Anyone done mileage runs?

Oct 29th, 2009, 07:29 AM
  #1  
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Anyone done mileage runs?

I've posted this in the Lounge, but it was suggested I post it here as well. So, here goes: after a whirlwind of travel this last year I have absolutely nothing on the calendar for future travel. I'm thinking this might be a good time to travel for no reason, just to build up my miles again. I have looked on Flyer Talk but can't seem to get the hang of how to book a trip cheaply online with as many stops as possible. Anyone done this and any advice for me? I fly out of DTW with Northwest or Frontier. I don't have any elite miles because I usually use FF miles which I accumulate through credit cards or promotions.
Maggi is offline  
Oct 29th, 2009, 08:32 AM
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Mileage runs usually are not worth it unless you are just short of a little miles for a big reward; or more importantly, you're a bit short for elite-qualifying purposes. Otherwise, it's not worth the trouble.
rkkwan is offline  
Oct 29th, 2009, 10:21 AM
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The reasons rkkwan cites are reasons you would do a mileage run. To be worthwhile, they need to be pretty decent prices.

I can't speak to how Northwest or Frontier do this, but American's website lets you book multi-city itineraries, where you break apart the journey and build it leg by leg. For my travel between Thanksgiving and Christmas (one round-trip ticket), I'll insert a one-day RT to Miami, which, on its own, would be pretty expensive, but made part of a bigger itinerary, isn't that much more. I'll take my laptop along and work during those hours at MIA. The trip will boost me to another AAdvantage level, and it's worth it to me.

I also subscribe to a weekly E-mail message from AA with last-minute weekend fares. Most of the time, I can't take advantage of them because I'm not free to travel or because they're not fares out of my city. But a few times, I've been able to get somewhere for a long weekend for a dirt-cheap price and earned a boatload of FF miles doing it.

Might Northwest and Frontier have similar options?
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
Oct 29th, 2009, 10:29 AM
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Let me add that MR deals, especially same-day return trips, are rare from major hub cities. When I lived in Houston, I never found any good mileage runs on CO out of there. So, it's unlikely you'll find good deals on DL/NW out of DTW.

If you have the time, a better bet will be last minute weekend fares, like Jeff says, especially out to the West Coast.

I have done two LAX-SLC weekend trips on DL this year ($160, r/t), one LAX-DEN on AA ($140), and just came back from HNL on AA ($320). With AA's DEQM offer, I'm very close to elite on AA right now.
rkkwan is offline  
Oct 29th, 2009, 10:56 AM
  #5  
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That sounds great rkkwan and Jeff. Maybe good weekend fares are what I should be looking for. Do they require an overnight, I wonder?
Maggi is offline  
Oct 29th, 2009, 11:33 AM
  #6  
yk
 
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Maggi, you do realize that if you currently have 0 EQM for 2009, you'll need to fly 25,000 miles between now and December 31, 2009; in order to reach the lowest elite status level. That's A LOT of flying in 2 months. Are you planning to do a lot of traveling in 2010? If no, I don't see the reason to do MRs this year if you're not going to reap the benefits of an elite status for 2010.

Also, do you know what the lowest elite level status on NW gives you? Are those "benefits" that great that you will be willing to spend the time and $ to fly 25,000 miles in the next 2 months?
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Oct 29th, 2009, 12:46 PM
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Maggi, I have done MR's but only because I was a few miles short to requalify for elite status. I get 100% bonus miles on flights too, so the mileage does add up quickly.

In your case you have 0 EQM's for 2009, I wouldn't try to make any mileage runs, you mention that you will not be travelling much next year.

However, I'd keep looking for great airfares and take advantage of those to travel. I can't comment on NWA's weekend fares, most of AA's weekend fares require an overnight [Sunday] at the destination. Sign up for these offers with NW and read the ticket's terms and conditions. Also, since DL will slowly phase out the NW brand, except things at NW to change.
justshootme is offline  
Oct 29th, 2009, 01:29 PM
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yk: Maggi, you do realize that if you currently have 0 EQM for 2009, you'll need to fly 25,000 miles between now and December 31, 2009; in order to reach the lowest elite status level. That's A LOT of flying in 2 months.

Maggi: I'm thinking this might be a good time to travel for no reason, just to build up my miles again.

Sounds to me like Maggi is interested in mileage accumulation, not necessarily getting elite status.

If that's the case (Maggi?) then I'd wait until after the new year, when there are very often "sweeteners" thrown around to get FFers off their collective butts and into seats. Double mileage, double elite qualifying miles, city bonuses, etc.

As for how to find good runs, getting comfortable with three websites is important. First is farecompare.com, which has some very powerful search functions for chosen city pairs, including a great "Y/K-UP" finder for discounted first class fares.

Second is itasoftware.com. Not a booking site but one where - after you've learned the ITA route syntax, you can specify MR-type itineraries. For example, sign on to ITA and type

From - MSP:: dl dl dl+
To - (pick a city, say) MIA:: dl dl dl+

(note two colons between city and the first dl)

That will give you an itinerary with at least three Delta flights (the + means one or more) between MSP and Miami and back.

If you see a run that looks okay in terms of cost/yield, then go to the third website, that of your chosen airline, and learn how to work the "multi-city" (or similar name) function so that you can replicate the results you saw on ITA. Usually you need to be very specific in terms of times of flights; the airlines' sites will typically default to the most direct routing or cheapest price, which in your case might defeat the purpose.
Gardyloo is online now  
Oct 29th, 2009, 01:37 PM
  #9  
yk
 
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You're right, gardyloo, I misread the OP and mis-interpreted her intentions. Maggie, I apologize.
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Oct 29th, 2009, 02:27 PM
  #10  
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That is the case, and that is exactly the specific info I am looking for! Thanks Gardy, yk and justshootme (love that name).
Maggi is offline  
Oct 29th, 2009, 04:47 PM
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gardy - how would you define a run that looks OK in terms of cost/yield? I guess one would have to figure out how much they were willing to pay for those miles?

And, is there somewhere one could go to learn the ITA route syntax? It's a great tool, but without knowing how to really use it...
Momliz is offline  
Oct 29th, 2009, 05:50 PM
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I found info on the ITA language on another post - thanks gardyloo for that info - it is here if anyone wants it: http://matrix.itasoftware.com/cvg/dispatch/help
Momliz is offline  
Oct 29th, 2009, 06:23 PM
  #13  
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Thank you to Momliz for that valuable tidbit!
Maggi is offline  
Oct 29th, 2009, 06:55 PM
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gardy - how would you define a run that looks OK in terms of cost/yield? I guess one would have to figure out how much they were willing to pay for those miles?

Various rules of thumb. Mine is that I try never to redeem miles for less than an equivalent value of 3c - 4c per mile (e.g., a 50K mileage redemption should have a value of $1500 - $2000 at least.)

Most FFers think paying under 2c per mile earned is a pretty good deal, e.g. a $200 MR that generates 10K redeemable miles. Note these are "redeemable" miles as opposed to "elite qualifying" miles (miles that count toward elite status. For "EQM" usually a lower standard applies, e.g. 3c - 4c per EQM. In most FF plans, once you achieve elite status you earn bonus miles for each EQM, but those miles are just spendable, not elite qualifying.

So in my case, I'd like to redeem miles at around twice the "acquisition" price.
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