30,000 butt in seat domestic miles and four redeyes in a week, and my general travel outlook

Next week (the first week of May), I’ll be flying about 30,000 “butt in seat” miles domestically, including four redeyes. Obviously that’ll mean lots of observations, lots of rants, and lots of crankiness.

Why the sudden rush? Well, I’m seeing reasonable fares for the first time in a long time (think 7,000+ elite qualifying miles for around $250 all-in, though that’s because I’m fortunate to be based in Tampa), and I don’t want to let any of them slip away. The summer travel season is starting soon, which will mean very few mileage run opportunities until at least September or so. Furthermore, since I’m taking a huge trip starting in mid-May, the second half of the month is blocked out as far as mileage runs go.

I’m still holding on to the dream of making million miler status with United before the year is up and they merge frequent flyer programs, though that’s looking somewhat unrealistic now thanks to my recent partial switch to American Airlines.

Speaking of American Airlines, I’m still trying to figure out what to do with them. I have a paid business class ticket booked to Paris in June which will almost help me complete my American Airlines Executive Platinum challenge, though am hoping to book a few more miles runs to get closer to “legitimately” qualifying. Ideally I’d book them in the next week so that I can earn 30,000 bonus AAdvantage miles for six roundtrips, though fares just aren’t looking good right now. While I don’t expect good fares for the summer travel season, I’m disappointed by the lack of good fares for later in the year, which I would ideally book now. I’m refreshing the Fare Compare FlyerTalk tool every five minutes looking for a deal, though thus far haven’t had any luck.

On the hotel front I have a couple of goals as well. First of all, in the next month I need to make two weekend stays at Priority Club hotels and stay at one Priority Club hotel for the first time during the promotion, in order to complete my “Crack the Case” challenge, which would net me 91,000 Priority Club bonus points.

Hyatt’s second quarter promotion isn’t temping enough to mattress run, so my only goal with them right now is to have an “odd” number of stays so that I can fully benefit from their (mediocre) promotion. If only they hadn’t eliminated Gx bonuses I’d be a happy camper, though it’s frustrating that the “promotion” is only 500 points more than the G3 bonus I had previously received for every stay when mattress running.

The other question is what I want to do with Starwood. I status matched to Platinum with them just before they discontinued the match program, though am not sure to what extent I want to stay with them. I don’t need to requalify with them this year, given that my status is good through 2013. While their current promotion, which offers one free resort night after every three stays, is the best of any program’s for the second quarter, I’m still not sold on the Starwood program as such.

As tempting as it is on one hand to redeem free nights at some of the participating St. Regis hotels (like the St. Regis Princeville, the St. Regis Aspen, the St. Regis Deer Valley, etc.), the Platinum benefits at St. Regis hotels don’t seem to be that great. Starwood is one of the few programs that doesn’t offer free breakfast for their top tier elites, so a “free” stay at a St. Regis isn’t as “free” as a “free” stay at a Grand Hyatt or Park Hyatt, for example. That’s not to say it’s not a great value, but I think it makes the “value” of a free night slightly less than a free night at a comparable Hyatt hotel. Therefore the promotion is less mattress “runnable” than a comparable Hyatt promotion (of which there isn’t one right now).

Anyway, pardon my rant, but that’s the status of my mileage/points/travel “union” right now.

How’s the “game” looking for you?

Filed Under: American, Hotels
  1. Hey Lucky do you mind sharing the itinerary or emailing it to me? Is this for AA? I’m in Orlando but I used to live in Tampa, wouldn’t mind leaving the car at the parents’ for 30k miles for only $250!

  2. Not so hot this year. High fares have kept me away from MRing… Also, until I know if my 500k BIS are 1/2 or 1/4 of the way to *G MM status, don’t really want to invest in miles.

  3. I have 45,000 BIS currently booked from May 21 – June 10, with another 3K to book. All of that flying is spread over nine days. With two trips to GRU, and one to LIH (good fare on ITA). I will hit 100K by June 10th.

  4. I’ve got a trip back to Germany this week, then a trip back to LAX the following week and onto Japan via HNL/GUM. Then I’ve got a run between SEA and EWR via KOA and GRU. That should put me over 1K.

    There’s more trips to DXB and all over Europe coming up in May and June and I am not sure if all of those miles will go to UA or not. With six months ahead, maybe it is time that I started diversifying my status portfolio as well.

    As for hotels, I have three Starwood stays upcoming and would like to book a few more so I’ll have two free nights to try out a St. Regis somewhere, perhaps in PEK. Hyatt will remain my brand, though.

  5. 30,000 domestic BIS miles? That’s incredible. While most transcon roundtrips are around 5000 miles, if you do TPA-IAD-SFO/LAX/SEA you can get them close to 7000, but that’s still four round trips, and with those TPA-IAD legs they take more than 24 hours to complete.

    Or do you have one of those EWR-SEA specials that you can route via HNL, GRU, LIM etc?

  6. I’m right about on pace to get close to 1k, booked 3 PDX-LGA runs that will get me 20k. I’ll need to find about 12-20k more in runs and along with work I should realize 100,000. I should probably invest in a passport…

  7. I’m halfway through my renewal for *G this year. 2 more runs to Gold and that’s BD*G for me another year.

    PC: PC Platiumn should hit next week thanks to the joy of Ctack the Case.

    Hyatt: Yes. That’s back to nothing. And with 10 nights max this year, a maximum of 5 nights more – so little progress on that front for me this year I suspect.

    An intresting year so far… and I have a feeling this year will throw some intresting curveballs…

  8. Just 27K miles last week and 25K two weeks prior to that, though those include GRU and HKG, respectively. Still, the GRU trip involved 3/5 nights on airplanes and wasn’t really all that big a deal. I’ve got 1K status wrapped up just fine (earliest in the year ever for me) and plenty of good award bookings, too, for the higher-priced periods later in the year.

  9. Lax-ord-pvg for $800 gives u 17k redeemables an using my evips lands me in business for the 14 hour ord-pvg leg (secondlongest AA flight – only Chicago/India is longer)

  10. I’m on the fence about Hyatt vs SPG as well; but leaning towards sticking with Hyatt (currently Diamond) – gratis SPG Gold due to AMEX Plat, but SPG is now offering Plat through 2013 if you do 15 nights in 90 days (their new plat challenge).

    My dilemma now though is I can no longer mattress run (Hyatt) in San Jose as 1 night @Hyatt Place Fremont ($82), then the next night at Hyatt Regency Santa Clara ($149) will start to get some attention from our travel desk (and possibly my boss).

    For example, this week I’m in Bay Area Tue-Sun (5 nights) – last year I would alternate between HP Fremont & HR Santa Clara to build my stay count, but now I’m stuck at HP Fremont. Yes, I will snare 10k points under the current stay 5 nights, get 10k miles – alternatively, I could switch to Sheraton San Jose for the last 2 nights, then I have 2 nights @ Sheraton Toronto in May which would net me a free night at a Starwood Resort under their current promo.

    I will probably just lock in with Hyatt, and unless the situation changes, do what I can to hit 50 nights before end of the year (biz & leisure)

  11. I’m trying to find anything decent for less than $250 to the left coast from TPA and I can’t.

    Please Please Share!


  12. I know you get this request all the time but I live in TPA also and would love to make random trips to random places. I’m a def noob so whatever tips you can share would be very much appreciated.

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