There’s also been fair bit of debate and some excellent points raised in some of the comments, so do read those as well.
In this post I’m going to compare the qualification process across the five programmes that I looked at. I’ve summarised everything into this handy table.
|British Airways Executive Club||Aegean Miles & Bonus||Lufthansa Miles & More||Air Europa SUMA||Air France KLM Flying Blue|
|Alliance||oneworld||Star Alliance||Star Alliance||SkyTeam||SkyTeam|
|Level||Sapphire||Star Gold||Star Gold||Elite Plus||Elite Plus|
|Qual. Threshold||600 tier points||12,000 miles to silver AND
24,000 miles to gold
|100,000 miles||32,000 miles||40,000 miles|
|Segment Reqs||4||2 to silver AND
4 to gold
|Requal threshold||600 tier points||12,000 miles||100,000 miles once every two years||32,000 miles||40,000 miles|
|Status Duration||1 year||1 year||2 years||1 year||1 year|
|Time period||Rolling year||Rolling year||Calendar year||Rolling year||Calendar year|
|Suggested Number of Long-hauls||1||2||2||2||2|
|Suggested Number of Short-hauls||1||2||0||0||0|
|Approx. total cost to qualify||£1,600 to £2,200||£3,200 to £3,600||£6,000||£3,000 to £3,500||£3,000 to £3,500|
|Approx. cost to requalify||£1,600 to £2,200||£1,300 to £1,600||N/A lasts for two years||£3,000 to £3,500||£3,000 to £3,500|
I think there are some interesting conclusions we can draw from this.
- The British Airways Executive Club is surprisingly easy to get status both from a cost and a time perspective
- The Aegean programme is complicated
- However once you’re gold, it’s very easy to maintain status
- Lufthansa has a very high up-front cost in terms of time and effort, however when averaged over two years is actually more cost efficient than it appears
- The SkyTeam programmes are broadly equivalent
Regular readers of this blog may notice that I’m fairly critical of British Airways. However it’s undeniable that their Executive Club is exceptionally good at easily building loyalty and maintaining it, despite the overall poor quality of the underlying product; it remains an excellent choice.
For aspirational awards in first class, then Miles & More and Flying Blue remain the options to go for given that they are essentially the only route open to being able to redeem miles.