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?