Aegean’s Miles + Bonus is my preferred Star Alliance frequent flyer program for a number of reasons. I love their 45,000 mile business class awards between the US and Europe (in fact, that works for US to Israel as well!), I love their low threshold for requalifying, I love their service aboard their aircraft, and some other things.
A Single, Stealth Aegean Award Change
But, they made a change this year that I was not a fan of (charging for certain seats – even for elites – and calling it a positive change). It appears that they have made another change as well – this one a stealth award change.
The New Change – Raising the Mileage Cost for Flights in Europe/North Africa
While this will not affect many of the readers of this blog (that are US-based), this does have an impact on the European readers and is not a good sign if Aegean feels they can make changes like this without informing their customers of these changes. For now, this award change is isolated to flights within the European/North Africa region but the amounts they have bumped these flights up is not a good sign for future award chart changes.
Flights within Europe and North Africa (a single region for award uses that combines Europe with countries like Israel and Egypt) used to cost 12,500 miles one way in economy and 21,000 miles one way in business.
Redeeming Miles for Inter-European Business Is Not Normally a Good Deal Anyway
I will start out by saying that redeeming miles for inter-European business class is not the best use of miles – most of the time. The seat is the same as economy but with the middle seat blocked. The food is quite a bit better and some airports will give you priority exit (a separate bus from a remote stand) but it is generally not worth the extra miles.
However, this new stealth award change by Aegean makes redeeming for business class really not worth it! They have hiked the costs to 15,000 miles one way in economy (a 2,500 mile change) and 25,000 miles one way in business (a 4,000 mile change).
I think I may have only redeemed for an inter-European award on Star Alliance flights once since the tickets are normally fairly cheap – especially when you figure in the taxes and fees that the Aegean award flights add on to them. With Aegean’s rule of a single connecting flight for awards, it makes redeeming for inter-European flights even more on the fringe.
Why This Change Is Really Bad
But, the fact that they made this change without warning and by a somewhat significant amount (a 19% increase for business class) is what is concerning to me. I really hope they do not do the same thing with other awards, especially some of their sweet spots. A 20% increases on their business class tickets between the US and Europe would mean a new cost of 54,000 miles.
That would put it right in the park with Aeroplan (55,000 miles for eastern Europe and 57,500 miles for western Europe) and Aeroplan has advantages like
- nice hotel transfer bonuses at times
- being a Membership Reward transfer partner (in addition to SPG which is Aegean’s only transfer partner)
- not charging fuel surcharges on some flights that Aegean does (like Turkish Airlines).
At least Aegean has a very generous mile pooling policy for elites. In fact, even if you are not elite, you can pay a very small fee to transfer miles between members. But, Aegean, please do not make another change like this without giving warning to members in advance!