With the travel mess caused by Covid, we saw airlines and hotels extending elite status and then doing things like making it easier to claim as a result. As travel picked up and planes filled again, most travel providers rolled back the Covid-related concessions that they had made for their customers. Aegean Airlines made one more gesture recently – and while it was a kind one, it really messed up my elite plans!
Aegean Airlines Extended Status – And That Messed Things Up for Me
Aegean Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance and has one of the easiest methods of retaining elite status. For their top-tier status, which is Aegean Gold, it equals Star Alliance Gold which means things like extra baggage allowance, priority check-in, priority boarding, priority security, and, of course, lounge access worldwide.
I have been an Aegean Gold member for almost 10 years and even when they started making it harder to earn and retain, I stayed loyal to them as they are the airline I use the most. As things stand with their pre-Covid rules, it had been quite easy to retain Aegean Gold status. It only required 4 Aegean flights and 12,000 credited miles to Aegean from any Star Alliance airline in a member year. Unlike many other airlines, their year for most legacy members had been from the end of November. For everyone since the program update, it was one year from when they earned the status.
Aegean Extended Status Expiration
Due to Covid, they extended the status renewal period to May 23, 2021. They also gave everyone a reduction in tier miles required to help in the re-qualification process. Since I would not let my Aegean status lapse, I had a plan to hit the required miles for renewal and to do so by the May 23 date.
Aegean Extended Status Expiration – Again
But, then Aegean extended the status expiration yet again, back to the end of November, 2022. This was a very nice gesture they made just over a month ago as they must have realized that many loyal customers would not renew in time. Unlike in the US, travel in and to Greece had still been somewhat complicated over the past year. Travelers needed to either have a vaccination certificate or a negative test before boarding any flights (up until a month ago). Travelers arriving in Greece also had to have a Passenger Locator Form (up until the middle of March). Furthermore, there had still be some random lockdowns and restrictions that had been put in place with little notice.
All of this caused many people to avoid flying within Greece unless absolutely necessary due to the uncertainty. This is likely why Aegean decided to extend the elite status another 6 months even though most airlines had stopped with the elite extensions.
How This Messed Me Up
Elite Status Qualification Plans
While I recognize that I am hardly the only elite Aegean flyer, this generous extension really did mess things up for me. As I said, I had a plan for hitting the renewal and I did that right on schedule. I even had booked a quick mileage run on Aegean to get my 4 Aegean segments finished up. This is something I would not have done had the extension not been done.
The reason for that is that I already have a lot of travel booked on Aegean. In fact, thanks to tickets booked from the Aegean Pass and other flights planned, I would likely have hit Aegean Gold again by October. This status would have let it last until May of 2024. Perfect, right?
Well, not so perfect. That is because all of those flights that I had planned will not simply keep adding to my already-fulfilled tier amount for this year since the qualification period lasts until November of this year. So, now I have the status until November of 2023 instead of earning it in the next few months through May of 2024.
Aegean Business Class Certificates
But, even bigger than this is the upgrade certificates. Aegean Gold members get 4 business seat upgrades per member year. I had already used two certificates for my trip this coming weekend and had plans to use the four new certificates I would have received after May 23 for other flights.
Instead, I only have 2 certificates that I can use between now and November instead of having 4 new ones to use (I had planned to use those other 2 before they were to expire but held off when I saw that they are the only ones I receive until November).
Again, I know I am just one of many, many Aegean elite flyers and I am not suggesting that they should have not done this extension because of me. But, it isn’t just me. I have talked to other Aegean Gold flyers who also had their renewal strategies and upgrade certificate plans messed up with this generous extension. I think that Aegean may have just wanted to put the renewal date back to November like it had been before but it would have been nice if they let those of us who had already used certificates based on the previous date to have access to our new certificates.
Oh well, I can always credit the flights I have planned this summer and fall to another Star Alliance carrier and I may do that. We will see. At least I have re qualified and have my Aegean Gold status all the way through November of 2023!