With the announcement last month of the upcoming changes with the Miles+Bonus program, the frequent flyer program of Aegean Airlines, there are many people that are disappointed to see their supposed “lifetime” Star Alliance status disappear. However, the program is not all that bad for people that do fly at least 12,000 miles a year and can swing a few (4) Aegean flights. There are actually some new benefits coming online that could be really nice (including the 4 business class upgrades per year).
Retaining Aegean Gold Status
If you want to retain Aegean Gold status, it will take 24,000 miles credited to Aegean’s program per year. You can cut that amount in half if you fly just 4 Aegean flights in that year. Believe it or not, that is not that hard to do. Almost all flights go through Athens (with some going through Thessaloniki) so if you choose to fly from any city in Europe to a city in Greece besides Athens, you will get your 4 flights in one roundtrip. That means that you just need to try to find some cheap Aegean flights while on trips to Europe.
Flying On Aegean
Flying Aegean is actually a real pleasure. The crews are some of the most polite and attentive I have had, and that is fairly consistent across the airline. The food service is quite good, especially for coach. Their flights offer some great on-time performance, so you can expect to get to where you need to go quickly.
One of the perks of having Gold status with Aegean is that you will receive 4 upgrade certificates per year. If you apply those to your 4 flights (to retain status), you can actually do those 4 flights in business. While inter-European business is nothing too special, you will at least be in a semi-private cabin (not many people fly business, but that will probably change with these upgrades) and get some good food and quicker off-loading from the plane.
Another perk that you will get with Gold status is the 50% discount on companion tickets so you can take your travel mate with you for 1/2 price. And yet another perk is the free parking at Athens airport (which is one of the most expensive parking airports in Europe). If you are vacationing in Athens, you could park your rental car for free while you take your qualifying flights (in the case that you have a cheaper rental over a longer term than two shorter terms).
Aegean Fare Sales
That brings us to the Aegean fare sales. I have written about them before and will continue to do so given that these sales will become more relevant to the traveler who wants to retain their Aegean Gold status. Fortunately, it is possible to get some great sales – like the recent $36 one-way fare from German airports to Thessaloniki – that could keep your out-of-pocket costs on Aegean flights to a minimum. So, be sure to check when I write about them to see if a fare sale might work for you. I know I will definitely be keeping my Aegean status and hope that many of you are able to as well.