UPDATE: Beginning 1/1/2013 the offer is now back at a 1000 bonus miles, but the miles still count towards status.
The Greek airline Aegean is currently offering 2000 miles just for joining their frequent flyer program Miles&Bonus (click this link to sign up). The offer has been improved from originally a 1000 bonus miles and it looks like this offer is going to be valid for the rest of 2012. Aegean has received much attention among frequent fliers because of their relative low requirements for reaching Star Alliance elite benefits and the fact that the status is good as long as the card holder flies at least one Star Alliance flight every three years.
Getting “easy” gold status with Aegean has been widely discussed at different blogs and forums, especially on the FlyerTalk Aegean Airlines Miles&Bonus forum. Here I am mainly writing up a short summery and review of the recent discussions.
The 2000 bonus miles does count as status miles(!) Within a 12 months period only an additional 2000 miles are needed to reach Blue status which includes Star Alliance Silver status and during a 12 months period from reaching Blue status only an additional 16.000 miles are needed to reach Gold level which includes Star Alliance Gold status. Issued cards will have an expiration date dated three years after the required amount of miles are reached. Overall only 18.000 miles plus the 2000 sign up bonus miles are need when starting from scratch to reach the Gold level. The bonus miles will expire after 12 months, but if you reach elite level the expiration will be extended.
You can read more about the Star Alliance benefits provided to elite members at their benefits page and more about the benefits with Aegean at their benefits page. According to recent reports the welcome package with card and bag tags will normally arrive within 30 – 90 days after getting the required miles.
The major downside is that low fare classes often only will be credited at a low rate if any miles at all. Therefor this is not the program for the average traveller and travellers mainly flying discounted economy. Figuring out a fare class can be somewhat tricky, especially if booking through a partner or travel agency or any routing that includes codeshares. As it’s always the fare class assigned by the operating carrier (i.e. the airline actually flying the plane) that is used to determine how many files are credited they will be the best ones to ask. If it’s not clear in which fare class a booking is ticketed the easiest approach is to get the information from the boarding card or by asking in the airport when checking-in/dropping of baggage and then change to the frequent flyer program that gives the most miles. Make sure to check if your booked fare class is eligible for miles. More info is available at Aegean’s mileage accrual chart. Often it will be better to credit low fare classes to other frequent flyer programs.
I only recently joined Miles&Bonus so my experiences are very limited. I did a retro claim for a SAS (SK) flight that originally was credited to United but for some reason never made it there. According to Aegean retro claims will take a couple of weeks to process but this retro claim was processed and added to my account after only two days so a good first impression.
Aegean recently improved the award travelling policy. This blog post gets more into detail about the cons and pros about getting status with Aegean.
Post comments and experiences with this offer as well as your overall experiences with the Miles&Bonus program.