Fly From LaGuardia To Seattle In First Class For $762, Get Star Alliance Gold For Life


United has a great first class fare from LaGuardia to Seattle.  You need to book 3 weeks in advance and seats aren’t available on all dates.  You can stay in Seattle for a while or catch a flight right back, as shown below:




Mileage Running:

Why would you want to catch a flight right back?

It’s called a mileage run, though that’s a dying art as the airlines have made getting elite status on the cheap progressively harder.

I’ve had my fun with mileage runs. In 2003 I took AAdvantage of American’s AVNYC promotion to fly twice between NYC and Florida or California on $69 tickets for a free systemwide ticket.  I used the systemwide ticket to fly from Sao Paulo-Dallas-JFK-Tokyo-Los Angeles-Miami-Sao Paulo.

In 2006 I spent 36 hours flying on 14 short-hops earning elite status and over 10,000 miles for each leg for less than $200.

United now requires US residents to fly 50,000 miles and spend at least $5,000 on United flights (if you spend $25,000 annually on the United Explorer card then you don’t have to spend $5,000 on flights) to earn Star Alliance Gold status for just 1 year.

And United blocks their own elites from using United Clubs when flying domestically.

Lazy? Take the Greek route to status:

Aegean, a Greek airline, is one of the 27 airlines that make up the Star Alliance.  If you signup for an Aegean account here you will get 1,000 redeemable and elite qualifying miles for free.

Aegean only requires 19,000 elite qualifying miles to get Star Alliance Gold status.

Technically you have 1 year from when you signup to the program to get at least 3,000 more flight miles to reach Silver status at 4,000 total miles.  You then have 1 year from when you earn Blue/Silver status to get up to 20,000 total miles and earn Gold status.

Once you have the Gold status it’s yours to keep.  You just need to credit a single Star Alliance flight to your Aegean account once every every 36 months to extend your Star Alliance Gold status for another 36 months.

The terms of the program can change, but lots of folks have had Aegean Gold since 2010 and continue to enjoy the benefits by just crediting 1 United flight to the account every 36 months.

Mileage Calculation:
Aegean uses a complicated table where mileage earned is based on the fare class.

Most United coach tickets only earn half the flown miles. However United First Class tickets in F or A class earn triple the miles flown.

In the LGA-SEA flight example above you’ll notice that I selected flights that connect in Houston.  By connecting there the total flight miles are 3,290 each way or 6,580 round-trip.  When you credit that flight to your Aegean account (just enter your Aegean number on or give it to an airport agent) you’ll earn triple miles because the ticket is a first class ticket in A class, so you’ll have 19,740 miles.  Add that to the 1,000 miles you get at signup and you’ll have Star Alliance Gold status after the single round-trip flight!

Plus you’ll have 20,740 miles that you can use for Star Alliance award flights.

Star Alliance Gold Benefits:

-You and a companion can access over 1,000 Star Alliance lounges when departing from the airport on any Star Alliance airline.  When you have Star Alliance Gold status from United you can’t access any of their lounges when traveling domestically, but when you have Star Alliance Gold status from a foreign carrier like Aegean you can access United lounges when flying domestically.

And yes, with Star Alliance Gold status you’ll have access to the Dan lounge in Tel Aviv even if you’re flying United coach.

-You get at least 1 additional free bag over the baggage allowance for non-elites.  On Air Canada and United that even extends to each of your travel companions.  On United in coach a 2nd bag to Israel for example would be free, a value of $200 round-trip per person. On United in business or first class you and your companions will get 3 free 70 pound bags. On Air Canada in any class you and your companions will get 3 free bags, a value of $650 round-trip per person.

-Star Alliance Gold status also gets you priority baggage handling, priority checkin, priority security, priority boarding, priority waitlisting, etc.

-When flying on United having Star Alliance Gold status will allow you to make the free same-day confirmed changes to your flight when done in the online check-in process.

-Aegean miles aren’t worth as much as United miles, so once you get the status you want you will want to switch back to earning miles from United. You can check your bags with your Aegean Gold card and then switch your number to accumulate United miles for the flight.
-You won’t get upgrades on United like you would if you earned elite status in their program.
-You won’t get bonus miles on United like you would if you earned elite status in their programs.
-You won’t get Economy Plus seating like you would if you you earned elite status in their own program, though some gate agents and an occasional phone agent may move you there for free.
-You won’t get expanded elite award availability on United like you would if you earned elite status in their own program, however anyone who has a United Explorer card gets expanded coach saver award seats and last seat coach, business, and first class standard awards.  And United requires at least Platinum status (75K miles/year) to get expanded business/first class saver awards.  Besides once there is coach saver award space you can always do a Plan B award to sit in the front of the bus.

HT: EJB, via DDF, for finding the excellent LGA-SEA first class airfare.

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53 Comments On "Fly From LaGuardia To Seattle In First Class For $762, Get Star Alliance Gold For Life"

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Also available SEA-IAH-LGA-IAH-SEA starting at $763. So from LA that’s 7.5k avios to/from SEA and then $762 for *G, still not too bad.


Yup, all domestic fares are valid in either direction.
Just figured I have more of a readership base in NYC than in SEA, but good point about the Avios for a positioning flight.


Nice write up, did not read most of it, too complicated I would rather use the brainpower to learn some gemara. No offence but these days I need to choose what to focus my time on.


Hey dan
I’m an avid follower from Seattle and considering doing this when I come back from my-sea after sukkos
I am unsure if this is a good deal if I fly 3-4 times a year and get free bags anyway because of the airline credit cards (united)
What do you think?


@Yossi Stop wasting your time posting comments. You should be learning Gemara!


When booking it says Fare Class: United First (A)

But looking at the the Fare Basis Code it starts with L (LAA21AZN).

Will Aegean honor this for triple miles?


Thanks for everything! I want to know I did not understand, do you do this to get United gold or Aegean. I know were trying to get Star Alliance but which one is gold for life?


@Yossi: Assuming you’re not gonna waist your time in reading the comments, but someone like you should really stop following DD, it’s pure Bitul Torah, if I would be in your situation I would be embarrassed of myself to leave such a comment, back to the Gemara…


Nice write up explaining the star gold. This fare has been around for over a month. United and others have lowered the domestic first class fares. Also works from PHL and some EWR flighs to many destinations in the west. LAS, LAX SEA, SFO and more.


with star alliance gold, will that waive United change fees on award tickets?

zalmen leib teitelbaum

dan, if im traveling with united and i have gold status with aegen and i want to have accses to the lounge and earn miles on united. in order to getin to lounge do i have to add the aegen number to the reservation? AND IF YES WHEN DO I HAVE TO SWICH IT?

There is always one

@Yossi:No offense but when you are done with Gemara, please learn how to spell offense.


if i have aegen gold status and i want to acces the lounbe do i have to add this on my ticket?if yes whats if i want in the mean time earn miles on united when do i have to swich it? by the gate agent?it seams to be a headach to fo this,

mr dan please explaian


Why was my post deleted? I wrote that this fare was available from other cities as well ie; PHL, EWR, LGA to LAS, LAX SEA and more. United Lowered its prices on first class travel within USA a little while ago, probably because not many were paying the high fares.


And the fare has been around for over a month now.



Most other fares at that price either aren’t A the entire way or aren’t the length that will get you >19k miles in one shot.


Where is this deal posted?
On their website?


I am a biit new to this so thanks for the post. SOunds too simple 🙂
I have a $600 voucher from united. If i purchase this flight using the voucher, will i still get the 6590*3 miles?


Yes. See DDF where someone posted they used vouchers to make it free.


@Ricky: Comments in the forums made sound like Yes.


you dont need to do anything beforehand for lounge access, i have been going in to the united clubs tens of times, by just showing my aegean gold card and my united boarding pass. occasionly the agent takes a minute or two until she figures out how it works…..


the real qustion is if aegean will make changes to there rules of gold status and then you got screwd on your money and time so i dont see a guarntee on gold forever


Thanks dan,
How do I know what sort of plane this will be on? Ie will it be lie flat seats?


The fare code says L not A
How would I know that it qualifies for triple miles?


Do you value the lounge access?
Extra free bags when flying internationally?

The booking class is what Aegean says it awards miles for, in this case that’s A regardless of the fare basis.

Aegean Gold.


@zalmen leib teitelbaum:
No, just show your card for lounge access.

It’s called comment moderation, nothing was deleted, it just doesn’t get published until I manually approve it, otherwise you would see thousands of spam comments.

None of those other cities is far enough to earn Gold in one trip.

Who cares how long the fare has been around? What is your point?

Search on or use ITA for help.


It’s been the same since they joined the alliance in 2010.
But I don’t think anyone can possibly ansert that question.

737 and no.

The fare basis seems to be L but it books into A which is what Aegean should see.

ari F

If I fly about 10 times a year back and forth from Chicago to NY and fly almost only on Southwest and AA thru Avios, is this mileage run worth it for me?
I do plan on visiting Israel this year, but prob not going to fly with United. Also, I’m only in early 20s does it make sense to do it because maybe down the road I will want it?


I have an upcoming flight to tlv on US Airways, can those miles be credited to Aegean and count towards gold status.


@There is always one:
Do not want to get involved here but they are both correct ways of spelling, one is the american version and one is the british version


Dan: I have upcoming trip to asia with SQ economy. If I sign up for aegean and put aegean number on this trip instead of krisflyer, will I get credit for aegean miles (which should be enough to reach 19k)? TIA!


@ari F:
Hard to say…

Depends on you booking class and routing.


@Dan what about alaska airlines miles do they triple?


They are not partners.


I am flying from NYC to MSY , what is the best way to take advantage of this run like stopping in Seattle……….


I have a miles and more account with Lufthansa. Will booking this flight from that account get me star alliance gold or does this have to be via Aegean?


do not undertand your post. Can you please explain in a bit more detail how to get gold for life on the united first class fare to Seattle? The subject line seemed to indicate that both were linked. I am presntly gold on united but will not have flowon 50k miles by year-end to maintain it. I do have over 25k on united.



You need to credit to Aegean.

Reread the post?


Does the extra bag benefit (for Star Alliance Gold via Aegean) apply if I am flying an award ticket using United miles on United? If yes, how/when do I let United know I am Star Alliance Gold (via Aegean)…as I will be logging in to my United account and redeeming United miles for a ticket, they likely will not know initially that I am Star Alliance Gold (I think)…or do all partners somehow automatically know about Alliance Gold status? My apologies if my question is not delivered so as to be clearly understood…I can elaborate more with my specifics if it would help. Cheers:-)

David Sternlight

Since you spent time at Chabad in L. A. How about more focus on deals (air, etc) from LAX for the many Anash here?


I booked LGA-SEA 9/9 with same-day return. Anyone joining me?



Will United/Aegean allow me to credit miles earned from a United flight to an Aegean account that is not in my name? I’m flying with my husband and would love to credit both of our mileage to one Aegean account (mine) in order to reach Gold status faster. My United reservation allowed me to put the same Aegean account number in for both passengers – I’m wondering if this will work or if Aegean will only credit mileage for one traveler.


Gemara Kup

This is more complicated then Nagaim!


Yes, you’ll just show your Aegean Gold card at checkin and at the lounge for the benefits.

@David Sternlight:
It’s more about catering to where my traffic comes from than anything else…

Have fun!


@Gemara Kup:
Lol, it’s really not too bad.


Hi Dan,
Do I need to fly in First/Business class for future flights to have access to the Star Alliance lounges? Thanks!




Anything like this form ORD?


How do you pick up the 19,000 Elite points?
Only from flying? Is there a credit card I can sign up for?


i have 20,000 miles on turkish airlines miles program will it help if i switch to aegean?


Just to update folks – I flew this on Tuesday, and miles have all posted to Aegean at 300%.




Could some of you share how long does it take Aegean to send a physical card to a US address?

David R

Considering the recent Aegean news, can this post be considered obsolete now?


Aegean is changing their policy Nov 24. if you apply now, will the old rules apply?


Can someone please inform me what has changed on the Aegean policy that would make this obsolete?