That’s right…I’ll be doing another mileage run shortly. In my idle moments, I worked out a fare that will net me 7,052 EQM (elite qualifying miles) at a rate of just about $0.03/EQM. I’ll actually get some additional redeemable miles (RDM), as my status nets me a 25% bonus, and, subsequently, a rate of $0.024/RDM. This bonus is also part of why I’m doing this in the first place — as it currently stands, the redeemable miles we currently have will only get us free capacity-controlled tickets to a number of destinations. The capacity controls, however, typically mean “off peak only,” so if we wanted to, say, go to Europe in the high season for free, we’re out of luck. However, by redeeming more miles, we can get tickets that are usable at any time there are available seats, and we also would not need to book very far in advance. (The capacity-controlled awards are typically booked 11 months in advance for high-demand routes.) In essence, the “standard” awards can be booked any time there is a seat available on an aircraft — the “saver” awards come out of a (much) smaller pool.
You can also buy frequent flyer miles to add to your account. The rate starts at something like $0.065/RDM for 1,000 miles, and goes as low as $0.027/RDM (if you buy 60,000 miles at once!). Note that even the best rate for buying miles is still worse than my mileage run, and the miles that are purchased are not elite-qualifying. With the way our situation currently stands, it would be significantly cheaper for me to do mileage runs and/or buy miles than to buy the hypothetical peak-season ticket to Europe with cash. And, of course, doing a trip like this gets me back on the road to re-qualifying for elite status.
From my departure point in Los Angeles, I’ll be (briefly) visiting the fine cities of Pittsburgh, New York, Manchester (New Hampshire), New York (again!), Washington D.C., Charlotte, and Las Vegas. My alleged final destination is the aforementioned Manchester, New Hampshire, but I won’t be staying long — as a matter of fact, I’ll be heading back to New York on the same plane that brought me there. Amusingly, this convoluted itinerary is significantly cheaper than itineraries I found that simply went to New York — a byproduct of the byzantine fare rules and other machinations of the airline industry.
Once again, I’ll try to blog a bit (and take a few pictures) while I’m on the road. We’ll see how much patience I have with trying to work with WordPress in a mobile browser — it can be quite aggravating, although a quick search turned up a couple of plugins (WPhone and iPhone/Mobile Admin) that I can try out. My road trip should also give me an opportunity to do some reading, as well as play some of Phoenix Wright: Trials and Tribulations, which I just bought the other day…