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Autumn is here. My favorite season. Pumpkin spice lattes, football, and my favorite network television shows. If you follow Jetsetter’s Homestead, then you know my writing volumes have been way down since I’m at a new firm after an acquisition. My travel patterns are still heavy although not quite the same. As a result, I’ve been watching my status activity even more closely than I would normally.
We are at the 3/4 mark for the year. If you are monitoring your own travel statuses, this is a good weekend to dig into your statements, look at your travel for the fourth quarter, and make some difficult decisions. It’s not too late to book a mileage run or alter your mattress habits, but you need to do it quickly if you find yourself behind.
Back in January I set my initial goals for 2015 status after thinking carefully about the benefits of each program. At that point, I reviewed my 2014 travel patterns but so much has changed that I’ve had to alter the plan a bit. I try to check my completed and pending travel every two to three months. You can find my February, April, and July reports to see how I’ve gotten to this point.
I will definitely requalify for my 16th year as an American Executive Platinum. What’s less certain is what will happen with Delta. I made Platinum with them on a challenge and I would like to requalify but it is looking less realistic at this point in the year. I potentially have two free weekends remaining for the year and its likely I’ll go somewhere on a long-haul.
So how am I doing?
American – I’m at 70 segments and 75,160 miles. That’s almost exactly 3/4 of the way to mileage requalification (100,000). It should be easy to make it over the hump with my travel that is already booked or planned. I also just picked up the Citi AAdvantage Executive card – while that won’t help me with EQMs this year, it will add 10,000 to my bottom line next year.
Delta – I’m at 42 segments and 31,868 miles. Spend has not been an issue for me with most of my Delta tickets coming on business travel. I’ve requalified for Silver but 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.
Delta Platinum is out of my reach at this point because I won’t pick up 58 more segments and I won’t fly a long haul in Delta in coach (and don’t have the miles/means to upgrade to business). 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 so I just have to figure out if I want to mess with connections the rest of the year to requalify on Delta.
Why am I still hedging? I’ve been waiting for AA and US fully integrate their operations so make sure I don’t need a backup. I still have nightmares about traveling during the United/Continental merger.
I currently hold Hyatt Diamond, Starwood Lifetime Platinum, 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 20 stays (23 nights) so I’m on target but need to focus on where I’m booking as I need 25 stays or 50 nights to requalify for Diamond.
Marriott – I have 34 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 18 nights (16 stays) this year an
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.
Right now I plan to requalify for Hyatt Diamond and make Marriott Gold status. Marriott is a newer focus for me over the past couple of years as I grew tired of Hilton’s devaluation. Their Diamond comp last year kept me around a bit longer but ultimately I am happier with Marriott and I need one of those two programs for all of the smaller towns I visit who are uncovered by Hyatt or Starwood.
I have still only had one Silvercar rental so far this year but that may change.
I switched my rental traffic from National to Hertz earlier this year when I switched firms. I’m so over rental car companies!
In the cruise world, I’ve had 14 nights on Norwegian Cruise Line so far this year with another 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 bumped status tiers on this recent Grand Mediterranean cruise. Status on cruise lines doesn’t mean much but carries small benefits like discounts, cocktail parties, and laundry/wifi perks that can be helpful. Next spring I have a 16 night Seabourn transatlantic booked so I’ll get back on track there soon enough!
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.
This weekend it’s time to do your own check up. Its not too late to switch up your hotel strategy, add a few extra segments to domestic travel, or plan a mileage run to be sure you get where you need to be!