Last night about 100 miles and points junkies converged on the Hyatt Crystal City outside of Washington DC to eat, talk, drink, mingle, and learn the top-secret details related to the Star MegaDo 4.  As luck (or really lack of luck) would have it, Milepoint, BoardingArea, and MegaDo.com were all off-line for most of yesterday.  I had my laptop at the event (like a complete nerd) so I could share info as quickly as possible to anyone interested who couldn’t make it to the event, but the only website I could really access was Twitter.  Yay Twitter!  So, anyone who was following my many tweets (@Mommy_Points) should already know the highlights of the announcements.  For anyone else, here you go………

First, let me define MegaDo – a “do” means a meet-up and a MegaDo is just that, a big and very organized meet-up.  This will be the fourth MegaDo for the Star Alliance network, and on these trips a plane is chartered for the domestic portion of the trip, we get to do behind-the-scenes things at every stop, and there are usually some pretty lucrative promos from the airline and hotel sponsors.  In this case, Hyatt and United.

Last night the first official speaker was Todd from Hyatt.  He is always a fun and engaging guy, and I think he did a good job at getting the crowd excited to hear about the Hyatt promo.  For SMD3, all participants received Hyatt Diamond status just by attending.  However, for the OneWorld MegaDo that was in January, the Hyatt promo to get Diamond status was pretty unrealistic for many folks.  This time, instead of announcing a specific promo today, he announced that until June 15th he would like to hear ideas from those who want to attend.  Do we want to earn status, points, etc.  Do we want to do it by meeting a stay requirement, or trying out different brands of Hyatts, or something else.  I wish we had all the details now, but I am glad that Hyatt will hopefully tailor a promo to suit the needs of the group.

Then Mr. Tommy Danielson (Tommy777) took the mic, and we learned that some of the initially proposed ideas like a trip though Asia or a charter through Europe turned out to be impossible to pull-off due to the economy and some of the airlines in play being more motivated to have some planes sit unused than to have them chartered.  However, that news was quickly followed by a pretty great itinerary.

Optional European Portion:

Sunday November 11th: Kick-off party at Lufthansa lounge at Washington Dulles then on to Europe on 747-8.

Monday November 12th: Park Hyatt Hotel in Zurich and program by Swiss and Lufthansa.  The Park Hyatt Zurich is the host hotel for this stop, but it is the only Hyatt that is optional due to price.  Though many of us booked on points last night – just in case!

Domestic Portion of the MegaDo:

Tuesday November 13th: Fly from Zurich to San Francisco and meet with EVA Air, Singapore Airlines, and more.  This is the official start of the MegaDo.

Wednesday November 14th: The charter on a 767-400 leaves SFO at 1PM and goes to Houston for a BBQ party!

Thursday November 15th: The charter goes to Chicago early that morning to meet with United executives.  There is a reception that night hosted by United.  There will also be some special insider tours that day.

Friday November 16th: There is a reception to celebrate the 15 year anniversary of the Star Alliance Network.

Saturday November 17th: There is a optional “Cowboy Day” in Chicago hosted by Randy Peterson.  Horses and drag racing were mentioned??!!

This time, they are holding some of their cards close in terms of specific events and activities as some things are subject to change, and they want there to be some great surprises.  We now have dates, locations, and a general idea of some activities, and that is enough for me.

There will be four classes of service on the domestic portion of the trip.

BusinessFirst: $1999 (15,000 EQM/RDM)

Tommy Class Plus: $1599 (7,500 EQM/RDM)

E Plus: $1249 (7,500 EQM/RDM)

Economy: $999 (5,000 EQM/RDM)

Elite mileage bonuses will apply, and the miles will count as lifetime miles.  For those unfamiliar with what Tommy Class Plus means – it is a no one in a middle seat, and it will be located in the Economy Plus section of the plane.  These costs are for the domestic portion only, and include the charter and official events on the charter.  It does not include your hotels or positioning flights.  The domestic hotel prices were not announced, but it was said that the would be quite reasonably priced.  The prices for the international portion have not yet been announced.

United will be giving away status to many on the trip.  I’m not entirely clear how this will work, but Tommy said you had to wear a cowboy hat to be eligible for status.  I don’t think he was kidding.  Booking is expected to open on July 9th, but that date is subject to change……..in other words, it may happen sooner than that.  One week’s notice will be given before the booking window opens.  This is going to be a very hot ticket to get, so read this post for some tips on how to get a ticket yourself.

I would be remiss to not acknowledge that this is expensive.  This is not something that all families can do.  For one, it is not a children’s activity, but additionally it is not cheap.  As I have said in a previous post, when I went on my first MegaDo last year I thought it was a “once in a lifetime” opportunity for me.  I have been lucky enough that I have now attended two, and hope to attend a third.  However, if you are an aviation geek (and I say that lovingly), this is a trip that is really worth it if you can do it once.  I know it isn’t cheap, but you will walk away with some priceless experiences and memories…..or at least I have.  You also may be lucky enough to make some life-long friends.  I’ve been lucky in that regard as well.

With that said, in the words of Tommy777, “Giddy Up”!  To follow the discussion or learn more about last night, head on over to Milepoint.  You can also get a play by play of last night over at MegaDo.com.

Posted by Mommy Points | 21 Comments

21 Responses to “Star MegaDo 4 Details Announced at the Launch Party!”

  1. oliver2002 says:


    However, if you are an aviation geek (and I say that lovingly), this is a trip that is really worth it if you can do it once.

    Which part of SMD4 do you think is unique from an aviation geek perspective?

    • mommypoints says:

      @oliver, historically these trips have done things like go to airport control towers, fly simulators, go behind the scenes at airports, special access ay the Boeing factory, go to airline training grounds, and more. Stuff you normally would have no shot at doing. Cool stuff!

  2. bobtray says:

    Thanks for all of your tweets last night. I was jonesing for some information on this and you managed to deliver a Grand Slam. (The US Airways kind, not the Denny’s one)

  3. Tom says:

    Sounds like fun but the charter SFO-IAH-ORD for $999 is really high. Unless I’m missing something here, they’re just having dinner in Houston. Cost could have been kept down by just doing SFO-ORD as the charter. Looks like I’ll sit out this year.

  4. Oliver2002 says:

    I know but this time it doesn’t look they are going anywhere near airbus/boeing/bombardier… Sim and airport tours can be had for less than 1500$?

  5. eric mueller says:

    @Tom, the $999 is for two things: the two charter flights (SFO-IAH and IAH-ORD), and all the events, insider activities, time with Jeff Smisek, assorted parties, meals, etc that make up the whole MegaDo. If it were just for two flights– yeah, that’s expensive ;-) But you’re getting SO much more.

  6. Joe says:

    Oliver — you think to much. You’re just supposed to plunk down your $$$ and go along for the ride! That’s the COdbaUA way!

    Or better yet, start a blog, get some affiliate links, and then you too can tell the world how great this is because your readers will be paying for it!

    Now pass the COol-Aide please…..

  7. mommypoints says:

    It really is more than just a charter flight. It isn’t worth it if you think at it in those terms. In fact, it isn’t worth it to everyone regardless. However, from what I can tell, the majority of those who make the trip have a fantastic time and feel it was worth every penny. I signed up for my first MegaDo before I ever made a dime from this blog, and would be doing my best to continue trying to go on them when I could with or without a blog. However, I’m certainly not here to try and talk more folks into going. There is already demand that outpaces supply. I just want to keep those who are interested in attending in the loop. ;)

  8. wijomas says:

    I couldn’t care less about if you can buy simulator rides or airport tours cheaper. These events are about the people, atmosphere, and fun. And, ensuring that all the costs are met and that the organizers (who put a heck of a lot of effort in to these events) are not out of pocket is vital. It is definitely, in my opinion, worth every penny. Which is why I have been, and will continue to go, to every single MegaDO there has ever been and ever will be ;)

    Oliver, considering you were one of the organisers of the first Star Alliance MegaDO, I would’ve thought you’d have already known all of this…

  9. Silver springer says:

    Hi mommypoints:nice meeting you at the launch party. I agree with your comment that this trip is not for everyone and that there are already more people who want to fly than there are seats. Perhaps just blog a short notice when booking begins: those that are interested will know what to do.:-)

  10. mommypoints says:

    @wijomas, agree very much – you can’t buy the people on these trips (well, maybe a few of them), and experiencing awesome things with like-minded folks has some very high inherent value for me. I also just don’t have time to organize access for myself to all these different things, even if it was possible.

    @silver springer, it was a true pleasure meeting you as well. I totally hear what you are saying in terms of supply and demand. I also have only been in the MegaDo world myself for a year, so would hate to not make new folks aware of how great they can be. Not here to convert anyone who thinks they aren’t worth the time or money, but I don’t want to leave anyone who might be interested out because they haven’t found their way to the MegaDo portion of Milepoint yet. I found out about my first MeagDo from a blog almost exactly a year ago, and now I am hooked. I would be honored to sever in that role for someone else. Look forward to (hopefully) spending more time with you on the trip!

  11. Oliver2002 says:

    @wijomas, exactly, hence my comment specific to smd4

  12. [...] Mommy Points was there and offers her own take on the evening as well. [...]

  13. john says:

    I like this blog entry, and I like this blog.
    This entry alerts people to what is out there; but it also has enough information to remind people like myself that this is probably not something that I would want to do.

  14. [...] Mommy Points was there and offers her own take on the evening as well. [...]

  15. Ben says:

    So if I’m in Houston but not able to do any of the flights, can I attend the BBQ party? I’d love to meet you and all the other fine people…I’ll see what MP has to say but I hope that I can!

  16. [...] flew to Washington DC for the Star MegaDO Launch Party.  You can read about the party here and here.  I’m not going to write about the MegaDO or the launch party – at least, not today.  [...]

  17. [...] DC for the Star MegaDO Launch Party.  You can read about the party here and here.  I’m not going to write about the MegaDO or the launch party – at least, not today.  [...]

  18. [...] you are interested in attending Star MegaDo 4, you are invited to join the MilePoint Kiva Lending Team and make a loan to one of the Milepoint [...]

  19. [...] the full MegaDo at least once, so this was going to be the trip where I did just that.  In fact, while still at the launch party I booked a night at the Park Hyatt Zurich on Hyatt Gold Passport points (actually my laptop was [...]

  20. [...] a free trip on the Star MegaDO 4!  This is the most exciting news for me as MegaDos really are an amazing experience, but they have gotten a bit pricey for some.  The solution to that problem is to just win a free [...]

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