A new year has started, and with it comes the most discouraging American Airlines AAdvantage statement of the year.

* YTD Elite Qualifying Points: — 0
* YTD Elite Qualifying Miles: — 0
* YTD Elite Qualifying Segments: — 0

It’s January and I have no points, no miles, and no segments. As I look forward to 2010, I’ll take a moment to look back on my flying highlights of 2009.

1. American Airlines Platinum Status: This was by far the most important accomplishment of the year. By earning PLAT status I’ll get double miles on all of my flights through February 2011, and that is the most valuable benefit of all. While early boarding of the aircraft and not having to pay the luggage fee are good to have, they simply do not compare in value to earning double miles on all my flights. As a mileage runner, my goal is to earn the largest number of miles possible: the PLAT double miles bonus is the most important benefit of the year.

2. I had some fun mileage runs: I did a trip to San Francisco and ate a great lunch. Dinner in Seattle was great too. And, I had the chance to fly with American Airlines’ coolest pilot.

3. Final account numbers for the year:
I finished 2009 with 34 YTD Elite Qualifying Segments, 27,122 YTD Elite Qualifying Points, 32,945 Miles Towards Elite Upgrades, and 58,523 YTD Elite Qualifying Miles. I did not fly 58,523 miles, but the American Airlines Double Elite Qualifying Miles promotion helped me earn the 50,000 EQMs needed for Platinum Status.

My goal for 2010 is to once again earn Platinum Status, but that is going to be quite a challenge for me for the following reasons.

* In 2009 my wife and I flew to Dublin, Ireland on vacation, I earned 9,300 EQMs on that trip. This year we will not be taking a similar trip.
* I had two business trips to Chicago last year, earning almost 4,000 EQMs. I already know that I will not have any business travel in 2010.
* I not only won’t have the benefits of those trips, but due to difficult scheduling at work, and the fact that I am currently recovering from surgery and will not be able to fly for many weeks, it looks like my first mileage run of the year will not happen until April.

I’d love to see American Airlines run the Double Elite Qualifying Miles promotion this year, but can’t rely on that happening. So, I have to plan on needing to fly the full 50,000 miles to again earn Platinum Status. If my first mileage run does not occur until April, I will need to average almost 5,600 EQMs per month to again make PLAT. A business trip or two would certainly help, but it looks like I will have to pay for all that flying myself, and that is a LOT of flying! So, without the Double EQM promotion, it looks like my chances of making Platinum in 2010 are not good.

A few years ago I did two international mileage runs. My first was to Helsinki, Finland, and I earned over 13,000 EQMs. The other was to Frankfurt, Germany, on which I also earned just over 13,000 EQMs. I was lucky though, both of those trips were on sale at a price that was too good to ignore. I’ve checked for the next few months and saw that the price to fly to either of those cities would cost more than the trips to both of them cost in 2008. I doubt we will see such good prices this year.

On a positive note however, I start 2010 with 828,000 lifetime AAdvantage miles. With each flight I will get closer to 1,000,000 lifetime miles which will earn lifetime Gold status for me.

I’ll keep looking at the mileage run area on Flyertalk, maybe a good deal will appear.