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!
Citi Prestige® Card
- Annual Fee: $450 fee
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Bank
The increase to 50,000 ThankYou points for the Citi Prestige card may be a signal that Citi wants back in the game, big time. The sign-up bonus has just been increased to 50K points from the previous 30K offer. An added benefit is a $250 annual air travel credit each calendar year -- so, if you sign up in April, you'll receive the credit this year, and again in January of next year -- which more than covers the $450 first year fee. When you add in lounge access for you and up to two of your guests, you’ve added another $400+ in value. One more benefit worth mentioning is the fourth night free for any four-night hotel stay booked through Wagonlit Travel. And lastly is the $100 statement credit when you sign up for Global Entry and pay for it using the Prestige card. Don’t forget the ever-growing number of airline transfer partners that work with the ThankYou points program.
- $250 Air Travel Credit each year
- Complimentary 4th Night for any hotel stay
- Earn 50,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.
- Points are redeemable for an $800 flight on American Airlines or US Airways®, a $665 flight on any other airline or $500 in gift cards.
- Transfer points to a variety of travel loyalty programs from airlines to hotels.
- Earn 3x points on Air Travel and Hotels
- Earn 2x points on Dining at Restaurants and Entertainment
- 1 ThankYou® Point per $1 spent on other purchases