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If 2011 was the year that I went in big on the US Airways Grand Slam, then 2012 was the year of getting elite status for my family. At the Chicago Seminars in 2011, The Frugal Travel Guy asked if I would be willing to present at 2012 Seminar. Since I was hopelessly hooked on the Grand Slam, it made sense that I would present on that topic in October 2012. History had shown that we should be in the middle of the Grand Slam at that time, so the timing was perfect…in theory. In reality there was to be no Grand Slam this fall, so I got the opportunity to pick a new topic to present on at the Chicago Seminars.
After thinking on it for a little bit, it became clear that focusing on some basic elite status benefits with various hotels and airlines, as well as easy (or at least easier) ways to obtain that status, made perfect sense. It is exactly what my own family has been focusing on this year. As a sneak preview for next weekend’s presentation, one of the easiest ways to get status within Star Alliance is via the carrier Aegean.
For those new to alliances, Star Alliance currently has over two dozen different airlines as members. US based flyers are probably most familiar with United and US Airways, but Star Alliance also includes carriers like Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, ANA, Air Canada, Air New Zealand, and many more. Some benefits of an alliance are 1) not only can you use your hard earned miles to fly on these various carriers (pending availability), but 2) your elite status benefits also carry over (to a degree) to the various carriers within the alliance.
Within the Star Alliance, there is Star Alliance Silver and Star Alliance Gold status. To achieve Silver status via United you would need to fly 25,000 miles in a calendar year. To achieve gold status via United you would need to fly 50,000 miles in a calendar year. That is a fair amount of travel that is out of reach for many, however to get Star Alliance Silver status via Aegean you just need to credit 2,000 miles to that carrier. They currently are offering 2,000 status qualifying miles for signing up for a Miles&Bonus frequent flyer account. This is an increase over the usual 1,000 miles they offer. The total amount you need for Silver status (which they call Blue) is 4,000 miles in a 12 month period (doesn’t have to be a calendar year). That means you just need to credit 2,000 more miles to the carrier within 12 months to obtain Silver status. The easiest way to do this is via US Airways as all of their fares credit at least at a 100% rate. Some United fares credit at a 50% rate, so be careful with those.
Star Alliance Silver status isn’t life changing, but it does provide priority boarding, a free checked bag domestically on United and US Airways, and some priority standby/wait-listing status. Currently you just need to credit some activity to Aegean every 36 months to keep the status active. Perhaps the best thing about getting Silver status so easily, is that you are just 16,000 miles away from Star Alliance Gold status. While you have 12 calendar months to earn the initial 4,000 miles for Silver/Blue, you then have more time to earn Gold status. As their website says, “Once you have collected 16,000 miles within one year from the date which you qualified to the Blue status, you will receive the Gold Card.” Just remember to keep your status and account active by crediting a flight at least every 36 months.
Star Alliance Gold status gives you priority check-in, priority boarding, complimentary lounge access for you and a guest when traveling on a Star Alliance partner (domestically and internationally in this case), free checked bags, priority baggage handling, and more. You can read more about Star Gold and Star Silver status here.
Of course, there are no guarantees this airline will stay in the Star Alliance, or that they will keep their current benefit structure in place for the long term. They could change the requirements for status or length of time that status is granted at any time. For now though this is a very easy and solid way to Star Alliance status – especially with the current 2,000 free status miles just for signing up!
Thanks to View From the Wing for sharing the news about the increased sign-up bonus!