When Aegean Airlines joined Star Alliance about four years ago it offered the easiest path towards top tier Gold status within the alliance.
Indeed, what they’ve been offering is lifetime Star Alliance Gold status.
They’d give you 1000 miles just for signing up. Then if you earned 19,000 more qualifying miles within the first year you’d earn Gold status. For life. With the only caveat being that you had to keep your account active by earning a qualifying mile every three years.
(There were occasionally signup bonuses that would do 2000 miles, which count towards status.)
Things got a little harder with US Airways leaving the Star Alliance. US Airways flights all earned 100% of flown miles when crediting to Aegean. Discount United miles only earned 50% credit. Still, for lifetime status many found it worth it.
Star Gold meant, for a United traveler:
- Priority check-in and boarding
- Free checked bag
- Lounge access
Of course the caveat on lifetime status has always been:
- Your life or theirs? The Greek airline wasn’t guaranteed to be around forever.
- Until they changed the rules. Airtran status was lifetime, until it wasn’t, for instance.
Now Dan’s Deals reports that Aegean will be rolling out a change to elite qualification.
We’ll see with certainty what the details are when they notify members, but Dan suggests that next month they’ll be telling folks qualification is:
[F]rom now on you’ll need either 4 Aegean/Olympic flights+12,000 miles or 24,000 miles per year to earn gold status.
Earning 24,000 miles a year on United discounted fares means 48,000 flown miles — again, every year — and no longer a value. I expect that I may lose my Aegean Gold status (actually given to me through a comp of my old bmi Diamond Club gold status).
On the other hand, 8000 miles in paid first class at triple miles would suffice, so crediting a mistake fare like this one would still work. But you’d need such a mistake fare every year.
As I often say, any benefit that is several orders of magnitude better than the median offering isn’t going to last. You don’t know when it will change, so you need a pretty high discount rate. Enjoy it while you can.
This isn’t confirmed officially from the airline yet. Aegean changes its terms and conditions to reflect even the addition of a new mileage partner, and I have a change alert set for their terms. Nothing has been re-written at this time in terms of how status earning and expiration works. But it certainly looks plausible and I’ll be framing my own expectations as though it’s how things will happen.
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