According to this thread on FlyerTalk, Aegean Airlines–a Star Alliance member–is offering a 2,000 mile signup bonus to new members of their loyalty program, Miles & Bonus. Although this 1,000 mile increase over their previous offer may seem like a paltry sum from a Greek airline you are unlikely to fly frequently, this 2,000 mile bonus actually puts you halfway to Star Alliance Silver status and 1/10th of the way to Star Alliance Gold Status!
Aegean Airlines has one of the lowest mileage requirements for elite Star Alliance status. Tier miles are airline miles that are earned from flying on Aegean or one of its star Alliance partners.
If you earn a total of 4,000 tier miles in the first 12 months of enrollment in Miles & Bonus, you are awarded Aegean Blue status, the equivalent of Star Alliance Silver status.
If you earn 16,000 more tier miles in the 12 months after you are awarded Aegean Blue status, you will be upgraded to Aegean Gold status, which gives you Star Alliance Gold status.
What does Star Alliance Silver get me?
Not much. According to this table from Star Alliance, Silver status give your priority airport standby and priority reservation waitlisting:
Not very exciting.
What does Star Alliance Gold get me?
Star Alliance Gold status entitles you to airport lounge access, priority check-in, priority boarding, and extra baggage allowance. These benefits hold true regardless of class of travel when flying any Star Alliance Carrier.
Unlike achieving Star Alliance Gold via elite status with US Airways or United, Star Alliance Gold via Aegean Airlines gives you airport lounge access when flying US domestic routes in coach:
How do I sign up for Aegean Airlines Miles & Bonus?
Navigate to the Aegean Airlines website and click on Become a Member Now:
After you click on Become a Member Now, you will enter your demographic and contact information, and choose a password. After submitting the form, the bonus miles are credited immediately and you see a copy of your membership card:
Log into your account with your membership number and password:
Notice that the 2,000 bonus miles are listed as Award Miles on that screen. Remember, tier miles are required for Aegean elite status. Never fear–click the Account Activities link and you will see this:
This confirms that the 2,000 bonus miles are also considered Tier miles and so will count towards elite status.
Great, I have 2,000 Aegean Airlines miles. Now what?
Start working towards Aegean Silver then Gold. If you are US-based, your best options are to credit miles flown on United or US Airways to Aegean. Since you start with 2,000 miles in your account, flying an additional 18,000 miles gets you to Star Alliance Gold.
Discounted economy fares on United only earn 50% mileage, but all fares earn a minimum of 500 miles:
Therefore cheap, short flights are best if you will flying United in discounted coach and crediting miles to Aegean. For example:
In contrast to United, all economy fares on US Airways earn 100% mileage:
So, longer flights are best for ramping up the miles on US Airways to credit to Aegean. For example:
The total mileage for that example is 4,950 miles. Four transcontinental flights like this one on US Airways will earn over 19,000 miles and get you to Star Alliance Gold.
Does getting Star Alliance Gold through Aegean make sense for everyone?
No. Both the Hack My Trip and Points to Point B blogs had some nuanced analysis of this question earlier this year in their discussions of Star Alliance Gold status via Aegean Airlines when the sign up bonus was 1,000 miles.
Crediting 18,000 miles flown to Aegean Airlines effectively takes away this number of elite-qualifying miles that could have been earned on you primary Star Alliance carrier. If you fly enough annually–at least 50,000 miles–to qualify for Star Alliance Gold status through United or US Airways, it is not worth siphoning off 18,000 miles to Aegean.
If you are an infrequent flyer who values domestic and international lounge access, priority check in and boarding, and free checked baggage, it may be worth pursuing Star Alliance Gold status via Aegean Airlines.
I’m going for Star Alliance Gold. What can I do with those 20,000 miles in the Aegean Airlines Miles & Bonus account?
(1) You can book a oneway international business class ticket on Aegean Airlines. See this list for Aegean’s domestic (Greek) and international destinations.
(2) You can rent a car from Hertz for free for 7 days in Greece, Cyprus, or Bulgaria.
(3) Credit 2,000 more miles to Aegean–with 22,000 miles, you can book a roundtrip international flight on Aegean Airlines.
(4) Credit 5,000 more miles to Aegean–with 25,000 miles, you can fly roundtrip in coach within each of Aegean’s defined regions like North America or the Far East.
Curiously, on the Aegean partner award redemption chart, the Caribbean islands and US are in the same region and Japan and Singapore are the same region. This can work to your advantage. For example, a roundtrip coach flight from Hong Kong to Japan on a Star Alliance carrier costs 25,000 Aegean miles, but 30,000 United MileagePlus and 40,000 US Airways Dividend Miles.
I’ve gotten to Star Alliance Gold. Now What?
Relax and enjoy your lounge access, priority check in, and priority boarding when you travel domestically or internationally. Try to remember to credit some miles flown to Aegean at least once every three years to maintain your status–status never expires as long as your account remains active. I expect this to change at some point in the future because this benefit is too generous.
Aegean Airlines is currently offering 2,000 bonus miles to new members who join its loyalty program Miles & Bonus. In contrast to other Star Alliance carriers, Aegean has a low threshold for achieving Star Alliance Gold status—20,000 miles.
After signing up, you have 12 months to earn 2,000 tier miles by crediting miles flown on any Star Alliance carrier to Aegean. Upon reaching 4,000 miles, you will be awarded Star Alliance Silver and will then have 12 months to earn 16,000 more miles to achieve Star Alliance Gold.
To maintain Star Alliance Gold status, you must credit the miles of at least 1 Star Alliance Flight to Aegean every 3 years.
This route to elite Star Alliance status does not make sense for everyone. Think carefully about your travel habits and what you value when you fly before gunning for Star Alliance Gold via Aegean.