This article explains in detail why I have credited my United Airlines flights to Aegean Miles+Bonus over the past two years and shows how many Aegean elite miles were earned on flights I flew with United, Air Canada, SAS, LOT Polish, Swiss and Lufthansa over the past 12 months.
This is also an elite status update explaining how I missed my objective for Aegean Miles+Bonus Gold elite status when my 12-month membership year ended July 7, 2018. I fell 4,848 Tier Miles short of Aegean Gold elite qualification.
I requalified for Aegean Miles+Bonus Silver elite and I now have another 12 months to earn 24,000 Tier Miles + fly 4 Aegean/Olympic flight segments to reach Aegean Miles+Bonus Gold elite membership by July 7, 2019.
Untied to United Airlines Mileage Plus
Over the past two years I have credited United Airlines and most Star Alliance flights to Aegean Miles+Bonus. United Airlines Premier Qualifying Dollars revenue component for USA residents to earn Star Alliance Gold elite status ($6,000) is far beyond what I spend annually on cheap airline tickets, even though I tend to fly 75,000 to 95,000 miles annually.
Compounding high spend PQD requirement for Mileage Plus elite status is the fact that United Basic Economy does not earn PQD credit and Star Alliance partner flights do not earn PQD credit unless the flights are part of United Airlines issued tickets (016 ticket stock).
Aegean Airlines Miles+Bonus credits United Airlines 50% flight miles as Elite Tier Miles.
Aegean Airlines credits deep discount economy booking codes like K, L and T on United Airlines and Air Canada flights with 50% flight miles based on flight distance counted as Aegean Tier Miles.
My United flight last month for San Francisco to Zurich earned 2,921 Aegean Tier Miles for the 5,840 mile flight segment in UA Economy K.
My United Airlines return flight Munich to SFO earned 2,932 Aegean Tier Miles for the deep discount Economy K booking code ticket.
In January 2018 we flew Air Canada Copenhagen-Toronto-San Francisco. Those flights earned 50% flight miles as Tier Miles for deep discount T and L booking code tickets.
Miles & More Economy K code flights do not Aegean Tier Miles.
Two Star Alliance flights I flew last month do not appear on my Aegean Miles+Bonus flight record.
Swiss Airlines Zurich – Copenhagen Economy K class.
Lufthansa Airlines Rome FCO – Munich Economy K class.
Many of the lowest priced tickets I have seen over the past year are Lufthansa flights in the upper $200s/low $300s round trip from Scandinavia to San Francisco. Those flights are generally tickets I avoid due to no Aegean Miles+Bonus elite credit for Austrian, Brussels, Lufthansa and Swiss Economy K class flights.
My Limited Loyalty to Star Alliance
In 2017, I flew California to Europe round trip 7 times. I earned Aegean Silver elite through 2 Star Alliance round trip tickets and a $106.20 one way 2 segment Aegean Airlines ticket for Sofia – Athens – Warsaw. I also flew WOW and Norwegian for two trips (WOW SFO to Europe one way and Norwegian ARN-OAK one way) and British Airways 3 times. I had American Airlines Platinum elite and Oneworld Sapphire (50,000 EQM elite status) in 2017.
My average ticket price for San Francisco to Anywhere, Europe is under $500 round trip.
In 2018, I have 5 trips to Europe planned.
Why I missed Aegean Miles+Bonus Gold elite qualification this year
I earned Aegean Silver elite in July 2017 after flying 12,000 Tier Miles + 2 Aegean flight segments (Feb 2017). Once I earned Silver elite, the 12-month elite membership clock started from July 7, 2017 to July 7, 2018 to earn 24,000 Tier Miles + 4 Aegean Airlines/Olympic Airlines flight segments.
In October 2017, I flew Aegean/Olympic Nice-Athens-Sofia-Athens-Prague to complete 4 Aegean flight segments for $120, while spending 4 days in Sofia and Plovdiv, Bulgaria on a 2-week trip. I truly enjoy Bulgaria as a relaxed and cheap travel destination with loads of ancient Roman architecture to see.
In January 2018, I flew Air Canada Copenhagen-Toronto-San Francisco on the outbound flights of a round trip ticket taking me back to CPH in June 2018. All I needed was one round trip ticket to Europe between February and May to reach Aegean 24,000 Tier Miles.
$416 British Airways San Jose SJC to Amsterdam round trip tickets offered a good value opportunity to fly to Europe in February 2018. No Aegean Tier Miles that trip. And my last month of Oneworld Sapphire elite for LHR and AMS Oneworld lounge access.
Romania and Ukraine April-May 2018
My hotel reservations were booked with Hilton brand hotels in Romania and InterContinental Kiev, Ukraine for 15,000 points per night with IHG PointBreaks for a 2-week trip in April and May.
All I needed was a cheap round trip ticket with United or Air Canada to earn the remaining 4,848 Tier Miles to reach 24,000 Tier Miles by July 7 and earn Aegean Miles+Bonus Gold elite with Star Alliance Gold elite benefits.
Killer Flu kept me laid out for 3 weeks from late March to mid-April
I came down with a bad case of flu the last week of March. Sickness kept me laid out in bed for a week and then physical weakness limited my activity for another two weeks. I decided to dump my hotel reservations in Europe, cancel the trip and try again in mid-May 2018.
Then in May real life hit with car repairs eating up my travel money for the month.
Rather than press the issue of a trip to Europe to earn Aegean Tier Miles for elite status, I opted to postpone my Aegean elite goal for another year.
My next flight this summer is San Francisco to Frankfurt in United Airlines Economy L class for 2,850 Aegean Tier Miles.
SAS flights for 100% flight miles as Aegean Tier Miles
One of my frequent airline ticket searches is checking the ticket price for SAS Scandinavian tickets between San Francisco and Copenhagen, Gothenburg, Oslo and Stockholm. The advantage of SAS is all their economy booking codes earn 100% flight miles as Aegean Airlines Tier Miles. There is also a 600 Tier Miles minimum earning per flight segment.
SK Economy T SFO-Copenhagen = 5,473 Tier Miles.
SK Economy T Copenhagen – Stockholm ARN = 600 Tier Miles.
6,073 miles x 2 = 12,146 Aegean Tier Miles per SAS round trip ticket San Francisco-Stockholm.
Two SAS round trip tickets are sufficient to earn 24,000 Aegean Tier Miles needed for Gold elite + 4 Aegean flight segments.
The main issue for me is SAS ticket price. SAS rarely has low prices from San Francisco during summer or December holiday season when we take our longer trips. I want at least 12 days in Europe, if I have to travel from Scandinavia to where I want to be in Europe.
SAS Scandinavian Airlines San Francisco SFO – Copenhagen CPH – Stockholm ARN – CPH – SFO
My strategy for cheaper holiday season tickets is fly from Europe to SFO.
SAS Scandinavian Airlines Stockholm ARN – CPH (overnight) – SFO – CPH – Stockholm
SAS Scandinavian Airlines Stockholm ARN – CPH (overnight) – SFO – CPH – Stockholm
Rather than pay $744 for a single December holiday ticket SFO to Stockholm with SAS, I can buy two Stockholm to San Francisco tickets for $961 and earn 24,292 Aegean Tier Miles.
Then, all I need is four Aegean/Olympic flight segments by July 7, 2019 to earn Aegean Gold elite.
Why did I buy a $263 Icelandair SFO to London LHR round trip ticket in May for travel in October?
The obvious question for my cheap SAS tickets plan is how will I get to Stockholm to start a round trip SAS ticket?
In May, I purchased a $263 Icelandair ticket for October travel from SFO to London Heathrow.
I might throw away the return flights on Icelandair and fly SAS instead.
Where I go in October from London is still up in the air.
October seems like a good time to travel to Greece. Aegean Air is $79 one way London LHR to Athens. Knocking out 4 Aegean/Olympic flight segments, while visiting Athens or Thessaloniki or some Greek island is one of my travel options.
Romania is still on my mind to take advantage of cheap Hilton stays on points.
Croatia is on my mind after seeing the Istria Peninsula from a flight to Rome a couple of weeks ago.
However, no October London flight plans are set until I see the new IHG PointBreaks list for discount hotel rewards August to October 2018. There might be an offer that sways my travel plans.
Aegean Miles+Bonus Gold elite is an objective I will work on again over the next 12 months. I might even make it this year.