How to get Star Alliance Gold frequent flyer status with one flight

How to get Star Alliance Gold frequent flyer status with one flight

The majority of Australian travellers hold some status with the Qantas Frequent Flyer scheme, with regular jetsetters clutching either a Qantas Gold or Platinum card which packs plenty of perks on other oneworld airlines such as American Airlines, British Airways and Cathay Pacific and JAL (as well as Qantas' new chum Emirates).

Plenty of people also enjoy Gold or Platinum status with Virgin Australia, which offers privileges through Virgin's own selection of partner airlines.

But if you want to add another airline VIP status card to your travel wallet, there's an incredibly simple way to score top-tier Gold status across the entire Star Alliance group with just one return flight.

That'll give you lounge access, additional checked luggage, priority baggage plus first shot at those at-the-airport or even in-flight upgrades on some two dozen airlines – among them Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, Thai and United.

The shortcut to Star Alliance Gold

The next time you're booked for a long-haul flight with any Star Alliance airline – especially if you're in business class – sign up with the free Miles&Bonus frequent flyer program of Greece's Aegean Airlines, which is part of the Star Alliance family, and list your Miles&Bonus number as the account to be credited with points for that flight.

Click here to sign up for Aegean's Miles&Bonus plan

Aegean doesn't fly to Australia, and indeed you may never have reason to fly Aegean within Europe. But that doesn't matter.

The reason to sign with them is that Aegean has an incredibly low threshold for achieving Gold status in its own frequent flyer scheme – just 20,000 'tier miles' within a year compared to, say, the 50,000 miles needed to reach KrisFlyer Gold with Singapore Airlines (you'll even get 1,000 miles just for enrolling in Miles&Bonus).

On top of this, many Star Alliance airlines let you earn 2x or 1.5x the mileage in business class for Aegean, including status-generating tier miles, making Aegean the supercharged shortcut to Gold status.

Aegean's Gold status delivers top-class perks on dozens of other airlines

And of course, once you achieve Gold status under Aegean's Miles&Bonus plan you automatically enjoy reciprocal Gold status with all other Star Alliance airlines.

Let's assume you travel every few months between Australia and Singapore on Singapore Airlines, but only in economy class. It'd take you years to climb your way up the ladder to SQ's KrisFlyer Gold.

But if you've got the chance for a long international flight with SQ or any Star Alliance partner, using your Aegean Miles&Bonus number is the smart shortcut to getting equivalent status to KrisFlyer Gold.

Get Star Alliance Gold with a single trip

Here are some examples of trips that will earn you the necessary 20,000 Aegean Tier Miles to reach Star Alliance Gold.

  • One-way United business class Melbourne-New York
  • Return Air China business class Sydney-Beijing
  • Return Thai Airways business class Sydney-Bangkok-Hong Kong
  • Return economy class (on certain fares) from Australia's east coast to London
  • Two United business class returns San Francisco-New York

(Not every airline's business class earns double, though, so make sure you check the earning tables for your airline and booking class fare code.)

Even a shorter trip can let you hit Aegean's Miles&Bonus Silver, which once again equates to Star Alliance Silver and is better than no status at all!

Aegean is also very generous when it comes to holding onto your status.

For example: I flew Air Canada business class from Sydney to Toronto in February this year, put the trip against a just-opened Aegean account and my new Miles&Bonus Gold is valid until December 2016. That's almost three years of Gold-grade perks with any Star Alliance airline!

Once you've got Aegean Gold status, you can go back to crediting Star Alliance travel to your frequent flyer program of choice (not forgetting that Star Alliance members Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines are Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer partners, so you can funnel points and status credits from your NZ and SQ flights into Velocity too).

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David Flynn

David Flynn (David)

[email protected] / @djsflynn

David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


  • russell


    4 Apr, 2013 01:17 pm

    I did read that other members. such as LH, are not overly happy with these low entry thresholds. I wonder how much longer this loophole may remain open? Certainly a great opportunity and one I am seriosuly considering.

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  • Really


    4 Apr, 2013 01:21 pm

     What are the chances of a Greek airline lasting that long?

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  • David Flynn


    4 Apr, 2013 03:01 pm

    LOL! Maybe we should add that people better get in quick to take advantage of this! 

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  • Ksmith


    5 Apr, 2013 01:16 am

    Aegean are actually in a surprisingly stable economic state given how bad Greece's economy is. Recently bought out another Greek carrier.

    The only potential problem, as mentioned, is that the thresholds may be increased as their partner airlines aren't too happy.

    Also, the cost of upgrades and reward tickets on other carriers is very high and not often available through Miles & Bonus. But for extra luggage, lounge access and occassional extra perks such as exit rows or economy plus seating, Aegean are unbeatable. 

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  • russell


    4 Apr, 2013 01:51 pm

    Any flight options from Perth?

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  • KG


    4 Apr, 2013 03:21 pm

    TG would be your best bet, although a return PER-BKK-HKG in C will not cut it, so you would have to go further afield.

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  • CL


    5 Apr, 2013 05:33 am

    Great trip, thank you very much for posting about it. Hopefully the loophole won't be closed too soon.

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  • nix584


    5 Apr, 2013 09:55 am

    Thankfully its not a loophole, its just Aegean's status threshold. But if LH or SQ make a complaint to Star, we could see the Aegean earning rate rise to match theirs perhaps.

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  • Gunners


    8 Apr, 2013 12:20 am

    In the article it mentions that once you've got Aegean Gold status, you can go back to crediting Star Alliance travel to your frequent flyer program of choice.

    Will SQ allow PAX to take advantage of  the perks of *G through Aegean (card presented at airport at check in)  whilst accruing points and registering the e ticket  for frequent fliyer poinits another airline such as Virgin (assuming gold status is not obatined at Virgin)?  Lounge entry, priority boarding etc seem to be driven by the details printed on the boarding pass. That is, will SQ insist that to take advantage of the *G status the bookings and the booking pass will need to be made in the name of the airline providing the benefit?

    SQ prints the PAX frequent flyer status is printed on a board pass. Will SQ allow a PAX to take advantage of *G through Aegean (take card to airport check in) whilst accruing points and registering the e ticket with another airline such as Virgin.

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  • aviator


    1 May, 2013 09:02 am

    I recently got Gold and Miles and Bonus and it's been great getting all the *G perks! But the common feedback I get amongst airline staff is "A3? First time I've seen this before." :P

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  • totocol


    2 May, 2013 10:37 pm

    Form what I read in the Aegean page, you only get into their lounges, with United for example you can get in any of the lounges. 

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  • aviator


    4 May, 2013 01:32 pm

    I've tried using A3 *G and have been able to get into AC YVR and NZ SFO

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  • ryanbingham


    4 May, 2013 03:23 pm

    i think once *G is there, it works for every *G lounge.

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  • ryanbingham


    4 May, 2013 11:40 am

    "Aegean has an incredibly low threshold for achieving Gold status" 

    i am wondering why is that? small fleet and regional destinations means their normal cusomters will not likely to hit 20K easily? compared to say KrisFlyer where most single flights would hit 5-10K easily. 

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  • StuParr


    8 May, 2013 01:10 pm

    Given the distance most of their passengers are flying you would have to fly quite a lot to gain Gold. I think that is what they have factored into it. Most flights are around 500 - 1000 miles.

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  • ryanbingham


    8 May, 2013 02:29 pm

    which leaves room for people in Oz to take advantage of it, given any flights to overseas are likely to be 5000 miles longer

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    8 May, 2013 08:11 pm

    Great advice - well done AusBT!!

    However, I'm reading 16,000 miles not 20,000 for Gold - where am I going wrong?

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  • ryanbingham


    8 May, 2013 08:17 pm

    to get blue you need 4k

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    8 May, 2013 08:23 pm

    Ata....4000 plus 16000!!! Gracias!

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  • aviator


    9 May, 2013 12:07 am

    Technically 3,000 for Blue atm - 1,000 sign up promotion counts towards status too!

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    9 May, 2013 06:08 am


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  • jskf01


    10 May, 2013 10:10 pm

    the website is down and won't allow me to sign up:(

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  • Colin Finch


    17 May, 2013 02:41 pm

    Just got SA Gold with this program - does this give access to Virgin Domestic Lounges when travelling with Virgin? Same with Air NZ & Singapore?

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  • aviator


    22 May, 2013 06:05 pm

    No it does not. The VA-SQ/NZ benefit is a bilateral agreement between VA and SQ/NZ and is not related to Star Alliance in anyway as VA is not a member.

    However if traveling on an NZ codeshare operated by VA on say, Trans Tasman, you could try and see if the agent offers you access since it is an NZ flight.

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  • HDunne


    22 May, 2013 04:55 pm

    It truly is an amazing shortcut and I'll be well on my way to lifetime lounge access with a trip to Europe this summer. For those of you who haven't taken advantage of it yet, do it fast before Star Alliance finds a way to close this nice little loophole.

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  • aviator


    22 May, 2013 07:02 pm

    It seems to take a while for A3 to post their's been over a month since I've received *G. Keep in mind your boarding pass reflects your *G status as soon as A3 processes your miles and upgrades you on their website so you are able to access *G lounges using boarding passes - it's one of the ways to prove *G status by Star Alliance's policy.

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  • ryanbingham


    26 Oct, 2013 10:53 pm

    yes takes a while

    i wonder how A3 gets any benefits from this, eg: i pay to SQ or LH yet I get miles benefits in A3. While A3 do all the admin costs I actually dont pay anything to them, and I redeem miles from A3 on other Star* airlines.

    A3 is simply being used as a FFP admin for me in the star* network, and i dont use any of their greece retail parnters with the miles.  i suspect the only benefit A3 gets is an expanding base which can sell better with retail parnters by getting better deals.

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  • dawesi


    27 May, 2013 01:31 am

    some trans-tasman economy tickets do not gain any miles with this program. Was set to get gold in one flight, but then missed by 3000 miles as AU to NZ doesn't count in certain ticket types.

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  • paul fayman


    19 Dec, 2013 01:05 pm

    Hi All, 

    I was wondering if a business class return flight from Melbourne to Delhi back to Melbourne would automatically bump me to Gold using this system? 


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  • TheRealBabushka


    19 Dec, 2013 07:22 pm

    Which airline and which cabin are you flying in?

    What is your booking inventory?

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  • pablosu


    20 Dec, 2013 09:00 am


    I'am very interesting for get the gold status and i think that it's the best option.

    If i fly from madrid (Spain) to tehran (iran) with a stop in Istambul with THY, including the return in what type of class i need to fly for get the gold status.


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  • Al Glidden


    20 Dec, 2013 09:16 am

    For everyone asking if a certain flight is long enough or what class they need to be in, can I suggest that you do a bit of your own homework - look up the Aegean Miles&Bonus website linked in this article, check the earnings table linked in this article and try to work it out. Expecting other people to run around doing calculations for you is a bit much don't you think? Anyway just looking at the examples in this article will give you a clue to start with.
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  • pablosu


    20 Dec, 2013 09:43 am


    I visited the aegean website, but i don´t understand very good the tablem iPleasesomeone who help me say me the answer, thanks very much

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  • danturner


    10 Jan, 2014 02:21 pm

    Does this only work if the original flight was booked against your aegean airlines membership?  I signed up to this program and submitted claims for past flights but months later they're still not showing in my aegean account activity?

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  • LB


    8 Feb, 2014 04:11 pm

    Tried for hours to find the flight miles from syd/Nelson via Auckland NZ so I could determine if qualify for this at biz class. Can anyone help me how to look for this.  Am also looking to fly to Singapore. Thanks

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  • DeanOli


    15 Feb, 2014 05:31 pm

    Nice idea, but as I this may changes, as per points earning table, you can collect only 1500 from United on First Class for the example. Am I right or there is some trick to earn mroe miles when flying Business? Or that 1500 is minimun, so mean when I book actual ticket I can get much more? Any easy way to find out how many miles. It would be great, getting G, otherwise its damn hard to earn points.

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  • henrus


    16 Feb, 2014 06:16 pm

    I am traveling in Air New Zealand J Class from Brisbane to LAX then back in V and M 


    Will this make gold?

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  • samh00


    25 Feb, 2014 05:41 pm

    Has anyone tried to redeem points with Agean and if so how hard was it?

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  • rob 123456

    rob 123456

    16 Mar, 2014 07:22 am

    It's not quite the racket that is assumed....

    I switched from my AirNew Zealand AirPoints last month, and have clocked up just over 30,000 miles on star alliance. This woud have given me about 300 status points on Air NZ (about 60% of what remained to get to Gold Elite for me, and about 40% of annual gold status, given i flew a mix of business class and last minute economy.

    My Aegean points balance is 12,120 award/tier miles, including the 1000 bonus miles. 

    Given this, i believe it is almost a perfect match for United or other major carrier, in generosity (slightly less than united, 50% more than AirNZ (which is one of the most unrewaeding on star alliance in my opinion, based on the 150,000 miles i flew and credited to airpoints last year. Different story if you fly on air nz, especially domestic routs, it's ultra cheap).

    I can see Aegean moving to require the qualifying flight to be on an A3 operated route, but the farthest they fly is about 2000 miles in any one direction, most of their trips being under 500 miles, so the program is no more generous than other programs for economy and occasional business travelers.

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  • pprofpopp


    14 Jul, 2014 12:45 am

    Late question on this one I know, BUT...  can anyone advise?

    I'm a new A3 miles member looking to get Gold on a single BC trip.  Have 1700 tier points so far.

    I'm thinking of Bus class return on Air China from adelaide via syd or mel to Stockholm via beijing.  Miles look to be about 9837 ex Melbourne.  What's not clear to me is whether I go by the A3 table that says all BC classes are 200% bonus OR.....  do I go by the Air China table that has only C class at 200 and the others at 125%.   Whose percentage bonus counts?

    thanks if anyone can advise


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  • ling


    16 Sep, 2014 06:55 am

    Hi there, I'm planning to fly from Houston to Singapore with SQ which will earn me 9900 points and blue status. I'm just wondering right, to get to gold, do I still need to fly 16,000 miles after this? Or just 10,100 miles?  Thanks guys

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  • mhindson2000


    3 Nov, 2014 11:27 am

    I see that they also give points for hotel bookings if done through their site.

    2 miles per Euro spent.

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  • Sudais khan

    Sudais khan

    21 Oct, 2015 05:09 am

    How can i apply for star alliance  gold card

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