Going for Aegean Airlines Miles+Bonus/Star Alliance Gold in March 2019 is the purpose of my current trip to Greece. My first of four Aegean/Olympic Airlines flights this week is complete as I sit in the Aegean Airlines lounge at Athens Airport waiting for a flight to Chania, Crete (pronounced ‘hanya’ for those of us not familiar with Greek).
The reason I am in Greece is Aegean Miles+Bonus Gold elite requires 24,000 Tier Points in your membership year (not calendar year), if you have completed 4 Aegean/Olympic flight segments. Otherwise it takes 48,000 Tier Points in Star Alliance partner airlines for Aegean Miles+Bonus Gold elite qualification.
SAS Scandinavian Airlines and Ethiopian Airlines are the only two Star Alliance members that earn 100% flight miles as Aegean Miles+Bonus Tier Points on deep discount economy flight booking codes. I will have 24,000 Tier Points and 4 Aegean/Olympic flight segments after I complete my ticketed SAS round trip flight for Stockholm-San Francisco in March.
Otherwise, without any Aegean/Olympic flights segments, flights in United or Air Canada deep discount economy K class only earn 50% Tier Points. Flying only UA on cheap economy K tickets requires 96,000 flight miles to earn 48,000 Aegean elite qualifying Tier Points.
Thus, I ticketed Warsaw-Athens-Chania-Athens-Warsaw for $136 to pick up 4 Aegean/Olympic flight segments.
Getting access to the Aegean lounge using one of my four complimentary lounge credits I earned as Aegean Silver elite is another story. Which reminds me, I need to download the Aegean app right now before my flight to Chania, Crete CHQ.
Pause in my writing, but not your reading.
Aegean Airlines (A3) Warsaw WAW – Athens ATH Flight #871
I checked in online to see I was assigned middle seat 3B. I really wanted a window seat, but the airline wanted 15 EUR to change to any window or aisle seat lower than row 20 on the A320-200 aircraft with 30 rows. Rows 20 to 30 seat change showed as free, however, no window seats. I changed to 27C on the aisle. Far better to be in the back of the plane that in a middle seat in my opinion.
Two attempts this morning to get a mobile boarding pass for my flights failed. Aegean Airlines website returned a message two times saying my boarding pass was sent, but I never received it on my phone.
I printed a paper copy from a guest computer in the lounge of InterContinental Warsaw.
Boarding commenced on time at 10:40am.
As I passed by seat 3B, I was thankful for my seat change. Row 3 is the bulkhead row behind two rows of Business Class seating and the row looked quite cramped with very little legroom.
As it turned out, when the announcement came “Boarding Completed”, 27B and 29E were the only two empty seats I saw on the plane.
Flight attendants passed out mints before we left the gate.
The flight backed out of WAW Gate 30 precisely at 11:10 scheduled departure time.
You know you are not flying a U.S.-based carrier when the fasten seat belt sign goes off while the plane is still ascending to cruising altitude.
Most seats did not have an inflight magazine, although I noticed there were some copies of Aegean Blue Magazine onboard. I wanted to view a map of Europe.
Meal service started right away around 11:45. I forgot I had special ordered a seafood meal.
After two heavy meat meals yesterday in Warsaw, I was delighted to find a nice filet of fish in red sauce with potatoes. Tasted like cod.
I was particularly happy when I saw the regular meal was chicken pasta. I am not a fan of pasta.
About 20 minutes before landing we passed by snow covered mountains. There was absolutely no snow around Warsaw. In fact, while Warsaw has below freezing temperatures today, in 48 hours Warsaw is forecast to be 16C/61F by afternoon Monday, March 4.
Flight landed on time at 2:40p with a one hour forward time change in Greece.
Next thing I know I am at the Aegean Airlines lounge at the B gates trying to figure out how to redeem one of my Aegean Airlines Silver elite lounge electronic passes for the first time. There was a delay in getting lounge access without a printed pass. The receptionists were adamant that I could not walk past the desk until they verified my lounge pass.
It took me about 10 minutes to log into my computer, find my Aegean Miles+Bonus account password, login to my account on my phone and show them my account with valid lounge access codes, all while standing at the desk with my bag and backpack.
Simply giving them the Aegean Miles+Bonus lounge e-code was unacceptable.
All’s well that ends well.
Now for the next adventure.
My objective is to reach Chania from Chania CHQ Airport by public bus for 2.50EUR instead of paying 30EUR for a taxi. My hotel offered a taxi for 23EUR.
I am in no hurry. The journey is part of the adventure. I find one of the best places to be immersed in local culture wherever I travel is riding public transportation with the locals.