The Basics Travel News

Time Running Out For Easy Star Alliance Gold?

Star Alliance Gold
Written by Charlie

Without a doubt, the easiest way to achieve Star Alliance Gold (without entering a status match/challenge or trial) is through Aegean Airlines and their Miles and their Miles and Bonus program. I have written many times before about how to get Star Alliance Gold with Aegean Gold status and showed my own trip reports of achieving Star Alliance Gold.

Star Alliance Gold

Star Alliance GoldTo put it simply – Star Alliance Gold is the highest tier of airline loyalty that is recognized across the Star Alliance partners. If you have United Premier 1K status, you have picked up 100,000 elite miles in one year, but you are still only granted Star Alliance Gold since that is the highest Star Alliance tier. On the same toke, if you receive United Premier Gold (which requires 50,000 elite miles in a year), you have also received Star Alliance Gold. So, it is not that difficult to earn a status that will grant you Star Gold. Here is a list of what you receive as Star Alliance Gold.

Aegean Airlines Gold

The part that makes Aegean Gold the easiest way to receive Star Alliance Gold is that Aegean only requires 20,000 miles (instead of 50,000 miles like most Star airlines) and you are given 1,000 miles to join the program! Not only that, but you will receive Aegean Blue status after reaching 4,000 miles (which is only 3,000 miles plus the 1,000 for signing up) and then have a year from that date (of earning Aegean Blue) to earn the extra 16,000 miles to achieve Aegean Gold!

Probably the best feature of having Aegean Gold (in addition to the extra bag allowance and priority boarding and check-in and security lines) is the fact that you get lounge access when traveling on Star Alliance flights – even if you travel on a domestic ticket! For example, you could fly from Washington DC to Houston and still have lounge access if you are flying it as an Aegean Gold. United elite members do not even get that! It is a huge perk that I have greatly enjoyed, thanks to Aegean Gold.

Star Alliance Gold

Free access to lounges like this when flying on the Star Alliance, thanks to Aegean Gold!

What Is Changing?

Now on to the part about wondering if time is running out for easy Star Alliance Gold. No, it is not a change on the Aegean Airlines end but with US Airways. US Airways is the best airline for US-based travelers to use to credit miles to Aegean Airlines. To be clear, you never need to fly on Aegean in order to earn Aegean Gold – you just have to credit miles earned from their partners to their program. The reason US Airways is the best airline for US travelers to use for that is that almost all fare classes credit to Aegean at 100% mile credit (while United only grants 50% on the lower fare classes and nothing on the bottom fare classes). You can see the earning table here.

Star Alliance Gold

Earning chart on Aegean Airlines for US Airways flights

The part that is changing is that US Airways is leaving the Star Alliance on March 30th to join the Oneworld Alliance as part of the new American Airlines. That would normally mean that it would no longer be possible to earn miles on their former partners, but according to an e-mail US Airways had sent out a couple of months ago (can be found here at One Mile At A Time), it should still be possible (for a time) to earn miles with US Airways for Aegean. The big questions are: How long will that last? and Will it still be at the full credit that they credit at now? We probably will not know more about this until real-life scenarios after March 30th, but it is interesting.

Star Alliance Gold

However, you should not bank your Aegean Gold progress on that being the case for long. If possible, schedule those US Airway flights now for travel before US Airways departs the Star Alliance (March 30th). That does not leave you with a lot of time! But, if you plan it accordingly and look for good deals, it can be done.

Hope Still Exists For United Short-Haul

Even if you do not finish it in time, the good news is that United, even though they do not credit at the full amount for lower fares, does credit at a 500 mile minimum for flights. That means that if you were to fly on a ticket such as Rochester to Boston (for $90 one-way), you could still earn 1,000 miles from that because of the segments from Rochester – Newark (500 mile minimum credit) and Newark – Boston (500 mile minimum credit). To earn that same amount without the minimum, you would need to fly 2,000 actual miles on United! So, check those United short-haul flights to see what you may find. I actually did this last year myself because some of my US Airway miles had not posted yet and I needed the Star Gold status for a big upcoming trip. I was able to get a round-trip of Rochester to Boston (via Cleveland both ways) for a total of $100. I started early in the morning and was home late afternoon! Yes, that is still $100 but that one trip put me over the top and saved us $1,600 in baggage fees for our move!

Star Alliance Gold

500 miles per flight to credit to Aegean!


So, what about it? Are you going for Star Gold with Aegean before US Airways departs? Or will you shoot for the short-haul option with United? Aegean Gold (and thereby Star Alliance Gold) is awesome to have and really helps to make the whole travel experience a little better. True, you are not going to get upgrades (even though I was surprised to actually get an upgrade one time on Aegean), but it is a great elite status to have in your wallet for your travel. Plus, it will never be easier to get than it is right now!

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • If you choose a United Express flight I suggest calling Aegean (its not on their website) and confirming that the flight number is eligible to earn miles. There are certain flight numbers for regional (non mainline) United that will not earn miles for transfer to other Star Alliance carriers. Found this out the hard way after buying a ORD-MKE roundtrip that should have earned me Gold but got denied by Aegean when trying to get credit.

    • That is very interesting! Did they tell you what the range of flight numbers were that it did not apply to? My guess would be that it might be “shuttle” flights? The ones I took last year were regional and they all received full credit (well, the 500 mile minimum). Thanks for letting me know, though!

    • Yes this is true. I Flew CLD to lax in UA and got zero miles for that segment.

      Always double check fare classes and flight numbers, particularly for partner accrual.

  • Let me get this straight. I am flying Ethiopian Air from IAD-ADD-JRO-ADD-FCO-IAD, 16200 miles, makes me a Gold Card on Miles & Bonus Aegean Airlines? They are a Star Alliance Partner. I am now a Gold Card Member of Star Alliance when flying another Star Alliance member, because of the qualifying 16000 miles. I received a 1000 bonus miles for joining Miles & Bonus.

    • If you get 2,800 more miles credited to Aegean (after counting the Ethiopian flight and the joining bonus), yes, you would be Gold. But, your flight on Ethiopian must be one of the following fare classes to earn credit with Aegean: Y, G, S, B, M, K, L, V, H, U, Q, T, W, E, O. Otherwise, no credit is issued.

      • So I have to get 4000 Blue miles plus 16000 miles to get Gold? Thanks, can I transfer some United miles into Aegean(2800) to get Gold?

  • This is interesting – how does it work? If, for example, I have a flight on United tomorrow and I want to have it earn Aegean miles. Did I need to book through Aegean, or do I need to change my United ticket to have my Aegean number on it? Or can I just fly with my mileage plus number on the ticket and then to to Aegean and ask for credit?


    • As long as it is a fare that will give credit to Aegean (check the table link in the post to confirm), all you need to do is to put your Aegean number on your reservation for your frequent flyer number (instead of the United one). You should see the miles post to your Aegean account about one week after your flight. But you have to have your Aegean number on the reservation before you fly!