Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Frequent Flying 2011: On the Way to a Million

Wow, it's been almost four years since I did a frequent travel post. In that one, I had just requalified for top-tier status on United for 2008. Not only did I do that again in '08 for '09, but somehow I pulled that off for 2010. With the kids' arrival, I was bottom-tier (well, the 25,000 mile tier, not part of the no-status masses) for 2011. This year, by doing more flying than I probably should, I hit the middle-tier status (what they're naming Premier Gold for 2012).

A long-term goal of mine has always been hitting a million miles with United. That milestone comes with permanent Premier Gold status. Even when I was routinely hitting 100K each year, that still represented a decade-long project -- and a lot of those miles, for various reasons, didn't count towards the magic million.

Well, as a result of United's merger with Continental, a couple of things changed. First, Million Miler status will allow Premier Gold for both me and Christina -- meaning that the two of us, along with the twins, can get extra-legroom Economy Plus seats when we all fly together. Second, in order to even things out with Continental's program, all of those "don't count" miles that helped me reach status in years past (generally, partner flights, promotional miles and bonuses from more expensive tickets) will count towards the million -- but only those through the end of 2011.

So where does that leave me? As of now, I'm almost exactly two-thirds of my way to the goal -- 666,113 lifetime miles. I figure that all of the extra miles from past years should get me at least to 800,000. (I think I find out the exact total around Februrary.) At my 100K pace, that would still be two years away. At this year's pace, it would be more than four. It's probably going to be even longer, but it's nice to be able to see it on the horizon.

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