I write quite a bit about Aegean Airlines and their Miles+Bonus program as they used to have the easiest, longest-lasting Star Alliance Gold status (which is no longer the case).
Well, now there is a reason to check them out again as they have become a new SPG transfer partner! This is great news for many reasons that we will look at below.
Great New SPG Transfer Partner Opens Up Excellent Award Chart
Transferring SPG Starpoints To Aegean
First of all, Aegean’s new partnership with SPG means that you can transfer points into miles at a 1:1 ratio like most of SPG’s partners. For every 20,000 points transferred, you will receive a 5,000 mile bonus in your Aegean account.
Start here to initiate the transfer. At this point, it is too soon (announcement just made yesterday) to know how long it will take to transfer. That is the big negative with SPG – the long transfer times. But, you can at least start. There is no minimum amount necessary for SPG Platinum members while Gold members have a 1,500 point minimum and general members have a 2,500 point minimum.
Aegean Airlines And Their Award Chart
Aegean has a really great award chart with some nice sweet spots in it. As a member of the Star Alliance, it opens up a lot of great award opportunities for you! I have written about those in the past but will mention those again here to show you what is possible.
US – Europe [Business Class & First Class]
Mileage Requirement: 90,000 miles in business class and 120,000 miles in first class for roundtrip
One of the best awards for mainstream customers in the US is going to be their US to Europe in business class. One way awards are possible and available for only 45,000 miles! That is a great deal to begin with since you are not going to get a roundtrip from the US to Europe for only 90,000 miles from United Airlines!
We can take this even further because of Aegean’s generous region definitions – they include the Caribbean in their North America designation! Not only that, but they include Israel in Europe! That means that, technically, you could fly from a Caribbean island to Israel (connecting through Newark) in business class for only 45,000 miles! Of course, that is just an example because finding business class from Newark to Tel Aviv on United is not that easy! But, it gives you an idea of the breadth of this award chart and the possibilities.
Within Europe and North Africa
Mileage Requirement: 25,000 miles (coach) / 42,000 miles (business/first)
Here again is a wonderful example of Aegean’s regional classifications. They place North Africa in the same category as Europe and it includes a very interesting location – it assigns Israel to North Africa!
Here are the countries that they have put in the North Africa region: Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, Western Sahara, Egypt, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, and Israel. Granted, many of those nations are probably not at the top of your must-visit list, but the inclusion of Morocco, Egypt, and Israel with inter-European pricing can be very helpful!
North America to South Africa [Business Class]
Mileage Requirement: 110,000 miles (business)
The sweet spot on this redemption is the 110,000 miles in business. That is exactly what US Airways use to charge for that route for Star Alliance redemptions. United used to charge 120,000 but now charges 160,000 miles. It can be a great way to take South African Airways to Johannesburg at a lower cost for business.
Within the Far East
Mileage Requirement: 25,000 miles (coach) / 42,000 miles (business) / 80,000 miles (first)
According to Aegean, the Far East is quite large! It includes countries as far north as Mongolia, as far west as China, as far east as Japan, and as far south as Singapore. Some of the sweet spot cities that this opens up are
- Seoul (Asiana Airlines)
- Bangkok (Thai Airways)
- Tokyo (ANA)
- Beijing (Air China)
- Singapore (Singapore Airlines)
- Taipei (EVA)
Of course, there are many other cities, but these present the major cities with their airlines. They give you many options and they are all available at very low redemption prices.
This region might actually present some of the best options for using your miles as taxes and fees with these airlines are much lower than their European counterparts. This would allow you to save a lot of money out of pocket and still get some amazing travel value.
While there are many low cost Asian carriers that could get you around Asia for a little bit of money, the ease of being able to fly a major carrier non-stop across Asia can be a huge asset. Couple that with the fact that you have Star Alliance status and that makes the decision easier.
Plus, this gives you an excellent opportunity to fly in some of the best business class cabins in the world for only 21,000 miles (one-way). That is a huge deal!
Booking Aegean Awards
There are a few things to know about booking Aegean award tickets. These things should definitely be noted as it might help you make the decision on which of the above bookings to make.
- Only Aegean Airline flights can be booked using their engine
- To book a partner flight, you must fill out a form online or call their call center +30 210 6261000
- Call to book the ticket – don’t use the form as it can take days to get a response
- There is a 20 Euro fee for making an award reservation
- There is a 20 Euro cancelation fee (for cancellations made up to 30 minutes before departure)
- You are only allowed one connection (Aegean calls it a stopover) and it can be up to 24 hours long – this makes some of the bookings difficult because a two connection itinerary would not be allowed. You may need to transit a major airport on your own if your preferred itinerary would require two or more stops (they may make exceptions depending on the itinerary)
- Aegean charges fuel surcharges, taxes, and fees on all partner flights. This means that award reservations involving Europe could require fees that are several hundred dollars.
- To get an idea of what you will be charged, you can go to the ITA Matrix and search for your flight to see what the taxes and fees would be.
- The best options to minimize the fees would be flights inside the North American sector and the Far East sector. Within the Far East, your taxes and fees would only amount to about $100 or a little more.
- If you want to fly to Europe, consider using United, Lot, or SAS which do not charge fuel surcharges on the ticket.
- People’s experiences with the call center can vary – if you are unable to get what you need or feel that there is an understanding problem, just try calling back another time. I have had more good calls than bad for sure.
- The process can be pretty painless on the phone – I have had reservations booked and ticketed in 10 minutes.
Getting Even More Aegean Miles
If you still have Aegean status, there is a way to get even more miles! In fact, every elite can get 5,000 miles with no problems at all and more if you have nice friends and family members! 🙂
See this previous post for all the details about Aegean’s Together Accounts and how you can accumulate miles from other people’s accounts. This has helped me tremendously and is a nice way to keep the balances rolling!
This is an announcement that I have been looking forward to for a while! While Aegean may not present great interest to everyone, their award chart should be of great interest. Now that people can easily transfer SPG points to Aegean, that opens a lot of those sweet spots to people that do not regularly have Aegean miles. I have a pretty healthy balance right now but I appreciate the ability to transfer and take advantage of my Starpoints in this way as well.