Get Star Alliance Gold For Less Than $800
There are a couple of components that work to make this become Star Alliance Gold for less than $800. One of them is a pretty good, transcontinental first class fare (that has apparently been around for a little while now) and the other is crediting the miles earned from that fare to Aegean Airlines. Thanks to the generous fare earning and multipliers mixed with Aegean’s very generous threshold for Miles and Bonus Gold, you can walk away after one round-trip with Star Alliance Gold – that will last for three years (longer if you continue to credit one flight to Aegean within that timeframe). Let’s put this all together.
See below if leaving from either NYC or Seattle does not work for you. For a little more, you may be able to fly right from your own airport and achieve the same result.
United Airlines has a fare for first class from NYC (LaGuardia Airport) to Seattle (it works the other way as well) for $770. This price is available for quick turns or longer and is available on many days of the month (even on days it is not, it goes up to just around $800) all the way through May, 2015 when it goes up to $880 round-trip.
To search for possible dates, you can go to ITA Matrix and search by the calendar for lowest fares. Set the cabin to first class and search.
Entering that will bring up a selection by month for that city-pair and shows you the prices for each day.
You cannot purchase tickets from here, so now you take the dates that you have found that will work for you and put them in over at United. This part is important – make sure that you connect through Houston as that will give you the amount of miles you need for the Aegean Gold requirements (thanks to Dan again for pointing this out).
This is a great way to knock out the miles you need for Star Alliance Gold – and doing it in comfort (United first class). It is possible to do this with same day turns, so you could be out and back the same day. If you are not local to either Seattle or New York City, consider either a cheap flight to get to one of those locations, or using Avios (Seattle is the hub for Alaska Airlines and you can use Avios to book Alaska Airline tickets).
Other Flight Options
If you are not locally based in the cities above and taking a positioning flight to arrive at one of the cities does not work, you can try searching for your own city as well. There are many cities that still come up at under $1,000 for this fare. The nice part is that you are not bound to transit through Houston since adding a leg at the start and the end of this trip will add a minimum of 3,000 miles (because Aegean credits fare class A at a 1,500 mile minimum). This might make it more convenient for you. Just make sure the fare class is A to receive the 300% bonus!
Check your local airport!
Reducing the Cost
As I wrote about the other day, it is possible to get the American Express Platinum card for the first year with no fee. With that card comes airline incidental reimbursements of up to $200 per calendar year. Even though it does not say these are covered, it is possible to purchase airline gift cards with that reimbursement. So, if you apply for and receive that card, you could purchase a gift card for $200 and apply that to this ticket, bringing the out of pocket cost down to $562!
Yes, that is still a lot of money, but when you consider that you will be receiving Star Alliance Gold for (theoretically, at least until they change it) life, that is not bad! Not only that, but you will also have (almost) an award ticket for a round-trip ticket in the US, and lounge access! If you use the award ticket on a flight that you may have had to pay $300 for otherwise, it basically means you are paying $262 for access to lounges around the world, increased baggage allowances, and priority access at check-in, security, and boarding. Not bad at all!
The Star Alliance Gold Status
When you book this flight, make sure that put your Aegean Airline Miles & Bonus number in the reservation so that the miles will be credited to them. If you do not already have an account, go here to sign up (you will also receive 1,000 miles which counts towards elite status and as award miles).
Aegean Airlines gives a 300% bonus on United fare class A (which is what this flight is). So, the base miles for this flight (round-trip) will total 6,580 miles. When multiplied by Aegean’s allowance for fare class A, we get 19,740 miles. Aegean Airlines requires 20,000 miles to reach Aegean Gold (which is Star Alliance Gold), so when we add the 1,000 miles you get for signing up for the program to the miles earned for the flight, you wind up at 20,740 miles – clearing Gold by a mere 740 miles.
Star Alliance Gold is valuable for many reasons (extra baggage allowance, priority boarding, priority check-in, etc) but probably the most valuable perk is getting lounge access to any Star Alliance lounge when on a Star Alliance carrier. Here is how great that is – as a United Premier 1K, I am not able to use United lounges when flying on a domestic ticket, but I can access those lounges when flying domestically with my Aegean Gold card! And this works anyplace in the world, even when you are flying in coach.
Once you hit the 20,000 mile level, you will have earned Aegean Gold (and Star Alliance Gold). But, you can also use those miles for redemptions. It takes 25,000 miles for a round-trip in the US on United using those miles, so if you rack up a few more, you get a free flight! There are also some other great redemptions you can take advantage of (see 7 Great Uses For Aegean Miles for some ideas).
Check out these posts for more information about Aegean Airlines:
- Get Star Alliance Gold Status with Aegean Airlines
- Great Feature: The New Aegean Airlines Digital Card
- Aegean Gold Worth More Than Ever
- My First Flight As Aegean Gold
- My First Upgrade With … Aegean Airlines?