I Just Crossed One Million Flown Lifetime Miles


I recently crossed one million lifetime miles flown. It’s a substantial achievement. Over the years, my First Class Travel has included wonderful stand up bars, first class lounges and elegant meals. How would I end up celebrating this significant milestone? It turns out, not exactly as I would have thought.

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I Just Crossed One Million Flown Lifetime Miles

When I started out flying for personal and business travel, I never anticipated that I would ever cross one million miles. I had about 450,000 miles under my belt by the age of thirty, before I started getting serious at this frequent flier reward collecting hobby.

Most of this travel was from family trips to Asia and Europe in economy class on relic airplanes such as the Boeing 747-200 and the Lockheed Tri-Star L1-1011 on Cathay Pacific.

As my career developed, I started travelling more and more through 2007 and up to today. I averaged about 55,000 miles a year on both personal and business travel.

There were days of Endless Marriotts, Four Points and Fairfield Inn’s in my Work Life

My Travel Patterns to Date:

Up to this point, it has been a mostly routing experience. My travels have taken me far and wide, and across the globe and Canada / United States for work.

  • Total Airports: 173
  • Total Airlines: 69
  • Total Aircraft Types: 56
  • Total Routes: 423
  • Total Number of Flights: 683
  • Total Countries Flown Into: 62

Booking Classes:

  • Economy 473
  • Economy Plus / Premium Economy: 13
  • Business: 156
  • First Class: 33

Types of Travel:

  • Personal Flights: 560
  • Business Flights: 123 (this already feels like way too many)
  • Marriott Lifetime Nights: 632

More recently, in my forties, have been craving more time at home and less keen to get on the road. It could be that this has been timed with the evolution (or dilution) of most frequent travel reward plans.

Dreaming of One Million Miles:

I knew that the one million mark was coming up. It’s a fairly substantial travelling milestone. I’d even say that it’s in the back of most hard core travellers minds.

I somehow imagined myself crossing that milestone in some fancy executive suite. Would it be something fancy like Emirates, Cathay Pacific or Lufthansa First Class drinking elegant champagne?

Lufthansa First Class: I was dreaming of this
Or Potentially This: The Emirates First Class Suite A380-8

I’ve been very fortunate enough to enjoy some of the finer elements of elevated travel. From wonderful champagnes, to elegant caviar settings, to comfortable suites.

Lufrhansa First Class Macadamia Nuts & Laurent Perrier Grand Siècle Champagne
Emirates First Class Caviar Presentation
Cathay Pacific First Class Suite

Unfortunately, the pandemic changed all that. For two years, like everyone else, the business and personal travel took a major cut and my miles flown fell to almost zero. As we all suffered travel withdrawal, we sat around dreaming of when the next six country multi stop around the world trip would spring back to life.


The Cold Reality:

As it turned out, my one millionth mile flown wasn’t in a fancy suite with a bed champagne and caviar, it happened to be on a short regional haul regional flight on an American Airlines Airbus 321 in First Class.

American Airlines First Class – Airbus 321 cabin

It was a pretty mainstream experience accessible to almost anyone on a short 2 hour flight between Dallas and Miami, USA.

American Airlines First Class – Airbus 321 cabin

The flight happened to leave at 5:18 AM from the Mountain Time Zone. Instead of a wonderful glass of vintage champagne, given the early hour, I celebrated on board with a glass of tap water.

American Airlines First Class – Meal Service

At least it was served with ice in a proper glass (laughing).

How did Crossing One Million Miles Feel?

It turns out it didn’t feel any different.

It felt much life a birthday; one year older but you still felt the same the day before and the day afterwards.

While it was a substantial milestone, there were still lots of places to explore. By my count, having visited only 73 countries, that left another 120+ to be explored. Hopefully, you’ll all be along with me for that journey.

While it wasn’t all that I expected, at the very least that it was on a personal trip and not on a business trip off to a windowless boardroom.

My Thoughts on Passing One Million Miles:

While we all have dreams and aspirations, the pandemic and the changing health landscape shuttled my dreams of being ensconced in a beautiful suite.

Unfortunately, with the pressures of the pandemic, that didn’t happen and I ended up on a regional flight for this particular milestone.

While it wasn’t how I envisioned it, it was nice to actually be travelling again.

If you have crossed a major travel milestone, how did you celebrate it?

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