The last couple of days have been spent contemplating the ideas of mileage runs. These are plane trips taken explicitly for the purpose of racking up frequent flier miles. Crazy? Perhaps. But when you take into account the perks and bonuses that are accrued by frequent fliers, it starts making a little more sense. Free tickets and upgrades are a nice benefit, and once you reach the elite levels of a mileage program, you begin accumulating percentage mileage bonuses as well.
The denizens of FlyerTalk have turned this into an art form — there are people there who have done crazy things like making 1K status on United (100,000 miles in a calendar year, or 100 flight segments) in 10 days in Thailand for under $2000, flying on the Concorde for $1111 by exploiting a magazine subscription scheme, going to Helsinki from Seattle for $20 on a busted fare, and abusing an around-the-world ticket to rack up huge numbers of flight segments (including “flying” on Deutsche Bahn codeshares with Lufthansa).
While there isn’t much out there right now that seems quite that exploitable, I am in the position of being close to two “goals”:
- achieving United Premier status for the year (which involves accumulating 25,000 miles during the year, or 30 flight segments)
- accumulating enough miles for a ticket to Europe
With that in mind, next Tuesday night I will be undertaking a mileage run, to push myself over both thresholds. I had researched a couple of different itineraries — one involving a trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico, and the other a 6-segment odyssey with stops in Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Charlotte, and Phoenix. Both of these would essentially chew up an entire day. I ultimately decided on the latter itinerary, for several reasons:
- It’s less expensive, by about $60.
- It still gives me enough miles to qualify for Premier and a ticket to Europe.
- By being a bit crazier in terms of the number of connections undertaken, I hope to get a better idea of what doing mileage runs is all about.
- It’s more convenient in that I can leave from John Wayne Airport, which is just 10 minutes down the freeway, instead of driving up to LAX.
- The weather report for San Juan calls for occasional thunderstorms during that time, and I don’t want weather delays to be a factor.
I hope to do a little blogging while I’m on the road, via my trusty Pocket PC phone. I’ll also be catching up on a lot of reading, and quite possibly some DS gaming as well. We’ll see how this goes — if nothing else, it will be a very interesting experience.