The Most Valuable Award Chart in the World is Hiding Right in Plain Sight

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Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

I used to pay a lot of attention to Star Alliance member Aegean, the little Greek airline that could. That’s because I got a status match to Gold status from them back when British Airways bought british midland and they were matching bmi status.

Aegean status used to be lifetime which I thought was great only they decided that lifetime meant something different to them than it did to me.

Still, they’ve made the program better over time since joining Star Alliance — making it possible to change date and time on award tickets and also cancel awards and redeposit miles for only 20 euros. (You can’t make changes to a routing though, only change date and time or cancel/redeposit.) A 20 euro change or redeposit fee is fantastic.

And their award chart may just be the best in the world.

Check out these values:

  • 42,000 miles roundtrip for United domestic first class (within the lower 48)
  • 90,000 miles roundtrip for US-Europe business class, and North Africa is included at the same price as Europe and this includes Israel, too. First class is 120,000 miles roundtrip.
  • 110,000 miles roundtrip for US-Middle East business class, 150,000 miles roundtrip for first class
  • 150,000 miles roundtrip in business class between US and all of Asia and the South Pacific
  • 90,000 miles roundtrip in business class between the US and South America
  • 110,000 miles roundtrip for US-Africa business class, 150,000 miles roundtrip for first class

One-way awards are available at half these prices. You can book one-way Lufthansa first class for just 60,000 miles (plus fuel surcharges). You can book US-South America for 45,000 miles one-way (and no fuel surcharges).

Aegean does have the strictest routing rules of any program with a region-based award chart.

An award ticket on Star Alliance flights may include one stopover with duration up to 24 hours

This doesn’t mean you get to have a ‘stopover’ — it means you can only have one connection in each direction of your award. That means flying from a regional US airport to a regional European one is impossible without redeeming two awards, since it would require two connections.

If you can book awards with a single connection in each direction and are willing to pay fuel surcharges (which vary by destination, and for Asia can be quite low and are usually non-existent for Central and South America) this can be a highly valuable transfer partner.

The best way to get Aegean miles is transferring from Starwood Preferred Guest. Starwood points can be hard to come by other than with their credit card.

It’s amazing in some ways that there’s still a program that will let you book such reasonably priced (in miles) Star Alliance business and first class awards.

It’s not necessarily a place for long term value, for instance they made lifetime elite status no longer lifetime and of course… Greece. But if you have immediate needs for booking awards through the program or are willing to credit perhaps a United flight to your Aegean account every couple of years to keep the account active it’s an intriguing option.

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.

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Comments

  1. So what are their gateway cities? Also, what rate do you get transferring from
    Spg to this airline? 1:1 with 5000 bonus for every 20k? How difficult is it to redeem their miles? These are all important points you didn’t mention.

  2. Do they have reasonable/good redemption availability of First flights on *A partners such as LH?
    (Thinking of LifeMiles whose once passable First availability on partner airlines has pretty much dried up completely.)

  3. Eh … Perhaps their award chart has some advantageous redemption possibilities, but have you ever redeemed miles with them for a flight?

    My understanding is that award flights cannot be booked online and that there is no domestic (US) number to call for an award booking. Is it still necessary to send them a fax to an international phone number with the flight segments you wish to book??

  4. SO tempted to hurl insults at Ron- but instead I’ll just answer his question

    1. I’ve redeemed twice with them for a flight.
    2. Yes u cant do it online. there’s a toll free number to do award bookings (and if there wasnt, it’d cost you a few bucks USD to make the long distance call anyway)
    3. No you dont need to fax anything when there’s a toll free number with a able operator on the other end.

    sidenote: 75k for HKG-SCL redeemed last week… what a steal.

  5. Hope you don’t mind a link here, Gary. I have been writing about their award chart for a few years now and this post gives some details about the booking process.
    http://runningwithmiles.boardingarea.com/7-great-uses-aegean-miles/
    Also, they allow pooling of miles (for elite accounts) from up to 5 other people and you can swap those people out every 6 months. Plus, each new member gets 1,000 miles for free when joining so that would be a free 5,000 miles when creating new accounts and pooling. More info here http://runningwithmiles.boardingarea.com/quick-easy-way-get-5000-miles-bonus-miles-free/

  6. I would not park points in any program in a country that is perpetually teetering on economic collapse. Aegean is strictly for immediate needs. And even then it would have to be for a very good value, since SPG points are hard to come by and useful within their own program for resort travel. Would be much better if you could transfer Chase points which are far easier to accumulate.

  7. The handful of obvious and relevant questions above betray Gary’s claim that he wants to bring you an article about a useful program. Make no mistake, he waits until the end to give the true motive. And that is finding another way to push a CC that pays him a healthy commission.

    I’m not saying you shouldn’t get the card, I’m not saying it’s not useful. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, but let’s all understand the true motivations at work here.

  8. @ Gadfly – Obviously true

    @ Ed – Lighten up. I recently thought about a last minute redemption with Aegean but was unaware that there is a way to do so quickly and via the phone. Thought it was via fax and would take time to process. Missed that on their website.

  9. I have booked through them once, it’s a pain. You have to call their international number and you pay for fuel surcharges (at least I had to). It wasn’t that great of a deal in my opinion. Maybe it’s my old age now, but I would rather pay a few extra miles to just book it online and not pay fuel surcharges. On the bright side, the telephone person I got the one time was really nice and helpful, so there’s that!

  10. The chart is incredible. It is almost like you are getting round trip for the price of one way on other airlines. Too bad they have the surcharges on Lufthansa and other airlines though.

  11. What is Aegean’s expiration policy on miles? This would be a helpful information to include this.

  12. @Ed, what is the routing for HKG-SCL. I thought Aegean redemption does not allow transit in third region?

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