If you are a frequent flyer, you are aware of what a mileage run is and if you don’t know what it is – I will explain what a mileage run is, there’s not much science to it but to simply fly for the sake of earning miles or chasing an airline elite status, thats it. For the past years I have been an American Airlines Executive Platinum member – OneWorld Emerald, which means that to earn that status I am required to fly 100,000 miles a year. That is a lot of miles for some people, but I tend to surpass that at ease every year thanks to my demanding work schedule and frequent International destinations I travel to which makes the earning of miles easier and faster to requalify for Executive Platinum every year.
If you are an American Airlines flyer, you are aware that they have three elite status and each status requires a milage earning for you to qualify for that status. Keep in mind they are a ton of other loyalty programs out there for you to select from though in my opinion, the best out there has to be the AAdvantage. Down below you get an idea of what each status gives you and all the benefits it offers. Though if you would like to read more of the benefits of each, make sure to visit the following link (AAdvantage Status benefits).
Ask yourself if its worth it for you to fly for status or strictly paying what you want to pay for an economy or first class seat, wether you are traveling for business or pleasure. When traveling is part of your job and you do it frequent, I would highly recommend going for an airline loyalty program though I have met a handful of executives who fly 200,000 miles a year and they don’t have elite status with the airline, at the end of the day its a personal choice.
- Gold Status = 25,000
- Platinum Status = 50,000
- Executive Platinum Status = 100,000
We are in the month of September which puts us at 4 months away from the month of December before the year comes to an end and a new year arrives. For those chasing elite status this can be a nerve racking moment and some are wanting to requalify for American Airlines Executive Platinum status. This time of the year it’s a good time to travel because summer is over and the airfare seems to be dropping which can be beneficial for some wanting to earn miles and status. On Today’s blog post I will share some tips to keep in mind when mileage running.
MILEAGE RUN TIPS
- First thing first, chase the fare and not the destination. If you are wanting to earn miles, the deal is good and it gives you plenty of miles, go for it. Chances are the airfare won’t last very long for that price and it’s important to lock in the good deals before they die and no longer come back.
- This may sound obvious to say but I should point it out just to clear any confusion. Book milage run with stop overs, just like I did during the month of February (LAX-JFK-BOS-JFK-LAX). Stop over flights are a great addition to give you a great boost of mileage and you are maximizing the value of what you’re paying since from time to time those airfare with stop overs tend to be cheaper than the direct flights.
- International flights are my best friends and I am not much of a domestic flyer. Lets say you find a really good deal to Europe and the dates are valid on a weekend, book that fare so you are able to at least spend a day or two at the destination and then come back. Not only will International flights gives you the most mileage but also, the bonus miles that you will earn for the flight can be lucrative assuming you are a high elite flyer.
- Have a back up plan at all times incase of delays and cancellations. Throughout my travels this year I encountered several weather delays and flight cancellations causing my routing to be completely off and milage earning to not be what I wanted. American is very flexible when weather cancellations occur and if your flight is cancelled you have the option to either get a refund or fly the route on a different day. Having a back up plan is vital, as you will be able to tell the agent what route you would like towards your destination. Make sure your final destination stays the same but if you find a routing there that will give you a solid mile earning, go ahead and fly it another day, avoid the refund. 😉
- Same day turns VS a One night stay, same day turns are my favorite because it means I don’t have to spend the night at the destination and I will spend the whole day flying and be home that night though a one night stay at the destination can be beneficial. Same day turns can be cheaper last minute but they are rare to find. Some of my best mileage runs were a one night stay at the destination. For example, during the month of March I booked 6 LAX-BOS turns at $284 each, if I wanted to stay an extra day it would have cost me $500+, one day stay dropped the airfare to $284. Play around with the dates to find the best deal.
- Red eye departures, throughout my years of traveling I have taken several red-eye flights and they are my enemies but friendly for the wallet. Flying throughout the night is a comfortable feeling and waking up at your destination is even cooler. As much as I dislike red eye flights I have taken quite a few to my Asia destinations like Hong Kong and Seoul Incheon when connecting in Dallas Forth Worth. For example, an airfare to Seoul Incheon during the month of April cost me $630 with a midnight departure out of LAX, that is a cheap fare compare to what it usually prices at. So look into red-eyes flights as they tend to be much cheaper.
- Don’t mistake Bonus Miles with Elite Qualifying Miles. Bonus miles don’t count towards status, Elite Qualifying Miles are the ones that count towards elite status which are the ones considered “butt in seat miles” or also known as “miles flown”. They are other ways to qualify, which is by points or segments though the best and faster option is qualifying by miles flown.
- Wanting to stay domestic instead of booking International flights? Transcontinental flights is your best bet. Transcon flights earn the most miles and one of my favorites to do is the LAX/BOS, LAX/JKF, LAX/MIA. If you are based somewhere else besides LAX, always select the furthest route from you, such as JFK/SFO.
- Follow my friends at @TheFlightDeal which in my opinion it’s the leading source for great airfare deals. They do an excellent job on publishing deals from different cities and from different carries. Not only do they focus on publishing the great deals but they also look at the value of each published airfare.
- Last but not least, lets assume you have gained the status and miles you wanted. Spend those miles wisely and apply the mentality of “Earning & Burning”. As the mile hoarder I once was, I have unloaded a big stash of my AA miles on premium cabin travel with different OneWorld Carries and American Airlines Codeshare partners. Don’t spend those miles on a domestic trip and save them for the long haul flights with leading carriers like Cathay Pacific, Etihad Airways, etc. Where a single ticket in First class or Business Class starts at a couple thousand of dollars.
- – Etihad Airways First Class – Abu Dhabi To Los Angeles
– Etihad Airways Business Class – Los Angeles To Abu Dhabi
These are some of my vital travel tips for those willing to earn elite status with your airline of choice. While earning status is great and so is earning hundreds of thousand of miles that you can later redeem, don’t forget that there is a beautiful World out there to explore and enjoy, so travel wisely, explore and live the adventure. Traveling for the sake of airline status isn’t everything ;).