Looking into the near future (which I happen to define as 2 years), I can see some changes on the horizon.  First, a little birdie tells me that it is not very likely that I will continue to need to travel as much as I do now for business.  Personally, I don’t think I travel that much to begin with, but compared to a lot of people I work with, I’m a veritable road warrior.  While I think this change will be a temporary one, I’m still a little apprehensive about becoming a once per quarter business flier.  I’m sorry, but that just doesn’t qualify as travel!  Second, being one to keep his options open, I smell an opportunity to really change things up.  Once upon a time, I was a 75 to 80 percent traveler, but I was younger, unmarried, and rented a sweet little apartment.  Now, I’m 41, married, and own a home that I like seeing from time to time.  Do I really want to go back to my former kind of life?  Probably not, but more travel would be better.  And since Mrs MJ on Travel likes to fly first class, I’ve got my eyes open for opportunities out there that might require more travel.

In the meantime, its likely that after this year, I could be looking at a period of slower business travel.  Times like these call for a little reflection and a bit of strategy.  A few things are certain.  One, I have lifetime elite status on one airline (American).  Through the remainder of this year, I will likely earn elite status for next year on one more airline (Delta).   As it stands now, I don’t think I have a prayer of maintaining elite on United unless I decide to fund some mileage runs, and the fact that I’ve got a lot of personal travel, and a busy work schedule (even if its about to be a less traveled one), make it unlikely that I’m going to be able to fit in the kind of mileage running I’d need to do to maintain Premier Exec status.  That said, if I’m close to Premier, I would fund a run to maintain it.

In a period of slower travel, I think combining around one airline and one hotel program are even more important.  In times past, its been fairly easy for me to maintain elite status in multiple airline and hotel programs.  Not so much going into 2012.  Leveraging the status I have will be key to doing the travel I will do in style.  American and Delta (assuming I maintain current trends through 12/31) could be seeing the most of me next year, minus a possible miles hoard spend on a premium class trip to Europe on United late next year.  As for hotels, elite status is less important to me.  Don’t get me wrong, I like being Starwood Platinum, and Hilton Diamond, it’s just that I value it less than airline status.  I get SPG Gold through my Amex Platinum regardless, so I’m covered with at least a little bit of status there.  But with less travel, is it time to focus on a program and hotel chain that is less “boutiquish” and more all purpose like let’s say Hilton, or Marriott?  Lots to think about and consider.

Now, all of this could change….and in fact, nothing has happened yet.  But I’m already thinking about how I’ll handle a possible reduction in business travel.  One thing is for certain, I won’t stop blogging about travel!  🙂  In fact, I think I’ll be blogging more going forward!  More on that later.