I am writing from a plane somewhere over the middle of the country as I head to San Francisco. Surprisingly, I am not going to a conference or any bookish event. Shockingly, I am going on a four-day vacation. I got this spur-of-the-moment plan as I needed some more miles to make gold status on Continental, and I entered into some Starwood program in October where I needed 10 nights in a hotel for triple-bonus points. Now ask if I have ever cashed in miles for travel or points for hotels; no is the answer. But these days with air travel, having some status when you travel like a pack mule like me does matter.