This post is going to be slightly different from previous posts. To be completely honest, writing was the last thing on my mind the past few months. I recently left a job I loved to pursue another opportunity, it was a tough decision, but I believe that it was the right decision and more importantly it allows me to continue to do what I really love…. Travel! (for free)

I honestly am not sure where to start, so the order of these flights not be right, but they lead to a major milestone in the Pursuit of Status. Which I will get to later in the post, unless I’ve forgotten by then… and please let the grammar/spelling slide.

ORD-DFW (1,602 Miles R/T)

This is a route that I take often. Whenever possible I try to build in a stop in DFW along the way, it’s a cheap way to pick up a few extra miles and an extra segment when traveling west. I personally am a HUGE fan of this route because it is currently being serviced by AA’s 787-8! I highly recommend experiencing the Dreamliner if you have the chance and make sure you pick a window seat. I personally love row 18 for this short hop because there are only 2 seats on the outer rows of seats. I understand how the proximity to the bathrooms could be frustrating on long-haul flights, but for the short trip its fantastic. I also love that you know you are going to get in-flight entertainment. AA offers free TV/Movies on the seat-back entertainment, which helps make the flight even more interesting and enjoyable.

For the trip home I was unable to book the Dreamliner and ended up on the oldest plane in the AA fleet, the MD-80. I recently heard that AA just decommissioned its last “black-nosed” MD-80. I don’t know about the significance of it, but thought it was interesting and maybe you will too. Anyway, I have said in older posts that the MD-80 is one of my favorite planes in the AA fleet. Mostly because of the 2 person rows on the left side of the plane, but summer on MD-80’s is a whole different ball game. The MD-80 does not have the best air-conditioning system and when boarding the plane gets uncomfortably hot. I love priority boarding from AA status, but it is painful when sitting in Dallas on a summer day on an old plane. After the flight and a shower I was happy to be home!

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Love Field from the air

ORD-LGA (1,462 Miles R/T)

So, earlier in the post I mentioned things would most likely be out-of-order, well they are. This was the trip that put me over the 50,000 mile threshold for the year! I will explain more why this is important later in the post, but this trip was actually a trip for pleasure. I was able to fly to NYC to visit my family and enjoy a much-needed relaxing weekend being a tourist in New York. The flights were uneventful, both ways on AA’s 737-800s which service the route. I was unable to clear my upgrades both ways, but was lucky enough to get Main-Cabin Extra both ways from having Gold Status.

What made these flights particularly fun was being able to fully explore and utilize the LGA Admirals Club. The views of the runway were fantastic and made waiting for the delayed flight enjoyable. The club features a shower, which I do not fully understand given most of American’s red-eyes and Long-Hauls fly into JFK, but its nice to know if I ever find myself in LGA needing a shower I have somewhere to go.

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President Obama in Time Square
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One World Trade (Freedom Tower)
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9/11 Memorial

ORD-DFW-DEN-ORD (4,562 Miles R/T)

I had almost forgotten about this trip! It was one I had to take to go to a friends bachelor party in Denver. Said friend gets married below… It was the first time I was able to ride the Dreamliner. It took a lot of work and research to get the flights to price out in a way that could justify the added stop, but after several days of checking AA.Com and Google.Flights I was able to get the ticket for only $50 more than a non-stop routing to Denver. I have to say, it was worth it. I won’t go on and on about the Dreamliner again, but it was amazing! Did I mention the windows? How quiet it was? How amazing the wing flex is? It really is a great plane.

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MD-80 wing over Denver

ORD-LHR-DUB-LHR-ORD (8,438 Miles R/T)

What can I say, I took a vacation to Dublin. Great experience and more importantly earned a lot of miles. It was a personal trip and I had a great time! The LHR-DUB-LHR portion of the trip was on British Airways and I have to say it puts American to shame in terms of customer experience. The A319 was new and clean, the free snack was great, and the flight attendants are superb!

The other exciting part of this trip was to experience the LHR Admirals Club! I love how all of the snacks and drinks are grab and go. The breakfast was good, and we were able to sneak out a few snacks for the plane… shhh… except I’m pretty sure its allowed. The Club was not the most amazing airline club I’ve ever been to, but it is a great place to escape the madness that is LHR airport.

777-200 over London
777-200 over London

ORD-STL-PHX-SAN-PHX-STL-PHX-DEN-ORD-STL-CLT-RSW-CLT-STL-ORD (??? Miles R/T)

This series of flights took place in just two incredibly fun, but short weeks. I had to be in STL for business, flew to San Diego for the weekend (paid by company) and then had to be in Denver for a day for work. After that I had to go to a wedding in Fort Myers, but had already booked my return flight for work and ended up flight back to STL before heading home to ORD.

Lessons Learned:

I am going to miss US Airways. Several of these flights, all connecting through Phoenix and Charlotte were on US Airways metal. Because of the way Elite Status works with US Airways I was upgraded on ALL of these flights! I had so much airplane food these two weeks that I might never eat it again.

I’m Lucky! This was one of the most fun weeks of my life and I am so thankful that I have a profession that allows me to travel and explore. But I’m mostly lucky because there were no significant delays that messed up this endless string of flights.

I LOVE FLYING! I remember when I told my parents of this outrageous itinerary. Neither one understood how I enjoyed doing this, but I absolutely do and as the pursuit continues the perks just keep getting better leading to even more enjoyable flights.

You get to meet some cool people! This one is a stretch, but through my travels I have met countless professionals and have further built my “network.” BUT thats boring! The cool people are Lou Brock, Ozzie Smith, and Terrance Howard!

CRJ-900 at CLT
CRJ-900 at CLT

PLATINUM STATUS:

Honestly I thought for a second about not writing this part because this post is significantly longer than I had imagined, but I felt bad thinking how disappointed someone would be if they made it this far and I didn’t mention it. So far reaching Platinum status has not been terribly exciting. It is nice being able to pick Main-Cabin extra at the time of booking instead of fighting for it at T-24. It is nice being higher up on the upgrade & standby lists. By far and away the BEST part of hitting Platinum are the miles. A typical ORD-STL flight is 238 miles (about). If you have no status, that is all you earn toward traveling to the place of your dreams. As an Advantage Gold you earn a minimum of 500-Miles + 25% bonus = 625. And that is the case for any flight less than 500 miles. BUT as an Advantage Platinum you earn the same 500-Mile minimum, but the bonus is 100%. So any flight under 500 miles earns you 1,000 miles toward the 50,000 needed to fly to Europe in Business Class!

Reaching Platinum is a major milestone, but I’m only halfway there. Now I’m more open to the idea of Mileage Running because of the 100% bonus, so if work travel remains slower than I’d have hoped, you might be seeing a post about a Mileage Run in the future. In fact, if everything goes well I have one planned from ORD-LAX that I was able to book for $100 and pay for with my Amex Gold Premier Reward airline credit ($100).

ENDING:

First of, I’m sorry this post rambled, I couldn’t stomach writing a post for each series of flights, so I just put it all out there. I will make more of an effort to post more regularly and keep the posts short. Please let me know if there is anything you’d like to learn more about or have any questions.

Lastly, I added photo’s in the post, if you like that please let me know!

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