How much would you spend on respect?


How much would you spend on respect?

Is that even a question?

Is it double-sided?

What's the context?


It's not a matter of how much you should spend on respect rather than a question of should you have to spend on something that should be free.


The context in question is while traveling.


I've been on the earth for 33 years. For 28 of those, I spent in the skies. First, it began as summer and winter trips to see family members. When I graduated college in 2009, I fell in love with a trip to London. From 2016 to 2018, I spent every chance I got on a plane. I had been flying for almost twenty years at that point, and I had the mileage balance to prove it. That year I traveled once a month, all international destinations too. And what was the best part? It was all on miles.


By the time 2017 came around, I was travel rich and poor in points. I had used all my miles and now had to purchase flights. I didn't mind it. As they say, " Travel is the only thing you spend money on that makes you richer" I started the year with a New Years' flight to Manchester. I ended the year at Sydney Harbor in Australia. And by some miraculous way in between, I made it to Silver Medallion on Delta. Well, a flight from JFK to SYD and paying $2300 for the ticket did it, so it wasn't so miraculous after all. It remains the highest amount I have ever paid for a plane ticket. I assure you it won't happen again.


I tend to fly coach. I don't care where I am on the plane, as long as I am on it. ( Although I would never take the last row on an MD-88, it is extremely noisy.) Silver Medallion members get upgraded 24 hours before the actual flight. Nine out of ten times, I get the auto-upgrade and no need to spend on expensive tickets. Cheap tickets add up. From 2016 to 2019, I managed to make it to Silver Medallion on Delta. I was close to Gold Medallion in 2017 but wasn't willing to do a mileage run to secure the points.


In 2019, I didn't fly much. 2020 was a wreck. I had to cancel flights to Amsterdam, Tulum, Fiji, Tuvalu, and Tonga. That was all in a matter of weeks. I went to Italy in February 2020 and didn't see another plane until May of 2021. I've been on a few flights this year. They were all using points. The airlines and banks have devalued their miles so much it's not even worth hoarding. Pre -2016, I could fly anywhere in the Continental US for 25,000 miles, and as of right now, I'd be lucky if that gets me to Boston on a Friday night. (I fly out of New York). I even tried to go to Alaska this summer. The airline (American) wanted 110,000 miles for my flight. Of course, I chose not to go.


Could you believe it? Despite not flying American for years, I still have enough miles to make a few trips? Pre-2016 you were awarded miles on distance flown rather than the current distance and dollar spent model. And considering all of my flights were international, you get the idea.


I've flown Delta(Skyteam) exclusively since 2016. It only varies when I don't have an option or when the route makes no sense, for example, flying from Norway to Finland. The Skyteam option is to fly from Norway to Amsterdam via KLM and then onto Finland and spend 11 hours doing so with flight times and waiting, or I could fly SAS on a 2-hour flight and save half a day.


Since 2016 I have been Medallion Silver, Marriott Gold, Hilton Gold, Advantage Gold (Status Match), and other entry-level tiers with different airlines and hotels. What's similar? The level of simulated hospitality in each one. Don't get me wrong, a percentage of people love their job while others are just biting time.

What's different? The service (Possibly something else)


Examples: I have Marriott and Hilton Gold courtesy of my American Express Platinum card. I do end up staying the required amount of nights to achieve the status, and it feels good not to try and meet those goals if it's not necessary. However, I stay at Marriott more because the staff is friendlier. I've stayed in two separate Hilton properties where I joined the Hilton Honors line and got told I was in the wrong place when I wasn't. It's like when I am on the priority line in the airport and get asked if I am a priority member? (No, I stand here for my health)


Today, by far, was the worst day I had in Travel. The outcome would have been different had I been in first-class or been a Medallion member. It begs to wonder, was this an isolated incident or, does elite membership come with better customer service? I guess only time would tell.


Editors Note: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any parties mentioned. None of the entities mentioned has reviewed, approved, or endorsed the content listed in this post.