An Epic “Status Run” to Panama City

panama-cityOur member 24601 recently completed an epic trip that took them to New Zealand, the United States and even Panama! The aim of the trip was simple: to achieve Platinum status with both Qantas and Virgin Australia.

The key to earning status with our local frequent flyer programs is status credits. Status credits can be earned locally, however they can generally be obtained much more cheaply in the United States.

The trip got off to a very good start. After some domestic flights around Australia, our member picked up a great Air New Zealand fare from Perth to Los Angeles, with a full day stopover in Auckland.

I chose to fly NZ for the Velocity SCs. I booked during a sale and got what I thought was a great price PER-LAX return. Outbound business class, returning in Y+. I like the way the NZ website allows mixed class bookings. Their J class is excellent and there Y+ is also good if you get the space seats. The return price was well under $4000, $7.56/SC: not at all brilliant, but not bad either for Australasian flights.

The layover in AKL was about 14 hours so I spent a nice day wandering around Auckland, starting with a stroll up Mt Eden to see the sunrise. It was a beautiful start to an enjoyable day that included a ferry ride over to Devenport and a very tasty lunch at a vegetarian café there.

After landing in the USA, our member switched over to American Airlines. AA First class within the USA is well-known as a cheap way to accrue Qantas status credits, as the flights are inexpensive and earn status credits at the higher First class rates.

Our member flew to Phoenix, New York, Washington, Miami and even Panama City without any major hiccups. However, it didn’t all go to plan! Flight delays would later stand between our member and those two shiny Platinum cards as they traversed the North American continent.

Maybe the plan was too ambitious, but it is now somewhat in tatters thanks to a 4+ hour delay MIA-JFK. Have re-booked onto MIA-LAX direct so as to make connections on Delta out of there later tonight. I would have missed those had I just waited. Unfortunately the Delta flight gets me to the only actual commitment on this trip, so can’t be missed. The 13th flight of the run, on the 13th…a superstitious person would say that was asking for something to go wrong.

While our member missed out on about 120 status credits worth of flying as a result of that delay, all is not lost. As the delay was outside of their control, our member can still request an original routing credit for any flights that were supposed to be taken.

Having now completed this epic status run, our member has a few pieces of advice for anyone considering a similar trip in the future. One suggestion is to ensure long connection times, as flights are often delayed. Our member also advises against checking in luggage, and booking successive flights on different airlines.

But to anyone considering a similar trip in the future, our member has this advice:

If you have the time and the inclination and enjoy just traveling about, go ahead and do it.

Read all about the trip HERE.


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]