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Airline elite status can be a life saver- whether its upgrades or better customer service, it definitely enhances the flying experience. Many airlines also offer perks to elite members when flying on alliance partners- like free checked bags and airline lounge access. Up until now, one of the best ways to earn Star Alliance Gold status was through Greek carrier Aegean Airlines, since your status lasted for life once you earned it. Star Alliance Gold offers many benefits, including priority airport check-in, priority boarding, free checked baggage and my favorite- international airport lounge access even when flying in economy.
However, Aegean just announced some major changes to their program including how you earn Star Alliance Gold status, which is a game changer if you previously earned Star Alliance Gold status through them in order to access lounges while flying domestically within the US.
Previously you needed 20,000 miles to earn Gold status, and you got 1,000 just for signing up– so that meant you had 12 months to earn another 19,000 miles. In fact, the requirements were actually a bit more lenient than that, since you could earn Aegean Blue status (which equates to Star Alliance Silver) by flying just 4,000 miles within 12 months, and you then had to fly only 16,000 more miles to earn Gold, which was valid for life as long as you kept your Miles&Bonus account active.
Now, to earn gold status with Aegean you must fly 24,000 miles within 12 months (including at least 4 Aegean or Olympic Air flights), or a total of 48,000 miles on any Star Alliance carriers, meaning that this once great loophole to get Star Alliance Gold has closed. If you already have Aegean Gold status, you’ll need to fly 12,000 miles within 12 months (including at least 4 Aegean or Olympic Air flights) or a total of 24,000 miles on any Star Alliance carrier to renew your status.
Aegean’s new program will roll out on November 24, 2014, and it’s much less lucrative than before, especially if you rarely fly Aegean and plan to do most of your flying on United Airlines and credit to Aegean.
All good things come to an end, and this once easy way to earn Star Alliance Gold is no longer an option.
What are your thoughts on this negative change from Aegean? The standard sign-up offer for these co-branded cards is 30,000 miles after you spend $1,000 in the first three months, so the current bonus is a significant step up. TPG values United miles at 1.5 cents apiece, so this 50,000-mile sign-up bonus gets you $750 in value.
The standard sign-up offer for these co-branded cards is 30,000 miles after you spend $1,000 in the first three months, so the current bonus is a significant step up. TPG values United miles at 1.5 cents apiece, so this 50,000-mile sign-up bonus gets you $750 in value.