Happy 2011! The New Year is upon us and another adventure is drawing near.
I recently accepted a job with Star Alliance and will be moving to Frankfurt, Germany later this month to work.
The assignment is set to last for one year and I plan on returning to the United States to complete my law degree in 2012. My concentration of is on a mix of aviation and international law and I hope to eventually use my degree and work experience to work in an aviation-related role, whether that be for myself, and airline, or the government.
While many of my colleagues are pining for positions at elite law firms, I am simply not interested in joining that rat race. Sure, the pay is alluring, but junior associates at most firms must essentially sign their lives away, performing grunt work 12-16 hours a day with little hope of ever making partner.
No, my bank account may not end up as big, but salary is not my concern at this juncture in life: rather, I want to be doing work that I love while maintaining time for family, friends, and travel.
With my move to Germany, re-qualifying for 1K status on United will be much more of a challenge. I will tell you right now: I am going to find a way to do it—and do it without breaking the bank as well. My position comes with a month of vacation, one week of which has already been earmarked to return to the United States and mileage run.
If I was remaining in Germany indefinitely, I might think twice about re-qualifying for 1K status and instead continue to credit to British Midland (with Lufthansa engulfing bmi’s mileage program this spring, I am quite happy I elected to credit my last 38K miles this year to my BD account—although I certainly will not need the card for lounge access in Europe). But I just cannot fathom returning to the U.S. in 2012 with no status or even Premier Executive status on United.
With the rest of my vacation time and on weekends, I plan to fully explore Europe and hopefully the Middle East as well. I’ve been to nearly 50 countries around the world the last five years, but most of Eastern Europe remains unexplored. I intend to change that this year. (To answer your question: my position does NOT come with flight benefits—yes, clearly a tragedy of epic proportions). I’ll be getting to know Europe’s rail routes well, I anticipate.
After finally seeing the light in terms of hotel elite status last summer, I plan to focus on achieving Hyatt Diamond status this year. This will be contingent on them offering some iteration of their “Faster Free Nights” promotion they have featured the last couple years that awards a free night at any Hyatt worldwide for every two stays at any Hyatt. While mattress running at the Hyatt in Mainz or anywhere else in Europe would not be practical, I will put my brother to work checking in and out of Hyatts across Southern California until I have achieved Diamond status.
Last year I predicted I would end the year with about 125,000 United EQMs and that is very close to what I ended the year with. This year, I will be lucky to scrape by with 100,000 and do not plan on re-qualifying for BD Gold (which might not be an issue if LH grants a two-year Senator status when the program combine in a few months).
Although I do not yet know what my daily work schedule will be like, I anticipate that I will have more time to blog this year—studying law has taken up a lot more time than my past jobs. I will be privy to a lot of information that I will be unable to disclose, but thankfully Star has agreed to let me continue to blog. Although we already have Damian as our resident European blogger, upgrd.com will now have another writer based in Germany.
Instead of watching Bob Eubanks and Stephanie Edwards narrate the Rose Parade, I’ll be on my way to Beijing later today, but wherever and however you spend your new years, I wish you a happy and prosperous 2011.