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November 26, 2011


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It's one thing to travel a lot for business and rack up the perks, quite another to seek out trips to nowhere for the same reward. Personally, I have better things to do with my free time than schlepping around obscure airports so I can get drunk in a Sky Club lounge. After my coomplimentary meal, movie and shower, of course.

Suum cuique.

I travel a lot both domestically and internationally, for both work and pleasure. It's a different story depending on where you are overseas, but in America these days it's pretty awful to fly with no status. I have status on star on oneworld; the biggest perk these days with airlines running capacity so high is the early boarding and getting your bag in the overhead. I see all these poor people coming onto the plane and being told its all full, and have to check it to the hold. At the big east coast airports, checking your bag is a 30-60 minute penalty. When you fly frequently, that adds up to a lot of time. Another perk is getting to sit in the front of the plane, even in coach, on international flights. When your 747 disgorges 350 people in Mumbai, you can sure be thankful for being off the plane first and the head of the queue.

The lounges and drinks and special phone numbers are all nice, but if you value your time highly then getting status, either through mileage runs or other offers is well worth it. If you fly 2-3 Tim's a year, then suck it up and sit in the back of the plane, wait forever on your bag, and console yourself that you're not greeting the Marriott bartender by name on Thanksgiving.


"unlimited complementary upgrades"
That one would be a huge perk.

I could see doing this kind of thing if you're a frequent business traveler and nearly at the 100k level. I mean if you've got 95k miles and only need 5k more mile,s to get to the point where all the flights you take next year will be in first class then thats a big deal. Plus hitting those elite levels often gives you bonus miles and other various perks that could be worth it.

The other group of people are the ones doing cheap trips just to rack up miles to cash in for nice trips. That seems more odd to me. But I guess it depends on how you do it. If taking 5 round trips domestically for a couple hundred $ each gets you enough points for 2 first class tickets to Europe then that could be worth the time and effort I guess.

I've traveled a fair amount for business over the years, but what those people do seems truly obsessive. It seems like it's almost a game that they're obsessed with. Personally, I think there are better ways to get ahead and better accomplishments to go after (focus on one's career, keep expenses in check) but to each their own I suppose!

I once took a flight from the east coast to the west and back without pretty much getting off the plane. I made my platinum status, which more than paid off the time and ticket price paid on priceline considering I traveled a significant amount the subsequent year, including several international trips. The equation is all predicated on how much one values their free time as well as the marginal use of the perks that lie ahead.

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