This was one of my busier years in the air. I keep track of my flights using a program called Flight Memory. I’m pretty sure I got the majority of my flight but I might have missed one or two. Some year-end factoids:
150,000 miles flown, or just a total of 6 times around the Earth. That amounted to a total of 16 days in the air, or just shy of 5% of the year on airplanes. 123 planes in total. No surprise my flight to Tokyo was the longest flight of the year. Usually, my flights between DC and NYC are the shortest, but apparently DFW to Austin is a bit shorter.
This year was mostly business travel. So, not a lot in the way of new destinations. For the US, MSP (Minneapolis-St Paul), SAT (San Antonio), AUS (Austin), BIL (Billings, emergency landing), and TPA (Tampa) were all first-time flights for me. Some of these are pretty big cities, just places I never ended up before.
Internationally was only a handful of flights with NRT (Tokyo), YYZ (Toronto), and LHR (London-Heathrow) as new destinations. I’ve been to London, but always flew into Gatwick. And, oddly, even though Toronto is a short flight from where I live, this was our first trip.
This is the only year in quite some time where the majority of my miles were not on American. Just about 2 years ago, I had a couple of close friends convince me that I needed to switch to United. Turns out I picked exactly the wrong time, as things went downhill over the last two years, sometimes at a steep pace. Barring some miraculous change of events, next year’s numbers should reflect the opposite of this year’s accrual. Another interesting fact is that I managed to re-qualify for both United 1K and American’s Executive Platinum levels this year. You’ll note from the totals above that I didn’t fly 100,000 miles on either airline this year, and I didn’t receive miles for the JAL flights (a oneworld partner with American).
By taking advantage of double EQM offers, flying on the MegaDOs, and taking advantage of fares that earn extra EQMs I was able to achieve over 200,000 EQMs without any mileage runs or buying EQMs. There are plenty of strategies to employ if status is your goal.
It’s not too late to top off status, even though it may be too late to book a flight and complete it before the end of the year. If you’re a United flier, you can still buy PQMs at the end of the year. The easiest way to do so is to buy a fully refundable fare on United.com, then purchase the extra PQMs using Award Accelerator. Once you’ve purchased the PQMs you can refund the fare. It’s a bit pricey (usually better than $.13 a point), but if you’re close to a higher level it can be totally worth it. American doesn’t offer something like this, though they are offering double EQMs on all flights through the end of the year.
And, finally, a fun glimpse of the future. Despite having only 4 flights on the 787 this year, it was the plane I flew the second-longest distance on this year. I expect the 787 to make up a large portion of my flights for many years to come.
I still have a few hotel stays left this year, so I’ll summarize hotel stays for the year and my outlook for next year on status (including lifetime status).