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As we approach the completion of 2/3 of the traveling year, I decided to take inventory of the progress I’ve made towards my status goals of 2013. As a reminder, my four status goals for 2013 were Hyatt Diamond via 25 stays, Starwood Platinum Ambassador via 100 nights, the Southwest Companion Pass the hard way (No credit card signups), and not travel so much.
I easily met three of the goals and failed miserably at the other. Can you guess which one?
Hyatt Diamond Status
The first two months of my hotel stays were dedicated toward earning Hyatt Diamond status. I was fortunate to have two cheap Hyatt hotels next to one another and could bounce back and forth between them, It took me only 90 days to meet 25 stay requirement to earn Hyatt Diamond status through February 2015. At that point I stopped dedicating business stays towards Hyatt with no additional incentive.
Starwood Platinum Status + Ambassador
From that point I shifted my hotel stays to SPG to start marching towards the 100 nights required for a Starwood Ambassador. I don’t actually think the Ambassador program is that great but I prefer to have my extra business stays work towards something as opposed to nothing like the Hyatt Diamond 25 stay threshold. At this point I stand at 86 nights so 100 should be no problem before the year closes.
Southwest Companion Pass the hard way
The Southwest Companion Pass requires 110,000 Companion Pass Qualifying points over a calendar year. The easy way to obtain this is via the credit cards which offer 50,000 points that count toward a Companion Pass. This year I had so much domestic flying planned that I decided to attempt the pass the hard way which is primarily via butt-in-seat. By dedicating approximately 2 business flights per week to Southwest and putting some large purchases through their shopping mall, I have been able to make it almost all the way there.
In total I’ve covered 115,746 miles over 75 segments of flying thus far in 2013. Interestingly enough at no point have I crossed into the Southern hemisphere.
A shift in goals
Previously I have been an advocate of travel volume over travel quality. I have no problem flying coach and the lower cost of miles meant more travel which was a good thing. More recently I’ve noticed a significant decrease in the number of places on my list that I’ve never been to but feel I must go visit. I attribute this primarily to going from almost zero international travel to traveling nonstop for five years across the globe. The newness of travel has worn off on me a bit and recently a few visits to new places I visited were exactly what I expected which isn’t as exciting when you have no idea what to expect. The same goes for W’s and St. Regis’ I’ve stayed at lately. They are phenomenal but I expected that so it wasn’t as much of an over-the-top-luxurious surprise as it has been in the past.
That being said, my ability to earn miles continues to improve each and every year so as a result I have found myself with more miles and less places I feel I need to go. I still love traveling, but my focus has shifted to flying First Class on award flights to places I love instead of always seeking out a new place I’ve never been as has been the case in the past. This year has featured 6 memorable first time First Class flights with a few more top notch ones to be revealed soon.
- Cathay Pacific First Class 777 and 747
- Thai First Class A380
- Lufthansa 747-8i First Class
- Lufthansa First Class DEN-FRA 747-400
- Austrian Business Class VIE-IAD 767
The bottom line
It’s been a good travel year in some sense (lots of status) and a poor one in others (too much time spent on airplanes). I met three goals and failed miserably at the last. I anticipate the last third of the year will slow down but fortunately I have met most of my travel goals at this point. How far along are you on your status goals?