Is there a 10 million mile club?

I just recently (and regrettably, but more about that later) saw the movie “Up In The Air”. The main character Ryan Brigham (George Clooney) aspires to become a member of the ten million frequent flyer club. Does such a thing exist? Can you really get your name on the side of a plane and a special shiny card?

If not, what is the highest level you can achieve? How must one become the Grand Poobah of the frequent flyer industry? Thanks in advance and have a good day :).

Not until man goes to Mars. :smiley:

At ground level, it would only take 384 times around the world to get to ten million so it’s at least possible.

You math types can figure out at altitude.

The earth is approximately 25,000 miles in circumference. Planes fly about 7 miles high. The circumference at that altitude is approximately 25,023 miles.

It’s sheer movie plot device. Here’s a Time story about real 10 millionaires. They maybe get a letter.

I don’t know if such a club exists, but as far as achievability goes, I know a professor that has over eight million miles. For an international business traveler, this mark is presumably not too hard to reach.

(It’s not just distance traveled, either. Elite status on airlines usually allows mile accumulation at a faster than 1-for-1 rate (e.g., double miles), and you can get associated credit cards that turn dollars-spent into miles. The character in the film you cite implies at one point that he gets miles from at least one credit card.)

I thought The OP was asking about a 10 million mile high club. There’s probably a few members of the hundred mile high club.

That can’t be right.

Well, Circumference = pi * diameter.

So C1 = pi * diameter-of-earth
and C2 = pi * (diameter-of-earth+7)
so C2 = 7*pi more than C1.
Which is 3.14159 * 7 = 21.99 miles


Nevermind, it is. I’m surprised that adding 14 miles to the diameter of the earth only adds 23 miles to the circumference (actually my math says it adds 43 miles, but still, I thought it would be a lot more then that.)

Add 7 miles to each side of the earth for a 14 miles increase in diameter…right?

Close. He left out a factor of two. 7 miles up would add 2pi(7 mi) to the circumference.

Around the equator at the surface: 24901.463 mi
Around the equator at 35000 ft: 24943.113 mi




Ignoring the slight error, there’s an old logic puzzle that reverses this: You wrap a ribbon around the equator of an earth-sized sphere. How much length do you have to add to the ribbon in order to suspend it a foot above the ground all the way around (assuming appropriate supports are available)?

Answer? Easy if you’ve read the above: just over six and a quarter feet (pi * the two feet of diameter you added), which seems really, really small until you realize that the amount is completely independent of the size of the initial sphere: it’s six feet for a marble or a circular galaxy.

I fly AA as an Exec Platinum, which is easy to achieve (100,000 miles/yr or 100 segments/yr, e.g.). Executive Platinum is the highest of their three levels, and the perks basically boil down to free unlimited upgrades to the next class of domestic service, 8 free upgrades for overseas flights; priority boarding; free luggage; a personal greeting by the attendant; guaranteed seat even if it bumps someone…that’s most of it, I think.

These benefits only last for about 14 months after the calendar year in which the status was achieved. Lifetime achievements commonly top a million miles, with ten million being achieved by a handful, and as far as I know, it’s entirely discretionary–and not a guaranteed commitment–about what is done for those milestones. They might do something like give you lifetime Platinum, which is not much (free luggage; priority boarding; better selection of coach seats). I do not think that’s in written guarantees to flyers, though.

Note that in the mile-accrual business, “miles” does not mean “miles flown.” You get minimum guarantees for any segment, and at my level, double miles for every segment. If I fly 150 miles on a segment, I earn 1,000 reward miles. If I fly 1100 miles on a segment, I earn 2200 miles.

I’ll hit a million AA miles shortly and I will be stunned if I get a handshake for that particular milestone.

Bugger, indeed.


The Master speaks: