I swear that is (actually) the final time: I can’t imagine I’m phase working

The solar had but to rise, and but there I used to be, once more, making the brief hop between New York Metropolis and Washington, D.C.

It’s simply 214 miles within the air. Extra time is spent boarding and taxiing than really flying. Usually, for this route, I might choose the prepare. It’s a barely longer journey, however a better journey. The time is uninterrupted, so I can sit down and work.

However airline frequent flyer packages have a approach of creating us do very irrational issues again and again, even after we might sworn to ourselves we would not fall into that lure once more.

And so I discovered myself once more up within the air, taking one other spherical journey Thursday morning on American Airways between New York’s LaGuardia Airport (LGA) and Ronald Reagan Washington Nationwide Airport (DCA).

Associated: What is the quickest method to get from New York to Washington, DC?


I might already finished this kind of factor 11 occasions for the reason that begin of the yr.

In latest weeks, I’ve kissed and hugged my household goodnight after a flight house with them and walked off to a different gate and – yet one more – ready jet. I’ve purposely related in Washington on my approach from New York to Charlotte, a route the place there are many nonstops to select from.

Certain, the start of the yr was busy with journey for all types of causes, and I may partly blame that. However it’s additionally true that I have been chasing flights and “segments.”

Let me clarify.

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For the previous 14 months, American flyers have been dwelling underneath a revamped AAdvantage program the place they’ve been making an attempt to earn Loyalty Factors (a quasi-equivalent of airline miles, although they don’t seem to be precisely the identical factor).

American Airways has made a sport out of incomes elite standing once more. There are artistic — a few of us would possibly even say “enjoyable” — methods to now earn Loyalty Factors towards standing. In reality, you technically now not must step foot on a aircraft and fly to acquire American’s highest standing.

Associated: Your final information to American Airways AAdvantage

Originally of the yr, I’d already reached the highest tier of American Airways’ elite standing ranges, a tier referred to as Government Platinum. (The title is maybe some mixture of a profitable enterprise chief and a treasured metallic?)

I did so via a mix of flying, bank card spending and a few artistic leveraging of procuring bonuses and even eating out.

That’s proper: To be one of many prime American Airways prospects, you by no means want to truly fly. What a time we stay in.

Theoretically, one may simply cost $200,000 on their American Airways bank card and be finished with it. (Even much less with spending bonuses.) My pockets aren’t fairly that deep, however I’m a grasp at determining the place to earn factors and monitoring my progress.

A few of the methods I earned the 200,000 Loyalty Factors (quickly going as much as 250,000 factors) wanted to earn Government Platinum standing embody:

  • 1,250 factors each time I hire a automobile with Avis, even only for the day.
  • 1 level per greenback spent at Hyatt inns — and I had numerous lodge stays.
  • 465 factors for getting gasoline at a BP station because of the SimplyMiles web site.
  • 1,200 factors for subscribing to The Wall Road Journal.
  • 11,250 factors for renting a house by way of Marriott via American’s on-line procuring portal.

In fact, there was additionally loads of flying, on-line procuring via American’s portal and spending on my two American Airways cobranded bank cards, all of which received me that a lot nearer to my standing purpose.

Associated: Which bank card ought to I exploit for American Airways flights?


These issues introduced me a lot of the method to reaching the standing and perks I wished to earn for this yr. Nonetheless, a lot of the approach is not the identical factor as getting throughout the road.

To get invaluable systemwide improve certificates, good for upgrading your self wherever on this planet American flies, I additionally wanted to finish 30 flight segments. That’s 30 takeoffs and (hopefully) 30 landings.

Even when I did not need the upgrades, there are different invaluable choices unlocked with these 30 segments, known as Loyalty Selection Rewards.

Scott’s Loyalty Selection Rewards tracker. AA.COM

Associated: use American systemwide upgrades

To start out 2023, I used to be 12 segments in need of that threshold with a number of flights booked to kick off the yr. However as I noticed the top of American’s elite qualifying interval looming on Feb. 28, I made a decision I used to be going all-in.

So, for the previous few weeks, I’ve been doing issues like including further segments to present flights. For as soon as in my life, I wished the connecting flight as a substitute of the nonstop route. Slightly than take Amtrak to and from Washington, like I usually would, I’ve opted to fly.

Then, I ran out of journeys so as to add, tweak or take.

So, early Thursday morning, I boarded a aircraft to get the final segments wanted to hit the magic variety of 30. No enterprise conferences, sightseeing adventures or informal lunch outings with associates have been deliberate.

The purpose? Simply fly to the place I used to be going and get house as rapidly as potential so I may hopefully beat some storms within the forecast that afternoon. The price: 15,000 American AAdvantage miles, which TPG values at $265.50, plus $11.20 in taxes.

Sure, that is irrational. Some would possibly say it is wasteful … and perhaps they’re proper.

I choose to take a look at it as an funding in my future journey. My one (extra) morning of flying will imply a a lot nicer worldwide journey on the entrance of the aircraft — or a pleasant stash of miles to assist jumpstart my subsequent journey.

I had initially constructed a 90-minute buffer into my Washington layover, understanding that the slightest situation can upend flying nowadays.

However there have been no delays. My 6 a.m. flight took off from LaGuardia’s Runway 31 at 6:19 a.m.

I used American’s cellular app plus my elite standing to go standby on the 8:10 a.m. flight house. (I used to be No. 1 of 5 folks on the checklist; there have been 100 empty seats, in response to the app.) In reality, the Airbus A319 that I flew down from New York (registration N763US for all you fellow aviation geeks) ended up being my shuttle house to New York.


Sure, I picked this route largely due to the practically hourly service throughout peak durations.

In the course of the flight to Washington, I watched the solar rise over the Jap Seaboard. Then, my Airbus coasted over the Potomac River for one in all my favourite landings in America, passing all the capital’s monuments. At 7:14 a.m., my aircraft was on the gate, the door opened and I began my extraordinarily temporary layover in Washington.

After simply 24 minutes within the terminal, I used to be strolling again down the identical jet bridge, again onto the identical jet house. The flight attendant, who I had simply mentioned goodbye to, welcomed me again on board. By 9:08 a.m., I used to be strolling off the aircraft, again on the similar gate in New York that I had left from a bit greater than three hours earlier.

So far as mileage runs go, this was fairly simple. My first-class upgrades cleared each methods and I traveled early sufficient within the day to keep away from any flight delays.

On prime of that my new Loyalty Selection Rewards arrived in my inbox only a few hours later.

Notification of selection of two Loyalty Selection Rewards from American Airways. AA.COM

I can decide as much as 5 systemwide upgrades, or 85,000 miles or a mix of each.

It was painful to get up early, however at the very least it’s not just like the previous days when frequent flyers would e-book low cost year-end flights to Hong Kong to earn standing – again when it was based mostly totally on how far you flew. I by no means did that, however I’ve finished my share of bizarre issues for standing.

If you happen to want proof of simply how irrational it’s to chase segments, take into account this: Beginning with its new elite qualifying yr on March 1, American Airways is eliminating the requirement.

So, perhaps this week’s journey was my final phase run ever.

Hopefully so.

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