Airline Alliances – Star Alliance
The Star Alliance is easily the largest of the three with the most airlines participating – including in the US. Of the four major United States Airlines, United and US Airways are both in the Star Alliance. With it being such a large alliance there are a lot of international airlines that make the Star Alliance extremely useful: Lufthansa is a great partner for getting to and from Europe, TAM Airlines can get you down to South America, and there are numerous airlines that can get you to Asia such as Singapore Airlines, Asiana Airlines, and Thai Airways. There are also a number of airlines that can provide special routes that can be indispensable such as Austrian’s direct flights into New York, Washington DC, and Toronto provide an easy way to get to a great European City. Other partners can provide easy way to get elite status…
Aegean Airlines is a Star Alliance partner that operates out of Greece. Given that it’s meant to shuttle Greeks around their country, its elite status requirements are relatively small given that it’d be hard for them to earn a lot of miles since Greece is so small. However, that’s good news for us! Aegean has two tiers of elite status: Blue and Gold. Aegean Blue status gets you Star Alliance Silver and Aegean Gold status gets you Star Alliance Gold. While the Star Alliance website does not mention that Silver elite members get free checked baggage, the United and US Airways websites both state that Silver elite members get one free checked bag. Of course, Star Alliance Gold members get that and more. Not only do you get priority boarding, check-in, and baggage handling, but it also gets you access to Star Alliance lounges! According the Star Alliance website, “When you travel with any Star Alliance member airline, you and a guest can escape the crowds and relax in over 990 airport lounges worldwide, regardless of your class of travel.” That’s a great benefit to have access to. Now, onto the requirements.
Like I said before, since Greece is such a small country, the requirements to reach Aegean’s elite tiers are low. To reach Aegean Blue, which would get you a free checked bag on every domestic US Air and United flight, you need to fly 4,000 status miles. That’s less than a transcontinental roundtrip! For Aegean Gold, which would get you the free lounge access along with priority treatment, you need to fly 20,000 status miles. For people that enjoy getting the benefits of elite status, but aren’t able to fly the 100,000 or even 50,000 miles a year to get there, this is a great way to get those benefits. How do you do this? Simply sign up for an account with Aegean and when you book a flight on United or US Airways (or any Star Alliance carrier), enter in your Aegean Airlines number; it’s that easy!
Next week we’ll be covering the SkyTeam alliance and finally figure out to put those SkyPesos to good use!
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Annual Fee: $95 fee waived for the first year
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Bank
The Sapphire Preferred offers 2x points on dining and travel, and no foreign transaction fees, making this the go-to card for travelers.
This card accumulates Ultimate Rewards points, which are very valuable for transfer to United and Hyatt. Overall, this card is a great choice for maximizing earnings on dining, travel, and every day spend.
- Earn 40,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $500 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate RewardsSM
- Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening.
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
- No foreign transaction fees, plus Chip and Signature enabled for international travel.
- 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs at full value — that means 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points.
- 24/7 direct access to dedicated customer service specialists
- Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95