SAS Scandinavian Airlines is expected to leave Star Alliance and join SkyTeam. They’re in bankruptcy and have reached a deal for Air France KLM to take just under a 20% stake in the founding member of Star.
- These changes are subject to regulatory approval, and will take time. They won’t be leaving Star Alliance right away if at all.
- They have a ‘shareholder program‘ that awards Gold status in their EuroBonus program, which is Star Alliance Gold.
- As beleaguered as they are, the shares do not cost very much.
I wrote about this program during the pandemic when things looked grim for airlines, causing the required investment to drop to $2,700. You weren’t spending $27,000 – you were investing that much. But as I said, doing so carried risk.
- As of this writing, SAS shares are pricing at 0.0441 SEK apiece.
- You need to own 100,000 shares to qualify for Star Gold. That’s 4,410 SEK.
- Which is US$400.
The SAS EuroBonus Shareholder Program rules require you to be a permanent resident in either Denmark, Norway or Sweden to be eligible. I am not telling you to register your account with an address in one of those countries.
Gold status normally requires 45 flight segments or 45,000 base points. You get:
- lounge access when flying Star Alliance carriers like United (i.e. access to United Clubs, Lufthansa and Turkish lounges, etc)
- Airport priority and extra checked baggage.
It’s worth noting that 1 million or more shares entitles you to SAS Diamond status (right now, ~ US$4,000) but that’s not something I’d consider since as an American not regularly flying SAS Diamond status doesn’t really provide incremental benefits when flying United Airlines.
In practice if you want status as soon as possible you’ll need to spend more to buy more shares. That’s because the program runs April 1 – March 31, and to receive benefits for that period you need to have acquired shares prior to the annual November 30 deadline in the preceding year. And they calculate “the average amount of shares held throughout the 12 months before the annual control date” to determine how many shares you held for benefits. You need to register for the program as well.
As the SAS bankruptcy and Air France KLM investment evolves, the shareholder plan may as well.
On October 3, 2023, SAS announced that SAS AB (i.e., the listed parent company for the SAS group) is likely to file for a company reorganization in Sweden in 2024, and that all of SAS AB’s common shares and listed commercial hybrid bonds are expected to be cancelled, redeemed, and delisted as a result of that process. Consequently, terms and conditions for the SAS shareholder program and its benefits may be revised on short notice.
So an investment now of $400 may not mean you’re still a shareholder when they calculate benefits! That makes this a risky play on the future of the SAS bankruptcy case as well.