If you have ever had an interest in getting Star Alliance Gold in the easiest way possible, you have definitely looked into the Miles & Bonus program by Aegean Airlines. There has been a lot of blog posts about the program, including here on Running with Miles. By crediting 20,000 miles to Aegean Airlines from Star Alliance airlines, it has been possible to earn Star Alliance Gold with a 3 year expiration. Plus, you could extend that deadline by crediting a single flight within that 3 year period. Star Alliance lounge access, extra baggage, and priority access was easily attainable using this road.
However, as they say, all good things must come to an end. Aegean Airlines actually billed it as “Welcome to the new Miles + Bonus” and had this to introduce the new rollout:
We are happy to inform you that the new Miles+Bonus; the common loyalty program of Aegean and Olympic Air; is coming on the 24th of November to reward your trust, with even more benefits, additional services and new partnerships.
It sounds as if they are using the marketing staff of the US airlines on this one.
The Road To Easy Star Alliance Gold – Closing
There are a lot of new points about the program (all of which can be seen at this new website), but I will just highlight the parts that affect the flyers who use Aegean for status alone. Very few of the people that hold Aegean Airline status (in the US) have ever flown Aegean Airlines. In fact, I probably fly Aegean Airlines more than any other miles and points blogger. As an airline, it is really great, but the status is what most flyers are interested in.
As of November 24, status will have to be earned on a 12 month period and will expire after that. They are adding a third tier of status to the program as well and to get the top tier status, you will have to fly almost as many miles as you would on United to gain their gold status.
I had always thought that this was an unsustainable program, but I did not think they would go this far. I thought they were going to make a program that required non-Greek residents to fly a certain higher amount of miles but that true Aegean flyers would have the same old requirement. This was based on the fact that flying Aegean Airlines actually gave very few miles for flying on Aegean. However, they are adding better mileage earning to the program with the changes. So, Aegean flyers will gain a bit.
They are also adding an easier way to redeem the miles on some routes, requiring a multiplier of sorts instead of breaking the trip down by segment. Along with that, they will allow you to pool award miles in a single account for up to 6 people while each earns their own elite miles. This is a nice addition to give you some better redemption options, but not many people will probably be using Aegean as their status carrier after this.
The New Aegean
The new Aegean tiers will require more flying. The good part is that they will be converting existing Blue and Gold members to the equivalent status tiers under the new program. This is what it looks like:
From now on, to earn Silver status, you will need to fly 12,000 miles within 12 months and two Aegean/Olympic flights or 24,000 miles on any of the Star Alliance airlines. To earn Gold, you will need to fly 24,000 miles within 12 months and four Aegean/Olympic flights or 48,000 miles on any of the Star Alliance airlines.
To retain Silver status (the converted Blue status), you will need to fly 8,000 miles within 12 months and two Aegean/Olympic flights or a total of 16,000 miles on any of the Star Alliance airlines. To retain Silver status after the November 24th date, you will need to have flown those miles within the previous 12 months.
To retain Gold status, you will need to fly 12,000 miles within 12 months (including four Aegean/Olympic flights) or a total of 24,000 miles on any of the Star Alliance airlines. Gold members will retain Gold status no matter the flight activity.
The Road Closing?
If you do not already have Aegean Gold status before November 24th, there is really no reason to go for it after that. Because it requires 48,000 miles to gain that Gold status, you are better off earning the 50,000 miles on United and receiving their Gold status to also receive Star Alliance Gold.
If you already have Aegean Gold status, it will depend on your continued interest in the program as to whether or not you try to retain the status. It really only makes remote sense if you will be flying paid Aegean or Olympic flights within that 12 month period. Otherwise, the 24,000 miles credited from cheap United airline flights will actually take more than the 24,000 miles to earn those 24,000 miles.
However, for me, I will be keeping my Aegean Gold status. I already fly Aegean more than enough in a 12 month period to meet that requirement for flying and I will be able to pick up the 12,000 miles without too much of a problem through my regular flying. Even though the new requirements will put a crimp on my miles that I credit to United, some of the new benefits will be nice for me. Obviously, I only represent a tiny fraction of US flyers that have Aegean Gold status so this road to easy Star Alliance Gold status is definitely closing for the masses.
To find out more, check out the new website.
So, what do you think? Will be trying to keep it or focus elsewhere?