Truth Told, My Travel Isn’t All Unicorns and Rainbows

Most of the travel I write about is pretty glamorous, at as far as flying goes. But that’s not what most of my travel is like. It’s just most of the travel that’s worth talking about.

The truth is more like this: My so-called travel life. In fact, I’ve even been flying a lot of coach.

Today is one of those days.

  • Business travel took me to Mobile, Alabama.
  • There’s no Starwood or Hyatt property. The folks I was visiting put me up at the Battle House Renaissance — they had a $99 rate and it was right by my morning meeting.
  • I booked United home, because they had the best schedule and I didn’t want to spend an extra 3 hours at the airport.

I have no status with United. Star Alliance Gold used to get economy plus but that benefit is long gone. I didn’t want to buy up, and it wouldn’t have been reimbursable. So it’s not just coach, but economy-minus. At least I get a free checked bag, which I don’t need for a one-night trip.

Which is all just to say that today I’m traveling just like anyone else. I think it’s cool, I get home three hours earlier than if I flew a carrier where I’ve got status. There’s not a single complaint here at all.

Truth is, except for the part about not having airline status, and staying at Marriott (hey, I earned silver with them last year!), this is what most of my travel is like.

It’s not all Singapore A380 Suites and private rooms at the airport.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Oh nooooo!!
    Not even hostages have it that bad! 🙂
    What a tough day in the life!
    Humbling experience lol
    Petition Singapore or Emirates to fly an A380 to Mobile Alabama
    If anyone can convince them its you! 😉

  2. @ Gary — So why didn’t you finish your 1MM? Yeah, United is not so great, but I put in another 200k after the merger so I could reach 1MM. We’re finally letting go of 1K come 1/31/2016, but it will be nice for us to have Gold status those odd times when United is the obvious choice.

  3. I have had Star Gold. I have stayed away since the merger at first to avoid the messy operations and then out of habit. Plus I was being well served by AA and when I needed a different airline for whatever reason it didn’t happen to be UA. AA all the time was great, I think the right move for the time, they were offering the best value proposition. Today I would have needed to wait around an extra 3 hours to fly AA. United gets me home earlier and was cheap.

  4. @ Gary — Waiting three hours doesn’t sound too bad. You could have relaxed in the MOB AMEX Centurion Lounge. 🙂

  5. Appreciate the personalizing info. Now, please return to only sharing aspirational things we can all strive for! ; )

    I think we all have plenty of experience with coach and $99 hotel rooms w/ no upgrade!

  6. The Renaissance is still a far step above the Fairfield, Hampton, and HI Express life I’ve been living for 15 years! And those are still a step above of when I’ve had to stay at the only hotel in a 30 mile radius…why are they always Comfort Inns?!?! And there was that year I was Best Western Diamond…

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