Aegean Airlines is the Greek-flag carrier and it is in the Star Alliance. They are an amazing airline with great staff, young planes, and an ever-broadening network across Europe, north Africa and the Middle East. They constantly win awards based on their service and flights and they are the airline you want to fly if you are visiting Greece.
Aegean Airlines Changes Elite Status Requirements
If you are visiting Greece, there is no better way to get your Greek vacation started than by flying Aegean Airlines. From the pleasant Greek greetings as you board to the specially created snacks and food that clearly represent Greece, it is a way to jump into a Greek holiday while in the air.
So, it would be natural then that Aegean would want elite members to make an effort to fly their airline, right? Why doesn’t that make sense? The reason this is a big change is because it is the second big change the airline has made in the last several years that completely destroys the program for flyers who do not fly Aegean.
Aegean Airlines used to have the most simple way to achieve Star Alliance Gold status – and it just kept on going. It didn’t really expire. Well, they put an end to that but made it very simple for existing elites to continue to retain their status while making it more inline with other alliance programs to earn the status in the first place.
For example, if you were Aegean Miles & Bonus Gold (which equates to Star Alliance Gold which equals things like free lounge access, priority status, etc. across the alliance with airlines like United Airlines), you would only need to credit 12,000 miles and 4 Aegean flights in a year or 24,000 miles if you did not have your 4 Aegean flights.
It is important to remember that not all miles are created equal. If you were crediting miles from a very cheap economy ticket, you may only earn 50% or 25% of the mileage flown, meaning you would need even more actual miles flown to get to the required mileage threshold.
But, that is all changing now. As of June 1, 2023, there are new rules for earning and retaining elite status and it is clearly an attempt to dump members who do not fly Aegean Airlines. Let’s hear it right from Aegean:
The New Elite Status Rules for Aegean Airlines
Upgrade to Silver tier
To reach the Silver tier, all you need to do is fly with AEGEAN and/or Olympic Air at least twice and earn 12,000 tier miles within 12 months, or collect a total of 35,000 tier miles regardless the airline you choose to fly with.
Silver tier retention
To retain your Silver tier, you have a fixed 12-month period from the date of your tier upgrade or renewal, to collect 8,000 tier miles including 2 flights with AEGEAN and/or Olympic Air, or collect a total of 35,000 tier miles, regardless the airline you choose to fly with.
Upgrade to Gold tier
To upgrade from Silver to Gold tier, all you need to do is fly with AEGEAN and/or Olympic Air at least four times and earn 24,000 tier miles within 12 months, or collect a total of 70,000 tier miles, regardless the airline you choose to fly with.
Gold tier retention
To retain your Gold tier, you have a fixed 12-month period from the date of your tier upgrade or renewal, to collect 12,000 tier miles including 4 flights with AEGEAN and/or Olympic Air, or collect a total of 70,000 tier miles, regardless the airline you choose to fly with.
As you can see, for anyone trying to retain Aegean Gold status going forward, you are going to have to fly Aegean Airlines on at least 4 flights or the math just doesn’t make sense. If you were to credit 70,000 miles to other Star Alliance programs, you would easily get Gold status plus you would earn miles in a program where you can transfer miles in from transferrable programs like Capital One, Bilt, Chase, and American Express. Aegean’s only transfer partner is Marriott.
Effectively, Aegean has killed the program for people that don’t actually fly Aegean Airlines. Again, that doesn’t sound unreasonable except for Aegean’s past of trying to get as many members from all over the world as possible to credit to them. Now, if you want to continue to do that, it is going to cost you – unless you fly Aegean.
As someone who has earned Aegean Gold status for over 10 years and actually flies Aegean regularly, I personally wouldn’t be that bothered by this. I mean, why not cater more towards actual Aegean customers? But, I do have one question for Aegean – are you going to increase the benefits for Aegean Gold members now that you are pushing for Gold members and those who want to be Gold to fly Aegean? To be fair, they already do offer quite a few nice perks to elite members!
There are plenty of Star Alliance carriers in Europe – Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa, SWISS, Austrian, SAS, LOT, for examples – and all of them fly to Greece. I totally get that Aegean is a strong airline to fly to domestic destinations but Aegean should be willing to step up their game for elite members if they are basically making them choose to fly Aegean over some of these other fine airlines when coming to Greece.
I should hit my Aegean Gold again in the coming months and it will get me through November of 2024. So, it doesn’t immediately affect me. But, I know this will likely purge a lot of other members from the ranks when their years end.
Also, one additional thing – I can’t say for sure but I believe the words “you have a fixed 12-month period from the date of your tier upgrade or renewal” is new. For example, currently, I have until November 23 to renew my status. If I renew it right now, under the previous rules, it would be good until November 23, 2024. But, it seems that, if I were to renew it on June 1, it would reset my elite clock to have it expire June 1 of the following year.
This may create situations where elite members hold off as long as possible to renew. This is actually pretty easy (if you choose to not fly Aegean when you are close to hitting your threshold) since you can purchase elite tier miles so you could always just purchase the last few you need right at the end of your member year.
Started with 0 miles requirement to retain A3*G status, and now it’s up to 70k miles required to retain A3*G status if not crediting 4 A3/OA segments to the account. All within the past 12 years.
I’m guessing that the next shoe to drop will be a change to 12k miles requirement for those of us who credit 4 or more flights to A3 accounts, and that will mean more getting kicked out of A3*G status when they increase the tier miles requirement and/or the number of A3/OA flights to retain A3*G status to make it more costly than 12k miles + 4 Aegean/Olympic flights.