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In 1990, Tom Stuker bought a lifetime passport from United Airlines for $290,000. He has since flown 23 million miles and calls the purchase the ‘best investment’ of his life.




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United Airlines Boeing wide body 777-200 aircraft.Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

  • In 1990 Tom Stuker bought a United Airlines Lifetime Pass. He has since flown 23 million miles.

  • Stuker has redeemed countless miles and at one point didn’t sleep in a bed for 12 days.

  • Stuker told The Washington Post that the passport was the “best investment of my life.”

Tom Stuker is not your typical frequent flyer.

While many travelers talk fondly of stays at luxury resorts and the premium seats they were able to book from collecting tons of airline miles, Stuker is in a class of its own.

Stuker – a car dealership consultant from New Jersey – has flown 23 million miles, which according to The Washington Post is more miles than any person in history.

In 1990, United Airlines advertised a lifetime pass for $290,000, and Stuker quickly took up the offer.

Now, 33 years later, Stuker often enjoys his preferred perch in seat 1B.

According to the Washington Post, Stuker at one point went 12 consecutive days without touching a bed as he flew from Newark to San Francisco and then to Bangkok and Dubai, spending only time outside the friendly skies visiting airport lounges.

Stuker, now 69, told the newspaper that his frequent travels were fueled by accumulating airline miles.

“Best investment of my life,” he said.

Stuker said he knew early on that frequent flyer miles weren’t just a way to get more flights; he also ended up selling and trading miles with others.

He told The Post that he once used miles to get so many gift cards that he was able to renovate his brother’s home.

(United no longer gives such passes to its fliers, according to the paper.)

He even won an auction years ago — bidding 451,000 miles — to be a guest on an episode of NBC’s “Seinfeld.”

Stuker told The Post that he has been to 100 countries and had over 120 honeymoons with his wife.

And United have embraced Stuker and are asking for his input in creating the menu at their Polaris clubs. And according to The Post, the airline has a Mercedes ready on the airport tarmac should Stuker have a quick connection.

Representatives on United’s 800 number even recognize Stuker.

That level of service seems almost mythical, but Stuker is still reaping the benefits of his 1990s passport that truly put the world on edge.

Read the original article on Business Insider



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