World’s most frequent flyer hits another major milestone

Sep 15, 2020

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For most frequent flyers, hitting a million miles flown is a once-in-a-lifetime travel achievement. Tom Stuker has now managed to do it 22 times, all with United Airlines.

In a normal year, Stuker racks up well over a million flown miles, including frequent trips on United’s longest flights, such as Los Angeles (LAX) to Sydney (SYD) — for example, his recent jump from 20 million to 21 took less than nine months.

With COVID-19 concerns keeping him grounded earlier during the pandemic, and far fewer United flights now available to book — plus limited destinations welcoming American visitors — Stuker’s been traveling far less.

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Still, far less for Stuker is more than most Americans would fly even during a busy year. During a call ahead of this week’s special flight, he told me he’s been on more than a dozen flights since our last chat in April, including three trips to Mexico, which never completely closed down to tourists.

And, this Monday, Stuker hit his next milestone, reaching the 22,000,000-mile mark on a United 787-10 Dreamliner flight from Newark (EWR) to LAX.

As for what perks Stuker can expect as a 22 million miler? Normally, the benefits include lifetime elite status, with earned tiers breaking down as follows:

  • Premier Gold — 1 million miles flown
  • Premier Platinum — 2 million miles flown
  • Premier 1K — 3 million miles flown
  • Global Services — 4 million miles flown

Stuker’s now a lifetime Global Services member more than five times over, and while there aren’t any incremental benefits past that 4-million mark, United’s marked each occasion in other ways, with a Polaris Lounge party after 20 million, for example, or a custom commemorative jacket or a celebration onboard.

Featured photo courtesy of United Airlines.

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