Get Star Alliance Gold For Less than $800 - Running with Miles
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Get Star Alliance Gold For Less than $800

Star Alliance Gold
Written by Charlie

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HT: DansDeals

Get Star Alliance Gold For Less Than $800

There are a couple of components that work to make this become Star Alliance Gold for less than $800. One of them is a pretty good, transcontinental first class fare (that has apparently been around for a little while now) and the other is crediting the miles earned from that fare to Aegean Airlines. Thanks to the generous fare earning and multipliers mixed with Aegean’s very generous threshold for Miles and Bonus Gold, you can walk away after one round-trip with Star Alliance Gold – that will last for three years (longer if you continue to credit one flight to Aegean within that timeframe). Let’s put this all together.

See below if leaving from either NYC or Seattle does not work for you. For a little more, you may be able to fly right from your own airport and achieve the same result.

The Flight

United Airlines has a fare for first class from NYC (LaGuardia Airport) to Seattle (it works the other way as well) for $770. This price is available for quick turns or longer and is available on many days of the month (even on days it is not, it goes up to just around $800) all the way through May, 2015 when it goes up to $880 round-trip.

To search for possible dates, you can go to ITA Matrix and search by the calendar for lowest fares. Set the cabin to first class and search.

Star Alliance Gold

Input selections as in the example to return the available first class flights

Entering that will bring up a selection by month for that city-pair and shows you the prices for each day.

Star Alliance Gold

A lot of options available!

You cannot purchase tickets from here, so now you take the dates that you have found that will work for you and put them in over at United. This part is important – make sure that you connect through Houston as that will give you the amount of miles you need for the Aegean Gold requirements (thanks to Dan again for pointing this out).

Star Alliance Gold

This is a sample flight – note the circled parts that are important for this.

This is a great way to knock out the miles you need for Star Alliance Gold – and doing it in comfort (United first class). It is possible to do this with same day turns, so you could be out and back the same day. If you are not local to either Seattle or New York City, consider either a cheap flight to get to one of those locations, or using Avios (Seattle is the hub for Alaska Airlines and you can use Avios to book Alaska Airline tickets).

Other Flight Options

If you are not locally based in the cities above and taking a positioning flight to arrive at one of the cities does not work, you can try searching for your own city as well. There are many cities that still come up at under $1,000 for this fare. The nice part is that you are not bound to transit through Houston since adding a leg at the start and the end of this trip will add a minimum of 3,000 miles (because Aegean credits fare class A at a 1,500 mile minimum). This might make it more convenient for you. Just make sure the fare class is to receive the 300% bonus!

Check your local airport!

Reducing the Cost

As I wrote about the other day, it is possible to get the American Express Platinum card for the first year with no fee. With that card comes airline incidental reimbursements of up to $200 per calendar year. Even though it does not say these are covered, it is possible to purchase airline gift cards with that reimbursement. So, if you apply for and receive that card, you could purchase a gift card for $200 and apply that to this ticket, bringing the out of pocket cost down to $562!

Yes, that is still a lot of money, but when you consider that you will be receiving Star Alliance Gold for (theoretically, at least until they change it) life, that is not bad! Not only that, but you will also have (almost) an award ticket for a round-trip ticket in the US, and lounge access! If you use the award ticket on a flight that you may have had to pay $300 for otherwise, it basically means you are paying $262 for access to lounges around the world, increased baggage allowances, and priority access at check-in, security, and boarding. Not bad at all!

The Star Alliance Gold Status

When you book this flight, make sure that put your Aegean Airline Miles & Bonus number in the reservation so that the miles will be credited to them. If you do not already have an account, go here to sign up (you will also receive 1,000 miles which counts towards elite status and as award miles).

Aegean Airlines gives a 300% bonus on United fare class A (which is what this flight is). So, the base miles for this flight (round-trip) will total 6,580 miles. When multiplied by Aegean’s allowance for fare class A, we get 19,740 miles. Aegean Airlines requires 20,000 miles to reach Aegean Gold (which is Star Alliance Gold), so when we add the 1,000 miles you get for signing up for the program to the miles earned for the flight, you wind up at 20,740 miles – clearing Gold by a mere 740 miles.

Star Alliance Gold is valuable for many reasons (extra baggage allowance, priority boarding, priority check-in, etc) but probably the most valuable perk is getting lounge access to any Star Alliance lounge when on a Star Alliance carrier. Here is how great that is – as a United Premier 1K, I am not able to use United lounges when flying on a domestic ticket, but I can access those lounges when flying domestically with my Aegean Gold card! And this works anyplace in the world, even when you are flying in coach.

Once you hit the 20,000 mile level, you will have earned Aegean Gold (and Star Alliance Gold). But, you can also use those miles for redemptions. It takes 25,000 miles for a round-trip in the US on United using those miles, so if you rack up a few more, you get a free flight! There are also some other great redemptions you can take advantage of (see 7 Great Uses For Aegean Miles for some ideas).

Check out these posts for more information about Aegean Airlines:

 

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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.

16 Comments

  • Has anyone looked into a one-way flight from HNL to SJU? It’s 6618 miles and around $800. But it’s “Z” fare. Does that count? How do you get “A” fare?

  • Hi Charles, do you have any ideas for similar flights in the same price bracket relevant to European residents (returns within Europe).

    • Unfortunately, not in first class. The problem with flying coach is that many of the United fare classes only earn 50% in economy – with some not earning anything at all! What you want to look for is flights with SAS, Ethiopian, Singapore, and Thai as the minimum qualifying miles (some fare classes give no miles) credit at 100% to A3. I will be keeping my eyes open and checking some things – hopefully something will come up (I am EU based as well, so anything to pad my A3 account a little would be nice!).

  • it seems like every other United route I searched has “Z” fares except the ones originating from Seattle. I guess “Z” fares won’t work…

    • Unfortunately, “Z” only credits at 200% (not the 300% of “A”). I did see quite a few “Z” routes, but also many “A”s as well. If you want to e-mail me your route in question, I will see what I can find – charlie at runningwithmiles.com

  • If club lounge is what you need as a 1K, the club membership is cheaper than this trick. Plus, it makes you credit all your UA flights to Aegean to access these benefits. I don’t really see the point of doing this unless you really value the Aegean program.

    • Actually, I was gold with Aegean long before my 1K, but I was not talking so much about my situation as illustrating how great it is that flying a trip like this and crediting to A3 is better than how a 100,000 mile United flyer is treated when it comes to domestic lounges. Also, I have access lounges when crediting my miles to UA and just showing my A3 card. As far as the club membership, that is for one year while this is at least 3 years.

    • You are right, but that is just dumb. I had been hoping that they would update their earning chart and include that, but then I thought about what else they might “update” so I think I am ok with it for now. 😉

  • […] (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); There are a couple of components that work to make this become Star Alliance Gold for less than $ 800. One of them is a pretty good, transcontinental first class fare (that has apparently been around for a little while now) and the other is crediting the miles earned from that fare to Aegean Airlines. Thanks to the generous fare earning and multipliers mixed with Aegean’s very generous threshold for Miles and Bonus Gold, you can walk away after one round-trip with Star Alliance Gold – that will last for three years (longer if you continue to credit one flight to Aegean within that timeframe). Let’s put this all together. Read full article […]

  • For what it’s worth, entering “UA IAH UA / f bc=a” (no quotes) as a routing code will isolate those “A” class fares going through Houston. I’m noticing searches for 12/1/14 and later using the same parameters yield default connections to ORD instead of IAH, shortening the total miles. Looks like going through IAH December and later pushes it up to $990 from <$800.

  • Thanks for the info!!

    Quick questions, we just booked our honeymoon from Calgary, Canada to Venice, Italy (stop over in Frankfurt) we have not entered in any frequent fly info yet.

    On our e tickets all it says in Economy class.. How do I find out if this will work for us? And where do I find what letter in economy we are, i have noticed that are alot of different economy letters?

    Huge Thanks

  • Question for the blogger: is this still valid? Do you happen to know if the fares are still available? Thanks, in advance, for your help.

  • So I need some help with this. Tried and found some A class segments on my upcoming trip but when taken to booking page those segments change over to P class chich is not even listed.
    Here is my itinerary sjo to sea on nov 7 sea to ord on nov 11 and ord to sjo on nov 15
    I should be able to rack the points but I guess I am missing something?

    Help is much appreciated!!!

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