Obtaining Gold Status with Star Alliance is a goal for many frequent flyers. It’s popularity mainly arises from the fact that the elite status comes with free lounge access – worldwide and including every lounge operated by the alliance. While some programs, like Lufthansa’s `Miles &More´ set the bar pretty high once it comes to reaching the popular gold card, other airlines offer simpler ways. Below we will give you an overview of the five easiest options that are out there.
- Benefits of Star Alliance Gold Status
- 1. Aegean Miles + Bonus: 36,000 miles and 6 flights
- 2. United MileagePlus: 50,000 miles within one calendar year
- 3. Asiana Club: 40,000 miles within two years
- 4. Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles: 40,000 miles within 12 months
- 5. SAS EuroBonus: 45,000 Basic Points within 12 months
Benefits of Star Alliance Gold Status
There are quite a few benefits you’ll be able to enjoy once you call a card with the Star Alliance Gold logo on it your own. And you’ll profit from them every time you choose to fly with a Star Alliance member, no matter which travel class:
- Priority Airport Check-in
- Airport Lounge Access to over 1,000 Star Alliance Gold lounges, including a guest
- Priority Boarding
- Extra Baggage Allowance and Priority Baggage Handling
- Gold Track (Where available)
- Priority Reservations Waitlist
- Priority Airport Stand-by
1. Aegean Miles + Bonus: 36,000 miles and 6 flights
The program offered by the Greek airline Aegean Airlines is already well known by most frequent flyers. To obtain Gold Status, it’s enough to collect 36,000 tier miles, given that you also complete six flights with the airline itself or their partner Olympic Air. If you don’t have the chance to fly with Aegean, you’ll need a total of 72,000 miles to reach their highest tier.
- First, you’ll have to collect 12,000 tier miles and fly with Aegean or Olympic twice OR collect 24,000 tier miles without flying the Greek airlines to reach Silver Status
- Once you’re a Silver member, you have to be credited with another 24,000 tier miles and fly with Aegean or their Greek partner four times, OR you collect 48,000 miles and avoid their aircraft. Careful: Flights and tier miles collected before you become a silver member will not be considered anymore on your way from Silver to Gold. The count will be reset once you obtained Silver status
- Validity: 12 months
- Additional benefits: 6 upgrade vouchers (2 for reaching Silver + 4 for Gold), an extra 20% reward miles and up to 5 people can earn miles into one account
- Softlanding: Silver Status
- Requalification: 12,000 tier miles and four flights on Aegean or Olympic or 24,000 tier miles without flying the Greek airline
Everything was better in the old days! Until 2014 Aegean would reward you with Gold status for collecting 20,000 miles within 12 months and the status had no expiration date. That’s right: it was valid forever! At least in theory. But compared to other programs, 36,000 miles and six flights with Aegean are still a pretty sweet deal. Especially if you consider how easy it is to requalify, needing only 12,000 miles
There is a downside, though. Some booking classes (mainly for Lufthansa flights) won’t get you any miles. Or at least not many. On the other hand, there are some flights that could get you 200% (e.g., Business Class with Air Canada) or even 300% (Lufthansa’s First Class). So you should always check which airline works in your favor.
2. United MileagePlus: 50,000 miles within one calendar year
United’s frequent flyer program is mainly of interest if you travel to the US frequently. Although they offer the same Star Alliance Gold benefits as all other airlines within the alliance do, they have a special goodie: upgrades on flights within the US.
Another extra is the so-called Status Match challenge that United offers: if you hold a comparable frequent traveler tier with any other airline that’s not a member of Star Alliance, MileagePlus will grant you a more comfortable and faster way to obtain their Premier Gold Status.
- Qualification: 4 PQS (Premier Qualification Segments) and 50,000 PQM (Premier Qualification Miles) OR 60 PQS within a calendar year will get you United’s Premier Gold Status (1P), which is equivalent with Star Alliance Gold. If you happen to be a US resident, you’ll need to spend $ 6,000 PQD (Premier Qualification Dollars) in addition to the requirements mentioned above
- Validity: Your status is valid for the remaining time of the calendar year you qualified in, plus another full calendar year and January of the following year
- Additional Benefits: An extra 60% bonus miles, up to 3x 32 kg luggage, free `Economy Plus´seats, free upgrades on US flights if available 48 hours before departure, lounge access on Eurowings flights and free Marriott Gold status. So a pretty nice list
- Softlanding: No
If you manage to collect more than 50,000 miles, you can obtain Platinum status when credited with 75,000 miles a year and 1K if you received 100,000 miles within a year. The latter includes six upgrade vouchers that can be redeemed on flights with, e.g. Lufthansa. Although there are some restrictions if it comes to booking classes.
MileagePlus is an interesting frequent flyer program, although the linking to a calendar year for the qualification period can be annoying.
The program can be particularly interesting for those traveling a lot with tickets issued for cheap booking classes. For flights with Lufthansa, SWISS, Austrian, Brussels Airlines, United and even Eurowings there’s a 100% multiplier for tier miles. In addition to that, the minimum miles are often 500, which is nice.
MileagePlus is also very interesting when redeeming award miles since taxes and fees are lower than with many other programs. Also, United offers two tiers above Gold Status, with a list of exciting benefits. There’s even a lifetime status you can reach once you collected a million tier miles on United’s aircraft.
But not all is gold that glitters. Also, MileagePlus has a downside: Access to United Clubs lounge is only granted for passengers on international flights. If you’re traveling domestic, you have to pay for an additional membership.
3. Asiana Club: 40,000 miles within two years
The South Korean Airline Asiana runs a frequent traveler program called Asiana Club. A lovely program that allows you to obtain Star Alliance God status with minimal tier miles and – even better – keep it for up to 4 years. Asiana Club also offers good ways to redeem your award miles for flights.
- Qualification: You’ll need 40,000 tier miles (or 50 Asiana flights) within a qualifying period of 24 months from the date of registration (base date) to obtain Asiana Diamond status, which is also Star Alliance Gold
- Validity: Your Status will be valid for at least two years. Since your initial qualification period is 24 months, you can hold the Asian Diamond status for up to 4 years! (If you qualify on the first day of registration, you keep your status for the 24 months of the qualifying period plus another 24 months of standard validity)
- Additional Benefits: you’ll receive an extra 10% bonus miles and a coupon for 50% off a reward flight. Youre miles stay valid for 12 years (yes, that’s not a typo. 12 years!)
- Requalification: collect 30,000 tier miles within 24 months before the expiration of your status to requalify
- Softlanding: No
40,000 miles within 24 months isn’t all that much. To maximize the validity of your status, you should try to register right before your first flight, and you could hold Star Alliance Gold for 4 years. Also, 30,000 tier miles for requalification is a fair deal! And award miles expiring after 12 years is unique too.
Even when redeeming award miles Asiana Club can be exciting. A one-way first-class flight with Lufthansa to the West Coast of the US can be booked for 50,000 award miles and an additional ~250 € for fees! Lufthansa’s program `Miles & More´ requires you to spend 85,000 award miles for the same flight.
4. Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles: 40,000 miles within 12 months
Turkish Airlines has been offering a status match to its loyalty program for a while now. But that’s not the only reason why Miles & Smiles got the attention of frequent travelers. 40,000 miles to reach Star Alliance Gold is not bad, and it only takes 25,000 to requalify for Turkish Airlines’ Elite Status in your first year after reaching Gold status (37,500 if you wait until your second year). If you can afford to fly Turkish’s business class product, you even get an extra 25% bonus on the tier miles earned.
- Qualification: If you collect 40,000 Status Miles within 12 consecutive months you’ll be rewarded with Miles & Smiles Elite, hence Star Alliance Gold
- Validity: 2 years from the date you earned the status
- Additional Benefits: You can purchase up to 10,000 tier miles for $ 70 per 1,000 miles, Miles & Smiles offers a family account, and you can earn extra 25% bonus tier miles on Turkish Airlines Comfort and Business Class flights
- Requalification: 25,000 within the first year or 37,500 status miles throughout two years of your gold status. (Only, if you live outside of Turkey)
- Softlanding: Classic Plus (Star Alliance Silver)
40,000 status miles within 12 months can be a challenge especially since even flights with Turkish Airlines will get you a maximum of 150% on your miles as tier and award miles. But then the re-qualification is easier.
Unfortunately, also Miles & Smiles excludes some low-cost booking classes (e.g., Lufthansa) from being eligible to collect miles. In some other booking classes, there are up to 200%, though.
5. SAS EuroBonus: 45,000 Basic Points within 12 months
As a member of SAS’ frequent flyer program EuroBonus, you can reach Gold status by collection 45,000 Basic Points (that’s how SAS named their tier miles). Your qualification period will be 12 months, starting on the day you entered the program. Once your account shows 45,000 tier miles, you’ll be rewarded with Star Alliance Gold status and corresponding privileges for rest of your qualification period and another 12 months.
- Qualification: You need 45,000 Basic Points (= tier miles) or 45 segments flown with SAS or Widerøe within a 12 month qualification period to earn Eurobonus Gold, which is equivalent to Star Alliance Gold. The qualification period starts when you join Eurobonus. For example, if you register with EuroBonus in August 2019, the qualification year ends on July 31st, 2020.
- Validity: You will be a tier member for the rest of your current qualification period plus another 12 months until the end of the following qualification period.
- Additional benefits: After ten consecutive years of holding Eurobonus Gold status, you will be rewarded with a Lifetime Gold membership and the chance to give away Silver status. You’ll receive an extra 25% on points collected on SAS and Wideroe flights, 20% discount on award flights with SAS (if you book at least 14 days in advance), free WiFi on SAS flights and free seat reservation on SAS flights.
- Softlanding: Silver Status
Especially if you travel a lot in low-cost booking classes (e.g., Lufthansa’s K, L, and T class) you might want to take a closer look at EuroBonus. Even cheap fares still get you 25% of the miles flown as Basic Points. Also, the change to earn lifetime Gold Status could be very interesting and isn’t something you’ll find with every airline. By the way: if you’re able to collect 90,000 tier mils, you’ll reach Diamond Status and can give away a Gold card to a friend.Cover Picture: Turkish Airlines CIP Lounge in Istanbul