Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Postcards From the Edge

So, as my adventures in travel continue, my little Star Alliance experiment has seemed to pay off. As many of you frequent flyers are aware there is a certain "art" to traveling. Packing light (and no, I have not mastered this one yet) minimizing fluids, and wearing shoes that slip off easily, just to name a few. Some of the perks, when you belong to frequent flyer programs if you reach a certain 'status' such as 'Premier' or 'Premier Executive' are priority check-in, boarding and seating privileges. For those of you that travel often, you know you have a certain warm feeling when you print your boarding pass in gold with the large number 1 and you walk up to the 'Premier" security line. You proudly display it to the TSA agent and think, that's right, "Gold baby! Gold!"

So, what I discovered is that Air Canada, who is a member of the Star Alliance, offers Elite Status with 35,000 miles accumulated within a year. United, who is my carrier of choice, also a member of the Star Alliance offers Premier Status with 25,000 miles accumulated within a year, and Premier Executive Status with 50,000 miles. Obviously, the more miles you have, the more benefits you receive. I am convinced that if you are a 100K member you can take a crap on the check in counter, they will thank you, and proceed to give you an upgrade to first class. But I digress....

I started using my Air Canada membership number last year and have achieved 'Elite Status' which translates to 'Star Alliance Gold'. This means, not only do I enjoy priority check-in, boarding, and seating privileges, but priority baggage allowance, which means when I pack too much stuff (see aforementioned failed attempt to pack lightly) I do not have to pay for the excess weight charge, plus they put priority tags on my luggage which means my bags are typically the first on the belt. Plus, as an added bonus, I get free access to the Red Carpet Lounge. That's (typically a $400 annual fee)

You know you have been traveling too much when your day is made by finding a seat with an electrical outlet right next to it, drinking a glass of orange juice made from concentrate, while noshing on your 3rd bag of pretzels.

It's good to be home.

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