With our frequent flyer account balances sufficiently topped off and a slow down in travel plans, it looks like I’ve reached my last year as a top tier elite with American Airlines. I re-qualified for Executive Platinum for the travel year 2013 to February 2014 but just don’t see myself hitting 100,000 revenue miles in 2013. Partly because we have seen most of the world outside the USA that we wanted to, I just don’t see myself paying for that many revenue tickets in the future. If the airlines move to a revenue based formula for elite status, as certainly may happen, I know for sure I’ll be done with top tier. I just won’t spend the money and I can’t generate enough bump vouchers to get the job done either.
So what will travel life be like for the Frugal Travel Guy? It will be just fine, thank you. I was fortunate enough to earn lifetime Platinum status with American so I can always pay for stickers to upgrade at reasonable prices and at least start with an exit row seat.
I’m going to try a status match with Turkish Airlines to achieve Star Alliance Gold status which will help with seating and allow me lounge access on domestic UA itineraries. If they won’t give me the status match, I will compile the 16K additional miles needed with Aegean Airlines to achieve Star Gold status and receive the same benefits as the status match route. By most accounts, that status last for years once achieved and I can easily make 16K per year.
I can continue with lounge access on American, Delta and US Airways thanks to the Platinum card, Mercedes Platinum card, and the Business Platinum card. The bonus points on card signup in addition to the $200 annual credit makes this a cheap and simple way to keep lounge access.
Mid Tier Hotels as Well
2013 will be my first year with top tier hotel status. I hit the goal of Platinum with Starwood thanks in part to the credits given for holding the personal and business credit cards. After 2013 I’m looking at mid tier via credit cards. I can maintain Hilton Gold with the Hilton Reserve card and the Amex Surpass card. I can maintain SPG Gold with any of the above mentioned Platinum card signups or $20,000 in spend on my SPG credit cards.
This exercise shows me that mid-tier status and lounge access is available for almost everyone. Status match via Turkish or learn about Star Gold status with Aegean. Mid tier hotels from card sign ups or spending on certain cards can get the job done there as well. Top tier hotel is also available strictly through credit card spend as well, although at higher spending requirements.
We can do this. We can travel with better than average conditions with just a little knowledge and planning for years to come.