Ethiopian Airlines ShebaMiles Changes Qualification Requirements Without Advance Notice

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Ethiopian Airlines is an airline based in the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, and is a member of Star Alliance.

A LoyaltyLobby reader sent us an email about a sudden change in the qualification requirements for ShebaMiles elite status (Star Alliance Gold).

You can access Ethiopian Airlines here.

Here’s the email from the reader:

I would like to inform you of major changes to ShebaMiles (i.e., qualification segments), which were not communicated beforehand and were done now in July, in the middle of the qualification period.

I’m a long-term *A Gold member with Asiana because I liked their 2-year qualification period. Since they are soon merging with the Korean (SkyTeam), I have decided to change FFP and credit my 2021 flights to Ethiopian’s ShebaMiles. This was the safest choice because I’m limited to traveling intra-European this year, on short hops (Sheba required 40 *A flight segments for Gold status). In only 3 months, I have already credited more than 20 flights to Sheba.

For the last two flights last week, I received only status miles, no qualifying segments. While checking their webpage and sending email to ShebaMiles, it turned out, that from now on, only international ET flights count towards qualifying segments (email copy):

I think this change in the middle of the qualification period is terrible which can totally ruin Gold status for 2022. And I don’t know if there is much we can do. But maybe other readers would like to know this as well before opting for the ET program.


This is precisely the problem with secondary and tertiary Star alliance, SkyTeam, and Oneworld member airlines. They can change rules and award charts without any advance notice to members.

Would it have hurt ShebaMiles if they had instituted this change from the following membership year rather than pushing the change through midyear?

It is very unfortunate for the reader and perhaps many others who had counted to qualify for the Star Alliance Gold with Ethiopian by flying 40 segments.