The Basics

Aegean Gold Worth More Than Ever

Aegean Gold
Written by Charlie

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Elite status has changed a bit just over the past couple of years. Most of the changes have not favored the traveler who is not a top-tier or big spender with their chosen airline. In addition, the miles accrued in the airline programs are now less valuable with what can be redeemed. As a result, many flyers have grown frustrated with frequent flyer programs and turned to just flying with the cheapest airfare instead of staying hooked to a particular program.

Elite Status Still Helps

While elite status has changed, there are still many good arguments for keeping elite status. To realize many of them, all you have to do is to walk into an airport for a flight and observe. Elite status, often at the lowest level or mid-tier level, helps to cut through the crowding and fees that exist all across airlines.

Here are some of the advantages to having elite status:

  • Aegean GoldFree baggage allowance
  • Priority check-in
  • Priority baggage handling (which can sometimes be fickle but still exists as a benefit)
  • Priority boarding
  • Better customer service (at least it gives phone numbers that are answered quicker)
  • Preferred seating
  • Complimentary domestic upgrades

On my part, some of the nicest, dependable perks of elite status is being able to have priority lines in the airport. Upgrades are not a sure thing (unless you are a top-tier, even then not a guarantee) but knowing that I will not have to stand in the long lines greatly improves my airport experiences. From the time an elite traveler enters the airport, they will have access to a priority check-in counter/baggage drop-off, enter the TSA-security area through an elite/priority line, and board the plane through an elite/priority line. While it may seem like not a big deal to have those lines, it can easily save the traveler over 30 minutes of time at larger airports (sometimes much more time). Not only does it save time, but it also gives you access to guaranteed overhead bin space since you can board the aircraft earlier than the rest of the economy customers.

Premium Cabin Tickets Give the Same Access

Of course, elite membership is not really necessary if you are used to traveling on premium tickets. Many frequent travelers have been used to redeeming their miles for premium cabin travel and that gives all of the above advantages to the premium class traveler without having to have elite status.  If you continue redeeming for premium class travel, then you probably will not miss having elite status. But what happens when those premium cabin award tickets start to cost a lot more than they used to? This is the case with United (after tomorrow) and Delta (now and after June), as well as foreign carriers like KLM/Air France. The increase in required miles for premium cabins is significantly higher. What happens now? Now, having elite status becomes much more valuable. This way you can continue to enjoy much of the airport experience that you used to have with premium class tickets.

Aegean Gold Worth More Than Ever

Aegean Gold

Which brings us to the reason of this post – Aegean Airlines Gold status has just greatly increased the value it can provide travelers who are used to having the premium airport experience. Why? They haven’t made any changes but the changes United has made highlight the value of Aegean because Aegean Airlines is part of the Star Alliance (as is United and, for the time being, US Airways) and having Aegean Gold gives you Star Alliance Gold. Star Alliance Gold is the highest tier elite status recognized across the Star Alliance. With that status comes all of the priority access privileges  listed above. It does not come with upgrades, but balances out somewhat by offering something else extremely valuable – lounge access at all Star Alliance lounges, even when flying domestic or in economy. As long as you put your Aegean Gold number on your reservation and show your Gold card, you will have access to Star Alliance lounges all over the world. United Airline elite members do not even have access to United lounges in the US when flying domestically – but Aegean Gold members do!

The reason I single out Aegean Airlines Gold as opposed the numerous other Star Alliance airline members is because of their low threshold requirements to attain Aegean Gold (and thereby Star Alliance Gold). While other airlines mostly require 50,000 miles per year to achieve their mid-tier status (which is what translates to Star Alliance Gold), Aegean requires 20,000 total miles – and the status lasts for three years (in fact, it lasts even longer than that as long as you credit one flight to Aegean within the three years). That means, instead of trying to hit 50,000 miles every year, you only need to fly 19,000 miles (Aegean gives you 1,000 miles for signing up) and it will last for three years. That is huge!

With the United devaluation coming, many travelers will start redeeming their miles for economy cabin travel instead of paying the much larger premium cabin mileage prices. Having status as Aegean Gold will give you continued access to the priority lanes as well as lounges throughout your award journey. When you book an award ticket with United, you will be able to add your Aegean number to the reservation and you will be all set!

I was reminded of how great Aegean Gold is when I made a trip to the US recently. I had been in the lounge (as an economy passenger, thanks to Aegean Gold) and then went to plane to catch my connecting flight. When I got there, the line of waiting passengers was already a couple of hundred strong. Instead of having to stand there waiting and dreading the fact that there would be no bin space available, I swung over to the left side and went through the elite line. From the time I passed the other economy passengers until I was in my seat was only about 2 minutes. What was the difference between me and them?  Aegean Gold status!

Here is the information you will need about Aegean Airlines and where to sign-up:

Are you Aegean Gold? How have you enjoyed the experience?

Editorial Note - Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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About the author

Charlie

Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.

15 Comments

  • I was about to get my family Aegean Gold status based on two flights US to Asia on NH only to discover that Aegean would only give 50% or less credit on some flights because of the fare code.

    US is (soon to be was) the only carrier under the Aegean table that gave at least 100% mileage credit on all tickets. Many economy tickets on all other carriers earn 50% or less credit, so you may that what counts at 100% on UA Mileage Plus is only 50% with Aegean or worse 30% as is the case with some NH tickets.

    Aegean Gold status can be worth it, but you have to very carefully plan your route to gold. If you typically buy mid-level economy fares, then you don’t have to worry about being “short-changed” on mileage.

    • Remember, it’s not the program airline that determines how much mileage you earn for a given fare, it’s the airline you fly. They must buy miles from the program into which you deposit your miles, so it is only natural that they’ve all reduced the mileage earned when put into A3 accounts for discounted fares. Those airlines are not about to help you get cheap STARGold. As for A3, it is caught in a bind since most of its “real” customers and elites fly within the region and don’t earn all that many EQMs per flight. For that reason, STARGold is kept at a realistic (for them) level of EQMs and is extended across a couple of years to requalify. So earning STARGold in A3 by flying discounted fares will require at least 40K flight miles, almost the same as getting STARGold with UA who still gives 100% mileage for those same discounted fares. So the real benefit is lounge access when flying solely within the USA, and a 3-year life vs annual with UA/MP.

  • How long does it take to get the status or card once you go over 20K miles? I have some United flights to Seattle (FTU) at the end of April and will be flying Luftansa to London on May 9th. Is that to short of a turn around time? I figure there is no way I would get a card that quickly but would the status attach to my number sooner and can I simply use that to get into lounges? Thanks and keep up the good work.

    • It depends on the airline. I have had United miles post within one week, US Air post in 2/3 days (a couple of flights took two months from US Air and a bunch of prodding), and Turkish post in 2 days. Once the miles post, the status has updated within 48 hours for me. So, if everything posts alright, you should be fine with the May 9th date. As for the card, it took me 4 weeks to get each card (blue and then gold). I have had some lounges give me access without the card and just the *G on my ticket. It will depend on the agent. Hopefully the boarding pass will be enough. Also, to check and see how many miles you will earn on United, check the fare code at this website – http://en.aegeanair.com/milesandbonus/program-description/earn-miles/ See you at FTU!

      • Children under 2 years of age are to be allowed in for free as they do not count as a guest under Star Alliance lounge access policy. So a Star Gold should be able to take in one guest (adult or child of 2 years of age or older) and as many children under the age of 2 as they have traveling with them.

  • Turkish airlines Gold gives pretty much the same access. Just do a status match, you can re obtain Gold status if you fly 25k miles within a year or 37,500 over a two year period. Not as great as Aegean, but better than flying 50k again. 🙂

  • Enjoyed the post. I’ve been considering this given that I don’t necessarily fly one airline enough to get status and will probably eventually fly mostly but not exclusively American and would otherwise not get star alliance status. One question I’m hoping someone knows the answer to: on a paid flight, am I able to credit my mileage to one program (say United), but still get the benefits of *G through A3? Other than the status, I don’t see much vale in A3 miles. The post wasn’t explicit on this point, and I’ve seen it answered both ways.

  • Thank you for great post, I’m in the process of doing it right now, all on US flights. Looking forward to using it on my trip to Europe in the summer with my family.

    • I am flying later today for first time since recently earning A3 Gold. My US Airways boarding pass DOES show the STAR GOLD status with boarding zone 1. However when I went in to enter the number of checked bags I would have, it only allowed ONE free vs the THREE free that the US Airways web site says they allow to * Gold…..so…I did not enter anything for the # of bags at this point and will deal with that at the airport at 4 pm. Any idea why the online check-in was only allowing ONE bag. I have brought a printout of the US Airways web page with me to show agent where it says checked bag fees waived for 1-2-3 pieces for * Gold. Also I do not yet have my physical GOLD card but have printouts of my status and Welcome to gold letter. Not worried about lounge access because I have a US Airways pass anyhow plus sufficient documentation to prove GOLD ….just want free bags since it is a ski trip and my husband also travelling.

  • With USAir leaving Star Alliance on 31-March, is that the last date to credit miles to A3? I thought I read that USAir was going to continue to “partner” with Star airlines.

    Also, keep in mind that you have one year to get to 20,000 miles. If you don’t reach the tier in that time, your miles start expiring…

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