In a recent post, I mentioned how much I appreciated the new SkyPriority initiative by SkyTeam. They must be pretty powerful to be able to affect passport security procedures at airports around the world. I'm so glad my style of traveling works well with this air alliance.
Like a lot of things in life, you have to earn your perks and in this case, you definitely need to continue to travel to get to stay there (yeah, like you have to twist my arm much...). The program seems to make it easier to stay once you've reached a certain level. D called it an example of how "the rich get richer".
Check out this chart and you'll see what he means. Because of the bonus points you get at the Gold level and up, assuming similar levels of travelling each year (enough to get you there in the first place), it is virtually impossible not to maintain status.
It is jumping to the next level that requires extra or extraordinary effort as I like to put it. I would have to quit working to be able to have enough time to travel often enough for Diamond status. Even then, I question whether my body would be able to physically handle it all. Those 12 - 14 hr travel days have simultaneously gotten easier (by the above) and harder (the dead airplane air, the awful food, the sustained seated postures etc).
We have started to take more notice of the type of planes we fly in now. Previously it wasn't an issue but we are getting to know the ones we like (A330s) and the ones that may sound cool historically (747s) but have the narrowest amount of leg room even for someone like me (I'm not a big girl). Seeing D who is almost 6 ft 1" get into the same seat, and he prefers the window, can be a bit hilarious. Thus the upgrading to economy comfort.
A plane that has a 2-4-2 seating arrangement is more spacious than the 3-4-3. I'm finding it harder and harder to sit in 3 seaters (usually 747s or 777s). As I prefer the aisle seat, you may find yourself interrupted often. During a night flight, when you are trying to sleep, it can get bothersome, especially when I have to unwrap myself from the blankets and remove my noise cancelling headset etc. (yes, I'm sure I'm a sight to behold) You will need to upgrade to get to the 2 seaters. On short flights, less than 4 hrs, I don't care what type of plane. Those flights are over in a blink for me now.
My goal is to maintain Gold status until I no longer wish to travel as often anymore. Once I start adding Asia to my list of destinations, I may even hit Platinum status without having to breath too hard. To solidify the Medallion status for the year, I've needed to add one more trip to this year's travel roster.
It will be a real eye opening one as it hits a couple of gorgeous places I've wanted to visit for a long time but are tougher to get to -- Cinque Terre and the Amalfi Coast. My point of entry will be Barcelona as I had been yearning to return to La Boqueria ever since I first stepped foot into the market 6 years ago. I plan to hit the Tapas bars with enthusiasm. There's not a whole lot of time to get my Spanish on, but I have some ancient looking cheat sheets I made up years ago somewhere in my travel box.