At the beginning of the year, I blogged about setting up a plan for the year in each of your FF programs that were important to you and setting a realistic goal of the status that you could achieve. Here is a link. Establishing a plan helps you get the status you want by projecting the number of miles or points you need and taking opportunities throughout the year to add a few more, when the best deals are around, so you can efficiently get just enough for the level you seek. Nothing is worse than spending money to get an extra 10,000 miles only to realize at the end of the year that you would have achieved your goal anyway. Besides military guys always love to plan everything don’t we? Just ask our spouses.
So for this year, I am simply repeating the goals I have had for the last several years: United 1K, Alaska MVP Gold, and Marriott Platinum. Admittedly, this is a real challenge since we are talking about flying 150,000 miles and staying in a hotel for 75 nights. Some years the programs have come along with double night stays or double mile promotions, but I am not predicting that there will be any of those this year (or the foreseeable future). Alright so where do I stand as of today?
United: 76,001 EQM of 100,000 needed
Alaska: 16,861 EQM of 50,000 needed
Marriott: 41 nights of 75 needed
So looks like I am way ahead on United, far behind on Alaska and just right on Marriott. Now before I go and make changes, I need to ask myself if I should change my goals for the year. I am reaching the max level on United, but under the new MileagePlus program, I could earn 2 additional Regional Premier Upgrades (formerly CR-1s). If I could somehow get to 150,000EQM I would get 2 more RPU AND 2 Global Premier Upgrades (formerly SWUs). Hmmm, I already have 6 GPUs and couldn’t give them to a deserving person in my recent contest so I probably don’t need any more of those, but I only have 1 RPU left after spending a couple on some friends and another one on my wife.* 125,000 EQM sounds like a reasonable goal for United now.
However, making MVP Gold is also important to me on Alaska as that gives me the perk to change any of my reservations without change fees. I really like this perk and it has saved my a lot of money over the years since if I have a trip that I am not 100% sure that I will take, I can still book it and know that I can change it in the future, unlike on United who kill me on change fees! So priority goes to increase my earning on Alaska, and thier partners, so I can reach Gold and then I can shift flights to United to try for 125,000 EQM.
Looking at the plan I made at the beginning of the year and the adjustments that I have made as the year progressed, I see that I have a trip planned in October from Honolulu to D.C. I planned to fly that on United, but maybe I better switch to Alaska. Checking prices – they are about the same – I change the plan which just adjusted 10,000 EQM from United to Alaska. Looking at my plan I am prdicting that I will make 50,000 EQM on Alaska, but now only 110,000 EQM on United. That’s meets my goals and tells me that I need to be on the lookout for taking trips more trips of opportunity on United and not worry about taking any more on Alaska or thier partners.
Good plans make a military guy happy!