As I had mentioned earlier, I flew back to Hong Kong this past weekend to take advantage of a 100% mile bonus (promo expires Jan 31) for the specific flights between Chicago and Hong Kong as well as a 100% elite bonus for being a United Premier Executive level member (bonus miles for Premier Exec’s is going down to 50% starting March 3). SWU’s from a friend made it a great ride in Business Class (thanks Pat!). All totaled, nearly 50,000 miles. I had a great time, and will cover the trip in far more detail over my next few postings in the coming days.

BUT something dramatic happened at home while I was away. I needed to see it in person when I returned in order to believe it.

My lovely wife, Mrs. LufthansaFlyer, did the unexpected and completely caught me off guard when I returned home last night.

She announced that she………drum roll…………..booked a trip to California and took into consideration the amount of miles she would earn, and built in an extra segment because it would earn more miles. I blacked out for a few seconds at this point, so the details got a bit blurry and she needed to repeat what she had done.

MY WIFE HAS BECOME ONE OF US. She has sipped the Kool Aid and has learned the secret handshake…….She is into earning miles!

Some background on her motivation:

My nephew who is now 18, had a tragic reaction to medication a year ago while being tested for Strep Throat. At the time, the doctor suggested a spinal tap to rule out Meningitis. As part of the post procedure recovery, he was given such a strong dose of pain killer that it put him into cardiac arrest for several minutes, and once they resuscitated him, he had been “gone” long enough that it caused permanent brain injury. He is now in a permanent vegatative state, and recovery is unlikely.

My wife is an RN and flies out to California monthly to spend a few days with her Brother and review the home care our nephew is now receiving. And indirectly, this has led her to accumulate miles on a regular basis and has put her in a position to climb the ranks of Elite Levels in United’s Mileage Plus.

After I explained to her the big picture that I have for her getting to Premier Executive, which would put her in position for upgrades, free economy plus seats and additional bonus for miles traveled she bought into the logic.

What I did not expect to happen right away was her looking at ways to maximize the miles she could fly when traveling to California. Normally she would fly from Grand Rapids-Chicago O’hare-Santa Ana, the most direct option available. But now understanding how important it is for her to fly 50,000 miles this year, she has started thinking outside the box and is willing to sacrifice convenience for the sake of earning status (Isn’t that what most of us do?).

So while I was in Hong Kong, she took it upon herself to look at other options and booked her next trip to go from Grand Rapids to Chicago to San Franciso and finally to Santa Ana and returning the same way. She said it would earn her 980 miles more by adding San Francisco. I fell in love with her all over again at that moment!

Now, she’s tinkering with another future flight by adding Denver to the mix and doing a GRR-ORD-DEN-SFO-SNA route. What have I created here? Today I introduced her to’s mileage calculator so she can have an easy way to tally miles based on her routes and she’s been busy with it ever since.

Tonight at dinner she even popped the question: “What if I concentrate on getting 60 segments instead of miles to get Premier Executive?”, Whaaaa? Segments? who told her about getting status based on segments????

Honestly, I couldn’t be happier with her desire to maximize her travel in order to earn the benefits that come with flying frequently. I never thought she would buy into it because everytime I had a mileage run, whether it was a same day turn to baltimore, a one day trip to Germany, or 2 weekend trips to Hong Kong in the last 6 weeks she would just look at me like I had 3 eyes in my forehead. But all that has now changed. She get’s it. She is now one of us.

I’m curious, has anyone else out there has had a spouse or significant other sip the Kool Aid and become one of us? I’d love to hear the stories!