Okay, so it’s not quite mid-year anymore. Let’s call this the mid-August review. I started out the year with two plans:
1. I would fly less.
I haven’t done a good job with either of those two goals. To recap, I ended last year as both a 1K and EXP (top-tier status on United and American Airlines, respectively). With roughly 150,000 miles flown last year, I was expecting to trim that number a bit to somewhere between 100,000 and 125,000.
As it stands today, I’m at 82,709 miles flown for the year. That’s a bit over 3 times around the earth.
Probably one of the more humorous stats above is 9 1/2 days on airplanes. Since the vast majority of this is business travel, that kinda sucks. By this point in the year, my longest flight is usually somewhere overseas. Don’t get me wrong, the flight to SFO was for a friend’s wedding, so one of the few fun trips this year. I’m pretty sure DFW-Austin was my shortest flight last year as well, and I wouldn’t expect anything shorter the rest of the year.
A quick look at the map shows a fairly benign group of dots on the map. I did pick up 3 new domestic airports this year, SMF (Sacramento), BUR (Burbank-Bob Hope), and MCI (Kansas City). When you add in our trip to Panama(I really need to finish that trip report), that makes 88 unique airports around the world. I’m not sure what will be the 100th airport I travel to but I am looking forward to notching that one soon. I’ve got at least two new airports in Europe that I’ll hit later this year so I would expect to hit the century mark sometime in 2014, where I also expect to cross 1 million miles flown since I started tracking. I’ve got about 900,000 listed from my records which means I’m likely at roughly 1 million now with flights I didn’t record.
At this point of the year I had expected to be all but done with my Executive Platinum status on American Airlines for the year, but that’s not the case:
I’m actually just over 50,000 EQMs with American if you count the Alaska Air flights I credited there plus one flight where I received original routing credit after getting moved over to United.
I’ll still make EXP this year since it’s my favorite status. But, with so much work travel it became more important to take some direct flights home to make sure I was optimizing time with the family. So, my United EQM total has ballooned to just shy of 30K. The interesting thing is that I’ve got the NordicDO coming up this year, a travel enthusiast trip from Oslo to Copenhagen where I’ll chalk up a bunch of United miles. And, if I free up my schedule to participate in StarMegaDO5, it will probably make sense for me to keep 1K status for another year because I’ll be likely pushing 90,000 EQMs with other travel.
As an aside, if you haven’t booked a ticket for StarMegaDO5, the ultimate travel junkie trip, there are a handful of seats left. You’ve got awesome airport activities with Air Canada in Toronto, a military base and airplane boneyard in Tucson and a BBQ in a hangar in SFO.
I always get this general sense that my upgrade percentage on United kinda blows. I was a little surprised by the actual tally until I read the tea leaves a bit more.
I had 21 flights on United so far this year, all on planes with a first-class cabin (even the regional jets). I missed 8 upgrades, for a base percentage of 62%. That’s a big bump from last year’s number that was below 50%.
But, it’s a bit misleading. I used upgrade instruments and in a few cases bought M class fares that were auto-upgrades to F for me. I’m sure I would have cleared some, but not all of those. Giving United the benefit of the doubt (not something I often do), I did have 3 flights that I made either a same-day change or a change in the days leading up to flying. United’s upgrade system heavily penalizes this type of behavior because all elites get free upgrades, so a lot of those seats go to lower elites in the days and hours leading up to a flight. All in all, I guess my upgrade is probably around 60% which is still pretty horrible when you consider I was a perfect 48 for 48 on American.
Lastly, just some odds and ends of my 2013 so far:
I’m going to hold off discussing status for next year because of the complications with the American/US Airways merger. I want a bit more information on that before I weigh in on how I intend to approach 2014.
It’s been one of my least fun year traveling so far, with lots of last-minute craziness, back-to-back trips, and overall lack of sleep. It still beats a desk job, but I wouldn’t mind sleeping for 3 weeks!