Ending the Quest for Top Status?

I’ve been a business traveler who logs a lot of mileage going to and from meetings.  But I’ve recently proposed that I fly less for my role, given all the technology out there.  It’s good business sense.

But what does this mean for Jeanne, the traveler?

Hawaii Kauai
Free travel is the most fun sort of travel, isn’t it?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and I think it means I’m going to stop going for top status.

–I’ll wait while you pick up your jaws from the floor. —

I cannot find a scenario in which it makes sense to go for top status through mileage running.

1. I can just pay for upgrades

Once the American and US Airways programs combine, I will be a mid-tier elite flyer on American.  When I really want to be in first class, I can pay to make that happen.  Less than the cost of mileage running.

I don’t mind sitting in the economy plus seats at all when I’m traveling by myself.  And when I want to splurge for a family member traveling with me, I can just splurge on the ticket ahead of time.  Especially since American’s rules don’t bestow your status on your traveling companion when flying together.  US Airways is a all-or-none upgrade system, so if I get upgraded, so does my companion.

2. I can spend more time on award travel

I’ve probably spent a few hundred thousand miles on upgrades for myself and friends.  I was earning miles faster than I could possible use them.  Why? My weekends were all taken up by work travel.  If I just replaced this with mileage running, I’d still be gone all the time.  Give me Cathay First Class instead, please!

3. I can feel less guilty about taking advantage of the Flight Deal’s deals

There have been so many Delta deals on the Flight Deal lately to places I want to go.  But if I spent money and time flying Delta, that’s taking away from money and time flying US Airways/American.

I’ve let deals go by that I really should have taken advantage of.  And heck, there was a Frontier deal I wouldn’t have minded either.  Who cares how I make it to Vegas if I can live it up in the Centurion Club and with MLife status (and tipping) once I get there?

4. There Probably Won’t Be Special Dividends in the Future

Special Dividends have gotten me free lounge access for my husband, upgrades on award travel, and the ability to make my friends silver preferred.  I assume this is going away, so I could just pay for lounge access for him (if he would even travel enough without me), and use the extra miles on award travel.  This would force me to think about it in a more calculating manner instead of getting the benefits first, then seeing how much I use them.

5. Power tools

I recently bought a house.  I’ve been traveling a lot, but when I haven’t, I’ve been doing DIY small renovations.  And man is that fun!

I want to build a fire pit with seating around it and I need time to do that.  If I did mileage running AND award travel, when could I use my circular saw?


What do you guys think?  Are my reasons enough?  Don’t worry, I still love traveling!  I would just rather be in Morocco then the Phoenix Four Points.

About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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  1. I think you are putting your priorites where they belong. We’ve become so focused on being Elites that we didn’t notice what it cost(time and money). I’ve figured that I’ve saved 2k already this year on booking cheaper flights and that doesn’t include the milage runs I passed up. It’s one of the most relaxing years I’ve had. I’ve also drawn down my FF points from 800k to 650k saving more money using them for unplanned trips.

  2. Congrats on buying a house! Did you stop applying for new credit cards 2 years before you bought the house? How would you advise CC churners planning on buying a house in regards to their cc strategy a year or two before buying?

    • Jeanne Marie Hoffman


      I didn’t because I didn’t know I would be buying 2 years beforehand, but I did stop as soon as we started talking about it.

      The bank had a lot of questions in regards to my inquiries and open accounts, and I told them honestly why I had so many accounts open. In the end, my credit score mattered the most. I wasn’t a heavy-heavy churner though (but definitely more than average). But they seemed to believe the reasons I had it open, and just said “don’t apply for any new cards”.

  3. Everyone should figure out what is right for them and do it (except for cashing in miles for dvds or ipods…that is always wrong)

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