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.
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.