Wow! What a journey… A few months ago I hit one million flown miles with United Airlines! I think I beat Brad by about a month :-).
It took me about 8 years to get here. I’m 31 years old, and I started traveling heavily for business when I got my first job when I was 23. Over the years, I have flown as few as 50,000 miles in a year and as many as 150,000, typically averaging a bit over 100,000.
My million miler flight was a United Express regional jet CRJ700 flight from SFO to DFW. My upgrade percentage this year as a 1K has been the lowest it has ever been, but a few minutes before boarding, my upgrade cleared, and I got Seat 2D, which I consider to be the second best seat on the little plane. While I wasn’t excited to fly in a regional jet, I smiled as it just felt right to get upgraded on my million miler flight. I was wondering if any of the flight attendants would say anything to me onboard, but I don’t think they knew. They were some of the friendliest flight attendants I have had in a long time, and my flight was generally a very pleasant experience.
When I got off the plane in DFW, I told the flight attendant that I had just completed my millionth mile with United, and she congratulated me.
So… A million miles… What do I get? Here’s the official United link about the program.
Basically, I get Premier Gold for the rest of my life, and my wife gets that status too! If I earn a higher status like my current 1K, my wife gets that higher status as well. I think that is a SOLID perk, and while I have never done a mileage run before, mileage running for dual status seems less crazy than mileage running for individual status so if I’m low on PQMs later this year, I may just have to do my first set of mileage runs :-). That, of course, assumes that I value United status like I used to.
A million miles… where do I go from here? I’m still relatively young so am I now set on hitting the two million mile threshold? I’m really not sure.
For the past few years, each year on United has been a little worse than the one before it. United passengers waited so long for inflight Wi-Fi, and now that we have it, it’s still not on all the planes, and I believe that in its current state, it is inferior to that of the rest of the industry. My upgrade percentage this year is at rock bottom. I travel to Texas monthly, and I haven’t had an IAH-SFO upgrade clear in months. I blame United selling upgrades to anyone for cheap. I see that they’re willing to sell an upgrade for $100, rather than upgrading an elite who spends thousands of dollars per year on flights.
I have been a United Club / Red Carpet Club member for as long as I have been a frequent flier, and these have gotten worse every year as well. I used to be able to get fresh vegetables and dip. I used to be able to find a place to sit. The food has gotten worse and they have become overcrowded. Meanwhile, airport terminals have gotten better. Airlines are putting power ports in the seats near gates, and there are way more public lounging areas than before.
That being said, United’s route network out of SFO has never been stronger. As a business traveler, a plethora of non-stop flights are important to me. I can fly non-stop to all of my work destinations, and when I want to use my miles to travel for pleasure, I can go non-stop to Hawaii, Asia, Mexico, Europe, etc.
I’m not sure where my future travels will take me, but it’s nice to know, that for the rest of our lives, my wife and I will never have to pay for a checked bag on United :-).