Get Star Alliance Gold Status For $400

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.

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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Comments

  1. Not sure how to even buy if one wanted to buy from an US brokerage firm while having a Scandinavian address…

  2. Was it $27,000 or $2,700? My guess is inventors will be screwed with this new deal regardless. Hopefully no one invested or the ones that did have enough money to flush down the toilet.

  3. Addresses in those countries can be obtained digitally and correspondence received, opened, scanned, and available to anyone through companies like Clevver.io.

    Just sayin’; 🙂

  4. If the control date is in November and “ the average amount of shares held throughout the 12 months before the annual control date” then if you buy the stocks today, you must own ~1.2million shares and hold until Nov so that the average holding for the last 12 months >100000. You need ~$5000 to do this!

  5. @Matthew – now $400 (not $2700 as before). Agree the investment will likely be worth nothing after bankruptcy is resolved so count that as sunk cost. My concerns with this scheme are:

    1. Residency requirement. Not sure how aggressively they check but I bet the Star Alliance partners are aware of this and may challenge lounge access (which is primary benefit for anyone that already has status with United since bag fees, preboarding etc are overlap with that status).

    2. Refusal to honor – Based on bloggers posting this you could see a larger number of people doing this and SAS (or their bankruptcy trustee) could revoke the benefit since I’m sure it costs SAS something when their elite members use a partner lounge and those are funds that could be better used by creditors.

    3, Revoke status as part of bankruptcy finalization – With the plan to go to Sky Team I’m willing to bet all alliance status will be terminated and maybe people that actually qualify through flights would get Sky Team elite status. Also, similar to when ITA first aligned with Sky Team, SAS elites may have limited benefits through the alliance.

    All in all not worth it IMHO. Maybe if you fly United a lot and don’t have a credit card/status/membership to get into United Club this has some benefit.

    BTW, a few years ago I status matched to ANA which gave me status in Star Alliance. I did the status match solely for this benefit as I had a couple of United flights booked and didn’t otherwise have lounge access. When I went to United Club at ORD the person checking seemed confused and it took me explaining I had Star Alliance Gold with ANA which gives me access anytime I fly a Star Alliance airline. She begrudgingly let me in and made a comment about gaming the system so, while you can get in with other Star Alliance airline status while flying United, it doesn’t seem like the receptionists in the clubs like that benefit.

  6. The checking is the other way around. SAS has the address info and residency/tax info of all shareholders. Since you need real info for the brokerage account, you can’t fake your residency in Scandinavia.

  7. I am an SAS EuroBonus member since 1995 and currently a Diamond member. So let me advise you, do not try that!
    Because as SAS has announced that SAS common shares will be delisted as no value, no benefit.
    I have no idea why this article is encouraging us to try that.

  8. Something to keep in mind is that if your want to automatically receive your gold status benefits like luggage and lounge access and whatnot, you need to have attached the SAS frequent flyer account number to your booking.

    I experienced this when I got star Alliance gold from Singapore Air (by transferring in points).

    It was honestly more trouble than it was worth over 2 years.

    If it’s not on your booking, it won’t be on your boarding pass, and so good luck.

  9. Jigglypuff – the SAS status year is individual, not April-March. I understand how the cholesterol can get to your “brain”.

  10. Don’t invest ….this company has been running broke for years and are now using the pandemic as an excuse for bad management.
    I had 16 flights pre-booked for 2020 when the first airport lockdowns came in, and they did not repay one cent!!! Even this year I had flights cancelled at very short notice due to weather (I live in Sweden) and bad weather we call winter. The reason for non-payment of compensation “due to unforseen circumstances”
    I repeat do not invest, they will take your money and run!!!

  11. Are there other airlines that offer status for shareholders?

    Accor used to do that, but they later changed it to one year of status only.

  12. While creative, I’ve got to say that buying SAS shares here in hopes of gaining elite status is a bad idea. I think you are far more likely to lose your money than get the status.

  13. Even if there was not a delist coming – the terms say that only 5,000 people are eligible and if they get over that amount the top 5000 shareholders who register are who get it based on equity ownership.

  14. So did anyone try it? I know we won’t know how it ends for a while but just seeing if anyone tried.

  15. As of October 11, 2023, it is no longer possible to qualify for the SAS shareholder program by acquiring shares in SAS AB.

    And also note:
    Please note! EuroBonus Gold and EuroBonus Diamond status, awarded in the Shareholder program, are not qualifying for Life Time Gold

    So basically not worth the investment as they are already producing loopholes.

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