Travel Obsession: Mental Illness or Great Return On Investment?

BACKGROUND:

New United/Continental livery, courtesy UnitedContinentalHoldings.com

Callie and I returned a little earlier from a same-day trip from Houston to Seattle (or, IAH-SEA, to use the airport codes) that kicks off this year’s efforts to requalify as gold elites on Continental/Star Alliance. We traveled on a fare that cost roughly 4 cents per EQM (elite qualifying miles), which many folks on Flyertalk would characterize as a weak mileage run at best. But, for us, the fact we could do a one-day weekend turn on Continental meant no lost vacation time, no accommodation cost, and a shot at complimentary upgrades to first class (the upgrade didn’t come through on the outbound, but we did sit in the front cabin on the return).

We have a number of these guys booked early this year, so we’ll get a nice jump-start on gold elite status this year (as opposed to flying a cheap US Airways same-day turn in mid-December LAST year to finally reach the mark*). Air travel this year will pretty much displace other hobbies on the priority list (although some camping and hiking and gardening will find their way into the mix, along with grilling and food and wine and reading and blogging of course).

So why DO all of this?

Read more »