Everything happens for a reason, they say. At least that’s what I’m opting to believe after I lost my 7-year streak towards SAS EuroBonus Lifetime Gold. In this post, I share my recent experience and try to summarize my learnings, hopefully, it will help you stay on top of deadlines and avoid the same mistake I made.
Earlier this year, the SAS EuroBonus Mastercard changed how customers earn base points to qualify for elite status with SAS. I didn’t pay close attention to the amounts and missed my spending mark, losing my 7-year strike to qualify for Lifetime Gold. Yikes!
What is EuroBonus Lifetime Gold?
SAS EuroBonus Lifetime Gold is a special status awarded to EuroBonus members who have qualified for EuroBonus Gold status for 10 consecutive years. Lifetime Gold members enjoy all of the benefits of EuroBonus Gold status, including:
- Priority check-in and boarding
- Access to SAS Gold lounges and Star Alliance Gold lounges worldwide
- Extra baggage allowance
- Priority security screening
- Extra award points
- Complimentary upgrades
Lifetime Gold status is valid for life, even if the member no longer meets the qualifying criteria. This makes it a highly desirable status for frequent travelers with SAS and other Star Alliance airlines.
To be eligible for SAS EuroBonus Lifetime Gold, you must be a current EuroBonus Gold or Diamond member and have qualified for EuroBonus Gold status for 10 consecutive years. If you meet the eligibility criteria, you will automatically be awarded Lifetime Gold status. There is no need to apply.
How I Lost My Progress
As part of my EuroBonus point earning strategy (described here), I combined my SAS Amex Elite to get 20k status points every year, with a SAS EuroBonus Mastercard World Premium to get an extra 1000 base points every month.
By doing this, every qualification year, you get 20k + 1000*12 = 32k base points, just 8k status points away from qualifying for EuroBonus Gold. Then, by taking a couple of flights withing Europe every year, or one long-haul flight, you can meet the requirements and enjoy all the perks and benefits of Star Alliance Gold. This approach heavily simplified the qualification requirements for SAS Gold.
For many years, everything worked great, until 2023. Back in February 2023, the SAS EuroBonus Mastercard switched to a dynamic model based on spending instead of their fixed 1k status points/month: the more you spend, the more status points you’d get. However, to reach 1k points per month, you’d need to meet a minimum of 4000 extra points per month, which means spending roughly 35000-40000 SEK/NOK/DKK with the card. The changes became effective February 1st, but my qualification was from July to June, so I didn’t worry too much at that time.
In the meantime, I was going through many changes in my personal life, moving a few months back to Argentina, renting out my house, and changing to a new job. As a result, I wasn’t flying much, and I forgot to plan ahead and look at these details. I didn’t realize I wasn’t taking any long-haul flights on Star Alliance that would help me qualify for Gold, or compensate for the lack of spending on my Mastercard. I just sat back and relaxed because the strategy was working on autopilot, for so many years.
What I should have done was to move most of my expenses that were going to my SAS Amex Elite card, to my Mastercard, at least temporarily, given that I knew I wasn’t flying as much. The reason I have most expenses on my Amex Elite is primarily to meet the threshold for the 2-for-1 vouchers (2x150k). In addition, you also get more points per kronor spent, so it didn’t make sense to put them on the Mastercard.
Another mistake: I wasn’t checking my account regularly. Therefore, I didn’t notice the situation on time to fix it. Here’s a summary of my account and the status points I was getting from the SAS Mastercard.
SAS has a very strict “no exceptions rule” towards the qualification for Lifetime Gold. So, unlike other airlines, there’s no such thing as emailing their support team and asking for an exception. Here’s what they state in the FAQ section.
What happens when SAS joins SkyTeam?
It is still too early to say exactly how SAS EuroBonus Lifetime Gold will change if SAS joins SkyTeam and leaves Star Alliance. However, there are a few possible scenarios:
- SAS EuroBonus Lifetime Gold remains the same. SAS could decide to keep the Lifetime Gold status program the same, even after joining SkyTeam. This would mean that Lifetime Gold members would continue to enjoy all of the same benefits, including access to Star Alliance Gold lounges and priority boarding.
- SAS EuroBonus Lifetime Gold becomes a SkyTeam Elite Plus status. SAS could also decide to merge the Lifetime Gold status program with SkyTeam’s Elite Plus status program. This would give Lifetime Gold members access to SkyTeam Elite Plus benefits, such as priority check-in and boarding on all SkyTeam member airlines.
- SAS EuroBonus Lifetime Gold is phased out. It is also possible that SAS could decide to phase out the Lifetime Gold status program altogether. This would be a significant change for Lifetime Gold members, as they would lose all of the benefits of their status.
Which scenario is most likely will depend on a number of factors, including the terms of SAS’s agreement with SkyTeam and the feedback from Lifetime Gold members. SAS has stated that it will keep EuroBonus members updated on any changes to the program as they become known.
In the meantime, Lifetime Gold members can continue to enjoy all of the benefits of their status on SAS and Star Alliance member airlines.
My personal opinion is that SAS is likely to keep the Lifetime Gold status program, but that it may make some changes to the benefits offered. For example, SAS may decide to give Lifetime Gold members access to SkyTeam Elite Plus benefits, or it may offer them additional benefits, such as complimentary upgrades or extra award points.
Tips to avoid losing your EuroBonus Lifetime Gold Progress
- Understand the Requirements: Make sure you’re fully aware of the exact criteria required for EuroBonus Lifetime Gold status. Keep in mind that requirements can change, so always double-check.
- Regularly Check Your Status: Log into your SAS EuroBonus account regularly to check your points and status. Monitoring and staying on top of progress is key.
- Set Reminders: If you’re close to reaching the required status, but need a few more points, set reminders a few months in advance of the qualification period ending. This gives you ample time to plan an additional trip or activity to earn the required points.
- Don’t forget to fly! (with SAS and Partners). Prioritize flying with SAS and its Star Alliance partners and remember there will be a minimum number of flying you’ll have to do to meet the requirements.
- Take Advantage of Promotions: SAS occasionally offers promotions where you can earn bonus points. Stay informed by subscribing to their newsletters and following them on social media.
- Credit Points Correctly: Always ensure that your EuroBonus number is added to your bookings. If you forgot, keep your boarding passes and ticket receipts so you can claim missing points later.
- Regularly Update Personal Information: Ensure your contact details, especially your email, are always up-to-date in your EuroBonus profile. This will ensure you receive all communication, offers, and updates from SAS.
- Seek Feedback and Advice: Join online forums and groups where other frequent flyers share their experiences and tips. You can learn a lot from seasoned travelers.
- Stay Updated on Program Changes: Loyalty programs often undergo changes. Regularly review SAS communications or visit their official site to stay informed about any modifications to the EuroBonus program.
This took me by surprise, I have to admit. During a few hours I didn’t understand what was going on and I was upset that I wasn’t on top of the game. However, as days passed, I digested the situation and embraced change. Plus, several announcements were made that week, such as Delta Skymiles changes, and SAS joining SkyTeam was made, which was yet another sign for me that it’s time to move on and seek new adventures as a frequent traveler.
Until next time!