The Basics

What I Love AND Hate About Aegean’s Star Alliance Awards (Especially For Premium Awards)

award booking
Written by Charlie

Using Aegean miles is a great way to book Star Alliance awards like business class on Turkish, Lufthansa, and more for less than other airlines! But, there is one thing that I love and hate about them!

I initially wrote this post a while ago and started writing another one talking about this problem – while forgetting that I had already written about it! 🙂 Since I am banging my head against this restriction quite a bit lately – and it is costing me money – I thought I would just publish this one again with some of the things I was going to say in the new post.

My preferred airline for booking premium cabin awards on Star Alliance carriers is Aegean. They have an awesome award chart that allows you to fly between the US and Europe for only 45,000 miles in business class! That same ticket on an airline like Turkish Airlines would cost 70,000 miles with United! Yes, there are fuel surcharges on some airlines but there are still plenty of options that do not have them or have low amounts (like Turkish Airlines). That is not the thing that I hate!

What I Love AND Hate About Aegean’s Star Alliance Awards

4 Reasons Aegean Deserves Your Attention For Premium…

With Aegean being a transfer partner of SPG’s Starpoints, they have become more popular with many people in the last couple of years. There are a few things to be aware of when you are booking Star Alliance awards with Aegean:

  • Limited to one connection in each direction
  • That connection cannot last longer than 24 hours
  • Fuel surcharges are added for certain airlines (like Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian)
  • Partner awards can now be booked online but the booking engine is wonky to say the least

On the plus side, there are some great things like incredibly low cancellation fees and change fees for awards, not to mention their very attractive awards between the US and Europe. You can fly business, as mentioned above, or even in something like Lufthansa First Class for only 60,000 miles one way (compared to 115,000 miles using United miles)!

So, what do I love and hate about their awards? It is the same thing and that is the limit of one connection in each direction.

Aegean Airlines

Some of the sweet spots with Aegean awards

Why Do I Hate That Rule?

That means that you are likely to be out of luck if flying with United from some regional airport in the US to a small-ish airport in Europe. For example, my family would typically fly from Rochester to either Newark or Dulles and then to Europe to transit something like Frankfurt, Munich, or Istanbul before arriving in Greece. Because that involves 2 connections, that is not allowed by Aegean’s award rules.

Single Segment Availability Loss Can Hurt

When summer travel hits Europe, it is definitely possible to need more than one connection since your preferred flight may likely not have any award seats left on it. For example, last year I took a flight from the US to Greece and it had this itinerary – Rochester – Newark – Zurich – Vienna – Thessaloniki. Such a flight would never work with Aegean! So, I had to go with United miles, which cost 57,500 miles (since the over-water segment was on United).

This single connection rule can really limit the awards you book. Of course, you could always connect with a different ticket/airline but that would involve more miles/cash and you may not have the same baggage allowances you would if it was the same ticket all the way through. Simply put, I hate it (or, rather, strongly dislike it) because it adds an inconvenience that can easily become a roadblock when it comes to booking certain awards.

Aeroplan > Aegean With This Rule

Most recently, our family flew from Arizona to Europe. Half the family flew on Aeroplan-issued awards (57,500 miles per person) and the other half flew on Aegean-issued awards (45,000 miles per person). Thanks to this rough rule of a single connection, we had to buy tickets for the 3 of us to fly to Houston from Arizona – which cost $150 per person. Whether you wipe that out with miles or pay cash, that is an extra cost you don’t need to pay with other airlines.

Why Do I Love That Rule?

So, what could I possibly love about that rule? I love it because it limits the amount of awards that would be booked with Aegean miles which will likely stave off some kind of serious devaluation that I would hate much more! Having to phone to book a ticket, especially a foreign airline, already causes many people to pass over a program. But being limited to a single connection really helps to keep the amount of award bookings lower than if it was as generous as United is with connections.

When it comes to award travel, many of the things that are difficult end up being the things that also preserve award charts and categories. So, that makes me appreciate them even if they are inconvenient!

I guess I would call this rule a mediocre like from me in light of all that – yet still incredibly frustrating right now!

Some of the links on Running with Miles are affiliate links that pay a commission if a purchase is made. Running with Miles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

About the author


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.


  • Thanks for writing about this. Makes me wish I had bought SPG points just recently. Is SPG pretty much the only way to get Aegean points without flying?

  • For star alliance partner flights with one-connection, availability through Aegean’s website is horrible. I’ve been sitting on 45k miles trying redeem a Europe to Canada business class flight and there is literally zero availability all summer. Will avoid this program once I complete my first redemption. Rather pay 70k United or 55k Aeroplan miles for better availability.

    • Yeah, their online engine is terrible. Use United or Aeroplan to find your flights and then call Aegean and feed the flights to them. I never have a problem doing it that way.

  • What are the fuel surcharges on Star Alliance airlines when booking award tickets through Aegean?

    • Same as with airlines like Aeroplan since Aegean passes them through the customer. The exception is Turkish – Aeroplan does not charge the fuel surcharges with them and Aegean does (about $200 from Europe and $280 from the US). The fuel surcharges are about half when departing Europe – so about $200-300 for Lufthansa, Austrian, Swiss, etc. It is about double from the US.

      • Well, I just checked Swiss, and whereas with Aeroplan, there are no surcharges, with Aegean, there are significant ones! Roughly $300 -400? So for Swiss there is a big difference.