Going back several years, mileage running as a “sport” made perfect sense — airfare was extremely low, airlines published promotion after promotion, and routing rules were extremely generous. Unfortunately that’s not the case anymore as the economy has recovered and consolidation has occurred in the industry. Nowadays routing rules are strict, airfare is so much higher than a few years back, and there aren’t all that many lucrative promotions in the airline industry.
So for the most part mileage running doesn’t make sense, especially factoring in the time it takes. My strategy nowadays is mostly to just take “mini-vacations” that are justifiable. For example, if there’s a $700 fare to China, that sounds like a fun way to spend a few nights in Beijing, fly in business class (using the systemwide upgrades I get for being an Executive Platinum member), and rack up almost 40,000 AAdvantage miles (thanks to the 100% elite mileage bonus).
However, I think I made the most justifiable mileage run of the year today. As it stands, I’m ending the year with 123,805 elite qualifying points with American.
- 30,000 bonus AAdvantage miles
- Two systemwide upgrades
- Gift AAdvantage Gold status to a friend
- Admirals Club membership
- 20% off aa.com discount
Of those options I value 30,000 bonus AAdvantage miles the most. As it stands I’m 1,195 elite qualifying points short of the next rewards threshold. Today I had to fly from Miami to New York, a journey of 1,089 miles. If I had flown that direct in an eligible fare class that would have gotten me to 124,894 elite qualifying points. It would have pained me to be 106 elite qualifying points short of getting 30,000 bonus miles.
So instead I decided to route through Washington Reagan, which cost just $2.50 extra (the amount of the per segment 9/11 security tax). Factoring in the 500 mile minimum I’ll be ending the year with 125,224 elite qualifying points
I’d say spending an extra two hours to earn 30,000 bonus AAdvantage miles is a pretty good return on time, assuming I don’t run into any major delays.
Anyone else doing some year end routing “padding” to reach an elite or bonus threshold?