14 Replies Latest reply: Dec 31, 2016 7:17 PM by john_thai RSS

When Flying, How do You Spend Your Travel Day?

painedplatinum Platinum 2 Reviews
Currently Being Moderated

I happen to be one of those people that travel on Sunday quite often for a Monday-Friday assignment. Sometimes the assignments are shorter, but the norm is the 4 or 5 day stint. I'll drive to as many locations as possible, but hopping on an airplane has been happening more and more for me. For years, I always took the view of direct flights when possible. Also, I like to arrive at my final destination in daylight.

 

My "relationship" with Marriott has turned me into a point junkie. I spend a few minutes searching for the biggest return for my buck when making Marriott reservations. If a hotel, 10 miles further, is offering a couple thousand points bonus, I'll book it and drive the extra miles. I've cut back on my favorite Residence Inn stays (5 points) in favor of FFI and SHS (10 points). Now, I earn lots of points, maintain the PP status and feel I've achieved a nice yin and yang for me and the Marriott.

 

My ability to max out on airline status is not quite there. I fly just enough to scrape the first level (ie Silver w/ USAir, Gold w/ American). In March of 2012, I checked in for my flight to find that I had lost my status with USAir. As Homer Simpson once said, Doh!!! I had lost sight of my status. I took my eye off the ball. That did not feel good. No more hopping on an earlier flight for free..no more first check bag free....no more decent seats on the plane. Well, I was determined to regain that status!

 

So, here's the question. Have you ever used connecting flights to help you attain status for an airline?  I found myself doing a few PHL to DCA to BOS type of flights to get the extra "leg" in my goal for 30. In the end, I had my status back. It cost me an extra hour or two on a Sunday, but at the time, I felt it was worth it.  Now I fear I'm getting addicted, similar to Marriott points, I'm now looking at an extra leg or two to help me achieve the higher status and perks. Have I gone over the edge? Am I alone out here in the points/miles syndrome?

(For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: When Flying, How do You Spend Your Travel Day?
    jkernitzki Platinum 2 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    I tell myself that I always fly connecting flights, mainly for the ability to get off the plane and stretch my legs after a couple hours. The doubling of segments, added miles, and visits to the Club have nothing to do with it.  The fact that I've taken three legs when there was a nonstop available is sheer coincidence.  That's my story, and I'm sticking with it.

     

    My air travel in 2012 came to 160,000 miles or so, and 170 or so segments on United. Had I been able to get nonstops to most of my destinations, the segment count would be closer to 100, and the mileage more like 120,000. That's just a guess, but given the number of trips and where they were, I'd venture that at least 60-70% of my destinations require a connection anyway (lotta smaller towns).

     

    More to the point of your question though, in 2011 I did a 9,000-mile run (PHX-LAX-EWR-SJU-EWR-LAX-PHX) over Christmas day, just to get over the 100,000 mile mark for the year (my slowest on record). 20 hours in the air and another 19 on the ground (and the $800 in airfare) just to cross a threshold.  So no, you're not even close to the edge, much less over it. 

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: When Flying, How do You Spend Your Travel Day?
      painedplatinum Platinum 2 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      jk,

       

      You are my hero..I think

      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: When Flying, How do You Spend Your Travel Day?
      curiousone Platinum
      Currently Being Moderated

      In 2011 I was 1 stay away from Plat so my wife and I spent 12/29/11 at the Marriott near the Phoenix airport. We met a guy at the bar that was doing a trip like jk, but over 2 days. There are a lot of us point junkies out there!

      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

      • Re: When Flying, How do You Spend Your Travel Day?
        painedplatinum Platinum 2 Reviews
        Currently Being Moderated

        Another good one, curiousone.

        (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

        • Re: When Flying, How do You Spend Your Travel Day?
          jerrycoin Alumni Steward Platinum 60 Reviews
          Currently Being Moderated

          PP,

           

          I agree with you 100%, I admire these guy's!

           

          Can't do it, and couldn't figure out how to best do it!

           

          Go for it guys, and share the stories and advice!

          (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

      • Re: When Flying, How do You Spend Your Travel Day?
        GemPrincess Alumni Steward Platinum 17 Reviews
        Currently Being Moderated

        I use to buy cheap Travelocity packages when they used my airline and a marriott for a couple of hundred dollars.  Usually it was a 1 night stay, and I did to get miles for both.  One of my Jan flites out of DTW on NWA, just about everyone sitting around me was doing the same thing.  Many of them, were getting off at the destination, which for this trip was Frankfurt, and getting right back on to fly back.  It was the equivalent of buying status in January to use for the rest of the year.  Considering we use to charge for 'butt' time in consulting, or the consultants airline time, I couldn't help but wonder about my lost time.  But flying over, eating at a favorite restaurant, visiting a site I missed on a previous trip, and suddenly the flite time didn't seem a waste.

         

        I think its a very standard practice.  In Dec its the folks trying to book the milest before the year ends (though some vendors it was the end of Feb), and during the 1st quarter trying to earn the status if they didn't make it the previous year.

        (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

        • Re: When Flying, How do You Spend Your Travel Day?
          pevers Platinum 2 Reviews
          Currently Being Moderated

          In flying, for holiday and vacation, I frequently would try to schedule one of the legs of my flights on a holiday like Christmas or 4th of July. The planes were usually near empty and the fares were significantly lower than the days before or after. The last couple of years, I have noticed that the difference has disappeared.

           

          Now I know why!!!

          (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

          • Re: When Flying, How do You Spend Your Travel Day?
            GemPrincess Alumni Steward Platinum 17 Reviews
            Currently Being Moderated

            Pevers,

             

            I try to do the same, to fly on the holiday for the lower prices and less crowding.

             

            Prices are still lower, but not as much, but flites have definately gotten crowded.  I think everyone is also trying to save money as well, since the highest price tickets have become astronomical.  For my EWR-DTW flite, it was ~$1K for a 1 way ticket the weekend before xmas, and the days after.  Flying on Christmas, initially was a couple hundred dollars, and last minute tickets were about half the cost of flying on the weekend or subsequent days.

            (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: When Flying, How do You Spend Your Travel Day?
    marriottmemberfromla Platinum 51 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    I've heard of those mile runs.  I've never done one.  I always fly one airline (United), but I don't mind layovers.  You have to know which airlines not to connect at though.  For instance, I really try to avoid connecting in Chicago due to the weather and the usual delays.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: When Flying, How do You Spend Your Travel Day?
    GemPrincess Alumni Steward Platinum 17 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    Since I fly non-stops mainly, never realized I get more miles and segments by connecting.

     

    Will need to look into this.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: When Flying, How do You Spend Your Travel Day?
      jkernitzki Platinum 2 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      If my travel last year was 100% nonstops (actually impossible), I'd have something like 86 segments; as it is, I did have a few nonstops, but also some three-leg trips (two connections between departure & destination). It all ended up at 171 segments, more or less. The mileage for the year was at least 20-25% more by connecting, since there's always the "elbow" of the hub, and many of the flights were only 150-300 miles—but are credited with 500.  It adds up nicely.

      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: When Flying, How do You Spend Your Travel Day?
    ssindc Platinum 42 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    Fascinating questions, painedplatinum - and some random reactions:

     

    • I generally do NOT break up a flight when a direct flight is available.  My primary argument against breaking up a flight is the risk of not arriving (or returning) in/on time. Two flights doubles the chances of a flight delay or cancelled flight.  Particularly for short trips - which make up most of my flying - getting there is job # 1.

     

    • Having said that, I will break up a trip from time to time.  The primary reasons include:
      • Leisure travel on my own dime.  Often it is much (much) cheaper to take the less convenient flight.
      • The "free" European day trip experience - particularly when flying to Asia or the Middle East. If you've never done this, I strongly recommend it....
        • I typically fly WEST when I go to Asia, and many of the major airlines fly direct (10-14 hours) to the major Asian airports.
        • If I have some extra time, however, I'll book on one of the European airlines (Turkish airlines is currently my favorite - comfy, best foot, best lounge in Istanbul), and book the long layover flight (which, frequently, reduces the cost as well).  This tends to break the trip in half, and creates a "free" day trip to a European city.  Basically, from DC, you fly overnight to Europe, then overnight - the next night - on to Asia.  The major European airports all have convenient train or bus service downtown, and - for a bonus - you can snag a shower in the airport lounge before the second leg of your trip.  This works well if you'd like a day trip to: Amsterdam (KLM), Brussels (United), Frankfurt (Lufthansa, United), Istanbul (one of the toughest to get downtown, but you can book day trips through Turkish Air), London (lots of options), Munich (Lufthansa), Paris (Air France).  There may be others, but those are the ones I'm familiar with.

     

    • In my experience, if you're close, a December weekend mileage run is always worth it.  For example, my buddy and I did a weekend in London once when I was on the cusp of United 1K.  In addition to all of the other 1K benefits - the biggest (for my family, is free upgrades for everyone to Economy Plus) - you get multiple global (international) upgrades, which are worth real money....
      • My main advice on this is "do the math."  For example, if I fly once with my family (with or without my mother-in-law), 2 extra (or 3) economy plus upgrades - each way - are worth $400-600+... If we take multiple trips, they add up fast....
      • Also - and now we're getting into details - the difference between being 1K and Platinum on United dramatically increases the likelihood of free domestic upgrades. 
      • Also, don't forget, there's no reason for a mileage run not be fun.  There are so many places I'd love to visit....

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: When Flying, How do You Spend Your Travel Day?
      john_thai Platinum 8 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      Once upon a time the European national airlines used to run Business Class extra day specials. Cross the pond on their national airline and then connect to another flight and they would give you a hotel for free for a day. Example, fly to Paris on KLM via Amsterdam and KLM would lay you over for a day and pay for a room at the Sonesta. Great way to get some free tourism.

      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

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