Aegean’s Frequent Flyer Program Really Is Amazing!

A couple of days ago I wrote a post asking which Star Alliance frequent flyer program I should credit my miles to. I’m on a paid business class ticket on Air Canada and South African Airways to Cape Town, which has me flying 24,000+ miles.

Trip-CPT

While I fly a fair bit on Star Alliance, it’s almost exclusively on award tickets, so I don’t actively maintain status with Star Alliance. I do presently have Star Alliance Gold status through Copa ConnectMiles, given that they were offering status matches last year. But it doesn’t seem worth requalifying for.

So for this trip the first programs I thought of were Air Canada Aeroplan, Avianca LifeMiles, and Singapore KrisFlyer, given that those are the three Star Alliance programs I tend to use most for my redemptions.

However, most people recommended I credit to Aegean Miles+Bonus.

Why is Aegean Miles+Bonus so awesome?

I was pretty familiar with Aegean’s program before, and specifically remember back in the day when they offered status matches which initially didn’t seem to have an expiration date, which was awesome. However, they eventually discontinued that, which wasn’t surprising.

Since I don’t do much revenue flying with Star Alliance, I’ve never really explored actually crediting miles to them.

Well, as it turns out, Aegean is fantastic for crediting first & business class Star Alliance flights.

For my trip, Aegean offers 200% mileage (both elite qualifying and redeemable) for Air Canada business class:

Aegean-Air-Canada

The same is true for South African Airways business class:

Aegean-South-African-Airways

Compare that to the other Star Alliance programs I was considering, which offer 100-150% mileage accrual.

Further, earning (and maintaining) Star Alliance Gold through Aegean is quite easy as well.

You can earn Aegean Miles+Bonus status as follows:

  • Earning Silver: 12,000 tier miles with two flights on Aegean OR 24,000 tier miles on partners
  • Earning Gold: 24,000 tier miles with four flights on Aegean OR 48,000 tier miles on partners
  • Requalifying for Silver: 8,000 tier miles with two flights on Aegean OR 16,000 tier miles on partners
  • Requalifying for Gold: 12,000 tier miles with four flights on Aegean OR 24,000 tier miles on partners

Aegean-Silver

Aegean-Gold

Crunching the numbers on my trip

I don’t think this trip could work out much better for me in terms of going for Aegean status. I’m flying just over 24,000 miles, which earns me a bit over 48,000 elite qualifying miles… just enough to earn Star Alliance Gold status.

Update: As it turns out you need 72,000 miles to earn Gold status (48,000 is the requirement if you’re already Silver). Maybe I’ll be taking a few flights on Aegean this year so I can have that requirement cut significantly).

To requalify next year I’ll just need to earn 24,000 elite qualifying miles, which is just 12,000 miles in paid business class on some partners (assuming mileage earning rates stay the same).

On top of that, I’ll earn 48,000 redeemable miles, and Aegean has a very lucrative Star Alliance redemption chart (quoted prices are roundtrip, with one-ways available for half the cost of a roundtrip):

Aegean-Award-Chart

The catch is that there are fuel surcharges, but this still represents a great deal in most cases. For example, my 48,000 miles are more than enough for a one-way business class award between the US and Europe (which costs 45,000 miles), or I’m just a bit short of the requirement for a first class award to Europe (which costs 60,000 miles).

Lufthansa-First-Class-747 - 1
My next Lufthansa first class redemption may be using Aegean miles!

For those flying paid premium tickets, this is a pretty unbeatable program.

You know you’re crediting to a good program when…

Based on the quick reader feedback I added my Aegean frequent flyer number to my reservation in the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge. When I requested to add it, I figured the agent would say something along the lines of “Aegean… what’s that?”

Instead he said “ah, great choice, it’s amazing how good their program is. We have more and more people crediting miles to them, they make it so easy to earn status. Now the real question is if you’ve ever actually flown with them, or just credit miles?”

I’m loving Aegean Miles+Bonus so far, and will report back on my experiences… what’s not to love from earning Star Alliance Gold and a one-way business class ticket to Europe from a single trip?

Anyone else crediting their Star Alliance flights to Aegean’s program?

Comments

  1. The 48k for gold is from silver, so actually you need 24k for silver and than 48k for gold, making it 72k needed for gold from 0.

  2. I will also say that flying with Aegean is pretty awesome. Gold comes with four free upgrades on international trips and their award space is pretty friendly. They also come with a lot of great deals for being in Greece. Including hotel deals, even a free week gym membership per year at the posh Holmes Place. Alas, still the most generous as far as earning and overall benefits is UA (SWU on LH is such a great deal and if you fly any of the big *A guys you always get 200%), I’ve done the math a thousand times, But my partner gets his status through A3 and I through UA and we take advantage of each other’s perks. You get 50% on domestic Greek flights. Made our trip to Santorini cheap and perfect. Anyhow, huge fan here. Long time reader, first time commenter.

  3. I fly Aegean – they are a GREAT regional airline – hope some day they start flying to the states

  4. As I was corrected on the other day, K is right. It is 24K for silver w/o Aegean flights and then 48K for gold. Flying 4 Aegean segments cuts those numbers in half, and they are really a great airline to fly on as well!
    I have written a couple of times about my booking experiences with them and it is really good. Partner bookings must be made over the phone but it only takes a few minutes to get it done.
    I credit all my *A flights to Aegean. Renewing Gold is only 12K miles (when flying 4 Aegean segments) so it is a no brainer to keep it going.
    Great choice to credit both for the benefits and the award miles! Since they became a transfer partner of SPG, they have gotten much more popular which is probably why that agent made that remark.

  5. All of my *A paid flights credit to Aegean.

    One of the best features of their program in my opinion are the upgrade coupons their elites receive. On paid flights they operate a coupon will upgrade you from any fare to business, even from their Go Light fares; one coupon per person per segment, though there are anecdotes of upgrading a longer starting leg and receiving an upgrade on a following short segment as well. You earn miles based on the original fare, but even so pretty spiffy. Last year I and a friend flew ZRH-ATH and then ATH-ARN on Go Light fares that were upgraded with coupons. The soft product is pretty good, and the cost was about $250 USD total.

  6. It is a good program. Please don’t start writing about it all the time so it gets flooded with Americans redeeming for premium cabins and then devalues! I bet you anything we see a “hat tip” post from VFTW, MileValue, or TPG on this by Monday. Once the blogger keg gets tapped it tends to just keep flowing, and eventually the whole house of cards comes down.

    One thing to note about the A3 program is that Star Alliance awards only allow a single connection (they call it a stopover) of less than 24 hours. That limits the routing options a fair bit.

  7. @Arcanum – about the single connection, yes, it is limiting but I think that is the main thing (besides fuel surcharges) that will keep this from being a mainstream FF program! So, I am ok with it. 🙂
    Also, they will bend on that sometimes if it is a particular type of situation (think large airports but no single flight between them).

  8. I stopped using the program, since I had a hard time crediting the miles for my flights. Anyone else is experiencing problems with this?

  9. It’s me here again, since Ben’s update is not quite right. Again, Aegean is quite strict how they go about their simple requirements for qualification to the next tier. Namely, if you choose the route of qualifying on the ground of miles + a3/oa segments, you can’t get 6 segments on a3/oa while being blue (no status) and counting for it to count towards your gold. You have to take 2 a3/oa segments, 12k miles (technically with the signup bonus of 1000 miles and some miles from the a3/oa segments, i’d say in reality it’s 10k miles, but that’s just me). From the moment you reach the silver status, and only from that moment you start collecting a3/oa segments towards your gold status. Not a big deal, a technicality really, but still – it may be quite a difference for some. The other part Ben missed out is – as a silver or gold with a3, you can buy some status miles if you’re short of reaching your requalification requirements (no matter how low they are). Same goes for the redeemable miles. I hope it helps poeple to understand the rules of the program better 🙂

  10. I wouldn’t worry about flooding A3’s M&B program. A lot of people I know who were former A3 *G abandoned them after the changes, and I’d imagine that many others have as well. While requalification is pretty easy, the barrier to entry for initial qualification has risen significantly. Pre-changes, there was the misconception that only 20k was needed, but it was actually 4k to *S and then 16k from *S to *G. That process hasn’t changed (24k + 48k), but I think there are a lot of disgruntled A3 *S out there who didn’t bother reading the terms beforehand and just assumed 48k was all that was needed…

    You really have to be flying premium cabins *on the right carriers* to get status in the first place. A lot of discounted Business Class fares only earn 100% – LH, LX, UA (well, ALL of their Biz fares, actually), etc. Or, you have to be in a position to take the required A3 flights, and for a lot of people based outside of Europe, it’s probably not practical.

    The one thing that’s really annoying is that all the “old” A3 Golds have their membership year set to 24 November, the program transition date. It’s frustrating when planned travel gets split by that date, instead of our original membership years or a calendar year.

  11. Thanks. Will keep in mind. I am assuming you did homework on Turkish since that was also recommended by few folks. Why not Turkish?

  12. I love Aegean both as an airline and for their frequent flyer program. I fly them whenever I can and have been Gold with them for years. I love the upgrade vouchers to business class, plus the free luggage allowance, even when booking a hand baggage only fare.

    *ssshhhhhhhhh* don’t shout about how good it is!

  13. Only ever had Aegean and can’t seem to find an overall better program. I’m so happy with it and flying with them is really a great experience. My gold seems to go on forever.

    I fly them once a year to Greece connecting in Athens then off to then islands round trip and there is my 4 flights.

  14. Keep in mind that all non-Miles&More Star Alliance programs are at a disadvantage. Star Alliance Gold does not equal Miles & More Gold when it comes to lounges and some other benefits as well.

    And there’s definitely not going to be any free upgrades for A3 Gold on LH or LX or anywhere you’d actually want upgrades. Award availability on LH, LX and the like is also *much* lower if you’re not a Miles&More member…

    Not to mention the practical issues of agents struggling to comprehend A3 is the airline code and thus constantly not getting your miles credited as another commenter pointed out.

    Honestly, A3 may look good, but you’re doing it just to be called “Gold” and get the same perks you would as a Miles&More Silver… Had it for a few years and went back to M&M and very happy about it.

  15. They just wrongly rejected my claim of SAS biz 10k award/status mile SFO-CPH from last month. If this does not resolve, they will not have any of my further business. Not sure why I should put time and effort praying my mile to show up.

  16. I went back to check and the only real advantage of Miles&Bonus vs Miles&More is truly when crediting P class only on Air Canada or SAA, where you will get 100% miles on M&M vs 200% on M&B.

    Z class gets you 150% on M&M + 25% elite bonus, so that’s negligible.

    Meanwhile, P class flown on Lufthansa, Swiss etc also gets you 100% miles on Miles&Bonus, same as on Miles&More.

    So even with that particular P class difference, I don’t think you would choose a subpar program as your main program, just to earn 100% more miles on discount business class tickets flown on AC or SAA? How many times is that really going to come in handy? I think you’re just paying the opportunity cost of instead crediting these miles to M&M to achieve Senator faster…

  17. @Arcanum Hat tipping Lucky here? Check out:

    http://viewfromthewing.boardingarea.com/2015/12/10/starwood-just-added-a-new-airline-transfer-partner/

    And actually several posts before this on Aegean, dating to 2010. I’ve tracked changes in the program for quite some time.

    They have the best Star Alliance award chart but the most restrictive routing rules. You get ONE CONNECTION ONLY in each direction and there are fuel surcharges.

    However United domestic first class is just 21k miles each way [Hawaii though is insanely expensive].

    NORTH AFRICA IS INCLUDED IN EUROPE and 45k miles each way for business class or 60k for first. South America is also 45k each way in business.

    US-Mideast is just 55k each way in business, 75k for first. Same for Africa!

    US-Asia/South Pacific is 75k each way in business.

  18. They’re a pain in the **** to credit miles to, their customer service is beyond dismal (for M&B not the airline itself) and I’ve found redeeming miles on any airline besides their own to be next to impossible.

    Last year, they suddenly downgraded me from gold to silver six months early without explanation, and their customer service people refused to even discuss it with me. Customer lost.

  19. It could be a good choice for my if my business travel is ever reduced. There are often Tel-Aviv to Larnaca Aegean one way tickets for about 40$, so 160$ + 23,000 *A miles (and change) is not a bad deal for gold.

  20. Is there a consensus on where one would credit SkyTeam miles? I know I can credit DL flights to AS, but what do I do with AF or KL, AM or AR? Flying Blue maybe?

  21. I also note that A3’s chart has a couple of sweet spots for North Americans – the Caribbean is considered North America and North Africa/Middle East is included in Europe

  22. Given the airline flown is the one that purchases miles in another airline’s FF program, how is it that it’s possible to earn more miles by crediting a premium class flight to a program that gives 200% for premium fares over 150% in its own FF program? Does the other program charge less for those miles to the partner carrier? Aegean must be making lots of money off selling those miles to STAR partners, increasingly as restrictions are introduced to status with carriers like AC, UA et al see North American FFers sign on to keep their STARGold.

  23. Great another gem hits the dust as mass blogger writes about it. Let’s see how long it takes til they massively devalue…over/under 18 months?

  24. @you.go – i’ve been upgraded from Y to J on LH and LX as a A3 gold around 20% of my flights so there definitely still is a chance 😉

  25. And we are getting Aegean Gold for the Star MegaDo 6 this coming Sept. Although I have LT UA 1K (which has *G) – what does Aegean Gold offer over that? I guess USA Star Lounge access. Don’t need UA Club (since I have membership) but I guess I can use LH and SQ lounges when in the USA with Aegean Gold.

  26. I am using the A3 program since 1 1/2 years and just got Gold status in February, allowing me to make use of the benefits on several times already (CPT, HKG, IST, ZHR, JNB, etc.). Excellent program indeed!

    Also to fly AEGEAN is a great way, which i did last year from IST-ATH-SKG and back, just to get the card. in addition, i few ZHR ATH; also a “great way to fly”, as some other airlines say. excellent service

    Only drawback, but that has nothing to do with A3, Swiss does not allow Gold card members to use their arrival lounge in ZHR if you don’t fly in with Swiss 🙁

  27. @Bob: Is that 5 out of 25 flights? I wouldn’t make statistics out of a single occurance of an oversold flight.

  28. We have two upcoming Aegean flights in August & September within Greece, will see how they measure up to other region airlines.

  29. Hi how many tier miles is required for me to get *gold on A3 ?
    72K? or 48K? and what about other *A like SQ for me to get *gold on SQ i will need to have 75K ? because 25K for silver and another 50K for gold.

  30. I’ve had Aegean Gold status for years, and the changes certainly made sure that we have a good programme that’s here to stay. One tip for Europeans: The easiest way to re-qualify is 4 Aegean flights + flights on SAS!!! Other than flying with LH/LX/OS/SN, which gives you 0 miles in even just moderately discounted economy fare classes and only 100% in P, with SAS you ALWAYS(!!!) get 100% in Economy, and 200% in SAS Plus. SAS Plus is thus the cheapest way to (re-)qualify for most Europeans I presume.

  31. did you pay for the 24k miles to S Africa to earn the free us-euru trip? if you are only using accrued miles from awards program then bam, what a deal!
    thanks for Aegean idea, though it might not work for me well since I don’t travel business much, too rich for my teacher blood ;-(

  32. I’m flying Singapore airlines economy from Aus to Athens with 4 flights on Aegean in Greece. Will these flights be enough to get star gold.

  33. My parents will soon be flying Singapore Airlines business class to London from Malaysia. I have checked the accrual calculator on SQ’s website and they are rewarding only 8k+ miles. My parents has just registered for Krisflyer but I was wondering if changing to the Aegean programme was a much feasible idea. Should they?

  34. I am a A3 gold since 4 years now. I must add that I have never flown business class. I got my status when they had their introductory offer for 20k miles for star gold which was awesome. Now to keep renewing my gold status is pretty easy.

    Pros: You get access to all the star alliance gold lounges worldwide which are pretty awesome!

    Cons: 2 things I don’t like is One, that you cannot get any free or voucher upgrades outside of Aegean and two, the qualifying flights where you can earn miles is pretty bad. So most flights across the star alliance network where you get a cheap fair, you won’t get any miles at all.

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