I’m in a bit of a quandary as I near the end of 2012, and my mileage run post yesterday provided some background for my thinking process as I decide if it’s worth going for Executive Platinum status with American Airlines.
Some of you remember that American offered status matches to those at United with Premier 1K status. Then they said we only had to fly 55K miles to keep it instead of the full 100K. Great! Except that means a total of 155K miles required if I want to keep status with both carriers.
Tack on to that the roughly 20K I flew on an award trip to Asia that earned no credit toward elite status, and the fact I barely traveled during the summer while working on my dissertation. I am far behind.
During my mid-year status update, I reported that I was thinking of settling for Premier Platinum status with United, which requires only 75K miles. But I neglected a few trips I had already booked brining me far beyond that. Since I was close to 100K , it made sense to go ahead for Premier 1K, and I booked the last two runs I needed to make it happen.
My progress with American has been dismal. I have flown only 5K miles so far, and I have another 10K miles booked. That leaves me with 40,000 miles to go. My calendar in October is fully booked. November is nearly so. December is mostly open, but the last week and a half is blocked off for the holidays. In other words, I have about four weeks to fly 40K miles. And I have to do it cheaply.
The only way I see this working is with a few international runs, which tend to be more expensive. You’ll see domestic runs for 3 to 4 cents per mile (CPM), but each one takes a day or two and tends to earn under 6,000 miles. It’s a long slog. A good international run can earn 15,000 to 20,000 in just two days if you’re willing to pay slightly more.
Or I could skip EXP altogether this year
With the labor action and other bankruptcy uncertainties, this isn’t a bad idea. I was warning people at the beginning of the year against chasing American’s DEQM promos unless it was already their airline of choice.
Acquiring status with an airline that might change its loyalty program at any moment due to restructuring or a merger is a risky proposition.
My EXP status still runs through February of 2013. If I stopped pursuing it this year, I would have to requalify as quickly as possible during January and February, or at least get close. I would probably want to at reach Platinum status (50K miles) in those first two months to maintain some decent elite benefits after my EXP match expires.
I’d be interested to see what people have to say for or against trying to get this last-minute status with American. My judgment is complicated by the fact that American really doesn’t have a big presence in Seattle, so most of my “American” flights are really going to be operated by Alaska, which doesn’t extend upgrade benefits.
What do you think? Am I crazy to go for both? Or should crazy be my goal, as I take advantage of my current freedom from work and school to fly as much as humanly possible?