I had mentioned Aegean a couple of times before but realized that it is about time that I wrote why I am interested in it and why it is one of the fastest growing foreign airlines (as far as US passenger enrollment). Do any of these people fly Aegean Airlines? Probably very few do. So why is it such an airline of interest and why would you want to credit your valuable flight miles to a program that you will never fly with?
Get Star Alliance Status with Aegean Airlines
First off, here are some facts about Aegean Airlines:
- They are one of the major airlines in Greece (while they do fly outside of Greece)
- They are a member of the Star Alliance
- They have two levels of status – Blue and Gold
- Their required miles for status is very low
Why should you get status with Aegean Airlines? Since it is one of the airlines in the Star Alliance, status with one airline gives you status across the alliance. This does not mean that Aegean Airlines Gold status will give you the same privileges as United Gold when traveling United (like complimentary upgrades, choice seat selection, etc). What it does mean is that there are certain privileges that go with alliance status that is recognized across all the airlines in the alliance.
Overview of the Star Alliance
There are 27 airlines currently in the Star Alliance and they service 194 countries. The US-based airlines are United Airlines and US Airways (for now). Air Canada is also a member of the alliance. The Star Alliance has one of the friendliest availability for award travel thanks to the healthy amount of dominate airlines in the network and how good United is about releasing partner award tickets to their own members. As with the other alliances, the Star Alliance has a method of honoring the loyalty of flyers to airlines in the alliance. They offer two levels of elite status within the alliance – Silver and Gold. These levels do not give any airline specific privileges (like better award availability, upgrades, airline perks for their own elites) but it is a method of recognizing flyers across the alliance who have some level of status with one airline in the alliance. This recognition works in the following ways:
UPDATE: United has trimmed the baggage benefits by eliminating the extra bag for Silver and only allowing one extra bag for Gold (and limited to 50lbs).
Star Alliance Silver Status
- Priority Reservations Waitlisting
- Priority Airport Standby
- Elite check-in (in some airports)
- Elite boarding (better access to overhead bin space on crowded flights)
- One extra bag on flights with United and US Airways
Star Alliance Gold Status
- Priority Airport Check-in (at all airports)
- Airport Lounge Access (more on this nice benefit!)
- Priority Boarding
- Extra Baggage Allowance
- Priority Baggage Handling
- Priority Reservations Waitlisting
- Priority Airport Standby
For Star Alliance Silver, you will basically be getting the same perks as having an airline-branded credit card for the airline you are flying. If you fly the same airline all the time, then it would be more beneficial to you to get the airline credit card. If you mix your travel based on price/schedule and it has you flying a mix of airlines, then it would be beneficial to go for Star Alliance Silver.
Obviously, Star Alliance Gold is the one where the benefits really kick in. The baggage benefits alone are huge. The airport access privileges are very nice to. The real benefit that would help almost any flyer is the Airport Lounge Access. Being Star Alliance Gold lets you have lounge access for free to any Star Alliance lounge (like the United Club) when traveling on a Star Alliance flight. The negative about that is that you do not get access to US lounges when only traveling domestically if you are Star Alliance Gold based on having status with either United or US Airways. If you are a Gold member of a foreign airline, you do get lounge access when traveling domestically. That is great!
Enter Aegean Airlines
Back to why achieving Star Alliance status with Aegean is such a good idea. With United and US Airways, to achieve Gold status with them (which gives you the Gold status with the Star Alliance), you have to fly 50,000 miles in one year. To achieve Silver status, you have to fly 25,000 miles. For the occasional traveler or the traveler who is flying on miles, neither of those options are good ones! Aegean Airlines is different – Silver status only requires 4,000 miles and Gold status only requires 20,000 miles! That is an amazing difference in miles! Can it get any better? Yep – just for signing up for an account with Aegean, you will have 1,000 tier miles in your account. That leaves you only 3,000 miles away from Silver!
In addition, you have 1 year from the time you first sign-up for the program to get the extra 3,000 miles. So, it is not a calendar year but 12 months from when you sign-up. From then, you only have to earn another 16,000 miles in the next three years to achieve Gold. From that point, as long as you credit miles to the account every 3 years, you will maintain your status! That’s right, that means you can (as of the current terms) stay Gold (or Silver) for ever as long as you credit one flight every three years to Aegean! That’s huge!
As far as redeeming these miles for award travel, it is not as easy as redeeming United miles. It involves filling out a reservation form and submitting it for approval or calling to redeem the miles, so no award calendar. But for just earning status to use whenever you fly a Star Alliance airline, they are the best!
Here is the information you will need about Aegean Airlines and where to sign-up:
- Sign-up link for Aegean Airlines Miles & Bonus
- Information about Aegean Airlines elite program
- Earning table for the different Star Alliance airlines
- Spending table for Aegean Airlines
- Information about Star Alliance Silver & Gold
In another post, I will detail the trips I did to earn Aegean Airlines Gold. In the meantime, if you are flying on United or US Airways soon, think about crediting the flights to Aegean to earn a quick trip to Silver status!
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