Travel tips abound online around how to rack up frequent flier miles to get into business-class airfares and other perks.
But they don't apply to Tom Stuker from New Jersey, the most frequent flier who's flown over 23 million miles, or more than 12,000 flights as of July 2022. And counting.
He has traveled the world, stayed in lavish hotel suites, and even appeared on Seinfeld, an episode of the American sitcom Seinfeld.
How did the car dealership consultant do it?
In 1990, he bought a lifetime pass from United Airlines for $290,000, and hasn't looked back since.
He has been to over 100 nations and stayed on more than 120 honeymoons with his wife. In 2019, Stuker's mileage could have covered more than six trips to the moon, according to the Washington Post.
No wonder he calls his purchase the best investment of my life, when he just walked from Newark to San Francisco to Bangkok and Dubai and back again equivalent to four trips around the world.
Air travel around the world has been disrupted by COVID-19, where Stuker spent between 200 and 250 days a year in the air.
As a loyal customer, Stuker enjoys the perks that come with being a loyal customer.
United Airlines has put his name on two planes and allowed him to design the menu at their premium Polaris clubs. It even has a Mercedes ready on the tarmac to ferry him to his next gate when he has to make a quick connection.
The first major milestone came in 2009, when United's first passenger to hit 10 million miles, according to Simply Flying, in a Los Angeles-Chicago flight. When he reached the 20-million-mile mark in 2019, United onboard celebrated the occasion with him, offering champagne to his fellow passengers.