Is this a young person's game? And when is enough enough?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by SFOPeter, Mar 24, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. SFOPeter
    Original Member

    SFOPeter Silver Member

    Messages:
    142
    Likes Received:
    108
    Status Points:
    395
    At the end of 2012, I swore to myself that I have been traveling too much and would not achieve status in 2013. Yet, here I am at the end of Q1 with 31K UA PQMs and 9 SPG stays - on track for 1K and SPG Plat. Last month, AA gave me CK status. My company pays for J/C/F and I have no idea how I will use 6 GPUs and 8 SWUs this year other than upgrading work flights from C to F. I know my way around quite a few cities like a local. Yet, I am still playing this game like an addict... if I had only put a couple of more trips on UA last year, I would have had GS!!! Yesterday, UA op-up'd me from C to F on a JFK-SFO ps flight. Boom!

    On top of the travel world? I'm tired of traveling this much. I'm 41 and have been doing this since my early 20s. I live in San Francisco a block from the beach at Crissy and love it here, and my friends think I don't even live here any more.

    A few weeks ago I was in PEK and HKG for 4 days, and tacked on 3 days in Hanoi for fun. There were no good flights via StarAlliance or OneWorld and the SPG property was derelict according to TripAdvisor. So, imagine this, I flew on Vietnam Airlines (SkyTeam) with no status, paid $550 for HKG-HAN-PEK in Y, and stayed at an independent boutique hotel in the old quarter highly rated by TripAdvisor. The flights were uneventful and the hotel was great. I did the kettle trip and it was fine.

    Don't get me wrong, I have loved this experience and hacking the travel system. Like many of you, I have been all over the world in premium cabins and luxury hotels. Even my 17 year old son has been to 25 countries and all 7 continents and can tell you the differences in F between different carriers like a pro. It has been great.

    I have enough miles banked to go on a pretty luxurious vacation for two once a year for the next 5 years or so, even with devaluations, and can probably tack 3 years onto that with CC spend. And pretty regularly there are premium fare sales where you can travel nicely for 2 pretty much anywhere for $5K give or take. So for personal travel I am good for almost a decade. Although likely many of you, I really don't have many places left on my bucket list.

    After almost 20 years on the road, I am thinking of hanging up my hat and dropping out of this racket for a while and chilling. I guess you could call it an "Up in the AIr" existential crisis. Anyone else having a similar experience/thoughts?

    SFOPeter
     
  2. skyvan

    skyvan Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,044
    Likes Received:
    3,688
    Status Points:
    2,045
    If you decide to give it up I'll help relieve you of your miles :D
     
  3. mattsteg
    Original Member

    mattsteg Gold Member

    Messages:
    3,276
    Likes Received:
    5,543
    Status Points:
    4,170
    You flew 31k miles by mistake?

    Travel when you enjoy it, to places you want to go. If elite status comes relatively naturally, follow it when it makes sense, but don't be a slave to it. Same with points/miles in general - make sure they're opening doors rather than restricting choices. There are a lot of great travel opportunities that points and miles enable, but also a lot of great travel opportunities that they can play at most a supporting role in.
     
    Travelsavant and jbcarioca like this.
  4. ab3i
    Original Member

    ab3i Silver Member

    Messages:
    408
    Likes Received:
    1,142
    Status Points:
    795
    I dont know about the age factor, I am 32 but i can relate to the sentiment. I fly every week (sadly my company only allow cheapest non-refundable economy tickets), and i do wonder if its worth it. Last year, due to medical reasons i didn't travel for ~6 months, and frankly after the first few weeks I enjoyed staying at 'home'. I was finally able to meet friends, go to dinners, bbq's etc. etc. On the flip side, I am back to traveling, and didnt requalify for 1K last year - so i do miss the priority group 1 boarding, however I miss the aspect of having a somewhat non-traveling life even more.

    On that note, I am sure a lot of us over here will be more than happy to use your GPU's :)
     
    Travelsavant and jbcarioca like this.
  5. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

    Messages:
    4,739
    Likes Received:
    5,086
    Status Points:
    4,270
    I am older but I feel like I have just started traveling, even though I have been doing at least 100K miles/yr over the last several years, mostly on long-haul flights. I am already looking forward to my 2013 annual year-end escapade!

    I envy you your bountiful uncertainty or dilemma:), but it's great that you can hang it up while still at the pinnacle of your game...
     
  6. Steven Schwartz
    Original Member

    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,017
    Likes Received:
    2,195
    Status Points:
    1,270
    I emotionally miss elite status but it sounds like your vacation travels are like mine - and when you fly upfront on award tickets, not missing much without status. Add the United Club card for me and pretty much all works out with less stress!
     
    Travelsavant, bez7 and jbcarioca like this.
  7. anabolism
    Original Member

    anabolism Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,403
    Likes Received:
    1,771
    Status Points:
    1,120
    I wouldn't say it was a young person's game or an old person's game. Younger players can better tolerate long trips in economy and sleep disruption, middle-aged players may have more funds to devote to travel but more work or family time commitments, and older people likely have more time to spend enjoying the travel. So, each stage has advantages and disadvantages. If you're in a position where work pays for J and F travel, you're top-tier on multiple carriers, and you have more SWUs and miles than you know what to do with, then you might want to focus less on the game and more on maximizing your enjoyment of the trips you do take. Especially if you love the area where you live and want to spend more time there. As for the SWUs, I'm confident you could find a few volunteers here to make sure they don't go to waste.
     
    Travelsavant, bez7, SFOPeter and 3 others like this.
  8. Randy Petersen
    Original Member

    Randy Petersen Founder

    Messages:
    2,731
    Likes Received:
    15,136
    Status Points:
    10,520
    Peter, one of the most interesting posts I've ever read, thanks. I've been doing this even longer and have a few friends also long into the game of miles/points and I'm going to have to think on this before answering. Maybe that's the change, years ago I would likely have had an answer immediately!!
     
  9. redtailshark

    redtailshark Silver Member

    Messages:
    1,041
    Likes Received:
    875
    Status Points:
    895
    SFOPeter, an interesting take. I think many of us might feel ambivalent about this in the abstract, as we talk here.

    I get what you're saying. I feel exhausted this week. 60k PQM so far this year. Nine days and 17 sectors in J and F in just over a week recently. Lots of this has been award flying so the total magnitude has been >> 60k BIS. I was so fatigued at the end of the last trip that my BKK-NRT (TG) and NRT-LAX (NH) sectors in F were ho-hum experiences.

    Even a legendary hardass like ranko, who flew a similar volume during this period, felt burned out.

    When I was younger I just didn't have the knowledge to make these things happen using the customary FT/travel jedi cocktail of misfiled fares, award subversions and credit card banditry. Now I do and, although for the last seven or eight years I've maxed it out, I can see the end of the tunnel.

    My mantra has always been, the only mistake fare or mileage run that you regret....is the one you don't take. But the feeling SFOPeter describes has been growing stronger of late.

    There's a modifier in my case. In the continued absence of sponsored work travel, I anticipate being forced out of the elite ranks when UA and AA move to DL-esque MQD systems. So I plan on another small number of years of intense effort.

    I might make UA MM by then and I think I will re-evaluate at that time, if not before.

    But then, on the other hand every time one of these RGN-type doozies appears, that little voice says....book 19 of them now...... or next year, with no travel and no new places to see, you will be feeling blue :eek: So I do.

    You all know there's really nothing like the buzz of meeting your fellow bandits at the street eatery in RGN over rice and Myanmar to talk mileage banditry, or seeing someone you know well as you walk out the gate at ANC on a midnight run from MIA. No need to even ask why your buddy is there, randomly, everyone thousands of miles from their "normal" locations. Or @ the SIN SKL, four overnights so far these past few months....D10 retirement flight parties, Larry Kellner laughing with us at a CO DO table in the IAH PC over the extent of MSP-LGW misfile abuse, and so on.

    As the commercial goes, priceless.

    Oppa, Rangoon Style... heyyyy mileage runners....
     
  10. robmac

    robmac Silver Member

    Messages:
    253
    Likes Received:
    388
    Status Points:
    500
    I can relate in a different way...

    I'm not a road warrior nor hardcore traveler, I travel mostly out of pleasure grown to *addiction*. That has lead me to about 1.5-2 months out of the year sleeping somewhere else than home.

    Even when it's all "pleasure", it does wear you out. You are tired and fuzzy in the head. And during some red-eye or midnite at some far off hotel, you do question "WTF am I doing?"

    But all it takes is a couple of weeks at "home" and you start thinking about some place you'd like to visit, some food you tasted somewhere, another stamp on the passport, the smells of the hotels and my favorite: the feel of the pressurized cabin. And then the antsy feeling begins, and before I can help it, I got Matrix loaded up and start hitting the grid for flights.
     
  11. 7Continents
    Original Member

    7Continents Silver Member

    Messages:
    141
    Likes Received:
    202
    Status Points:
    420
    The fact that the OP is 41 - young by most standards is awesome. Find a buddy and use your bennies for pleasure until the miles run out or your bank account reads almost empty. I would.
     
  12. jbcarioca
    Original Member

    jbcarioca Gold Member

    Messages:
    17,507
    Likes Received:
    57,455
    Status Points:
    20,020
    My first commercial flight alone was in a DC-3. I am now well over 65, and have been flying worldwide on a regular basis since I was 21 years old. Mostly on business, my >45 years have managed to get me about six million miles on the defunct Swissair (I still have my Swiss travel Club credentials, invitation only CK+ program) and a fair number of others. After all those years and the years when I worked in one country and lived (allegedly) in another half the world away I still become nervous when I stay in the same country for more than a couple of weeks. My addiction was bad enough that I became a pilot and flew myself worldwide for some years (HKG, LHR, JFK, ORD, NCE, TEX, DFW, UAK were some of the memorable airports). My impression is that many more of us are deeply addicted than not, especially the most active people here.

    Our choices vary according to preferences and means, but I do not think the addiction is curable unless one really wants a cure. I do not.

    A couple of months ago Mrs. jbc and I flew from GIG to SIN so we could have black pepper crab at Long Beach Dempsey. We did, and returned. From threads here i do not think that behavior is especially unusual here. Anybody who will do such things is not in search of a cure!

    Are you, SFOPeter, in search of a cure?
     
  13. robmac

    robmac Silver Member

    Messages:
    253
    Likes Received:
    388
    Status Points:
    500
    The wife and I flew to Boston for seafood and back. The highlight was the flight and the food, in that order ;)
     
  14. SM105

    SM105 Silver Member

    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    248
    Status Points:
    345
    Enough is enough when it stops being fun.

    I've traveled to many places in this world that I probably never wanted to. But that has not (yet) stopped me from enjoying the experience of traveling to a place that I did want to.
     
    Travelsavant, Fredrik, bez7 and 2 others like this.
  15. jbcarioca
    Original Member

    jbcarioca Gold Member

    Messages:
    17,507
    Likes Received:
    57,455
    Status Points:
    20,020
    it just struck me that many of the people I know who've tired of lots of travel have teenagers at home. There is nothing quite like the responsibility and pleasure of a parent facing the dual joy and anguish of raising a teenager long distance, so I am told.
     
    Travelsavant, bez7 and anabolism like this.
  16. Dad to GO

    Dad to GO Silver Member

    Messages:
    230
    Likes Received:
    219
    Status Points:
    400
    It's funny... I'm in the opposite position. Being a business manager here I don't get to do any work travel for my job but I wish I did. True having a new baby at home has changed how much I would like to travel but I would still enjoy the occasional business travel. I can't imagine being away from my family for extended periods of time every other week though. Maybe one day I'll find a job that allows limited travel to some fun places... but for now it's just my office with a decent view...
     
  17. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

    Messages:
    4,739
    Likes Received:
    5,086
    Status Points:
    4,270
    Speaking of traveling on impulse to satisfy an urge, I was attending a conference in Beijing when I got this urge for authentic Sichuan cuisine (my ex was from CTU, where we had married and I had been many times). My urge was specifically for the famed Sichuan 'Hot Pot'. I went online and easily found an award ticket on CA, and as soon as the PEK meeting ended, I flew to Chongqing, where I spent 4 days, with a local young banker I had met in the hotel bar and had told of my urge serving as my guide to the best Hot Pot in town ;) I got back to PEK where I told a colleague who was still there about what I had just done. Shaking his head and laughing, he just said, "You just did what?"

    Sent from my DROID4 using milepoint
     
  18. SM105

    SM105 Silver Member

    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    248
    Status Points:
    345
    A few years ago, the plumbers working on my apartment couldn't fix things before they wound up on a Friday evening. I was facing the prospect of no shower in the heat.

    So I flew to Gatwick, took a shower in the US Airways Arrivals Lounge and flew back. I was home by 5pm Saturday and the plumbers had finished.
     
  19. jbcarioca
    Original Member

    jbcarioca Gold Member

    Messages:
    17,507
    Likes Received:
    57,455
    Status Points:
    20,020
    I am so very happy that my impulses are not considered abnormal here. No wonder i like MP so well.:p Thanks for your stories.:D
     
  20. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

    Messages:
    4,739
    Likes Received:
    5,086
    Status Points:
    4,270
    I think that you are in good company in here. I mentioned my colleague's reaction after I told him that I had flown to Chongqing just to eat hot pot because he thought this bordered on the insane, just like many outside of here feel about our 'obsession' with miles and points.

    Sent from my DROID4 GLOBAL using milepoint
     
  21. RestlessLocationSyndrome
    Original Member

    RestlessLocationSyndrome Silver Member

    Messages:
    1,014
    Likes Received:
    1,356
    Status Points:
    925
    I don't believe this is a young person's game as much as this is a game for the less experienced traveler. It's all fun and games seeing the world until you run out of places where you really want to go. There will always be those of us who will never tire of the constant travel but there is a limit for many of us. For instance, I have come to realize that doing pure MR's just for the sake of earning miles/status is no longer worth it whereas a less experienced traveler might still find the novelty/joy in this.

    At the same time, it's human nature for our emotions to push our addiction or desire too far to one side or the other. We'll usually swing in roller coaster fashion and you are probably just starting up the incline after a death defying drop with loops and twists. I've only been on the road for the past 7 yrs but I have these same feelings every now and then.... but alas, I've got a case of restless location syndrome and I'm sure in a few weeks, you'll be itching to book your next award ticket.
     
  22. anabolism
    Original Member

    anabolism Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,403
    Likes Received:
    1,771
    Status Points:
    1,120
    I concur -- bringing a friend along on pleasure trips is terrific. Last year I decided I wanted to fly the 787, but NRT-BOS is a long flight and I can't sleep with a stranger next to me, so I used miles to bring an old friend along. We spent two full days in Japan. He'd never been out of the country (had to get a passport) and loved the experience.

    It's easy for us frequent flyers to forget what it's like to see another country for the first time. He was also very impressed by international business class.
     
    Travelsavant, bez7 and OceanBreezes like this.
  23. olmangsr

    olmangsr Silver Member

    Messages:
    218
    Likes Received:
    231
    Status Points:
    400
    I'll get back to this thread in 20 years...;) but for now i don't mind doing nyc-pvg like weekend trips:)

    I'm fortunate enough to do every trip with wifey.i think until we can do it as a family there is no real age limit
     
  24. anabolism
    Original Member

    anabolism Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,403
    Likes Received:
    1,771
    Status Points:
    1,120
    I try hard to book flights that are going to be fun. If I'm on the U.S. East Coast and need to go to Europe, I'll fly to LAX, maybe spend the night, then fly to Europe from LAX so I get a nice long flight and can sleep. I'll do day flights instead of nights if possible and the flight is under 10-11 hours.

    I get antsy even if I'm on a trip if I look online at my upcoming trips and don't see a "View All" button (because all my trips fit on the first screen).
     
    Travelsavant and OceanBreezes like this.
  25. webdes03

    webdes03 Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,267
    Likes Received:
    2,298
    Status Points:
    1,225
    I've always loved travel (one of the things that prompted me to take a job with DL while I was in college years ago). Needless to say that I learned many of the tricks in my teens from the other side of the counter; that's made me a much smarter traveler now that I'm a consultant. While I'm only 28, possibly the baby of the group here thus far, I've lately been pretty worn out. I average about 50 segments a year, typically just short of Gold. I've been UA Silver for a number of years (which we all know doesn't give you much to write home about). My conundrum is that most of my travel is regional (I'm a consultant for a company that really only serves the Southeast).

    I see business travel as a gateway to personal travel. My girlfriend and I have taken many trips from the benefit of miles, and both being photography nuts, love our weekend trips across the country to cool photo spots. That said, 50+ segments a year on a regional jet is a hard task. Back when I was single I thought nothing of cramming myself in and heading off on the road for a week. Now, however, I dread Monday morning TSA lines and early morning drives to the airport. As someone who's always marveled aviation, I almost find that the monotonous weekly or bi-weekly business travel degrades my excitement for personal travel.
     
    Travelsavant, bez7 and anabolism like this.

Share This Page