Introduction: San Diego to Tampa and back in American Airlines economy class

route map

01. Introduction: San Diego to Tampa and back in American Airlines economy class
02. American Airlines economy class San Diego to Dallas
03. American Airlines economy class Dallas to Tampa
04. Marriott Hotel at Tampa International Airport
05. American Airlines economy class Tampa to Chicago O’Hare
06. American Airlines economy class Chicago O’Hare to San Diego

American Airlines recently announced a promotion called “Fast Track to Elite” whereby once registered, non-elites who fly 30,000 between now and the end of the year can earn top-tier (Executive Platinum) status for all of 2014. Gold and Platinum could also be reached much faster with this promotion:

aa fast track to elite promo details
Details of the American Airlines Fast Track to Elite promo

Depending on how you look at it, the release of the offer was either a big mistake or a huge success for AA. News of the offer spread like wildfire, and it was pulled within a few hours of being released. Some say that releasing it publicly to everyone was a mistake and that it should have been privately offered to select individuals – while others insist that it was a brilliant planned event to secure a lot of dedicated new AA flyers for 2014. Either way, this is a pretty big deal.

I’m not normally one to jump on these kinds of promos, primarily because I don’t like being tied down to one airline or alliance. But this one seemed far too good to be true so I didn’t hesitate to sign up as soon as I saw it posted on twitter.

Even though the offer has been closed, American said that they will honor it to those who successfully signed up for it before they pulled it down. I have documented proof that I registered in time (in the form of a confirmation email), so that means that I am good to go.

I have decided to go for it. The primary motivation for putting my butt in an airline seat for 30k miles over the next four months is the upgrades. With this offer, I’ll get 8 SWU’s which will come in very handy over the next year for sure. I’m not sure how they will be used, but between convincing my wife to travel with me somewhere internationally, or using them to upgrade her parents coming to visit us from Japan, they will definitely come in handy.

Besides, the thought of doing some mileage running this fall sounds fun to me – it’s been a long time since I’ve done this sort of thing.

So…where to first? A quick check of all the major booking sites revealed that TPA (Tampa, Florida) had some really good fares from San Diego. So that settled it. I booked it in an instant to kick off this promotion / mileage run. Here’s the exact itinerary:

8/31/13 AA1744 San Diego to Dallas
8/31/13 AA659 Dallas to Tampa
9/1/13 AA1179 Tampa to Chicago
9/1/13 AA1779 Chicago to San Diego

I decided to route my return to San Diego through Chicago for two reasons. First, it had been way too long since I’ve been to ORD. I sort of miss the place! Second, I’d get a few more miles out of it.

Here we go!

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