Monday, January 30, 2012

Fly, Fly Away...

Wow, I can hardly believe that it's the last week of January! Where has the month gone?! Mine started with two weeks vacation, and the rest has been busy with work responsibilities. I'm glad that I will be headed home on Wednesday. I'll only be home for a little over 24 hours, and then I'm off on my next business trip. Whew! Unfortunately, February is already looking to be a busy travel month too.

Speaking of travel...

Most of the travel that I do is by commercial airline. I've been fortunate to have elite status with American Airlines for the past two years which certainly helps make traveling a bit easier. If you fly a lot, I strongly encourage you to book your flights with the same airline. This will help you reach elite staus with one airline a lot quicker. All airline programs are different, so you'll have to check the program rules for the airline you are interested in.

To achieve gold status with American Airlines, you have to fly 25,000 elite qulaifying miles OR 30 airline segments in a calendar year (January - December). 'Elite qualifying miles' means actual miles flown on an airplane. (Although I also have an American Airlines credit card, the points from the credit card go toward a free airline ticket not elite status qualification). A segment is each time an airplane takes off and lands. (So a non-connecting round trip flight would count as two segments.)

You might be wondering what the benefit is. Well, here are some of the benefits (in no particular order):

1) Seat Selection: I'm able to select any seat (except for First Class unless I purchased a First Class ticket) on the plane when I book my ticket. Since I'm tall I like to sit in the exit row for the extra leg room.

2) Boarding the Plane: I'm one of the first people to board the plane after First Class passengers. This means that I don't have to worry about finding room in the overhead compartment. (If you've ever been the last person to board a plane, you know what I mean...there's no place to put you're bag!) Which seagues me to the next benefit...

3) No Baggage Fees: I am able to check 2 bags ABSOLUTELY FREE! This is a savings of $120 round trip. The only thing I carry on is my purse and laptop bag.

4) Flight Check In: Although I typically use the self service kiosk to check in, I have the option of checking in the First Class line. This line is always considerably shorter than the regular line. Which can come in very handy at a really busy airport.

5) Priority Access Line: I have access to the Priority Access Line when going through airport security. Although I live in Dallas and typcially the wait times aren't that long due to the number of security check points, this sline has come in very handy in busy airports (Denver, Orlando, Chicago, Atlanta) where the security check in lines can be ridiculous.

6) Complimentary Upgrades: For every 10,000 miles I fly, I receive 4 complimentary 500-mile  upgrade credits. Each upgrade credit is used to fly First Class. So if a flight is 800 miles, I would need to use 2 upgrade credits. A year ago, I purchased a ticket on an overbooked flight, and I received a First Class upgrade without having to use any of my credits...sweet!

These are just some of the benfits that are important to me. Traveling can be stressful enough. Why not have a little help to make it better?


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