Meet Me Halfway… The Six Month Status Checkup

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How can it be July 4th weekend already?  I feel like I was just ringing in the new year.  If you follow Jetsetter’s Homestead, then you know this has been a whirlwind year for me – I’m at a new firm after an acquisition which means my travel patterns have been altered a bit as I adapt to switches to their preferred providers.  I’m still traveling as much as ever though so a mid-year status checkup is a good idea.

What you also need to do this weekend is take a look at your current airline and hotel program use and make appropriate adjustments to your earning to be sure you are maximizing status opportunities.  There are still six months in the year which allows for plenty of time to adjust if you are over or under accruing in any programs.

I started the year by outlining my initial goals for 2015 status after reviewing my 2014 travel patterns.  I try to check my completed and pending travel every two months.  You can find my February checkup and my April checkup reports to see how I’ve gotten to this point.

Airlines

I am solidly in the home stretch to requalify for my 16th year as an American Executive Platinum.  At this point, requalifying is an addiction.  I don’t really like American much right now but they ARE trying.  I like the addition of the  new 787 Dreamliner and as a fan girl, I went out of my way to make at least a part of the inaugural flight day.  But I’m also diversifying this year by flying Delta and made Platinum with them on a challenge and find it to be valuable enough that I’m willing to hustle to maintain it.

So how am I doing?

American – I’m at 60 segments and 65,455 miles.  That’s the sweet spot for the halfway mark if I were to requalify on segments (120) and almost 2/3rds of the way to mileage requalification (100,000).  It should be easy to make it over the hump.  I have had Lifetime Platinum status (given at 2,000,000) for a decade so at this point, it’s either push for Executive Platinum or stop.

Delta – I’m at 36 segments and 27,144 miles.  Spend has not been an issue for me with most of my Delta tickets coming on business travel.   I’ve requalified for Silver and  I need 60 segments/50,000 miles for Gold or 100 segments/75,000 miles for Platinum. 

United – I’ve completed ZERO segments on United this year but have earned a nice chunk of credit card miles which I’ll bank for future Lufthansa or Singapore flights.  I quit United after years of love/hate with the program.  At one point, I maintained 1K (their top-tier status) for several years but dropped that and just tried to maintain minimal status with my US Airways and other Star Alliance traffic. 

I haven’t decided if I can direct enough travel to Delta to gain Platinum back but Gold is definitely within my reach.  I still have six American systemwides left so an international trip for Thanksgiving seems like a no-brainer (especially as I’m likely headed to Asia) to get the bulk of my miles there and then Delta for business the rest of the year.

Why am I hedging?  That’s a topic for a later day, but in short I’m nervous about service levels and reliability until AA and US fully integrate their operations.

Hotels

I currently hold Hyatt Diamond, Starwood Platinum (with Lifetime Gold), Hilton Diamond, and Marriott Gold.

Hilton – I have 4 stays (6 nights) so I’ve made Silver.  I have no further plans for Hilton and hope to burn off some of my points at Conrad properties in the coming year.

Hyatt – I have 14 stays (15 nights) so I’m a bit ahead of the curve.  I need 25 stays or 50 nights to requalify for Diamond and have at least three more stays booked in the next month. 

Marriott – I have 21 nights this year and need 50 to requalify for Gold.  I am throwing the bulk of my weekly travel to Marriott now so that should be no issue.  Any additional nights that I have over 50 if I don’t make Platinum (75 nights) will count towards next year’s requalification so I am hoping to push for Platinum next year.

Starwood – I’m at 15 nights (14 stays) this year.  I’m 3 nights away from lifetime Platinum status after which I never have to worry about counting stays/nights again.  Right now, I plan to hit lifetime during OR before my trip to Barcelona in August as I have 2 nights planned there and know that I will complete at least 1 more night prior to that. 

Hotels are always a struggle for me because of my travel patterns and the number of very short (0-1 night) trips I take for work as well as all the central billed rooms I have for volunteer activities (where I can use my perks but earn no stay credits).  I am an advocate of diversifying hotel stays because its handy to have points across several programs, especially when vacationing in places where some brands don’t have strong representation.

Other

Now that I’m commuting 45 miles to an office in Dallas and/or working from home, I spend a lot of time in my car.  I am now Ubering to go out to dinner though and use it for airport transportation a lot.

I have had one Silvercar rental so far this year but now that they have expanded to Chicago, I can see that growing.  In some markets (*cough* San Francisco) they are less expensive than corporate rates at the majors at times.

I’m already at 19 rentals with National Car Rental so I will requalified for Executive status (12 rentals) and I’m within striking distance of Executive Elite (25 rentals).  But my new firm uses Hertz and Avis as preferred providers and I got comped to Gold Plus Rewards President’s Circle.   I have 7 rentals for the year so far with Hertz – so far, I’m not impressed.

In the cruise world, I knocked out 2 nights on Norwegian in January on a “cruise to nowhere” out of New York City and have another 12 nights booked for a “grand Mediterranean” cruise later this summer plus 7 nights for a post-Christmas cruise that spans New Years.  That will mark 21 nights on Norwegian for me this year (and 0 on my beloved Seabourn!) and I’ll bump into the next status tier during the Mediterranean sailing.  Status on cruise lines doesn’t mean much but carries small benefits like discounts, cocktail parties, and laundry/wifi perks that can be helpful.

Summary

You have to stay on top of elite status milestones to be sure you are maximizing your travel patterns for your status/points goals.  A solid plan means having s strategy and a goal in mind for each program you frequent.

You know what you need to do this weekend… a checkup and some fine tuning to be sure you are on target to make your status goals for 2015!

About Jennifer Moody

Jennifer is a management consultant and avid volunteer. Her career and volunteer duty travels have helped her log top-tier airline and hotel status annually for the last eighteen years. In addition, she embraces the opportunity to maximize her vacation time by planning extracurricular trips that have taken her to over 60 countries and 47.5 US states. Although she averages 200 days a year on the road, she loves to return to “the homestead” in her native Fort Worth, Texas where she enjoys cooking, gardening, sewing, needlepoint, wine, and cocktail mixology.

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