A few weeks ago I wrote about my plan to remain a free agent this year. For 2018 I’m estimating that I’ll travel about 25,000 miles for work and another 15,000 or so for pleasure. I’m based in Phoenix, and most of my business travel is in Hawaii. Since American has hub in Phoenix, they would be my best bet if I chose to reach for status. Last week I completed my first trip of the year so I decided to take a peak at my AAdvantage account today.
2018 Elite Qualifying
Wow they make it look so tempting! It’s only mid-January and I’m already over 20% of the way to Gold! Furthermore, I’ve got another trip to Hawaii in the pipeline – likely next month. If I flew American again that would put me well on my way to qualifying. The way this project is going, it will be a near certainty if I fly American exclusively for business.
While status would be nice little perk, I’m staying strong and won’t bend just to get there. My next trip might end in Honolulu instead of Maui where I typically depart. That means I’ll have the option of flying Hawaiian Airlines nonstop to Phoenix in addition to American. If the schedule and price is better with Hawaiian, then I’m going with them. It won’t be easy, but I know it’s for the best in the long run.
I think what seals the deal to go for best flight/price is that most of our leisure travel this year will be award flights. Typically I just paid cash domestic travel and stockpiled miles for overseas first class seats. Now we’ve got a baby so those trips aren’t as realistic. Instead we’re redeeming points and miles on several different airlines for trips to places like Chicago. Since the flights will be award tickets on various airlines, I wouldn’t be enjoying the perks of status, even if I had it.
It’s still possible I might back my way into Gold status if the schedules and price is right. I suppose I just didn’t realize how tempting it would be chase status once I saw my early progress. Alas, I’ve just got to remember that Gold status really doesn’t do that much for me. Upgrades are almost impossible, seat selection is sparse and AA miles aren’t worth that much to consider the bonus as a benefit. I’m going to stay strong and just book what’s best for each particular trip.