Yesterday, August 3, 2013, was the seventh birthday of MJ on Travel. Yes, I should have posted yesterday, and actually intended to. Had not expected a vet visit with an important member of the MJ on Travel team, Oslo Kitty. Oslo, at 17 years, is THE senior member of the staff here at MJ on Travel, and his good health and comfort matters above all else. 🙂

Oslo - Senior Advisor to the MJ on Travel Team

Oslo – Senior Advisor to the MJ on Travel Team

So…I’m a day late, but he’s here camped out by my feet while I type this looking at me with a “Knucklehead, your blog post can wait. Where are my morning treats?” kind of look.

The First Post

On August 3, 2006, MJ on Travel went live with “My first blog….” For posterity’s sake, here are a few bullet points from my introductory post (with a few “MJ adds” for clarity).

  • Well, who knew? I have entered the blogosphere. Those that know me, know that I’m all about travel. I’ve been involved in aviation in one form or another since I was 15, and wanted to be involved before that. I spent most of my childhood drawing pictures of airplanes, staring at airplanes in the sky, thinking about airplanes, building model airplanes and wanting to be an airline pilot.
  • For me, high school, college, and all that goes with it were nothing more than a means to an end. I started flying lessons at age 15 (MJ adds – that seems so young now, but perfectly natural at the time. I mean what zit-faced kid ), and progressed through my various licenses and ratings all through high school and college.
  • I joined a large regional airline (MJ adds – American Eagle, Jetstream 3201 and Saab 340…anyone remember those?) as a pilot not long after graduating from college, and was fairly certain I was on path for reaching my ultimate goal: to be the Captain of a passenger jet for a major U.S. airline. I was on my way until January 17, 1996. That’s the day that I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. FAA will not issue a medical certificate necessary for commercial flying to type 1 diabetics. My career as a pilot was over.
  • I spent several months in a management position at the airline and later joined the major airline parent company (MJ adds – American Airlines) progressing through several management assignments in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Washington, DC. I was working for the airline at Reagan National Airport (DCA) on September 11, 2001.

Random Reflections on Six Years in Travel

Wow! First, I can’t believe it’s been six years, but time does fly when you’re having fun. I’ve learned a lot in six years from the conversations and comments, and hopefully I’ve shared a tip or two or just a little clarity worth reading along the way. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I remain involved in aviation, but my first post gives you a little taste of my background and where I’m coming from. I’ve been accused of having an “industry bias” and I don’t deny it. You now know “where I grew up.” Hopefully, I’ve encouraged at least one or two of you to take a cruise too. I didn’t start this to be a “miles and points” blog, though I certainly talk about miles and points when I feel the need. The truth is that there are more miles and points blogs than I can count. I wanted to be a little different, and talk about things from a different angle.

In the last six years, I’ve held mid tier status in every major airline program, top tier status in one, and top tier status in two hotel programs. Finally hit million-miler with AAdvantage (Yeah…I know…but remember….I used to work there, I got a late start. 🙂 )  I did a little math on my last six years in travel too. I have averaged about 85,000 BIS miles per year. That’s more than some, but a lot less than many. However, it was only until last year’s relocation to Atlanta that I could concentrate all that flying in one program. That’s good for my elite status goals, but not so good for mileage burning, because my airline is Delta. It is what it is. I like flying Delta. Still working on loving SkyMiles though. 🙂 Flying a lot of different airlines did expose to a number of positives and negatives of each program though.

Fun facts from the last six years – my favorite airline status was US Airways Chairman’s Preferred. Favorite hotel status, Starwood Platinum. If I’d experienced AA Executive Platinum I might have a different take on my favorite airline status, but Starwood Platinum…. no competition there (for me). Then again, I’ve never been Hyatt Diamond. Favorite airline program overall – American AAdvantage, not even a contest for me. Another thing that the last six years has brought us that really changed my perspective on “proprietary points programs,” Chase Ultimate Rewards. I don’t know if Chase understood what they were building, but for me, the Ultimate Rewards program has been my favorite development in points since I started the blog.

In closing, it’s been fun. I really started this as a nice break from my writing-intensive day job. I’ve always said if this blog turned into something that seemed like another job on its own, I’d stop doing it. Fortunately, I’m not there yet. A couple of unintended events have taken place in the last few weeks that have reminded me that I really do care about MJ on Travel. Seven years…wow. I hope you’ll stick around for seven more.

MJ, August 4, 2013

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