I posted earlier about how I explained the concept of a mileage run to a three year old….when talking to her I left out details like cents per mile, elite qualifying miles, etc. but she understood the payoff of why you do it. You do it to get to a certain threshold of flying in a calendar year that will (hopefully) pay out in real benefits. In her mind, we did it so we can get “seats that turn into beds” when we go to Paris next year. Essentially, that is true since I need the global system-wide upgrades I will earn as a United 1k to upgrade our trip.
I’ve done a few “vacation runs” where I take a quick vacation to somewhere because of a low fare, but I have never flown somewhere and not even left the airport on a true mileage run until today. In truth, it was originally booked as a vacation run to Boston for a night. The price was low, the miles earned were exactly what I needed to hit 100,000 on the year with United, and I really wanted to see a little bit of Boston. But, then life got busy and an unnecessary night away home didn’t sound like a great idea. So, I did a free “Same Day Change” and moved my next day return to the same day as my outbound, thus creating my first true mileage run.
I’m also now looking at a three hour delay, but that just comes with the territory. I’m not at all a huge fan of mileage runs as a routine way of life, but I think it was the right call in my case this time as falling a couple thousand miles short of 1k would just be silly. Even sillier than flying around in a circle all day…
For those interested in real numbers, the ticket cost $197 for a Houston – Boston – Houston turn. I could have done more creative routing to up the number of miles earned, but I just needed the 3,000 miles that come with the direct route, so that is what I went for. Came to about 6.5 cents per mile, which is a bit high for a mileage run, but is pretty good for an easy flight out of Houston on United.
If you think mileage running for status sounds terrible, you have a very valid point. However, it is also not all that bad. Here is what it looked like today.
- Up before the sun. Kid hears me getting ready and wakes up crying that I’m leaving…even though I am coming back later today. Logic doesn’t help at 5:30AM.
- Running late because of trying to make the kid feel better. Now running more late because I somehow missed the turn into the parking garage.
- Sun is up. Kind of pretty, but when did the sun starting coming up at 6AM?
- Thank goodness for PreCheck – made it to the gate just as boarding starts.
- DIRECTV! United may not have many planes with WiFi, but I get hours of un-interupted junk TV time! That never never happens at home. Bonus points since Juno was on!
- Amazing views. I may not get to really experience Boston today, but I can’t wait for a real trip in the future.
- When in Boston, eat a lobster roll…even if it is at the airport. Mileage runs aren’t exactly good for a healthy lifestyle…
- TSA moment of silence to honor Gerardo Hernandez who was shot and killed exactly a week ago at LAX. I just happened to be walking by the screening area in Boston at the appointed time and was stopped in my tracks by the silence.
- Shop for a toy in the airport. Especially with a delayed flight, I better not even consider coming home empty handed.
- United Club time. This is the first United Club I have ever been to that has a help yourself soda can area! Again, mileage running is not good for a healthy lifestyle. There is a really nice staff in the Boston Terminal C United Club Plus, the complimentary beers on tap are still ones you might want to drink (Sam Adams and Heineken). In Houston I think it is Miller Lite and Miller Genuine Draft.
- Yay, the upgrade for the flight home cleared – I guess everyone else has switched off that flight because of the pretty long delay!
- Starting talking miles and points with a man on the shuttle between terminals and while he was a United elite who loved redeeming miles for him and his wife to travel internationally in first or business class, he hadn’t heard of the February 1st devaluation. Hopefully I helped him squeeze a little more value out of the existing award chart before it’s too late!
- Still waiting for the flight home as I write this, but hopefully it will not be further delayed and will be totally uneventful so that I’ll be back with my family soon, which for tonight absolutely wins over a night out in Boston.
If you have ever wondered what a mileage run looks like these days, now you are all caught up. If you haven’t done one, you are likely smarter than me. If you do them all the time, well, I hope you don’t have a three year old at home who is crying missing you. I also hope you bring home lots of books and toys.
Have a great Friday night – I hope you spend it doing something more productive than flying in circles!