- In 1990, Tom Stuker bought a United Airlines lifetime pass. He has since flown 23 million miles.
- Stuker has redeemed countless numbers of miles and at one point didn’t sleep in a bed for 12 days.
- Stuker told The Washington Post that the pass was the “best investment of my life.”
Tom Stuker isn’t your typical frequent flier.
While many travelers speak fondly of stays at luxury resorts and the first-class seats they were able to book from amassing loads of airline miles, Stuker is in a class of his 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 individual in history.
In 1990, United Airlines advertised a lifetime pass for $290,000, and Stuker quickly snagged the offer.
Now, 33 years later, Stuker frequently enjoys his favored perch in seat 1B.
Per the Washington Post, Stuker at one point spent 12 consecutive days without touching a bed, as he flew from the Newark to San Francisco and then to Bangkok and Dubai, only spending time outside of the friendly skies while he visited airport lounges.
Stuker, now 69 years old, told the newspaper that his frequent travels were driven by the accumulation of airline miles.
“Best investment of my life,” he said.
Stuker said he knew early on that frequent-flier miles weren’t just a way to get more flights; he also ended up selling and trading miles with others.
He told The Post he once used miles to obtain so many gift cards that he was able to renovate his brother’s home.
(United no longer extends such passes to its fliers, per the newspaper.)
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 has embraced Stuker, asking for his input in crafting the menu at their Polaris clubs. And according to The Post, the airline has a Mercedes ready on the airport tarmac if Stuker needs to make 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-era pass that has truly put the world at his fingertips.