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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.

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You used to be able to earn lifetime Star Alliance Gold on Aegean.

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.

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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?

United℠ Explorer Card

The United Explorer card recently got some enhancements like 2 miles per dollar spent at restaurants and on hotel stays and a Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check Fee credit (up to $100). The $95 annual fee is waived for the first year.

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More Things to Know
  • 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent at restaurants and on hotel stays
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® Fee Credit
  • 25% back on United inflight purchases
  • Check your first bag for free (a savings of up to $120 per roundtrip) when you use your Card to purchase your ticket
  • Enjoy priority boarding privileges and visit the United Club℠ with 2 one-time passes each year for your anniversary
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on purchases from United, and 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
18.24% - 25.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$0 Intro for First Year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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