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How Adam got Star Alliance Gold for three years in one trip!

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A Head for Points reader got in touch with me on 11th December with a question.  Whilst a committed Avios collector, he had to travel to San Francisco for work and was required to fly on United Airlines.  He wanted to know if his miles would go to waste or if there was any scheme that would get him something useful for so few miles.

Luckily, I was able to point Adam to one of the most amazing deals in the miles and points world. 

Aegean Airlines of Greece – a Star Alliance member – offers Star Alliance Gold status, valid for three years, for just 20,000 status miles.

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.

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 historically counted towards status

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 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!

For Adam, this worked perfectly.  He emailed me last week to say that his San Francisco flight has earned him 10,716 miles each way, flying business class.  It took a couple of days after the flights credited for his status to update, but he is now Star Alliance Gold for three years!

And, as long as he takes a flight every three years with any Star airline (and as long as Aegean don’t change their rules) he will retain Star Gold indefinitely.

The Aegean programme may or may be one that you want to credit your flight to in the long-term.  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, once you’ve credited the initial 20,000 status miles to Aegean you can reassess where you send your future Star mileage.

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.

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 – as Adam found – it is worth looking at this opportunity seriously.

How to earn American Airlines miles from UK credit cards

How to earn Star Alliance miles from UK credit cards (June 2024)

None of the Star Alliance airlines currently have a UK credit card.

There is, however, still a way to earn Star Alliance miles from a UK credit card

The route is via Marriott Bonvoy. Marriott Bonvoy hotel loyalty points convert to over 40 airlines at the rate of 3:1.

The best way to earn Marriott Bonvoy points is via the official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card. It comes with 20,000 points for signing up and 2 points for every £1 you spend. At 2 Bonvoy points per £1, you are earning (at 3:1) 0.66 airline miles per £1 spent on the card.

There is a preferential conversion rate to United Airlines – which is a Star Alliance member – of 2 : 1 if you convert 60,000 Bonvoy points at once.

The Star Alliance members which are Marriott Bonvoy transfer partners are: Aegean, Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Avianca, Copa Airlines, Singapore Airlines, TAP Air Portugal, Thai Airways, Turkish Airlines and United Airlines.

You can apply here.

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

HUGE 60,000 POINTS BONUS UNTIL 2nd JULY and 15 elite night credits each year Read our full review

Comments (34)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Swanhunter says:

    Worth pointing out that the programme rules require you to credit all Star flights to Aegean if using the Star Gold benefits. No idea how they police this (if at all) however.

    The award chart isn’t bad at all. No bmi value but some of the intra region awards could deliver value eg Cook Islands to Perth via AKL in NZ business.

    • John says:

      This is not required, but checkin agents or lounge dragons may force you to credit to A3 if using the benefits.

  • Nick says:

    I had a similar experience in November last year. Fly from London to Toronto to Vancouver and back to London, in Business on Air Canada, and now I’m Gold. We fly to Greece a lot and now having Gold I can fly Aegean with status and not have to fly BA with silver status.. having the choice is great!

  • Tim Millea says:

    Aegean run a very handy service from Manchester to Athens. Last time I went, I flashed my (free) Regus Gold card (which has printed on it “partner of Lufthansa” and Star Alliance) at one of the two Star Alliance lounges in Manchester for complimentary access. Genuine Gold status with Aegean would be very attractive.

    • Charlie says:

      We’re you just lucky? I have a Regus gold card (via the Virgin Black Amex credit card), I might give this a go next time i pass a Star Alliance lounge.

      • Tim Millea says:

        Yes, I was lucky. I just tried the same with Turkish Airlines’ domestic lounge in Istanbul. It took seven people to decide that the Regus card was not acceptable. However, for 25 TL (£8.60 on my card) I was given access to the Premiere Class lounge in the domestic terminal. This is the Mastercard price, otherwise it is 40 Euros.

  • ltoph says:

    Is there any mileage run opportunities from the UK? I have received my Blue card from taking a long haul flight to Asia last year but still have about 5500 miles to credit to get to Gold before my Tier miles expire this May.

    • Rob says:

      However you cut it, you’re looking at a big trip to get that sort of number. If some discounted SAS fares DO qualify (see Points To Be Made comment above) then a few weekends away to Scandinavia may do it. London to Stockholm is only 890 miles, though, so you’d be looking at 3 return flights – and you’d need to check the fare class carefully.

      Failing that, New York in a 1.0x earning fare class would do it.

  • squills says:

    I had one of those. Bit easy to spot, but you do wonder. Right click/ Message source (& view in safety)/ Delete is the route I normally take 😉

  • Rob says:

    I was with a mate yesterday who got this. Obvious fake for someone like me to spot but it was half decent. First giveaway was ‘Order number’ at the top, then a departure from ‘London’ (no airport named) and no destination named.

  • Lux says:

    Achieved this with one well-priced business class trip from London to Sydney on Asiana over New Year, and received the card a couple of weeks ago. Think it expires 2015. This is a handy card to play the status match game, which I think is how I managed to get Lufthansa Gold for a couple of years. Or maybe that was photoshopping my points statement. It was a decade ago!

  • creampuff says:

    I got Star Alliance Gold with 1 x return biz class trip from London to Venezuela.

    Unlike a lot of other people, I have actually flown on Aegean Airlines since then!!

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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