So the kids are all now back in school (well someone’s kids are anyway) and the leaves have started to turn amazing colors (unless you live where they don’t ever). This also means it is time for you to take stock and plan for 2017 to both save money and to be where you want to be as a Delta flyer.
First the simple one. Well, maybe simple or maybe a painful one. Where will you end up on the elite medallion ladder. Are you OK dropping down or do you want to plan for a large rollover number (see this post but adjust the MQD numbers to current levels). Many folks just do not have time for a mileage run. Others have time but are having a hard time finding one from their home town. If the later, there is outstanding help if you need it. But as I touched on yesterday, the simple way is often just getting 10,000 MQMs with just one purchase! I broke down things to think about in each elite level and I am sure you have seen the value of elite status drop this year due to Delta selling out from under us super cheap upgrades. But either way, just do NOT fall into the trap in December to buy MQMs at beyond bat crazy prices!
Next is looking at your travel cards you now hold. Do you have a huge stack of them that have no annual fee? That is fine and good (i.e. having cards does not hurt your credit) but what you do not want to have happen is a bank just close them due to inactivity. How about you get those lonely cards out and buy something on them. At least once a year is normally enough to keep them from going auto-close. Next, talking cards, start looking at what cards you may want to keep or downgrade. With AMEX cards, please keep in mind, any upgrade or downgrade will result in the fact that you can NEVER EVER get a new card bonus for that card you changed to. This is why I only suggest an AMEX upgrade or downgrade if you have already had the card in the past. With Chase I like having my full credit line with them in tact so I always look for a downgrade to a card with no fee to keep options open for moving lines around in the future to get new cards approved.
Closely tied to the above two is lounge access. If you are like me you really appreciate being able to get away from the gate area for some quiet, decent wifi and some refreshments. Maybe you are dropping down either in status or travel cards and need to consider buying Sky Club membership for 2017. Or, conversely, there are now enough 3rd party lounges in the airports you frequent and getting a card like the Chase BANK Sapphire Reserve that includes Priority Pass with unlimited guests will meet your needs. Each has it’s own pro’s and con’s so look at what will be the best choice for you.
Ever done a “mattress run”? You may never have heard about a mattress run! It is much like an airline mileage run but less work. Basically you have booked a hotel room and do not plan to stay. Some folks check-in (the important part) and go to the room and move the sheets around and leave. Others just go check out the room and leave it as is. Either way you are doing this to earn a stay credit toward your hotel elite status to re-qualify for next year. I have given up chasing hotel status this year and will settle for mid-tier that so many of my travel cards afford me. Either way now is the time to consider what your stay patterns will be in 2017 and if it is worth booking a few cheap rooms before year end.
Lastly, take a hard look at all your current travel “tech”. Do you need a new battery brick as your old one no longer works as well as it did years ago? Maybe your headphones are shot and it is time to look at an upgrade. Maybe even it is time to consider a new phone and or provider.
I already have some fun things booked for 2017. Stay tuned for a fun announcement for a RenésPoints meet-up in January with a twist I think you will like. Next, I got in on LEVEL 1 business class award to Sweden just before the 12% unannounced award price jump. Also I am really looking forward to seeing if I can break my record of 13 days to be MQD exempt starting on 1JAN17. I am working out a plan to do it in 10 days (or less). Should be fun! – René