Random Thoughts On Passing 2MM

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Old Oct 24, 16, 3:27 pm
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Random Thoughts On Passing 2MM

So last Friday I passed 2MM, on a flight from JFK-LAX.I thought I would pass on the FRA-JFK leg but my arithmetic was off.

It took me roughly 30 years, starting in 1986 when the crook I was working for closed down the company and stiffed everybody in sight. I became an independent contractor supporting some of the customers left high and dry. It was to be an interim thing until I found a "real job." Still haven't found it

I believe my first flight in this run was actually booked on Republic but became NWA by the time I flew. I had decided to concentrate on one airline because of these newfangled "frequent flyer" programs. I looked at all the places I would likely be flying and eliminated any airline where I had to connect in DEN or ORD (having spent the night on the floor in both places multiple times over the years). I ended up choosing between TWA and NW -- TWA had a bit of an edge because I had family in St Louis but I ended with NW. Don't remember the specific reasons and I don't remember why I eliminated Delta -- probably changing in ATL was too far out of the way for midwest/northeast destinations.

It took me 22 years to get 1MM on NW -- coming around the time the merger was announced. There was about 3 years in there were I didn't fly NW at all and one year I stumbled into SE and came back into the fold. I think I had 1.1MM Worldperks Miles when the programs combined -- too lazy to check exactly. I was PE for the last 3-4 years on NW, not going much over the 75K EQM needed. If I did have a late year trip after requalifying I would use miles.

So it took 8.5 years to get the 2nd MM, mostly on Delta.

My first 15 years was mostly business related travel, with a TATL trip or two for fun every year. That slowly changed to almost all personal travel as I did more work remotely and as I ended up with more local (SoCal) clients.

I had originally intended to hold short at PM the year DM was announced but a couple of serendipitous things kicked me over to DM and I went all in. Not doing MRs per se, but jumping on deals when I found them.

A couple of interesting things: on NW I never purchased an F or J fare -- I did do a couple of B fares and used miles to upgrade to J. I think over the 4 years I was PE I didn't miss more than a couple of upgrades and those were when there was some bad weather. I also got exactly two OpUps, one as a GE (LGW-MSP) and a "phantom upgrade" near the end on MEM-AMS.

I'm not sure exactly, but I think over the years I've bought 5 TATL J tickets on DL (none over $2k) and one TPAC (that was $4K but it was for a memorial math conference in Taiwan dedicated to my late father, so I splurged). I got my first DL OpUp in the fall of 2011 and have maybe gotten 10 since that time, but with the introduction of GUCs I've only received a couple -- but I have used 8 GUCs so upgrades haven't been lacking (well, 2 are pending on a trip in December). I've also used PWM to upgrade 5 or 6 LAX-ATL round trips. I know it is not the best use of miles but what the hey.

That first year of DM I built up a huge (for me) rollover balance, which I have been slowly burning down -- I'll probably rollover less than 10K this year, which means there is a chance I won't requalify as DM. I figured that time will come eventually because I rely on the MQD waiver and I figure DL will eventually copy UA and AA and get rid of the waiver for DM.

A couple of observations on all this: Rollover (and DM) has definitely increased my paid travel -- by buying trips I might normally use miles for and not rescheduling/postponing end of year trips. FCM has worked on me as well -- somewhat, as I mostly use miles rather than $ (though have used $). Between GUCs, RUCs (only used between LAX and JFK), discount paid J and a few PWM paid upgrades I've only had 3 trips so far this year where I've been on the upgrade list -- got one of them. Not a upgrade rate to brag about but I'm not complaining My travel has been off this year so not the best basis of comparison.

Don't know what the future holds. Don't think I'll make 3MM but you never can tell. No real incentive that I can see other than bragging. I've done a lot of 7-8 day TATL trips and I find that as I get older those are harder and harder to recover from. So that probably means longer but fewer trips. So I will probably drop to PM in 2018 or 2019.

One thing I have to say that in those 2MM on NW and DL I have only once had an unplanned overnight. That was one January on NW and it was a series of cascading MX and WX events. They tried really hard but I got stuck in MSP (the MX wasn't there, it was in MEM, so got rerouted thru DTW then that plane went MX, so rerouted to MSP and missed the last flight to LAX by 30 minutes). Got well taken care of (hotel and meals). And in the 8 years a .9MM on Delta the only thing that came close was I once had to spend an extra day in DUB as JFK was snowed in. In my mind that is the best thing you can say about an airline -- they got me there the day they said they would.

Sorry to ramble, feeling old and melancholy
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Old Oct 24, 16, 3:52 pm
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Originally Posted by TheMadBrewer View Post
Sorry to ramble, feeling old and melancholy
Might not be everyone's bag, but I enjoyed the reminiscence. Congrats!
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Old Oct 24, 16, 4:57 pm
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Love to read these flying career recaps. Thanks for posting!
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Old Oct 24, 16, 5:58 pm
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Originally Posted by TheMadBrewer View Post
Sorry to ramble, feeling old and melancholy
What's the worst turbulence you've ever experienced in your flying career?

How many planes have had mechanic issues mid-air, and what was the nature of those issues?

How many flights have had diversions to the back-up airport?

I'm very curious about the long-term likelihood of events like this...
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Old Oct 24, 16, 6:16 pm
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Originally Posted by SecurityTheaterFanClubPresident View Post
What's the worst turbulence you've ever experienced in your flying career?

How many planes have had mechanic issues mid-air, and what was the nature of those issues?

How many flights have had diversions to the back-up airport?

I'm very curious about the long-term likelihood of events like this...
Worse turbulence was flying into TEX -- could have been a Beech 19 but if not it was a small plane. On a mainline flight I couldn't really say, there have been some that were rough but not so bad I was worried. A long time ago an old travel hand told me to watch the flight attendants (well, he said "stewardesses" but it was a long time ago ) If they don't seem worried, there probably is nothing to worry about. If they are worried then -- well, he used colorful language

No mid air mechanical problems that were announced. No bird strikes or engine problems. Had problems with overfull/broken lavs on TATL 757s (on NW, CO and DL).

No major diversions -- once LGW-MSP there was sudden bad weather and we (and lots of others) diverted to FAR. Twice (including my first TATL flight) flying into FRA we diverted to CGN because of fog. There may have been others, but also minor -- nothing like diverting half way.

Twice we almost diverted for medical reasons but in the end we continued on.

A handful of go arounds on landing (scariest was into ZRH in a bit of a snowstorm).

A pretty un-eventful flying life -- now you have jinxed me and everything will go wrong on my next flight
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Old Oct 24, 16, 7:25 pm
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Originally Posted by ops55 View Post
Love to read these flying career recaps. Thanks for posting!
+1
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Old Oct 24, 16, 7:36 pm
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Congratulations.
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Old Oct 24, 16, 8:27 pm
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I hit 2 MM next week on HNL-ATL and I am still in GUC wait-list hell.
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Old Oct 24, 16, 8:50 pm
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Originally Posted by indufan View Post
I hit 2 MM next week on HNL-ATL and I am still in GUC wait-list hell.
MM status doesn't give you upgrade priority except indirectly through the complimentary annual status, in this case GM, if you haven't earned at least that status tier.
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Old Oct 24, 16, 10:58 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Congratulations.
Thanks!
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Old Oct 24, 16, 11:08 pm
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+1 for the OP
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Old Oct 24, 16, 11:27 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
MM status doesn't give you upgrade priority except indirectly through the complimentary annual status, in this case GM, if you haven't earned at least that status tier.
No ....? Who do you play me for? GM doesn't get you anywhere on a GUC waitlist for HNL-ATL. What I was saying that MM, 2MM, and 4 MM benefits suck.
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Old Oct 25, 16, 5:56 am
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Congratulations! I'm looking forward to 2MM for the ST E+, likely to hit it next spring.
Also started with NW/Republic.
Appreciate your thoughts.
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Old Oct 25, 16, 8:38 am
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I remember those good ole days of NW. Getting 100Ks of RDMs with the promos, being PE pretty much guaranteeing a seat in F. Being able to fly in J at least once a year on miles. sigh. I don't miss the old planes and older FAs.

Right now I am at 1.7MM, three years ago I was very aggressive about reaching 2MM, now I am meh. If I get it I get it. I have tons of rollovers so as long as the AMEX waiver is there I am DM through 2019, once that is gone so am I.

I remember reaching 1MM and what a cool feeling that was, it will be nothing even close to that feeling if I reach 2MM.
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Old Oct 25, 16, 9:31 am
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I think what I miss the most from "the good ole days" is the redemption under the original Frequent Flyer program. 75,000 miles for TWO first class tickets to Hawaii was wonderful. I probably bought 16-20 tickets under than redemption.

I guess the second was the bonus based on class of service FLOWN versus PURCHASED. I could upgrade at booking to 1st by spending 1500 miles per leg and then when I flew, I got 2X miles for being in first. With the then 1000 mile minimum per segment, any leg of at least two segments earned more miles than spent -- two short segments in 1st = 4000 miles less 1500 upgrade = 2500 net miles versus 2000 in coach.

In a galaxy far, far away!
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