Aegean Airlines Miles+Bonus and Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles are two of the easiest frequent flyer programs to earn Star Alliance elite status.
This post examines elite miles earning comparisons between different Star Alliance airlines for economy class flights between LAX and Asia airports on different Star Alliance member airlines like Air China, Air India, ANA, Asiana, EVA and Singapore Airlines.
Why It Matters: Star Alliance Gold elite is far cheaper to earn for US residents flying in discount economy class through Aegean Miles+Bonus or Turkish Miles&Smiles compared to the revenue-based United Mileage Plus program and many other Star Aliance programs.
Turkish Miles&Smiles appears to be the more favorable program for USA residents who tend to travel to Asia in economy class.
Previous posts examined high earning economy flights on SAS and Ethiopian Airlines between USA and Europe, Avianca and Copa Airlines flights in the Americas and Ethiopian flights Europe to Africa.
Star Alliance Airlines for USA – Asia routes
- Air Canada
- Air China (Beijing, China)
- Air India (New Delhi, India)
- ANA ( Tokyo, Japan)
- Asiana (Seoul, South Korea)
- EVA Airways (Taipei, Taiwan)
- Singapore Airlines (Singapore)
- Thai Airways (Bangkok)
- United Airlines
Air China frequently offers low priced economy class tickets to many cities across Asia. It seems like they are competing with generally lower ticket prices from Skyteam Alliance member airlines China Eastern, China Southern and Xiamen Airlines.
Low economy fares between USA and China with Air China are frequently booking code L. This booking code earns only 25% flight miles with Aegean and Turkish.
Avianca LifeMiles earns 100% flight miles on Air China L fares. Star Alliance Gold elite is earned with 40,000 elite miles with Avianca LifeMiles in a calendar year with at least 10,000 flight miles on Avianca Airlines.
Air Canada, ANA and United Airlines Economy K booking code
Frequently the best economy deals for USA-Asia major routes are flights with Air Canada, ANA and United Airlines. These commonly book in Economy K class.
Economy K flight segments in these airlines earn 50% flight miles as elite miles in both Aegean and Turkish Airlines frequent flyer programs.
Note: Air Canada economy K flights in Canada earn 25% flight miles.
Flight Sample: ANA Economy K
$513.41 round trip Los Angeles LAX – Tokyo NRT – Hong Kong HKG – NRT – LAX = 14,584 flight miles = 7,293 EQM in Aegean and Turkish.
Asiana Airlines (South Korea) economy booking codes are T and W. While both Aegean and Turkish frequent flyer programs have similar elite mile earn rates for many Star Alliance airlines, Asiana has greatly different earn rates for Asiana economy T and W flights.
Asiana Economy W earns 50% elite miles in Aegean and 70% elite miles in Turkish.
$632.59 round trip Los Angeles LAX – Seoul ICN – Cebu CEB – ICN – LAX = 15,740 flight miles. Oct 7-14, 2018.
Aegean Miles+Bonus = 7,870 Tier Miles.
Turkish Miles&Smiles = 11,018 Status Miles.
Asiana Economy T earns 0% elite miles in Aegean and 50% elite miles in Turkish.
$656.75 round trip Los Angeles LAX – Seoul ICN – Taipei TPE – ICN – LAX = 13,803 flight miles. Oct 9-16, 2018.
Aegean Miles+Bonus = 0 Tier Miles.
Turkish Miles&Smiles = 6,902 Status Miles.
All the discount economy tickets I priced on EVA were Economy V code. This booking code only earns miles if booked as United ticket or 4 miles per EUR with Miles&More.
This is another fare code with no miles earned in Aegean Miles+Bonus and 50% EQM in Turkish Mile&Smiles. Air India E also earns 50% miles in Aeroplan or Avianca LifeMiles.
Sample Flight: $918.36 round trip New York JFK – New Delhi DEL – Mumbai BOM – DEL – JFK = 16,048 flight miles.
Aegean Miles+Bonus = 0 Tier Miles.
Turkish Miles&Smiles = 8,024 Status Miles.
An interesting economy class multiple flight segment ticket posted on Secretflying.com today is $945.16 one-way.
San Francisco SFO – Hong Kong HKG – Singapore SIN – Bali DPS – SIN – Frankfurt FRA – New York JFK for 20,776 flight miles.
Unfortunately, SQ Economy N does not earn miles in most Star Alliance frequent flyer programs.
A notable exception is Scandinavian SAS Eurobonus members earn 50% flight miles. And 10,000 Eurobonus points is sufficient for a cross-country domestic round trip award ticket in Sweden or Norway. A summer time ticket from Oslo or Bergen to Arctic Norway airports like Tromso is frequently a $400 to $500 ticket.
Flights to Asia can be low fare opportunities to earn lots of Star Alliance elite miles. Just be sure to check earn rates.
I did not include Thai Airways in this analysis since I did not find any competitive economy ticket prices with Thai during the research for this article.
Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles is a better frequent flyer program than Aegean Miles+Bonus for flyers who typically use these airlines.
The limitation of this analysis is I have not compared programs like Asiana and Avianca to see if there are better opportunities there.
I welcome reader suggestions on other elite flyer comparisons you would like to see on Loyalty Traveler.
Related Posts: First two SAS posts detail Aegean Miles+Bonus and Turkish Miles&Smiles elite qualification requirements.