This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Wednesday’s United Flight 98, operated by a 787-9 Dreamliner and traveling some 8,000 miles from Los Angeles to Melbourne, was carrying the airline’s (and maybe the world’s) most frequent traveler, Tom Stuker. That’s nothing out of the ordinary — he’s made the journey from LAX to MEL many times before, even in 2018 — but this particular leg marked his latest travel milestone, carrying him past 19,000,000 miles flown on paid United Airlines tickets. That’s an awful lot of time to spend on an airplane.

I met Tom on the final 747 flight, from San Francisco to Honolulu, shortly after he hit 18 million miles flown. He was definitely the life of the party, along with his frequent travel companion (and fellow Global Services member) Jason DiVenere, the star of that goofy in-flight workout video. I had a chance to chat with Tom ahead of his milestone flight, and despite loads of memories from the road, he referenced that final 747 hop as his favorite flight to date.

That could change when Tom passes the 20-million-mile mark, though, depending on what United has in store for his in-flight celebration. As for last night, the airline certainly didn’t overlook this particular achievement. Tom was presented with a goodie bag complete with a scarf, hat and a note from CEO Oscar Munoz. Too bad the airline misspelled his name.

The crew also gave Tom a slick 787-9 Dreamliner sketch, signed by the captain and three first officers operating his flight to Melbourne. They did spell his name right.

There was also a bottle of Robert Mondavi Maestro, a Napa Cabernet Sauvignon blend that’s certainly more impressive than anything normally served onboard, at least based on retail price.

While Tom’s now flown more than 19 million miles on United, his lifetime total actually exceeds 20 million including flights on other airlines. Tom’s on track to hit 20 million on United this year, though, assuming he continues to fly 100,000 miles every month for his job as auto-industry sales and management consultant, based in Arizona.

In 2017, his United travels totaled a whopping 1,160,000 “butt-in-seat” miles, though since he travels on full-fare “J” and “F” class tickets, he earned more than 3.5 million Premier-Qualifying Miles — 35x the requirement for the airline’s top-tier Premier 1K status. He’s already approaching 450,000 PQMs for 2018, and has easily re-qualified for Global Services — though he’s been a lifetime Global Services member since crossing the 4-million-miler mark several years ago. Tom turns 65 in December, so assuming he maintains his crazy travel schedule, he’ll be hitting two major milestones in 2018.

American Express® Gold Card

With some great bonus categories, the American Express Gold Card has a lot going for it. The card offers 4x points at US restaurants, at US supermarkets (up to $25,000; then 1x), and 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through It is currently offering a welcome bonus of 35,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. restaurants. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on
  • Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with The Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Shake Shack, and Ruth's Chris Steak House. This is an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline.
  • Choose to carry a balance with interest on eligible charges of $100 or more.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
See Rates & Fees
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.