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Earning Lifetime Star Alliance Gold Status Through Aegean Airlines

by on April 7, 2014 · 53 comments

in Aegean, star alliance

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To be able to hold any status on an airline comes with a certain set of perks, and to hold that status for your lifetime, you’re putting yourself in quite a sweet spot. One of the sweetest spots there is in this respect is the ability to earn lifetime Star Alliance Gold status through Aegean Airlines. It’s bit of a backdoor workaround, but bear with me, because with a little strategic planning, it can definitely be worth it.

Preferred members with Gold status or higher get Star Alliance gold status.

What makes that so is that you only need to rack up 20,000 qualifying Aegean Miles&Bonus miles within 12 months to reach Gold status. You get 1,000 just for signing up – so that means you have 12 months to earn another 19,000. In fact, it’s actually a bit more lenient than that. If you fly 4,000 miles within 12 months you get Aegean’s “Blue” status, which equates to Star Alliance Silver, and then you just have to fly 16,000 more miles (and you have another rolling 12-month period to do so), you get Gold.

The airline’s T&C page puts it this way: “Members who hold a BLUE Card and who have earned at least 16,000 Tier Miles within twelve (12) consecutive months from their first miles-accruing flight on the previous tier will receive the GOLD Card. If, however, the Blue Member, after completion of the aforementioned twelve-month period, has gathered less than 16,000 Tier Miles, then he/she shall remain a Blue Member, whilst the Tier Miles collected during that twelve-month period shall not be automatically reset, but shall rather be successively deleted one (1) year from the day of each respective flight event, effected within the 12-month period in question.” So even if you don’t hit 16,000 within the 12-month period, your Tier counter doesn’t reset to zero, but is rolling.

You get 1,000 miles just for signing up.

You get 1,000 miles just for signing up.

Then, once you earn that status, it’s good for your lifetime as long as you keep your Miles&Bonus account active. That only involves crediting miles to your account from flight activity once every 36-month period. It’s as simple as that. It sounds a bit more confusing than it is, but basically keep these two facts in mind – Tier miles are earned over rolling 12-month periods and that once you have status, it’s easy to keep it with a little planning. You can find all the terms & conditions here.

Before you go crediting all your United and other Star Alliance flights to Aegean, however, it’s important to note the airline’s partner earning rules. Unlike US airlines where most fare classes earn at least 100% of mileage flown, Aegean credits Tier-qualifying miles a bit differently, where discounted fare classes earn lower (or no) percentage of the miles flown.

The best workaround for this use to be crediting US Airways flights to Aegean since you could earn at least 100% mileage on pretty much any paid fare class – but that changed when US Airways exited Star Alliance on March 31, even though US Airways and Aegean remain airline partners.

Crediting US Airways flights to Aegean used to be a great shortcut to status.

Crediting US Airways flights to Aegean used to be a great shortcut to status.

Mileage Charts

Now, however, we’re all stuck looking for other options among Aegean’s partners, and unfortunately, the airline isn’t as generous with crediting United fare classes with Miles&Bonus Tier-qualifying miles. Here’s what United’s earning looks like.

United

United Mileage Chart

United Mileage Chart

As you can see, several discount (and not-so-discount) economy fares only earn 50% miles: W, S, T, L, K, G. And some booking classes are not even eligible for accrual: O, I, X, R, N, P – and some of these are even discounted business and first fares like P! So if you are thinking about going the United route on this, then be sure to check and double check the fare class your ticket is booked in.

Here are some other options.

Air Canada/Aeroplan

Air Canada Mileage Chart

Air Canada Mileage Chart

Again, you’re looking at discounted earning rates of 25-50% on lower fare classes domestically.

Screen Shot 2014-04-06 at 4.08.55 PMAnd 50% internationally, though note that fare classes I, X, F and R do not accrue any mileage. Air Canada Rouge is even worse, with pretty much every fare class that earns miles at all earning just 25%.

Screen Shot 2014-04-06 at 4.09.58 PMLufthansa

Good luck earning much mileage on Lufthansa either unless you’re buying premium fares.

Lufthansa Mileage Chart

Lufthansa Mileage Chart

Lufthansa Booking Classes not eligible for accrual: O, I, X, R, N, L, T, E, K, P

Singapore Airlines

Got some Asian flights coming up on Singapore? Though several fare classes aren’t eligible for mileage accrual, some economy ones earn 100%.

Singapore Mileage Chart

Singapore Mileage Chart

Singapore Booking Classes not eligible for accrual: O, I, X, N, G, Q, T, V. But among those that earn full mileage are: S, Y, B, E, M, H, W, U, L, K.

Turkish Airlines

Turkish Airlines has a rapidly expanding route network, so you might find yourself flying them to Europe or between various other regions. Here are the mileage-earning rules.

Turkish Air Mileage Chart

Turkish Air Mileage Chart

Turkish Air Booking Classes not eligible for accrual: I, R, X, N, G, P, W, Z.

U, O and A Classes are also applied as promotional discounted classes within Turkish domestic routes with no mileage accrual. This applies only on Turkish domestic flights (flight numbers 2000-2999).

So there are several restrictions here and it pays to know your booking class.

Strategy

Though it seems like Aegean’s Tier mileage-accrual policies are restrictive, if you put in just a little more work, and possibly just a few more dollars to make sure you’re booking an eligible fare class, that can make all the difference between earning full mileage and earning no mileage. But if you click on the link to “Advanced Search,” you can specify the fare class or classes you’re looking for and pull up airfares that way.

For instance, all these flights from San Francisco to New York on United in K class would only earn 50% mileage.

Screen Shot 2014-04-06 at 4.42.34 PMAnd you’d be paying about $185 more to fly in V class and earn full mileage.

Screen Shot 2014-04-06 at 4.42.42 PMThat might not seem worth it just to collect another 2,500 miles or so, but when you consider that this one roundtrip would get you Aegean Blue status and thus Star Alliance Silver status, that could be worth it to you. Especially considering to earn United Silver status you’d need to fly 25,000 miles or 30 segments instead of just 5,000 miles and 2 segments plus spend $2,500 thanks to United’s new elite status spending requirements.

Let’s multiply it a couple times to get to Gold. If you were flying this route, you’d need to fly 4 roundtrips in order to earn the 20,000 total Tier miles necessary for Aegean Gold. With fare classes pricing out like this, that would mean you’d be paying an extra $740 for all those trips total to hit Gold.

So instead of flying the 50,000 miles or 60 segments United would require and spending $5,000 to hit United Premier Gold, you’d be flying 20,000 miles and 8 segments – not a bad alternative, even if you are purchasing higher fare classes.

It definitely depends on your needs and the fare classes you can find, but if you take the time to crunch the numbers you could be coming out way ahead, even if you are purchasing higher fares.

Star Alliance Gold

Star Alliance Gold Status comes with the following perks:

Airport Lounge Access 
When you travel with any Star Alliance member airline, you and a guest can escape the crowds and relax in over 1,000 airport lounges worldwide, regardless of your class of travel.

Priority Boarding 
There’s no need to rush out of the lounge anymore. With priority boarding you can enjoy the freedom of boarding at your convenience along with First and Business Class passengers.

Extra Baggage Allowance 
As a Gold Status holder you can choose not to travel light. We allow an additional 20 kg (44 pounds) where the weight concept applies, or one additional piece of luggage where the piece concept applies.

Priority Baggage Handling
Similar to you, your bags get priority treatment and are among the first to be unloaded, which means you can be one of the first in line for a taxi/shuttle bus.

Priority Reservations Waitlist
If there aren’t any seats available on your preferred flight, we ensure that you are given higher priority on the waiting list.

Priority Airport Standby
If your travel plans change and flights are full, your Star Alliance Gold status ensures you are given higher priority when standing by for a flight at the airport.

When This Makes Sense

So in the case of United, you do give up certain perks by going for generic Star Alliance Gold via Aegean instead of United Premier Gold – you can find our in-depth analysis of this status here. You give up elite-based upgrades and access to Economy Plus seating as well as elite mileage bonuses on United. The checked luggage benefit is also only one bag instead of two, and you don’t receive award travel benefit and fee waivers like close-in booking and award redeposit.

However, one major benefit is that, though United Premier Gold’s do not get United Club access when flying domestically, Star Alliance Gold elites who earned that status with a non-US airline do, so if you’re just flying LAX-SFO or ORD-LGA, you would not get into the United Club as a Premier Gold, but you would as an Aegean Star Alliance Gold – and if United Club access is something you’re interested in, this is a nice way to get it and elite status all in one go.

So if you just have a few United flights this year and aren’t going to hit the airline’s own elite status thresholds in terms of mileage or spending, then it might be worth looking into Aegean Gold and seeing if you can get Star Alliance Gold that way. Not only that, but even if you do have a lot of United flying to do and are going to hit your elite status threshold, then you might want to hedge your status by going for Aegean Gold since it’s good for a lifetime and you just have to credit a flight every 3 years to keep it active for the rest of your life.

Any other tips or tricks to getting Aegean Gold? Or any other questions about it? Feel free to comment below.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Rob Perelman

    I worked hard to earn Aegean status last year and did it almost entirely with one itinerary.

    I was flying from New York to Ukraine and returning from Belgium to Austin. The initial flights I found were around $900. With some creative routing and paying for slightly more expensive fare classes, I was able to pay around $1,000 and earn around 15,000 Aegean miles.

    On the way to Ukraine, I routed New York-Miami-Zurich-Kiev, rather than the more direct New York-Zurich-Kiev route. I flew United V on the first leg, and then Swiss V on the other two legs for 100% earning.

    On the return, I had a wacky Brussels-Frankfurt-DC-Denver-Austin. The Brussels-Frankfurt-DC leg was Lufthansa Q, which at the time I flew it gave me 1,000 miles on Brussels-Frankfurt and 100% on the Frankfurt-DC leg. It looks like Q gives you 50% now. But the 1,000 extra miles were huge considering such a short flight, and the fact that I didn’t take the direct Brussels-DC flight.

    I overnighted in DC and visited a friend, and flew the next day in United Q, skipping the direct DC-Austin flight.

    It was an exhausting itin for sure, but the extra time spent in the air got me a lot of extra “free” miles. Even after weeks of planning this itinerary, I messed up and overlooked that Zurich-Kiev was operated by Ukraine International and not Swiss, so I did not earn miles for that leg. Very frustrating. But again, the rest of the itinerary was like a work of art to me.

    Hope this information helps someone somehow!

  • JYS

    Are you sure it’s lifetime status? I earned gold on Aegean last year but my card indicates it expires at the end of 2014. So I’ve just started collecting all Star Alliance points on Aegean since Lufthansa and Brussels Airlines are basically horrible.

  • Marceli

    But doesn’t that means that you will get BLUE (Star Aliance Silver) for next year instead of Gold ??

  • grsalvatore

    The card body itself will be renewed (my wife’s new Blue card just arrived). The lifetime status can be maintained if you register eligible flights once every 36 months. Last time I registered a flight was last year in May, I will register another this April, and doing this for the last 4 years I have been retaining my Gold status. Trust me.

  • JYS

    Thanks. How are award bookings/availability on Aegean. Need to decide whether I just collect all my SA points with them or just do the one flight per year and collect the rest with Miles & More.

  • Ben

    Is there any way to change mileage accrual from United to Aegean after the fact? Just got back from a long Australia trip in business class which would qualify me. Miles for the return legs have yet to post to my acct. I don’t travel that much and will not earn beyond United Silver

  • thepointsguy

    Did you already credit the miles to your United account? If so, then no you won’t be able to switch them.

  • grsalvatore

    I’m not sure how are awards for Star Alliance network, I haven’t used them. But I’d say you just maintain the status for the perks and collect wherever you see it’s better for you. For example, although I live in Greece, I travel a lot to Scandinavian countries and I use SAS Eurobonus for miles collection. I just keep my Aegean Gokd status alive.

  • Mike

    Rob, I’m confused about how you book these Aegean miles earning flights. For instance, if I am setting up a flight for myself, do I start by searching for flights on the United website? Where does it link back to Aegean?

  • Rob Perelman

    I looked for the flights and certain fare codes on ITA and then used Google Flights to create the same itinerary. You can’t force the fare code, so I clicked through to United and put the flight on hold, then called United to change the fare class.

    Once you book, you can give the Aegean number at check in and the miles will credit to them.

  • Deal Hunter

    Would non-flight accruing/redemption activities qualify to maintain status?

  • Kevin

    Once you have Aegean status, what are strategies for using it to access lounges but then changing the FF# to credit miles to another program? I’m especially thinking about regional or foreign airports where finding a gate agent inside the gates might not be so easy.

  • Dave

    Hey Rob, I got a question, how long will it take A3 to deliver your Gold card? I was qualified for Blue about 2 months ago, but still no card showed in my mail box, I have a incoming 15,000 miles flight next month, Then I would be gold. Thanks!

  • Sun

    Two months after earning gold

  • yourPFpro

    I booked 4 one way Aegean flights this summer when I’m in Europe but I used my United Gold Status(now expired) to get the free bag allowance. Can I switch the FF# to Aegean now and try to make the 4k?

    Do you have to actually fly 4k miles to get 4k pts, that seems tough on Aegean since they do primarily little short flights no?

  • Rob Perelman

    There’s a big thread on FlyerTalk with everyone giving their data points. For me, I earned Gold on 11/29, it processed on 12/04, and I received the card in the mail on 01/30. Seems like 2 months is the norm in the US.

    http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/aegean-airlines-miles-bonus/1284671-how-long-my-a3-g-card-arrive-what-do-while-waiting.html

  • Rob Perelman

    I’ve only been using my Gold status for a few months, but have been crediting my Star Alliance flights to United and have been able to use my card at the lounge ok. Some agents are confused, but I explain that I prefer to credit to United because they have better earning %’s, and they seem to understand.

  • lounge

    Thanks for the post – really helpful. One Key question – to get the lounge access while traveling domestically and abroad on a non-Aegan carrier, do you have to have the miles for that flight credited to Aegan to be eligible for lounge access. Said another way, I purchase a JFK/LAX flight on UA and I want to access the lounge .. do I need to have the miles for that flight credited to Aegean or can I have them credited to UA and still use the lounge?

  • Guest

    “That only involves crediting miles to your account from flight activity once every 36-month period.”

    When you refer to crediting miles to your account to keep an account active, can this be done flying a partner airline (say United) and using your Aegean frequent flyer # to credit the miles to Aegean? Or do the miles required for maintaining account activity have to be flown on Aegean Air?

  • Bonnie Shanoff Ury

    If I join Aegean and fly business class from San Francisco to Bejing return on
    AIR CHINA will I have enough miles to qualify for gold

  • doing Avianca JFK-BOG-MAD in June for a cool $1000, with a BOG stopover, booking in Z. Avianca is a solid earner with Aegean, and $1000 to Madrid in June ain’t too shabby. ~ 7cpm and 15,000 in the bag. Not the finish line but in striking range.

  • - -

    Probably. Check the booking code, and Google “Great Circle Mapper” to get the exact number of miles, and then look on the Aegean chart for Air China. if it’s 2x, you’re golden. If it’s 1x or 1.5x, you’re 50% or 75% of the way there.

  • - -

    From what I hear, it’s the former, not the latter. Go to flyertalk.com though if you want to be sure.

  • - -

    You can still use the lounge. The Alliance is status that is granted once miles are achieved.

  • - -

    It’s lifetime status until they change their mind, which could be tomorrow. Kind of like life, that’s about as guaranteed as you get. Just credit a cheap little UA puddle-jumper to A3 once every three years and you’ll be golden.

  • K2

    Does anyone know where to find a chart for Air New Zealand?

  • Rob Perelman

    You can find Aegean’s earning for Air New Zealand at http://en.aegeanair.com/milesandbonus/program-description/earn-miles/#AIR NEW ZEALAND

  • Rob Perelman

    It doesn’t have to be on Aegean, see the partner earning chart:

    http://en.aegeanair.com/milesandbonus/program-description/earn-miles/

    Once you credit miles to United, you can’t change it.

  • - -
  • Freddie

    One thing not mentioned in the post that most should keep in mind is “What is your goal(s) for being a member of a frequent flyer program?” I say that because A3 is great (been reading TPG for a good year now and this is the first post on A3; look at the TOPICS column on the right-hand side…tisk, tisk…) if you’re looking for elite status but pretty sorry if you’re looking for free tickets.

    Personally, I have a lush expense account with my employer who WILL NOT allow me to purchase Business/First Class tickets. I don’t really give a hoot about free tickets, but when I fly I want to be wined & dined from the moment I arrive at the airport to the moment I arrive to the airport. Holding Star Gold at a former Star Gateway city (CLT) as my domestic base has really made Scareways or the MUC-CLT on LH tolerable (excess baggage, lounge, first on/off, people over machines issuing my boarding pass, etc). Always get a plush coach seat and sometimes I have been upgraded to the front even though I’m not on their plans. Since it looks like A3 & Scare will keep the connection and I haven’t heard of either A3/LH looking to leave Star, this is a great deal for me. I’ll keep it up.

  • BarryJS

    For some reason, EVA class T, Elite (premium economy), is only credited 50%, but economy is 100%.

    To me, it’s an obvious error, but they won’t fix it (and credit me my miles) and won’t reply when I communicate with them.

  • Agent Provocateur

    So, if I am usually a United guy, but decide to credit flights to Aegean until I earn Star Alliance Gold status, I will want to go back to crediting my United account once I reach 20K / Gold status. How would I then get the alliance gold status benefits automatically applied every time I travel? I’m assuming Aegean’s systems have no link to the rest of the Star Alliance carriers’ systems, so how would this work?

  • Keith

    I fly to Africa from the US at least once, sometimes twice a year. I signed up with Aegean 3 years ago and have always been credited 100% of my flights on United, Brussels and Ethiopian. I LOVE having lounge access, priority check-in and priority boarding. I just give my FF number at booking or check-in and it’s smooth sailing the rest of the trip. My wife and 7 kids made Star Silver just for signing up (2,000 miles free).

  • Jay P

    I have a question. I have upcoming flights with
    United and would like to credit miles from these flights to Aegean Air’s “Miles and Bonus” program.
    I have a United ticket which has 3 different
    classes Z, Y and P class.
    And I just found that out that Aegean does not
    give miles to United P class business route but gives 200% miles to Z class and
    150% for Y class. Does that mean with my United Z class business ticket, if the actual flight miles on united are 10,000 miles, that Aegean will
    credit 20,000 miles to their program?
    I am trying to get Star Alliance Gold status by
    crediting United flight miles to Aegean Air but I am a bit confused, since my
    tickets are combined with Z , Y and P classes. Thanks for the help people!

  • Jeremy

    Can someone confirm whether you need to become BLUE status *BEFORE* you fly the additional miles to earn GOLD status? Meaning, would I need to book an itinerary that gets me to blue, and THEN an itinerary that gets me to GOLD or can I go ahead and just go from 0 miles to 20,000 in 12 months and get GOLD? I guess what I’m saying is if I had two itineraries and I just signed up for Aegean’s program, would me flying 4,000/16,000 between two itineraries get me GOLD the same as two itineraries that would be 16,000/4,000?

  • Arun Baheti

    Having your Aegean Gold card with you helps reduce confusion and makes it easier to get in, but you can credit your UA account for the miles even while accessing the lounge based on your Aegean status.

  • Arun Baheti

    Some people have reported success having mileage switched on from Turkish to UA, but to do so you need to get the original airline to un-credit you, be able to prove it, then convince a UA rep to credit you. Technically doable, but uncertain success rates and a BIG hassle.

  • moko

    does brusseles credit to aegean ? how about copa airlines ?

  • http://LukeRB.com/ Luke Bornheimer

    Hey Brian, thanks again for this excellent write-up! I signed up for M&B and plan on crediting my first flight next month when I fly SFO–HNL. I have the option to fly direct on an S fare that will credit 1,200 miles to A3 M&B, direct on a V fare for $139 more that will credit 2,400 miles to M&B or one-stop on a V fare for $150 more that will credit 3,000 miles to M&B. Which option(s) would you recommend, and why?

    I’m happy to hear other folks’ thoughts as well, so feel free to chime in.

    Thanks again,
    Luke

  • JW

    I don’t fly much but would like to have United Silver for the ability to change award ticket without fee. Will the Aegean Blue status give the same benefit with United?

  • Blackdoll24

    I have done this also, it would good to know the answer. Just credited 20k for Gold but want to top up my United credits so i have both.
    Hopefully someone can answer

  • Nadean Dickey

    We just completed 21,000 in less than 4 weeks by flying from LAX to SIN, then LAX to MCO….achieved this for about $1800!!

  • Ethan Wishnick

    Is there a difference between crediting miles and transferring miles? Can I just transfer the number of miles from United to Aegean?

  • Nadean Dickey

    No, it has to be actual miles flown within the Star Alliance group. We did it in about 4 weeks for about $1800… Flew Singapore Airlines round-trip from LAX to Singapore. Then flew round-trip from LAX to Orlando. I carefully reviewed the fare codes.

  • Nick

    Just to confirm, because this seems to be a unique situation, but if you get Gold with 20k miles, that’s lifetime Gold status even if you don’t earn 20k each subsequent year? I could just add one 300 mile flight each year, then continue to accrue all miles on other flights to my regular Star Alliance account? If this is the case, why wouldn’t everybody be on Aegean?

  • M

    Looks like they lowered the requirement to 16,000 miles now

  • M

    ah nevermind… 16,000 after blue

  • brunellofan

    Worked as stated! I did a business trip SFO-FRA in May and registered and used Aegean miles membership vs United. Received my Gold status beginning of June and Just received my Gold star Alliance Card 1 day before I head to Europe for the month…perfect timing! Thanks for this excellent tip!!

  • brunellofan

    Point of note. The Aegean Card just went digital July 8. So download the app and you can show your gold card (or blue) sooner than getting physical copy.

  • Laureen

    This is my exact question as well. Did you ever find out the answer? I don’t have any status with Aegean at the moment but I have an upcoming flight which would earn a lot of miles.

  • jim

    I’m super new to this, so I know this is a very basic question. Just to clarify, the A booking class from United says it accrues at 300%. So if I buy a ticket for a 1,000 mile flight in this booking class, then my Aegean Miles account I will get 3,000 miles, correct?

  • Robert F

    correct.

  • M Cohen

    Do the lounges of partner airlines accept this digital copy of one’s gold card, or can it only be used at Aegean Airlines’ lounges?

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