Apologies for the lack of posts over the past few days. I had minor surgery on my elbow Wednesday, so I’m typing one-handed with my left hand (and I’m a righty). Someone with more free time might have gotten a bunch of posts written ahead of time. That would have been smart, but alas, that’s not what happened.
I’m away from home for the day which means I also can’t complete the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge from Randy Petersen until tomorrow when I have the big goofy plastic cover to protect my damaged wing. Look for more on that soon….
I’m now well into my second decade of
being interested in obsessing about miles and points. Some choices made early on yielded positive results with certain programs, but it’s hard to say how that will help me with travel over the next decade.
I recently crested 3 million miles with American Airlines, which is at least a bit odd to say since I just recently broke the million miles flown barrier. Ironically, I crossed 3MM on my way from DFW to my home airport of IAD. With a home base of IAD, I’ve had a very healthy diet of stopovers at DFW over the years.
Up until a few years ago, any miles earned through the American Airlines AAdvantage program counted towards lifetime status. Any. Flight, credit card, surveys, shopping mall purchases, transfers. And, since I was an avid American Airlines flier, I decided back in 2004-ish that my primary goal was to amass 2 million miles in the AAdvantage program as quickly as possible. Since this portion of the program was an unwritten benefit at the time, I didn’t want to risk missing out.
2 million miles would earn me Lifetime Platinum, mid-tier status with American Airlines. I already had a reasonable amount of flight miles and wasn’t focused on other lifetime statuses. As the dust has settled, the folks who earned lifetime top-tier status with Continental Airlines ended up with the biggest windfall, getting 1K status from United Airlies after the airlines merged.
I know there were times I was irrational when I made decisions to push points from my Starwood Preferred Guest account to American Airlines. But, hey, a goal’s a goal.
Having long passed 2 million, 3 million came a bit more slowly due in large part to the fact that American changed the rules a few years ago to count only flight miles. Not the end of the world, as the reward at 3 million miles is less aspirational than 2 million, and debatably less than it used to be as my father tells stories of getting crystal in the mail from American Airlines when colleagues of his crossed 1 million miles.
The current reward is 4 systemwide upgrades (SWUs), which posted to my account almost instantly after my last flight posted.
The SWUs are valid for a one-way upgrade on any AA-operated flight to the next class of service on almost any paid ticket. Since they don’t expire until 2016, I’m sure to get some good value out go them.
As you can see by the totals in the first graphic, I amassed an additional half million miles before I hit he 3MM flight mile tier. And, it’s taken 6 heavy years of flying to get me to 1 million miles flown. Given that, it’s going to be quite a while before I have another million paid miles on American Airlines.
With less than 400,000 lifetime miles on United Airlines and a declining product there, the only other lifetime status in my future will be with hotels.
Well, I am almost 12 years into lifetime status with my lovely wife, Michelle. Maybe I’ll just work on that!
Are you pursuing lifetime status with an airline or hotel? How much further of you have to go?