A few months ago, in the midst of declaring bankruptcy and seeing the mess the United/Continental merger was causing, American decided to offer top-tier elite status to disgruntled United elites. Well, you didn’t really have to be disgruntled – I mean, I haven’t seen too many negatives myself, although I know many others have. A quick call, and I was American Executive Platinum through February 2013, with 8 systemwide upgrades good on any fare on top of it.
I mainly took them up on it because I doubted American would be around in another year, and who knows it might come in handy. Well, about a month ago they upped the ante: If you fly 55,000 qualifying miles (instead of the usual 100,000) by December 31 they will renew status (with 8 more systemwide upgrades) through February of 2014. Now…this is interesting. I already have 80,000 of my needed 100,000 United miles booked, and if I plan carefully another 55,000 on American should be possible.
To that end, I started looking at trips for July 4 where I could use American. With the 4th falling on a Wednesday it was a bit awkward, but since I had the Friday before off, by taking Monday/Tuesday off I could get a 6 day trip for the price of 2 leave days…a downright bargain!
So, I started exploring destinations that I’d always missed on United (either because they don’t fly there, or do in very convoluted ways) and where American was strong. I don’t plan for this status to last much more than 18 months so time to make the most of it. Generally, that meant exploring the Caribbean and South America.
First idea was the Bolivia-Peru-Ecuador trip I want to do soon, but that will take much more than six days, and with the dates less than a month away reasonable fares and systemwide upgrade seats were long gone. Plan two…caribbean. This is where I struck gold…I found a way to squeeze in six countries in six days by flying into St Lucia and out of Antigua. The route looks like this:
So the plan is to hit St Lucia, St Vincent, Grenada, Barbados, Dominica, and Antigua in six days. There’s things to see, but I think for most of them one day will be plenty. None of the flights are over 90 minutes, so most of my time will be spent exploring. Anyone who has recommendations of things to see I’m all ears!
I don’t know why I feel like this is such an AAdventure…all domestic airlines are pretty much the same…right? But, now I feel like I’m cheating on the United much like I originally felt like I was cheating on Northwest when I started flying United about seven years ago. We’ll see if there’s any difference…and what the plusses and minuses are.
I still need about 21,000 miles on United and 37,000 on American and partners this year…anyone with fun (but short…vacation time is low) suggestions they’re more than welcome!