Delta Airlines has awarded me Million Miler status, recognizing my loyalty and resilience. I’m awarded Silver status for life and my choice of carry-on luggage or earrings. The airline has tiers up to 7 million miles, but this feels humbling enough as one measure of my life.
It’s a distance equivalent to two trips to the moon and back, forty trips around the world.
At the normal cruising speed of 500 mph at 35000 ft altitude, I’ve spent 2000 hours, a full working year, sitting in airplanes.
At a cost of Fare = $50 + (Distance * $0.11), I have spent over $100,000 on tickets.
This comes as Delta (and other airlines) are trying to make it more difficult to earn Milage Qualifying Miles, the basis for awards like this. Loyalty programs used to simply bank miles flown, then added minimum spends to qualify for different levels.
Starting this year, miles earned base on ticket price paid.
‘Self-financing, I look for bargains where I can find them, and the change means that, where last year I was a Diamond medallion member, this year I will barely clear Silver with a similar travel schedule.
It doesn’t matter much, I don’t measure success by loyalty cards But I used to qualify for matching miles, complimentary upgrades and lounge access, all very welcome bonuses that I do miss. A bit like George Clooney in Up in the Air, the game no longer motivates.
The one angle that I do still play is to book the KLM-code flight rather than the Delta-code on equivalent flights. I like the cachet of flying under a Dutch label, and Delta still credits me with miles flown if their name headlines my ticket.