The best Star Alliance frequent flyer program in the world is hidden in plain site. What if I told you that you could book first class to Europe for 60,000 miles, or first class to Africa for just 75,000 miles? That’s what Aegean Miles & Bonus offers.
They are a Starwood Preferred Guest transfer partner. They just started offering online booking of (some) Star Alliance awards. And they’re now selling miles at a discount.
Here are some of their awards:
- 42,000 miles roundtrip for United domestic first class (within the lower 48)
- 90,000 miles roundtrip for US-Europe business class, and North Africa is included at the same price as Europe and this includes Israel, too. First class is 120,000 miles roundtrip.
- 110,000 miles roundtrip for US-Middle East business class, 150,000 miles roundtrip for first class
- 150,000 miles roundtrip in business class between US and all of Asia and the South Pacific
- 90,000 miles roundtrip in business class between the US and South America
- 110,000 miles roundtrip for US-Africa business class, 150,000 miles roundtrip for first class
One-way awards are available at half these prices. You can book one-way Lufthansa first class for just 60,000 miles (plus fuel surcharges). You can book US-South America for 45,000 miles one-way (and no fuel surcharges).
The biggest drawback besides fuel surcharges is that you can only have one connection in each direction of your award. More than one connections is an additional award.
Via Running With Miles they’re offering a up to a 40% bonus on purchased awards (you have to log into your account to see this offer).
You can purchase a limited number of elite qualifying miles, but here we’re interested in redeemable miles. You can normally buy up to 50,000 miles per membership year (12 months from enrollment or last tier status upgrade or retention). Purchased miles are posted instantly. And they normally cost 24 euros per 1000 miles.
With this offer you can buy 70,000 miles (50,000 + 40% bonus) for 1250 euros.
- 20% bonus on purchases of 1000 – 2000 miles
- 25% bonus on purchases of 3000 – 10,000 miles
- 30% bonus on purchases of 11,000 – 20,000 miles
- 40% bonus on purchases of 21,000 – 50,000 miles
If you can find first class transatlantic space, that would be 43,000 miles (with bonus yields 60,200 miles). That’s 1075 euros, or US$1268. That can be strategically worthwhile, even including Lufthansa fuel surcharges for instance.
CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® Earn 65,000 AAdvantage miles.
@ Gary — How would you compare the value proposition here to a typical LifeMiles promotion with a 145% bonus?
Are one-way awards possible via this program?
Please note recent changes to this program that makes it less valuable. For LH first class, for example, unless you are doing a point to point direct flight (i.e. FRA to JFK), it will cost you more than 60,000. For mixed class itineraries Aegean now charges per segment, so a TXL-FRA (in J) and FRA-JFK (in F) itinerary will cost you 25,000 for the first sector and 60,000 for the second, so a total of 85,000. The same itinerary will still cost 45,000 one way if you fly both segments in J.
Also the chart you posted is not the updated one. They increase intra-European roundtrips to 30K for Y and 50K for J.
Further info on all of the above can be found on Flyertalk’s Aegean Forum.
The Africa price isn’t bad, but where do you find First award space far in advance? Generally, people don’t suddenly decide to go on safari, and Lufthansa offers no space far ahead, Lot has only Business, and Swiss is out for obvious reasons. You mentioned this award specifically, so there must be a good option that I missed.
Do not buy miles if you are not going to use them immediately. A3 is due for a devaluation very soon. Your miles will be worth 25-40% less overnight
At the last minute, I actually did decide to go on a safari earlier this year so it definitely can be done.
@Get – I did not say that mixed cabin connections were free. I offered some examples of value, this is obviously not a comprehensive rendition of the entire program.
I would like to commend everyone who commented and Gary for letting the comments be made public.
If I did the math right, that’s 2.1 cents per mile, counting the bonus. Although I recognize that fewer miles may be required for the same award with Aegean, I have to think that Avianca LifeMiles at 1.375 cents per mile, when there is a bonus, is a better bargain.
Aegean has actually presented with great value in my past searches more than once – and in one instance its value compared to other 4-5 programs in which I have miles was so great that I actually transferred 20K valuable SPG points to book. I looked at this “deal” at 2.1 cents a mile several times in the past several weeks, but I still cannot convince myself to pull the trigger.
(Great blog, keep up the good work)
Hmmm. Tried to create an account at Aegean on two different (current Chrome and Safari) browsers, and their password entry field would not accept keystrokes, ergo no account created. Bizarre, kind of a shame, and annoying!