (OZ) to achieve their Platinum status (providing lifetime *G) when you can more or less achieve the same thing with 20,000 miles with A3 and crediting a single flight every 36 months? In my opinion, the A3 programme is simply not sustainable in the long run.

    The T&C already makes it clear that the criteria can be changed without notice.
    http://en.aegeanair.com/milesandbonus/program-description/terms-conditions/

    “The number of Tier Miles required for each type of Card, as well as the privileges that stem from each tier, may be modified at any time by AEGEAN without prior notice.”

    As any BMI lifetime gold members will tell you, “lifetime” simply means the “lifetime” of the programme or the airline. (BA refused to honour the lifetime status when they status matched).

    There are also questions as to the stability of A3 as an airline company given that they are operating in a shrinking domestic market, unable to compete with LCC and have been loss making every year since 2010. Have a look at this article from CAPA:
    http://centreforaviation.com/analysis/aegean-airlines-caught-between-the-devil-and-the-deep-blue-sea-after-three-annual-losses-in-a-row-103823

    Having previously flown with A3, I do think they are a decent airline and I would have no hesitation in crediting 20,000 miles to gain their *G status for 3 years but I would not consider them as providing lifetime *G status.

    Sir Stamford

    • Obviously I don’t think anyone expects this to really last for their lifetime! However, it is certainly an easy status to get and the card they sends you has a 3 year expiry date from the next December, so you would certainly be good for that period at least.

      • Sir Stamford says:

        I think we are on the same page as that is what I also concluded in my last paragraph i.e. we don’t expect it to last forever. The benefit over 3 years for minimal effort is fantastic nonetheless.

        However, isn’t the title of the post “How to get Star Alliance Gold for LIFE with Aegean Airlines”, when in reality, it isn’t likely to be the case?

        Sir Stamford

        • Plus although the card is valid for 3y, we’re Aegean to go bust I doubt the other carriers would continue to recognise the validity to the end of the expiry! Agree it’s the easiest way to get *G though.

        • I never said it was your lifetime ….! More likely to be Aegean’s lifetime or the lifetime of the programme.

          Given the minimal requirements, you’d be crazy not to go for this because you were concerned about the stability of the airline. You don’t even “lose” the 20,000 miles you credit to Aegean, as long as you credit enough to get to a relevant award level for you. All you lose is the opportunity cost of crediting 20,000 status miles to another scheme.

          I would have no qualms about doing this tomorrow if I’d got a long-haul Star flight coming up (which I don’t, and won’t). However, if my Mrs did – and she is the long-haul business traveller in our house – I would certainly encourage her to do it.

          • Sir Stamford says:

            “More likely to be Aegean’s lifetime or the lifetime of the programme.”

            The probability of A3 changing the requalification criteria in the short to medium term is high, meaning that even if A3 or Miles & Bonus were to survive, the *G status at this level is not guaranteed for the duration of their lifetime!

            Raffles, please don’t take my comments in the wrong way especially when you have taken the trouble to write this fantastic article. A lot of bloggers including Gary Leff have referred to the A3 programme as providing “lifetime” *G. As we stated above, what is at risk is a relatively low 20k miles but all readers should have their expectation properly managed and know what they have signed up for.

            Sir Stamford

    • Aegean is making a loss, but it is expanding and going to acquire Olympic.

      Presumably they will just require 20000 miles every 3 years to renew, rather than 1 flight. I hope they don’t introduce an A3 metal requirement though. Not that they are a bad airline – I would have flown them for LHR-LCA but they cancelled that route.

      Can anyone provide a list of which *A airlines have an own metal requirement to earn *G (not top tier)?

      I earned my *G with 1.5 economy returns on LX (LHR-ZRH-SIN-ZRH-LHR-ZRH-SIN) – then *G for the final return to LHR.

      LX in Y is pretty ok as long as the plane isn’t full.

      • Sir Stamford says:

        It is true A3 is expanding and in the process of acquiring Olympic but whether the European Commission will approve it with the extra concessions made remains to be seen. Even with the merger, they continue to face significant threats from LCC.

        I can’t find a list but on top of my head but I can think of three *A airlines with own metal requirements.

        a) Aviance Lifemiles – 10,000 miles with Aviance for Gold and 15,000 for Diamond
        Link: https://www.lifemiles.com/eng/abo/wnb/wnbelitab.aspx

        b) United – Minimum of 4 paid segements on United, United Express or Copa Airlines is needed for any Premier level. In addition, US based members have to achieve certain minimum annual spending level.
        Link: http://www.mileageplusupdates.com

        c) Air Canada – Members need to earn at least 10,000 AQM or 5 AQS on eligible flights operated by Air Canada or Air Canada Express. I believe the requirements may be changing for 2014 although I haven’t looked into this.
        Link: https://www.aircanada.com/en/agents_na/reference/documents/altitude-top-tier-program.pdf

        Happy for anyone else to chip in.

        Sir Stamford

  7. Danny value says:

    Gosh, Stamford. Lay off raffles! We all understand that nothing lasts forever. It’s an easy way for many of us to get gold across the star alliance.

    • I didn’t take it personally! Journalist license is often taken on HFP with article headlines, especially as they have to be under 120 characters (plus link) to fit on Twitter!

    • Sir Stamford says:

      Thanks – it is nothing about personal attacks or desperately trying to win an argument. It is just laying all the facts on the table as part of the decision making process.

      Sir Stamford

      • That’s why I like this site,
        You can have an opinion, without it turning in to a personal attack , unlike the other related website …

        Enjoy the bank holiday everybody

  8. So I have Gold status with A3 that expires in Dec 2014. What happens with my Gold status after Dec 2014 if I don’t re-collect 20,000 miles till then but I do credit every now an on a *A flight to A3?

  9. Unfortunately, I am not flying business class and noticed that Aegean does not provide credit towards many economy / promotional flights offered by other carriers.

    Which FPP from Star Alliance would be a good way to Gold Status then? I do travel here and there for work, but more short all and encouraged to take discount airlines, so it will take a while to accumulate.

    Lufthansa appears to have alot of diversified airline partners. I currently use Air Canada, but it is super slow in terms of accumulation as I am based in the UK now. Any suggestions?

    • It depends on who are flying – the earning tables are easy to pull up for each airline, as well as the status requirements. You need to trade this off, though, against the ease of spending miles (want one-way redemptions? want low change fees? want low cancellation fees? want cheap redemptions to a certain country in a certain class?).

      Also check how long Gold lasts – Turkish is two years, for instance – and whether there is a ‘soft landing’. Miles & More has issues, but you get Gold for 2 years PLUS the rest of the current year, and that is followed by 2 years of Silver via a ‘soft landing’.

      Remember also that Silver in Star Alliance only gives lounge access with the airline that issues the card, so if you fly Lufthansa then M&M Silver gets you into the lounge. Turkish Silver won’t.

      • Although a lot of economy fares don’t earn great mileage, even at the 25%-75% level you still get the minimum miles. This can soon add up with lots of connecting sectors on airlines like US, UA, LX, SAS and Brussels on reasonable economy fares. It’s a quicker route to gold than most, just check the fare basis before booking.

    • Sir Stamford says:

      If you can provide us with an indication of your normal flying patterns (airlines, booking class, usual routes, number of flights etc), we might be able to recommend a programme.

      TK’s Miles and Smiles does provide a soft landing. For example, if you are an Elite (*G status) member and failed to meet the renewal criteria, your status will be renewed as “Classic Plus”, which is equivalent to *A silver.

      Whilst it is important to consider your flying pattern in making a decision, you should also consider the stability of the airline and FF programme. Malev and Spanair are two recent examples of why this is an important consideration.

      Sir Stamford