Is the game over for you? Partly over?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by Bay Pisco Shark, Feb 13, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Bay Pisco Shark
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    Bay Pisco Shark Gold Member

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    After a couple million paid flight miles, well over a decade of status in air and hotel programs, and having seen a lot of places, mostly not on mileage runs (and having started "the game" long before the internets helped one play it), I'm partially "over it." I still like the status, use the miles and points well, but am much more selective about where I keep my status, some of it isn't as important, and I'm tired of the upgrade game, so I buy some discounted premium seats from time to time, and for the most part, don't worry about it. Same with hotels. Much less driven, and more focused. Seeing a mistake or otherwise really cheap fare to fly all over, in the main cabin, maybe getting a battlefield upgrade, really has no more appeal for me. I can't be alone here. I still love to travel, and still do a fair amount of it. My game is "partly over."
     
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  2. Westsox
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    Westsox Gold Member

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    I think we all go through various stages when it comes to travel just like other things in life. I play golf, some years I average more than one round a week, other years I will play maybe a dozen rounds. I am not traveling much as of late due to a job change that does not require travel and a change in personal economics. I hope to return to regular travel in the future but am enjoying the break.
     
  3. Jenny & Curt
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    Jenny & Curt Gold Member

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    All of our travel is self-paid, so when we entered this game, we had to decide which way to go. We thought it would be striving for elite status and hoping for the "battlefield commissions," but soon realized that we didn't have it in us. We have decided that earning miles without BIS, even if it means buying them, and then using them for upgraded travel, is more what we can cope with. Our runs are mattress runs, as we can handle staying in nice hotels to earn stays in nice hotels more than we can endure hours with our knees in our throats for the future privilege of earning an opportunity to fly with our feet on the actual floor.
     
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  4. ingy
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    ingy Silver Member

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    After about 11 years in the game, I'm not interested in MR's or mistake fares in coach cabin . I do the deals that pay large numbers , concentrate on places I want to see again or interesting places I've yet to visit. But that in itself is the big change. I've seen most of the places I have wanted to see.

    I'm down now to the Pyramids, Mauritius, Nepal and fly fishing in Chile with a side trip to Patagonia
     
  5. Westsox
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    Westsox Gold Member

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    You may want to hold off on the Pyramids for now.
     
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  6. 2soonold
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    2soonold Gold Member

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    Yep, I gotta have a big travel goal that is important to me. Probably in 10 years I will have seen everything I was particularly interested in seeing, and my interest will fall off.
     
  7. FlashBack
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    FlashBack Silver Member

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    Try changing the game. Switch to cash back instead of points / miles. Stay where you want, fly anywhere you want without all the hassles.
     
  8. Bay Pisco Shark
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    Bay Pisco Shark Gold Member

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    Actually, my miles and points go to very good use. But how I get them and how I spend them has changed. Cash back isn't going to get me my few premium award trips a year (in addition to the paid trips). I remember in the early 90s, calling UA at exactly 9pm Pacific Time to try and get my upgrade at the earliest possible instance during the upgrade period, and remember the nervous excitement of the call when I first made 2P. Then 1P. Then 1K. Then it all went automated. It was a great ride. It is now a different ride. I still make a couple of "stupid trips" a year to keep my AS status. But if they are longhaul, they are in F, with no upgrade roulette, and the chance to get 10K EQMs on a single transcon via SEA is more important, timewise, than taking two trips and spending less. Also, I'm over watching overhead bin space get filled up while waiting for that last minute upgrade. It isn't that I never wait for an upgrade (esp. on shorthaul) or never do stooooopid things (like a bunch of mattress-running last year), but it is just different.
     
  9. FlashBack
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    FlashBack Silver Member

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    Actually it can get you that and a lot more. Anyone that is doing mileage runs is putting in a lot more work than those that are maxing out cash rewards cards.
     
  10. wanderlust
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    wanderlust Silver Member

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    Feel like my ride into the game is just beginning. But I definitely understand your perspective, and know I'll likely be there sometime too.
     
  11. Ripper3785

    Ripper3785 Silver Member

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    That REALLY depends on one's spend....
     
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  12. Sam Axe
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    Sam Axe Silver Member

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    The game is definitely changing, but part of that is based on the economy. The last big lull I felt was in 1999, when airline bonuses were meh, top level status was still evolving (UA 1K and AA EXP were relatively new), and hotel prices were extremely inflated. In those days, I was using Priceline BYOP for 80% of my hotel stays, both work and leisure. Then the .com bubble burst, UA had the Summer From Hell, AA felt the need to keep up, and suddenly I found AA essentially paying me to keep on flying to Europe in the fall of 2000.... first time as EXP and two sets of 8 lovely old-style VIP2s confirmed upgrades into J with no capacity controls.

    I feel like we're in that lull again. Airlines are using information to retrench their programs and stripping capacity (and therefore award seats) down to the bone. More and more 50-seaters, less and less bonuses. Hotels are routinely asking for $100 per weekend night for their low-end brands in suburban locations, with no real benefits to status.

    In the past 36 months, I've gone from UA 1K to UA Blue, SPG Plat to Gold, HH Diamond to Gold, and Hyatt Diamond to Platinum. We're seeing programs such as Southwest go to something much closer to a cash back program - offering high volume last minute business travelers what amounts to a 40% rebate to use towards their vacation travel, before promos. But at the legacies, Y->J upgrades now come with high enough co-pays and mileage amounts to make them pointless, and suddenly I'm looking at alternating between discount J fares and J awards instead of buying coach and upgrading both trips. Once I start buying J... I don't really need to chase airline status any more.

    Is the chase over? Maybe, but that might just be the effects of being 20 years older than when I first made Premier and got to buy upgrades on ORD-SFO DC10s for $50 a pop. I've been able to see the world in those 20 years, and the burning desire to get to the next place on the bucket list for under $0.07/EQM with an upgrade has been replaced by a set of more pragmatic goals.
     
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  13. kiwi
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    kiwi Gold Member

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    Not for me. There are so many places I want to go to - some new, some to revisit (again and again). Since funds are limited, this means playing the game.
     
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  14. Punki
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    Punki Silver Member

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    For us the game has changed a lot.

    We no longer do the grunt travel for our company and certainly have no interest in chasing status. Now days, we really only fly to places we want to go, either to catch a cruise, attend events with friends and family, or just to play.

    We both have lifetime status on UA and enough miles, split between Star Alliance and One World, to keep us in biz or first the rest of our lives, if we are reasonably careful.

    Since we still work, and still own our company, we still have the ability to earn miles and points through credit card purchases and will probably continue to do so for at least another 4 or 5 years. Who knows? We really do enjoy our work so there is no burning passion to retire.

    The thing that really bothers me is that after April we will no longer have top status on both HH and SPG. Our travel last year diminished to the point where we had to make a choice and we went with SPG. Sometimes I lament the fact that we switched from Marriott where we could have achieved lifetime status, but what the hey. We have received some truly amazing perks and upgrades form HH and SPG over the years so we really have no regrets.
     
  15. SFOPeter
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    SFOPeter Silver Member

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    I stopped playing the domestic upgrade game a few years ago in favor of B6 and then VX. But I still greatly enjoy taking 1 or 2 premium cabin int'l trips a year, this year will be Buenos Aires next month in AA F and Mumbia over the xmas holidays in BA F. I have enough miles for a trip a year for the next 3-4 years & am still accumulating. The hotel upgrades are fine but I am in the room so little I really don't care about the suites... was a in a massive suite in PDX last week for all of 7 hours, 6 of which I was sleeping.
     
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  16. eightblack
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    eightblack Silver Member

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    I dont think it's over. Not by a long shot. I just think I have learned (and am still learning) how to play the game a lot better. For example, I now think about the 2 airlines I want to maintain elite status in (ie 1K on UA, and Gold on EK). I'm planning a lot better than I used to, and taking advantage of the best ticketing and upgrade options. I never used to pay much attention to hotel programs - but am determined to reach status on at least one hotel program this year (even if it means doing a mattress run). I also work a lot harder at premium cabin travel (ie by using miles/SWU's to upgrade) as I'm not getting younger and my liver is starting to fail...
     
  17. philcape
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    philcape Silver Member

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    My game is changing. Mainly as a function of getting older so that I can't be bothered to squeeze every point and mile out of every situation. Plus having a bit more disposable income and more free time. So now I cut myself a bit of slack and enjoy hotels that don't actually have a FG programme. And I will pay not to have to do a mileage run! [​IMG] Of course all this means getting off the status treadmill. But to be honest it's a relief. Sometimes I think I made the race for status more important than the benefits to be gained.

    What I doubt will ever change is my awareness of what miles and points can do for me and how using them with savvy can bring me luxury experiences that would ordinarily be byond my grasp.
     
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  18. Jaimito Cartero
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    Jaimito Cartero Silver Member

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    I've never been much into mileage runs. I can't say I even like to fly that much, to be truthful. I just want to go places, and if I have to fly, I'd much rather be on a good airline with great service and seats. Much of the US FF program system is a bit broken. Upgrades decreasing by a large amount. Difficult to use accrued FF mileage on some programs.

    These days, I'd much rather use accrued airline miles for awards in FC or Biz, internationally. Paying thousands of dollars chasing elite status, for some possible upgrades isn't worth it for me. In fact, this will be the first year, I don't have top status in any airline alliance. Mid level with 1, will have to do.

    Since I'm still doing a lot of hotel stays, I do find the promotions that Hyatt and IHG do as still very important to me. With luck, IHG will actually have a decent PB option coming out this month. In the past, even when they've come out with a so-so list, I've been able to book a night or 20 on the lists they've had.
     
  19. magic111
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    magic111 Silver Member

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    Having been on fixed income++ since my retirement almost 7 years ago I still say that I also have places that I want to revisit again and again along with new places to visit . It means either playing the game more than I ever did prior to retirement or winning the lotto.

    Last years new places included Borneo, Machu Pichu, Petra, Tunisia, Ayers Rock and revisits included, Chang Mai, Singapore, Naxos (Greek Island) and Denali along with a few more. Duplicating that year after year requires me to either win the lotto or continue the game.

    The world may be getting smaller but it is still a big place for those who want to see it.
    [​IMG]
    Me & Ayers. Australia - May 2010
     
  20. ahow628
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    ahow628 Silver Member

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    I'm just starting the game with my wife. We are going to bust our humps as much as possible so we can enjoy traveling after retirement (early, hopefully). In any case, I've enjoyed hacking around and picking up miles here and there. Gives me something fun to do.
     
  21. Bay Pisco Shark
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    Bay Pisco Shark Gold Member

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    My HH status went from Diamond to Gold to Blue in a relatively short time period. (It is now Silver because of something I signed up for.) The sun still rises, the sun still sets, I've been spending the bank I have at Hamptons, where my status doesn't matter much, and the HH program wasn't doing much for me in any event. I kept the SPG Platinum, and got PC Platinum because of their easy-to-qualify for promo (now good through end of 2012), so all remains "right enough" with the world A couple of years ago, my SPG status fell to Gold for a year, and you know what? The sun rose, the sun set, and life remained generally good. Without a tremendous amount of thought, I knew that my most important hotel perk was a late checkout. Done. Platinum again this year, but who knows for next. I currently have exactly one night at one SPG property booked right now. I have exactly one night at a PC property booked right now. While that might change, that is probably it through March.

    If your ride was good while you were riding it, that is all you (and I) can ask for.
     
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  22. justinhamlin
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    justinhamlin Active Member

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    I am with you on that one. Wife and I are just getting into it. Figure it is something we can do as a hobby, as well as with the CC points, etc, if we can take 2-4 nice vacations a year for little outlay, then I think we are doing good.
     
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  23. SeeYa
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    SeeYa Silver Member

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    I cannot imagine being tired of seeing new places. As a kid I had what I thought was a long list of places I wanted to see, and I imagined that once I checked them off the list, I'd be satisfied. That list has actually grown. The more places I go, the more I find I either didn't have time to accomplish, or I want to repeat.
    And yes, the game has changed. But so have I. :)
    We do seem to be in a down cycle for opportunities. I figure to settle in, do what I can afford to do, maybe burn more than I have in the past, and but certainly not abandon the game just yet.
     
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  24. Punki
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    Punki Silver Member

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    We too love the late checkout, but I must admit I am also pretty addicted to getting fabulous suites. We had an amazing one at the Excelsior in Rome in December. It felt heavenly to sit in our glorious living room drinking the complimentary wine they brought us. It is also nice to have two bathrooms. It is so easy to get spoiled. :)
     
  25. Sean
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    Sean Gold Member

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    I don't think the game is over yet, but its definitely not moving in the right direction. Having only been involved in it since graduating from college in May 2009, I think I've definitely been around for a lot of negative news, ranging from the end of the traditional United mileage run to United recently tightening their compensation for skykits.

    The "game" definitely feels like a shadow of its former self.
     
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