I am currently on vacation. While I am live blogging when appropriate with my Diary of a Trans Atlantic Cruise, I will be posting some select “best of” content from time to time. With everything going on in loyalty of late, it seems like an ideal time to ponder my future as an Atlanta-based flyer.
With the exception of the true lover of most things widget, I suppose I blog about Delta Air Lines and SkyMiles as much as anyone. I do live in Atlanta afterall. As we approach the half-way point in 2015, I’m finding myself thinking more and more about my Delta future. In keeping with a promise I made to myself, I haven’t spent a dime on my Delta Amex this year, and with the booking of a fall biz-class trip to Paris, I’ve spent my SkyMiles account down to effectively zero. That doesn’t mean I’m purposely avoiding Delta. Quite the opposite actually. It’s just that I’ve made peace with a few things frequent flyer, one of which is that I’m not going to go out of my way to have a certain “status” with any airline. And I’m certainly not going to spend hundreds extra just for the sake of maintaining status or the outside chance of being at the top of an upgrade list.
I’ll take what I earn. If I wind up tantalizingly close to the next level, I’m not above booking a mileage run to pick up the MQMs to put me over the threshold, but that’s about as aggressive as I intend to get. My spend focus is on flexible currencies, Ultimate Rewards and Arrival Miles….and I’m even reaching for my original flexible point earner, the SPG Amex more often of late.
That’s all well and good, but I’ve been asking myself a question lately – do I really want to live in Atlanta without a cache of SkyMiles in my account? Increasingly, the answer I have for that question is no. While I’m not convinced Atlanta is a city that team MJ on Travel will reside in forever, I live here now. Yes, Southwest is a viable option, and my experiments over the last year tell me that American is too. SkyMiles isn’t the best loyalty program out there, but it is the loyalty program of a really good airline that happens to operate a roughly 1,000 flight a day hub 20 minutes from my front doorstep. I don’t think the sun is yet ready to rise on a day when I completely write off SkyMiles.