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It’s the last few days of the year, and the Platinum Marathons are in full swing at American Airlines.

Yesterday, on the way back from Kaua’i to Los Angeles we were in the First Class section, courtesy of upgrades from American Airlines. I am an Executive Platinum frequent flyer, which is the highest tier you can reach. To get there, you have to spend at least $12,000 a year on tickets and fly at least 100,000 miles. Mind you, that’s a lot of traveling and there is no cheating your way there.

You might ask what it’s worth. The difference between “regular” Platinum and Executive Platinum is huge. For instance, as a Platinum member, you get occasional upgrades when there is room – which is not very often. As an Executive Platinum member, I fly First Class without paying for First Class at least 3 out of 4 flights or more. Quite often I am upgraded on an entire trip, like this time to Hawai’i. It makes a huge difference in the overall travel experience.

And that’s where the Platinum Marathons have their origin. Toward the end of the qualifying year, many Executive Platinum members may find themselves short a few miles from the 100,000 and are at risk of losing the status for the next year.

The lady in front of us yesterday was an example. She flew from North Carolina to Kaua’i on Wednesday, checked into the Marriott for the night, spent Thursday at the resort, and boarded the plane back to the mainland at 10:00pm that night. She was in Hawai’i barely 24 hours, but she burned 8,000 miles which was enough to get her over the 100,000 mile threshold. Whew, another year of top tier status achieved!

This is not unusual between Christmas and New Years in the First Class sections of long-distance flights. All the road warriors, or better “air warriors” who are lacking a few miles are just spending time on airplanes, traveling long distances with no destinations in mind, burning miles.

And now all you land-lubbers know a little bit more about the world of the road warriors: Platinum Marathons!

 

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