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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.