It’s not often you get great earning, great status and great redeeming.

Aegean may not be an airline you’ll ever spend an insane amount of time on, but that certainly doesn’t mean it’s an airline you shouldn’t be earning all your Star Alliance miles and status points with. The boutique airline operates flights primarily in Europe, the Mediterranean and the Middle East, and is a central figure in the Star Alliance airline group, with some serious loyalty program gems. The program brings powerful earning potential, exceptionally good short cuts to earn Star Alliance Gold elite status and offers outstanding rates when it comes time to cash in your points. Here’s why Aegean is the program you’ve overlooked – but shouldn’t any more…

Earning Redeemable Points

Aegean still credits points based on distance, and not on some silly equation about how much you overspent. Even the lowest Star Alliance fares earn 50% of the miles actually flown, and for many airlines, you’ll find the highest earning rates for most fares are offered by Aegean. Here’s the Aegean page which shows earning rates for all partner airlines. Put simply: more redeemable miles earned means more reward for less flying.

For example, whereas most Star Alliance loyalty programs credit a maximum of 100% for an ANA Premium Economy fare, Aegean credits 150%. Take a peek at how you’d come out earning versus other programs using WhereToCredit.com, a brilliant comparison tool.

Earning Star Alliance Gold Elite Status

Earning elite status with Star Alliance is extremely useful. Star Alliance Gold entitles passengers to airport lounges, airport fast tracks, checked bags and other perks on all journeys, even if flying economy. Aegean Miles+Bonus is a particularly good program for all flyers based on the ease of attaining Star Alliance Gold, but it’s even better for U.S. flyers. Domestic U.S. travelers with Star Alliance Gold earned via United MileagePlus somehow don’t get entry to lounges on domestic flights, whereas the same travelers flying United using a foreign status, such as Aegean do.

If you can manage to fly six segments on Aegean, you only need a total of 36,000 miles for Star Alliance Gold. Given the generously high earning rates mentioned above, that’s a fraction of what other airlines require. If you can’t manage six segments on Aegean during your travels in Europe, the Mediterranean or Middle East, you’ll still need a mere 48,000 miles in a year for Star Alliance Gold. Again, it could be more advantageous for U.S. based flyers, even those who fly exclusively on United, to earn with Aegean instead, unless they reach the highest United tier.

At 200% earning or better on even the most discount of business class tickets, a single long haul journey could put you right in the crosshairs of a year or more of Star Alliance Gold, with even easier criterion for maintaining it after the first year! 20,000 flown (real) miles in business would put you at the 40,000 mile threshold, quite near the finish line. A full list of Aegean Star Alliance Gold benefits can be found here.

Transferring Points

When it comes to the big “honey pot”, redeeming points side of things, it helps if you can transfer points from other places into your airline program to boost the tally. While Aegean is not currently a transfer partner of Citi, Chase or Amex, it is a partner of Marriott Rewards. Anyone with big fat points balances from SPG or Marriott Rewards can push points into Aegean to top off for a great redemption. With any luck, they’ll become a credit card transfer partner one day too…

Redeeming Points

If this is all sounding pretty great, fear not – that won’t stop here. Aegean offers some world class redemption opportunities, in part because it hasn’t made its points “too” easy to acquire. Here are a few redemptions which are instantly impressive. Oh and one ways are just half…

90,000 Points Round Trip Business Class – U.S. To Europe Or Israel.Β 

150,000 Points Round Trip Business Class – Europe to Australia & New Zealand.

80,000 Points Round Trip First Class – Asia To AsiaΒ 

25,000 Points Round Trip Economy – Intra Australia & New Zealand.

42,000 Points Round Trip Business – Intra U.S. Flights, including Transcontinental.

There are plenty more, but you’ll have to check out their chart for yourself. With all these factors combined, there’s no doubt that Aegean is one of the most overlooked Star Alliance airline loyalty programs, with great rates and opportunities from front end to back end. If you value Gold status benefits from Star Alliance and dependable miles, which are unlikely to devalue, this is a gem.

Has this article impacted your travel loyalty thought process?

Featured image courtesy of Star Alliance Gold Lounge LAX.