2013 Airline and Hotel Status Checkpoint

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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.


While most of my Hyatt stays have been boring business stays, a few highlights were suites at the Park Hyatt Chicago, Park Hyatt Toronto and the Grand Hyatt Berlin.

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.


Again, most of my SPG stays were boring business stays but a few highlights from the year thus far have been suites at the Hotel Bristol, Le Meredien Budapest and W Bangkok.

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.


Total Flying

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.

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?

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About alex

Alex loves to travel and does so a lot. Logging 100,000 flight miles each year over the past 4 years, Alex uses points and miles to power his passion. Alex is continuously striving to experience the far reaches of the globe. In his day job, Alex is a Management Consultant frequently on the road advising Technology organizations. I love thinking about, reading about, and talking about all things travel. Feel free to reach me at pmmalex@gmail.com

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  1. -Will reach Platinum on stays this weekend with SPG.
    -No airline status this year.
    -Have 9 rentals with National. Need three more to maintaine Executive status.

    The brass ring in all of this is I am taking the family to Thailand later this year, cashing in a bunch of points/miles and riding in premium cabins on CX.

  2. Airlines: will reach American Executive Platinum for the first time ever, later this year. Already at 86k elite miles, 89k elite points. No mileage runs – all has been mostly business, some personal travel

    Hotels: will get to SPG Gold on stays/nights soon. Hold Gold with Hilton and Platinum with IHG with credit cards, and Accor Platinum through promotions. No mattress running for me.

    Car rental: only 4 rentals with National this year, but happy with the free Emerald status.

  3. Made SPG Platinum while staying there for 8 hours this year (checked in with my wife, left at 4 am for hospital and my wife stayed 52 nights while I recovered in the ICU down the road)

    Was going to make Aegean Gold, but AC first class trip to Europe to catch cruise was nixed by said ICU stay.

    Have National Executive through Amex along with CX Gold (expiring in Sept) and got in on the Amex fall status bonus while it was up, so now that I’m feeling better, maybe I’ll make a run for EXP?

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