I’ve experienced quite a few life events during the past year… well… the past 14 years to be completely honest, which have significantly changed who I am as a person. But the happenings of the past few months in particular have been instrumental for a major change in my identity composition.
And they’ve altered my seemingly hard-wired need for elite status with airlines, hotels or anything else really.
Flying and travel will always be a requirement in my DNA makeup for overall happiness. I’ve never felt more serene, enlightened and satisfied than I do when I fly, travel and explore the world. That will never change.
But what has happened lately is a realization that a portion of my “sickness,” if you will, has been an irrational attachment for needing to sit up front, needing to be first in line and needing to be recognized as important in the travel industry.
I touched on this briefly in my post, Buh-Bye Upgrade Phobia: Rediscovering the Joy of Coach Travel, where I wrote, “Chasing the high of earning top-tier status and getting upgrades these past few years has really suppressed some of my natural joy.”
I want to come clean even more than that with a full-scale confession of sorts. And so, I’ve decided to write a few posts (I don’t know exactly how many yet) explaining my history of elite-icism, its progression and some embarrassing, yet revealing DYKWIA (do you know who I am?!) moments. It’s a healthy exercise for me, and I thought it would be an interesting diversion from my normal blog topics.
Don’t misunderstand what I’m writing, though. There are enormous benefits to holding airline and hotel elite status. And I will certainly still be monitoring, blogging about and probably participating in (when they’re of true benefit) many of the status-inducing promotions and programs.
That said, there are some over-the-top and ridiculous articles out there reporting that airline loyalty and holding elite status is a sham (yes, I’m looking at you Christopher Elliott). But there are others more thoroughly thought out and meaningful rebutting such claims, such as always spot-on Gary Leff, aka View from the Wing.
What I want to do in this series is reveal my experience with travel loyalty programs, their addictiveness, and why and how I’ve “woken up” to a different reality – beginning with where it all started.
Stay tuned next week for the next installment, “The Quest, the Challenge, the Addiction Begins.”
– Follow Darren Booth on Twitter, @FrequentlyFlyin, for more airline, hotel and travel industry news, reviews and opinions.