My 2019 Mid-Year Airline Status Check

Over the past few years, airline status has become less valuable.  For many business travelers (myself included) the race for airline status isn’t the primary goal any longer.  There’s less motivation to go out of your way to fly a specific airline each time.  Travel schedules have become more important in many cases than the benefits you receive.

2019 has been an intense year of travel for me.  Most weeks have been highly choreographed, racing from one thing to another.  One set of trips had me packing two suitcases prior to leaving due to the nature of my schedule.  I was arriving home from a family vacation on the train at 10am with an hour drive to my house.  That left enough time to buy groceries for my wife and kids and head to the airport to catch at 4pm flight for work.  With a schedule like that, my flight choices were sometimes very limited.  With an eye to my 2019 airline status goals, here’s a look at where I stand mid-year:

United Airlines

I have a flight this coming week which should finish off 1K status for the year.  I certainly didn’t plan on having enough PQMs to re-qualify in July but there it is.

United Airlines increased the amount of spending required to earn their top-tier 1K elite status in 2019 and beyond to $15,000 from $12,000.  We discussed those changes with Zach Honig from The Points Guy on my podcast after the changes.  As you can see from the above numbers, I’ve had no problem hitting the new threshold.

American Airlines

I had 6 total American flights last year, so I’m right on pace for 2019.  Years ago I locked up lifetime Platinum status with American Airlines and haven’t had much motivation to pursue Executive Platinum.  I enjoyed that status for 10 years. However, AA has slowly reduced the service out of my home airport of Washington-Dulles (IAD).  Without a reliable northern Midwest connection point, it’s hard to fly them for my current travel patterns without costing me time away from my family.

I am considering the challenge I qualified for as part of the new World of Hyatt partnership.  I might do that this fall if my travel patterns match up.

Delta Air Lines

This is new territory for me.  I don’t recall ever qualifying for Delta status from flying.  At the midyear point, I have 7 flights on Delta.  There’s an outside chance I’d end up qualifying for Silver status with Delta based on my flying.  Equally as odd as me having the qualifications for Delta status is the fact that I wouldn’t need it because of something else I added in my travel world.  More on that in a future post…..

Delta has started pricing certain connecting flights cheaper in first class than United does in coach.  Their timing on certain routes also gets me home an hour or two earlier to the family.  Hard to say not to that combination.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest is one of the domestic airlines I enjoy flying.  The seats aren’t as comfortable as a domestic first class flight, but everything else is better, IMO.  The employees are happy, the Wi-Fi works.  Alas, their route network out of Dulles Airport is about as bad as American’s.  I’ll continue to use Southwest when I need to connect trips West of the Mississippi, where they have a fabulous network.

The Final Two Pennies

My United flights really shouldn’t be surprising for anyone paying attention.  They have the most nonstop routes out of IAD of any airline.  That means flying United usually gets me home to my family quicker.  The Delta flight times and prices have surprised me a bit.  But, I’m not looking a gift horse in the mouth.

I still owe you guys a post on my United debacle from two weeks ago.  It’s almost done.

What are you doing for airline status in 2019?

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5 Comments

  1. “Equally as odd as me having the qualifications for Delta status is the fact that I wouldn’t need it because of something else I added in my travel world. More on that in a future post…..”

    I’m going to guess: Delta Private Jets. 🙂

  2. I am on track for another year of Diamond status with Delta. If I stayed with United I would be close to 3 million miles now. 1K (for life) and 6 international upgrades every year no matter how much you fly. I’m starting to wonder if I made the right decision to switch after 2 million miles on United. A difficult decision: fly the better airline (Delta) or the better program (United).

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