Since we’re 8 months into the year, I thought it would be a good time to look back and see where I stand with my status this year.
In 2011, I earned Platinum Status with US Airways and decided to Buy Up to Chairman Status. For me, it was a great decision because I got system wide upgrades to use on some trips to Europe and what turns out to be the best benefit for me this year, the ability to change frequent flyer tickets without any penalty (you can’t change after you start travel no matter what status you have.)
In 2012, while I’ve flown a lot, and I do mean a lot. I haven’t earned as many “butt in seat” miles as you would think (or as I would have hoped). I’ve twice taken advantage of the US Airways 100% bonus on buying miles and used those purchased miles to ensure first class seats on trips to Asia. So for those two trips, I missed out on earning around 25k PQMs each. That would have put me at 100k miles already. So, right now, I sit at 65k PQMs earned on US Airways this year. While I do have at least one trip to Europe and at least one more trip to Asia this year for which will earn PQMs it will be tight and I may have to Buy Up again.
As of today, I’ve earned a total of 454,745 miles on US Airways this year through flights, mile purchases (that accounts for 200,000), purchases made on the Dividend Miles store and debit card earn. Ironically, I’ve redeemed 505,000 miles this year (which includes first class tickets for my December vacation).
In 2011, I earned Platinum Status with Starwood and missed 100 nights by just one. I earned Gold with Marriott and got a status match with IHG to Platinum Status.
I’ve done much better with hotels this year. In 2012, I’ve already hit 100 nights with Starwood and still counting. I’d love to say I’m going to hit 150 this year with Starwood, but I think I’ll more likely hit 125. I’ve earned 192,693 points with SPG this year and will redeem almost all or all of them!
I’ve hit 45 nights with Marriott and I’m really trying to find 5 more paid nights to spend at Marriott’s. Not sure if it will happen. To date, I’ve earned 69,898 points with Marriott and a one-night stay from Hong Kong Sky City Marriott hasn’t posted yet (I’ve actually been on the phone with customer service every other day trying to get it posted). Once that posts, I will have stayed enough nights during the most recent MegaBonus to earn an additional 20k points.
After one miserable stay at a Holiday Inn in Australia, I gave up on IHG (I can’t afford the Intercontinental outside of Bangkok typically) so I earned a mere 149 points with IHG in 2012 and needless to say, won’t be renewing my status with them.
Unearned hotel status – through special offers, I was able to get Platinum Status with Hyatt and Accor this year. I joined MilePoint Premium and got Hyatt Platinum status through Feb 2014 (which will be great as I have a wedding at a Hyatt) and got Accor Platinum status through a credit card offer. I am thrilled about the Accor status because I have stays at a Pullman in London next month and several nights at Sofitel Sukhumvit in Bangkok in December.
I’ve had a pretty good earnings this year. Another major source of points comes from credit card spend on my Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and Amex Card. On my Chase card, I’ve earned 151,189 points this year and through Amex I’ve earned almost 30,000 points. Since the majority of my travel is international, I’ve been using my Chase card to avoid international transaction fees.
- US Airways – 454,745
- Starwood – 192,693
- Marriott – 69,898 (an additional 20k points for the Summer MegaBonus should post soon)
- InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG) – 491
- Chase Sapphire Preferred – 151,189
- Amex Gold Card – 30,000
Total Earned as of 8/10/12: 899,016 ( w/the 20k Marriott MegaBonus points it will be 919,016)
I am guessing that by year-end, I’ll have added (and redeemed) just over 1,000,000 miles. My earning is pretty cyclical – I usually spend what I earn each year and I’m happy with that pattern. I earn the miles so that I can enjoy them.
So how’s your year going? Have you reached your goals?
Fun to read another traveler’s mid-year summary! Impressive hotel nights… I’m jealous.
@Darren, I was really lucky with awesome hotels this year, for the most part. Two St Regis’ and lots of Le Meridiens. Not a bad life!
I wish I had the time to burn like that…so much easier to earn!
@Matt- I wish I had more time to burn! My travel is all work related (except for my annual vacation.) So it’s hard earned points sometimes.
Have you had much experience with the Starwood Ambassador program yet? I’m somewhat intrigued, although the logistics of dedicating enough nights to SPG to get there just don’t quite add up. I’ll likely settle for plat50 and hilton diamond on the hotel side, although hilton’s continued stealth devaluations keep making that less attractive. As someone whose stay pattern is dominated by 1-night stays, I just don’t see a good alternative secondary program.
@Matt – I actually haven’t had much experience yet with the Ambassador program. I, hopefully, will be able to take advantage of it in October when I have some more Starwood stays. ( I can’t find a reasonable SPG hotel in London in September!) I gave up on Hilton years ago. I keep Marriott as my secondary because Gold and even Silver status has a lot of benefits in Asia and Australia even though it’s worthless in the US.
A lot of people really love Hyatt. Since I just got Platinum Status I’m going to give them a shot if I can find affordable hotels.
I’ll blog about the Ambassador programs once I have some experience.
Cool – I tried Hyatt for a bit last year, and they’re too similar to SPG, except amplified (Smaller footprint, arguably better benefits. I had issues where even Hyatt Places would price out well above comparable hotels at times as well). As you say Marriott’s program is worthless in the US, and IHG is uninspiring unless you’re staying at Intercons…
The slow strangulation of the Hilton program kills me, but I end up in middle-of-nowhere USA frequently enough that it just takes choosing them a few times additional to be Diamond, so I keep doing it.
Stacy thanks for your great report. All my Hilton Diamond colleagues are jealous of the service i receive from m SPG ambassador. When booking a hotel all i need to do is call or email my assigned ambassador. If the hotel is booked or sold out my ambassador will content the hotel manager and still get me a room at my hotel negotiated rate. I am at 105 SPG nights already this year. I will most likely hit 150 – 200 nights for the year. Today i received an invite to attend a cubs game in the SGP suite. I am sitting at about 130k miles with United. All business domestic travel. I am on target to complete 200k on United for the year.
@Mark D – I’m jealous of all the airline miles! And I’m thinking you’ll beat me w/SPG nights this year. 3 weeks in London and no good SPG rates!
when is the best time to go for airline status? July 2012 good until Feb 2014 or Jan 2013 good until Feb 2014 or some say until Feb 2015,that’s where I am unclear about.
@Ashley – every program is a little different. Most extend benefit only through the following February (and I’ve heard one through March) . So if gain status in the 2nd half of 2012, you should get status through Feb 2014. I’m unaware of any airline programs that would extend that to 2015. Hotels on the other hand, may extend to 2015.
I like to go for status (if I don’t have it already) late in the second half of the year through a challenge if I can make it. That way, I can take advantage of the benefits and have those extend into next year.
What airline are you looking at?
Looking at Delta,I was told better start Jan 2013 I will have status all the way until Feb 2015,can that be correct?
@Ashley – that could be correct depending on when in 2013 you earn the DL status. I’m not very familiar with delta policies. You might want to ask a Delta to confirm.