2013 Mid-Year Status Update

This is becoming an ambitious year. I planned at the start to maintain my Premier 1K status with United Airlines and my Diamond status with Hyatt. I also added to my goals Platinum status (50 nights) with Starwood and MVP Gold status with Alaska Airlines. The latter is my compromise after giving up my match to American Airlines’ Executive Platinum tier.

American just doesn’t connect Seattle with where I want to go as conveniently as United, but Alaska is useful for certain routes where even United falls through. For example, I’m making a couple  flights to Las Vegas, my parents live in Santa Rosa and Medford, and Megan is going to Austin. All of those cities have non-stop service on Alaska Airlines while connecting service on United would be quite awful.

Alaska also lets me credit flights from Delta or American if I absolutely need to. This actually increases my travel, since Alaska requires 50,000 elite qualifying miles to earn MVP Gold if you include partner airlines but only 40,000 if you fly exclusively on Alaska. Unfortunately, I needed to make a trip to Miami and didn’t have a choice.

Here are my totals so far:

Program — Earned (Goal)

  • United Airlines — 49,098 miles (100,000 miles)
  • Alaska Airlines — 678 miles (50,000 miles)
  • Hyatt — 9 stays (25 stays)
  • Starwood — 23 nights (50 nights)

My bookings with United and Starwood are right on track, so I’m good there. I am more concerned about Hyatt and Alaska. I am contemplating a series of stays in Las Vegas later this summer, which will help me catchup with Hyatt. Alaska, however, is a bigger problem. There’s nothing I can do there except travel more. But now that I’ve thrown the gauntlet and decided to fly on a partner airline, I have made myself available to book what mileage runs do exist on American. Alaska doesn’t really have mileage runs of any kind.

Travel-to-Date

Revenue travel to-date. Image from GCMap.com

Even with my progress on United and Starwood, I am not letting down my guard. I do not have many flights planned for later this summer. Actually, I do, but they are all award flights. Over 30,000 miles in the air and I won’t earn credit for any of it. And though award stays with Starwood do count toward elite status, my slow pace with Hyatt causes me to worry about fitting both in at the end.

Here are what my numbers look like if I included booked travel (through September):

Program — Earned and Booked (Goal)

  • United Airlines — 55,896 miles (100,000 miles)
  • Alaska Airlines — 10,499 miles (50,000 miles)
  • Hyatt — 16 stays (25 stays)
  • Starwood — 33 nights (50 nights)

So… yeah. My hotel situation is not so dire. In fact, I may even qualify with Hyatt based on nights this year (I have a lot of 2-3 night trips). But I am not keeping pace with my flights. I will need to work on that.

I have not concerned myself much with car rental status or my new match to Kimpton’s Inner Circle. I rent cars so rarely that the mid-tier status I get for free with my American Express Business Platinum Card is sufficient, and my Kimpton status is good through 2015. I have already made two out of the three stays I need to unlock Kimpton’s six free nights at new hotels, but I will not need to worry about requalifying until next year.

Manufactured Spend

Finally, where am I on manufactured spend? Megan and I have three cards we’re working on this year. She signed up for the British Airways Visa and wants to hit the $20,000 threshold to get 50,000 bonus Avios points (100,000 total). It’s become our primary card for wedding expenses. I’ve been working on the Hyatt Visa to get an extra 4 stays toward elite status after spending $40,000. I’m also working on the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card, which offers 15,000 bonus points after spending $30,000. We’re at or slightly past the half-way mark on all these targets, so I’m feeling good.

Hyatt Visa stay credit

And there have been the minor promotions. Megan’s Williams-Sonoma card offered her a $150 gift card if she would spend $500 a month for three months. Pretty generous! And we each got 5,000 bonus points for spending $3,000 on our Hyatt Visa cards. Sometimes these distracted from our primary goals, but I think we’ll catch up in the end.

About 

Scott created Hack My Trip while traveling on a budget during graduate school and continues to share his thoughts on better travel. He maintains elite status with American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Hyatt, and Starwood.
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  • Jeremy

    The 40K on Hyatt for four nights towards status seems silly to me, I guess you are getting 40K Hyatt points but seems like you could do better putting that on a UA card for a 10K bonus after 25K or Hilton card for free weekend night or Amex PRG for bonus points and just do 4 cheap mattress runs? I don’t have a hope for status with Hyatt so can’t really relate but those are my thoughts!

    • Scottrick

      Correct, it’s only about status. I have enough of both United miles and Hyatt points. I wouldn’t do it for the Hyatt points alone, but the extra stay credit makes it worthwhile.

  • http://efficientasianman.com/ Edward C

    Interesting stuff! I’m wondering if you have a breakdown of your trips and stays into categories like required, discretionary, or purely mattress/mileage runs.

    • Scottrick

      I’d say it’s 50/25/25.

  • Mark

    I would have flown to Fort Lauderdale on Alaska… It’s not very far from Miami, and would have kept your MVP qualifying tier to 40K…

    • Scottrick

      We considered that, but it wouldn’t work for several reasons.

      • Mark

        Like only a red eye… ugh

  • Francisco C

    Interesting post. I count $93K of spending on the cards you mention above. How much of this is manufactured, required (gas, food, rent, etc), wedding, discretionary, reimbursed (business)? Seems like a lot.

    • Scottrick

      The majority is manufactured spend. Our household expenses aren’t very high.

  • Aptraveler

    Good post, it encourages me to look into my own miles & points accounting for the year. Thanks