Yesterday is the day that Aegean Airlines was changing up their frequent flyer program, the new Miles & Bonus program. The program had been unavailable for the last few days and it was not possible to book award tickets from your account (though any flights you credited will still be credited to the account). Now, they have launched the new website and program. There are still some errors popping up, but yesterday, they put it up per their promise. Here is a guide and overview of what to expect.
This is developing as the website is hit and miss right now. I have put down everything that I have been able to find after a lot of searching online and talking to numerous customer service representatives and supervisors.
New Miles + Bonus Program Is Here
If you are not familiar with the changes, check out this post.
The new Miles + Bonus program has added some significant points that will be helpful for those who wish to remain loyal to Aegean Airlines, even if they do not fly Aegean. Aegean Airlines could still provide an option for crediting miles to given their lower threshold for Gold status (even with the changes) and the favorable award redemption rates.
Let’s jump in and see what is possible with the new program.
One of the problems with the older system was that there were not as many great options (that were clear, anyway) for earning miles outside of actually flying. That meant that if you were short a few hundred miles for an award, you would have had to fly to get it or do some business with a partner in Greece.
With the new system, the earning process is a lot clearer and gives many more options.
The hotel online booking service, Booking.com, is able to earn you miles based on your tier of status to the amount of euros spent – 2 miles per euro. The prices are very accurate to other hotel services and you are able to earn miles based on your spend. To have the miles credited to your account, you need to go through the Aegean hotel site – here – and enter your Miles & Bonus number at checkout.
With the new Miles & Bonus program, you can extend invitations to up to 5 people to be a part of your Together Miles where all the award miles will pool in your account. They will each earn elite miles on their own, but the award miles will pool in your account. This means that a family of four traveling domestically (on a United fare that earns 100% miles when credited to Aegean) from the East Coast to the West Coast would earn around 5,000 miles roundtrip. If pooled to the same account, that would mean the Together account would accrue 20,000 miles.
While it is really a not great deal to buy miles, you now have the option (if you have elite status with Aegean) to purchase miles to top up for the next award level.
Flying for Miles
Earning miles by flying will stay the same for Star Alliance partners. Their award chart is here. There will be a different earning structure for Aegean and Olympic flights where international fares will be judged by distance and fare class. The minimum distance amounts for the fares (not GoLight) will be structured at 800 and 1,000 mile minimum on coach fares and 1,600 mile minimum for business class fares. When traveling domestically, you will earn a flat rate depending on the fare class.
With the new program, the redemption amounts stay the same for Star Alliance redemptions. It remains one of the best values for those wishing to redeem for business class to Europe as it is only 90,000 (compared to United which charges 115,000 miles for business class on United flights).
When redeeming for Aegean Airlines or Olympic Air flights, it is now a distance based redemption tied to the fare class.
One example is a route that I often use – Thessaloniki to Tel Aviv. The old system would charge me 34,500 miles for a roundtrip award redemption (because it charged by the segment and was 22,000 miles roundtrip for international tickets). With the new system, it would be 10,896 miles one-way (according to customer service reps – the award booking service is not working yet). So, it is roughly the cost of what it would have been if I had flown from Athens under the old system.
Business Class Upgrades
With the new program, every Gold member receives 4 business class upgrade certificates for travel on Aegean Airlines (and Olympic). These are valid until November 24, 2015. Unfortunately, they can only be used for the Gold member and cannot be designated for someone else. Also, they cannot be assigned to your flight online. The Gold member will need to call in to upgrade their seat.
There was some speculation concerning how the business class upgrades could be used – ie. could they be used on GoLight fares (the cheapest fares). The good news is that all revenue fares will be eligible for the business class upgrade certificates.
So, it is certainly a nice perk, but kind of disappointing that it cannot be handled online or for other travelers.
Elite Status and Expiration
The time to earn status for the next year will expire November 24, 2015. You will have until then to attain Gold by crediting 12,000 miles (and 4 Aegean/Olympic flights) or crediting 24,000 miles (without the Aegean flights).
My online account information was showing November 24, 2015 for expiration, but the smartphone app is showing January 24, 2016. So, it would seem that you have until November 24, 2015 to earn enough miles but your status would actually last until January 24. Also, in line with the report I wrote about last month, the card for the Aegean Miles + Bonus status is different from the old one (at least in the app at this point, but the old card reflected the appearance of the genuine card).
Yes, new cards will be issued with a different design which will nearly eliminate the ability to use your current card past the expiration date.
There are several more benefits – free parking at Athens airport, valet parking, Happy Miles, etc. With the website currently not fully functional, I do not have a clear picture of how these will be implemented yet. Be sure to check back later to get the full picture.
Any questions about the new program? Ask them in the comments below and I will update the post with the answers.