When I surveyed several Star Alliance frequent flyer programmes last year, looking for a replacement for BMI Diamond Club, Aegean Airlines Miles & Bonus was highlighted as a programme that made it really easy to obtain and retain Star Alliance Gold status.
It was fairly obvious to me that this was not sustainable, with only 19,000 miles required to reach Gold status, and the only hurdle for retaining that status being crediting a flight every 3 years to Miles & Bonus to keep the account active.
Starting 24 November, 2014, the rules are changing. After that date, members will be required to do the following:
Essentially, unless you can manage 4 flights with Aegean / Olympic Air (i.e. for most travelers, a return trip to a Greek island connecting in Athens), you will need to accumulate 48,000 miles in a 12-month period to reach Gold status. (Silver is basically worthless, as Gold is required for lounge access when flying with other Star Alliance partners, etc.)
Retaining Gold status is easier, however, with only half of the miles required in that same 12-month period. I believe this is 12 months from the moment you qualify for elite status, although it remains to be seen whether current Gold status members will all end up on a December-November qualification period once the changes are implemented.
As a result, if you’re considering Aegean Airlines Miles & Bonus, I recommend you complete the 19,000 mile qualification requirements before 24 November, 2014.
Don’t forget also that Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles will status match from Star Alliance Gold to its own Elite level (i.e. Gold) It will also match from Oneworld Emerald and SkyTeam Elite Plus. Since Turkish Airlines elite status is valid for 2 years, I highly recommend that you take advantage of the status match while you can, in case they change the rules. And if you can manage to credit 25,000 miles (although be careful with fare classes that earn 25% or 50% instead of the full 100% mileage) during your first year of Turkish Elite status, you’ll earn another 2 years of elite status. (I did that, with basically one long haul business class return, and earned my status through 2017…)
Unless you travel on Aegean Airlines enough to meet the lower mileage requirement, you should be looking to switch to Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles. 25,000 miles in 1 year, for 2 years Gold status (Turkish) versus 24,000 miles per year (Aegean)…