The End of Lifetime Star Alliance Gold Disaster is Confirmed, Here’s What to Expect from a New Program

A couple of days ago I shared that it appeared Aegean Airlines Gold status would no longer be for life.

The full details are out, and I — and many others — are about to get one last year of Star Alliance Gold status.

This is a big deal because it was the easiest Star Alliance Gold status to achieve — just 20,000 miles one-time and you had Star Gold for life. That meant priority services, checked bags, and lounge access when flying United (or other Star Alliance airlines).

Of course, for life meant either the life of the airline or until they decided to change the rules.

Seeing this policy change was sad for me indeed, I do have an Aegean Gold card as do many readers.

Now it’s confirmed that how status is being earned will change, and so will the entire program, effective November 24.

Here’s the full details.

  • Mileage earning on Aegean’s international flights will change, but earning on Star Alliance airlines will not.
  • The price of awards for travel on Aegean international flights will change to a unique system — the price in miles will be 8, 10, or 15 times the distance flown. Star Alliance awards won’t change.

  • New status qualification rules, and new rules for retaining status.

  • Introducing family mileage pooling — combine redeemable (not elite qualifying miles) from up to 6 people into a single account.
  • Introducing discounts for redeeming on certain routes, and the ability to purchase elite qualifying miles.

The good news? Current Golds won’t lose their status right away. When the new program comes into place in two months:

Current Gold members will be automatically transferred to the Gold Tier, regardless of their past flight activity.

So it sounds like we all get another year.

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, 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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  1. @Vinay – 24K miles per year, INCLUDING 4 flights on Aegean. If you’re based in the US or Asia, that’s going to be a slight problem.

  2. Nevermind, reread and Vinay is right… 12K with 4 Aegean flights, or 24K earned miles with any *A airline (but watch for those fractional earn rates)

  3. I just become Gold with Aegean Airlines and was excited about the life *A gold status (1 flight every 36 months to maintain gold). But now this new program is just like every other *A FF program where you have to maintain yearly. Not happy about this.

    Any suggestions on other airline Elite Status FF program is you can recommend to join

  4. @Raj – just to be sure, you’re saying that you’re not happy that you can no longer exploit what is essentially a loophole? Compared to other programs, Aegean’s is still pretty generous, if not a complete giveaway as it was before.

    And doesn’t each member airline have to pay a fee when one of their “own” FFs use another’s lounge? I wonder how much Aegean shelled out in lounge access fees for its “loyal members.”

  5. Is it confirmed that current golds will transfer to the new gold program with at most one year of status? Or will their current expiration date be transferred as well?

    My qualifying flight is the day after tomorrow. I’ll have two months to clear the miles and get gold, so hopefully I’ll have at least one year of gold status ahead of me.

  6. @LarryInNYC – there is no such thing as a ‘current expiration date’ — Gold status does not currently expire, an account can expire from inactivity.

  7. seems straightforward, current golds @ Nov 24th will be gold thru 2015 and will need to hit the requal targets to maintain into 2016.

    still generous, even if not as good as before

  8. 24,000 miles per year to retain gold still strikes me as far more easily achievable than what is necessary on all other Star-airlines programs I’m aware of, or am I overlooking anything?

  9. I don’t think it is so straightforward. I have an Aegean Miles&Bonus Star Gold card that has an ‘EXP DATE’ of 12/2016 embossed on it. If I present this card at a domestic United Club in March 2016, will it be valid?
    Even if I get a new card from Aegean, would the United agents know not to accept the card I have now?
    (probably YMMV situation…)

  10. Lololol… I have 19,300 miles with them because I had an issue with my first leg posting. Just sched a flight on UA for the Chicago seminars to get 500 miles min per segment… Bummer

  11. As a reader based in Greece who actually flies a lot of Aegean because, well, I am based in Greece, its a mixed bag. Certainly having to requalify every year is a pain, but there are some carrots in there (20% more award miles for Golds, 4 upgrades, some free parking, the ability to buy *some* tier miles to top-up your account). And all of these will be given to all existing Golds once they transfer to the new program on Nov. 24. Granted not useful for people who dont live in Greece or fly Aegean, but I guess that would be the point of the revamping of the program.

    Also, I was told today about “lifetime” Gold – if you maintain your Gold status for five years, you get it for another five years. Then you have to start over the process. So I guess it’s lifetime only if you are up there in the age bracket…

    And for those who commented on it, the expiration date on the card means nothing. As of Nov. 24 everyone starts from scratch.

  12. Would love confirmation of the “lifetime” status and whether it is only holding Gold status for five years going forward, or whether those of us who have been milking this since 2011 or earlier will qualify. The Aegean website does not list what the bonus for flying UA in F will be, it is currently 300%. Flying in A drops from that to 150%. At least it only takes 19,200 miles in Y to requalify (though the bonus is down 25 percentage points), and fares in B, M, and H get a 25 percentage point boost over currently.

  13. @Larry, I understood that it will be five “new” years, starting with the beginning of the new program. And the 150% bonus listed is for Aegean operated flights, it appears that UA operated flights in First will continue to receive the same bonus.

  14. I’ve been working so hard to get to Aegean gold flying Swiss, United, whatever to earn that little 50% economy discounted rate. Still, I’m currently at 10K still missing 10K to reach gold. Yesterday, out of panic for the change, I booked a first class (A) mileage run from LAX-IAH (that hopefully earns 300% of 2800 r/t miles for 8K) but then decided to cancel coz Aegean gold and *gold for a year probably isn’t worth more than $700 for me. I feel so bad for the 50% miles that I posted to Aegean in the last 12 months. errrrr basically 9000 miles I took at 50% value could have been 18000 miles or so under my United =( now what do i do with these useless aegean miles??

  15. @Johnny, you are right. Having to earn ONLY 24K a year for *A Gold is still generous comapared to all the other *A carriers where you have to accure 50K tier miles.

    I guess my gripe is that I just got last the Gold level status with Aegean and was hoping to enjoy for at least for the next few years and having to take only 1 flight to re-qualify.

  16. In a similar situation like @theSHARK. I have about 10K miles and I think i will abandon the idea of crediting any more miles to Aegean. So any tips on how to make best use of those 10K miles ?

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