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Which program/million miler status
I am from LA and I now live in Berlin, Germany. I was always a United guy and when I moved to Berlin I looked into switching to Lufthansa, but to get similar status to 1K you need to fly 300K base miles and it takes two years to kick in. Staying on United with Star Alliance Gold was a much better deal. (If you are wondering why I didn’t go with Air Berlin it’s because they are the worst airline I have ever flown.)
It seems very likely I will move to Amsterdam (meaning it will make sense to switch to KLM/Sky Team) or possibly Barcelona (well connected but Iberia/One World might also make sense).
With my new job I often fly long haul in paid business (yay for me). I can’t get too picky when they are footing the bill for business so I’ve gotten quite a few EQMs on American. Given that and that I fly code shares a lot since I live outside the US, it doesn’t seem likely I’ll ever make Million Miler on United (at 250K right now). I easily make United 1K every year.
My goal is to be able to travel in business when I retire. To this end, I am saving aggressively for retirement and also never use any miles, planning instead to use them when I retire. I have no idea *where* I will retire. Given how fickle all the million miler programs are, and how decentralized my life is, does it make any sense to optimize to go for million miler on United, or should I keep maximizing mileage and status on Star Alliance & OneWorld, and make the most of the travel I am doing now?
Sorry for the long post and thank you in advance for any advice you can offer.
If you regularly fly in paid business class, and your biggest goal is to accumulate miles to travel after retirement, I would just focus on crediting your flights to whoever gives you the most miles.
Since you fly in business class now, I assume you will want to do the same when you retire. So, elite status is a relative moot point if you are flying in a premium cabin (expedited check-in, security, lounge access, free baggage, etc.) The only additional benefit that comes to mind would be the ability to change award tickets for free/cheap. But, that typically only comes in at the top-tier elite levels (which American doesn’t even let you get lifetime status for).
Thanks, Ricky. I needed to hear someone else say it to make sure I wasn’t crazy 🙂
Award programs come and go and are devaluated regularly. I’m not sure I would want to “sit” on a few million miles for years. Unless you want to fly every 2nd week when retired, its not crazy money to fly 2-3 times a year in paid business if you plan things well. When retired you have the luxury of being flexible and being able to grab good deals. I know miles and more has a soft landing policy. You qualify for HON for 2 years, then if you don’t re-qualify you get SEN for a year, then FF…stretches it out a bit.
Keep in mind that programs often devalue miles and some miles will expire if there is no activity on the account. If your retirement is approaching then this is not a big issue but if it’s years and years away I’d reconsider this approach and perhaps use a portion of those miles for vacations in the near term.