United Tires Of Aegean Elites, Slashes Their Free Baggage Allowance.

United Baggage Fee Calculator

I’ve written several times about Aegean Star Alliance Gold status.

The gist is that with 19,000 miles you can earn a status that may last you a lifetime.
Until now United has given Star Alliance Gold members and everyone who travels with them 3 free 70 pound bags each.
Not only that but foreign Star Alliance Gold members have free access to domestic United lounges even if they aren’t traveling internationally. United’s own elite members don’t have that privilege.

United however isn’t amused. The letter of the law is that Star Alliance Golds must be provided with 1 additional free bag. Effective for tickets bought on or after 10/17 United is doing just that. They are slashing the Star Gold baggage allowance down to just 1 free 50 pound bag for the Gold member and their travel companions on domestic itineraries.
On most international itineraries (such as Newark-Tel Aviv) Star Golds and their companions will each get 2 free 50 pound bags.
When Star Golds are traveling in business or first class they will still get 3 free 70 pound bags.

Star Alliance Silver members will no longer get any free bags, down from 1 free 50 pound bag.

If you have a United Club card (click on the Club tab) you and a companion will continue to get 2 free bags.
United Explorer cardholders and a companion continue to get 1 free bag.

If you fly on Air Canada or USAirways with Star Alliance Gold status you and all of your companions still get 3 free 50 pound bags (for now!) I wouldn’t be surprised to see them match United soon, so if you do need the extra baggage you may want to book travel on them now before the change goes into effect.
Baggage rules always follow the date you book the ticket, not the date of travel.

Note that this doesn’t effect United elites. United Silver elites continue to get 1 free 50 pound bag. United Gold/Platinum/1K/GS elites continue to get 3 free 70 pound bags.

It’s also worth noting here that effective next year United is making it much harder to qualify for United elite status if you are based in US.

If you want Silver status not only will you need 25,000 miles but you’ll have to spend $2,500 on United flights. Gold status will take 50,000 miles and $5,000 spent on United flights. Platinum status will take 75,000 miles and $7,500 spent on United flights. 1K status will take 100,000 miles and $10,000 spent on United flights. Oh, and taxes built into the tickets dont count towards that spending.
-If you’re not based in the US the spend requirement is waived.
-If you have a Presidential Plus card the spend requirement is waived for Silver, Gold, and Platinum
-If you spend $25,000 anywhere on a United credit card in 2014 then the spend requirement is waived for Silver, Gold, and Platinum. The United Explorer card also gives a bonus 10,000 miles for spending $25,000 on it in a calendar year, earning an effective 1.4 miles per dollar spent in additional to waiving the spend requirement on United flights. The Club card earn 1.5 miles per dollar everywhere on all spend.

In unrelated United news you can register to earn double miles on United flights bought and flown within the next month, but only in non-discount fare classes. Namely: F, A, J, C, D, Z, P, Y, B, M, E, U, H, Q, V, W and S.

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43 Responses to “United Tires Of Aegean Elites, Slashes Their Free Baggage Allowance.”

  1. petzel Says:

    oy vey, oy vey

  2. Dogo Says:

    Do the double miles post if I fly usAirways and credit them to united?

  3. Dan Says:

    It’s not pretty.

    No, it’s for United flights only.

  4. Chaim Says:

    Do the United secure message matches still work?

    United Explorer for 55K miles+$50 credit and United Club to get the fee waived for the first year?

  5. Yoel Says:

    Nice pun!

  6. Amex Says:

    On EWR-TLV route where everyone is getting 1 free bag, will *A gold member recive additional 2 bags or 3 bags?

    My question is whenever I get a free bag lets say for having UA Chase card is this a EXTRA bag when the airline is anyway giving me a free bag?

  7. Dan Says:


    Would you believe me if I said it was unintentional 😀

    As I wrote in the post, 2 free bags for Star Golds in coach on that and on most international routes.

    You get 1 additional bag on top of general members. Having Star Gold and a United Explorer card will not give you 2 additional bags, they are not stackable.

  8. menachem_m Says:

    Why is this necessarily connected to Aegean?

  9. bpbp216 Says:

    -If you have a Presidential Plus card the spend requirement is waived. -this is only up to platinum status. To reach 1K status, you will still need to spend $10k.

  10. Dan Says:

    It’s not, that was just the easiest way to get Star Gold by far.
    And it lasts the longest.

    Well anyway PP cardholders can’t use FEQMs to get 1K, but you are correct.

  11. reuvenhunt Says:

    Darn it!!! I’ve been checking bags with my Turkish Air Gold for years!!

  12. Chris Says:

    What’s stopping me from moving my United account to my in-law’s house in Canada to get around the United spend requirement for 2014?

  13. Chris L Says:

    Wow – that is a real blow to Star Alliance Silver. No free bag anymore. What does Silver still get you on United – priority boarding? 9 out of 10 gate agents can’t get that right anyway.

  14. us Says:

    can you please link to somewhere that explains the meaning of all these A-B-C classes?

  15. Dan Says:

    Well, you’ll still get 1 extra bag.

    Nothing I suppose.
    Though if they really wanted they could audit addresses against where your flight originate. Though if you have a legit foreign address you can probably get away with it by changing your address in 2013.

    Proceed at your own risk!

    @Chris L:
    Yup, it’s now worse than the United Explorer card.

    Complicated topic, but basically they just denote different fare levels.

    An airline is only willing to sell a certain amount of seats in each fare level on any given flight. Sometimes when you search for 4 seats you can be bumped into a much more expensive ticket than if you had searched for 3 seats as the discount fare class may only have 3 seats left in it.

    An airline needs the right mix of passengers on every plane in order to turn a profit.

    I touched more on this phenomenon in this article: http://www.scribd.com/doc/105519402/Dan-Yated?secret_password=2ivtczr2lm7ohduqu5ce

    In this promotion they’re excluding the cheap fare classes.
    You can check United.com to see what fare class you are booked in or what fare class you are looking at. On the advanced options page you can also specify a fare class.

  16. Moish Says:

    double miles link: PLEASE EDIT: good for travel completed by 11/21/13

    (31 days from today)

    save time for 1000s of followers with good info so they can avoid looking into something not relevant for them.


  17. us Says:

    thanx. i cant seem to find the class when booking on expedia/orbitz

  18. Dan Says:

    I think it’s worded just fine.

    Look on ITA or United.com

  19. us Says:

    nice artical to all those people that are frum on other peoples cheshbon. i hope you understand the people that dont read yated 🙂

  20. Dan Says:

    I don’t read any of those publications anyway. They were just the one that agreed to publish it.

  21. Chaim Says:

    Does this affect access to united lounges or to other star alliance lounges if flying united in any way

  22. shmaiss Says:

    @Dan Thanks for this post! So, at this point, as I’m flying to Israel on the US Air deal, which is the best program to get credit for the trip? Is it still worth trying for Aergean Star? Should I just put it in United? If I put in Aergean, could I still combined those miles with existing United to book a future award? Thank you!

  23. Chaim Says:

    Does this have any affect regarding lounge access whether entering a united lounge while flying united themselves or other * alliance airlines using an aegean gold card? what about accesing other * alliance lounges with that card while flying united?

  24. yudig Says:

    if the tax portion is not included in the elite calculations for $ spent on united flights, won’t it essentially double the amount of miles necessary to be flown?

    If other airlines follow suit, it could essentially end elite status as we know it.

    It’s one thing to drop down to 1 extra piece, it’s another thing to just overhaul the system and make it that much harder.

    Will *A partner flights count toward the money spent on flights or just UA flights?

  25. gevaldigit.com Says:

    @yudig: @yudig: only dollars spent on united flights will count towards 2014 elite qualification. If you are only silver then its time to move to a different airline.

  26. mike Says:

    @Yudig- United followed delta on this one. It was their idea

  27. Anonymous Says:

    @gevaldigit.com- not correct all *A partner airlines and codshare issued on a UA 016 ticket stock will also qualify for PQD

  28. Dans the man Says:

    question for Dan: my 1st year is almost up on my united club card… I don’t want to pay the membership fee what can I do?

  29. yudig Says:


    whats a better airline than UA?


    delta skypesos were worthless anyhow..unless you live in a hub why fly them?

    @Anon what exactly is 016 stock?

  30. moshe Says:

    Does this have any affect regarding lounge access whether entering a united lounge while flying united themselves or other * alliance airlines using an aegean gold card? what about accesing other * alliance lounges with that card while flying united?

  31. Dan Says:


    @Dans the man:

    American still hasn’t introduced a spend requirement but they only give comp upgrades to 100K EXP flyers.

    016 means that the ticket is sold by United.

    No changes.
    Aegean elites will continue to have an advantage over United elite w/r/t lounge access.

  32. DL2 Says:

    Dan, Thx as always for all your help. As Im not a usual United flyer, and dont have a UA Chase card, I will be flying the EWR_TLV flight. Is there anything I can do now to get the extra bag free status?

  33. yudig Says:

    @dan, thanks

    UA with even silver status pretty much gets you free eco+..i really do like flying UA…last ticket i bought was multi city/airline last minute and was quite expensive

    it was ticketed by UA so perhaps that would count…anyhow im based out of usa and changed my address so we’ll see what happens…i can provide proof of foreign address via property tax bill and homeowner ins. so even if they ask it should be ok

    now just got to find cheap R/T flight for 5k miles ex-TLV to hit 50k on UA for 2013…

  34. Devorah Says:

    Does this effect gold status? If it doesnt how can I get a higher status to have the advantage of more luggage?

  35. Leeba Says:

    I’m totally ignorant about how to do this but could really use the extra free bags. Have you written this up anywhere yet about how to get this star alliance gold status or any other easy way to get free bags. I’m also flying on USair to tel aviv beginning of December iyh. Can I get a free bag for that?

  36. gevaldigit.com Says:

    In other words only if the ticket is issued by united. I clarified this with a MP rep@Anonymous:

  37. Capt Frederick Douche Says:

    Does US Airways also allow the first bag free with companion fliers? Is the companion part written anywhere (for UA and/or US)?

  38. mike Says:

    @yudig-glad you think delta skypesos are worthless. I happen to disagree. Lets see you get to bora bora business class without them. Austrailia is a wonderful redemption as well biz class. Its all about diversifying portfolios. I happen to be a legitimate flyer and earn status on 2 different airlines SITTING in the seats not via ccs etc.

  39. yudig Says:

    @mike: @mike:


    No hard feelings..read what’s been explained about delta points..every award system has good uses but overall delta isn’t one of the better ones

    I too, earned status on various airlines by sitting in the seat…cc signup points don’t earn status though you can earn certain amounts of eqm’s thru cc spending though there are restrictions I believe

  40. Dan Says:

    Of course American can also book you to Bora Bora for fewer miles and without the Delta fuel surcharges.

    Business to Australia is the one sweet spot with Delta as availability on Virgin is good.

  41. Dl2 Says:

    @dan. Can someone please explain how you can get the extra bag fee waived in united intl flights?

  42. shmaiss Says:

    Thanks for this post! So, at this point, as I’m flying to Israel on the US Air deal, which is the best program to get credit for the trip? Is it still worth trying for Aergean Star? Should I just put it in United? If I put in Aergean, could I still combined those miles with existing United to book a future award? Thank you!

  43. Fivel Says:

    Dan, here is my question I’m an American 7 million miler and now I am a united 1k as well after they matched my status and i flew another 100k with them this year so I have it until 2015 but I heard that by united after you fly million miles you could share your status with someone else is there anyway I could share my aa status ??


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