Win asked whether or not he should mileage run.
I’ve not flown since before September 11, 2001 and am tired of driving around in the car. Time to get in the air! An American Airlines/US Air mileage run (using weekends only) to earn elite status might be fun – any thoughts on an optimal strategy? (I’ve got the US Airways Premier World MasterCard but not earned any preferred qualifying miles). Thanks for a great blog!
If you’re flying for leisure purposes, and you’re not flying constantly, you do not need and probably shouldn’t, mileage run.
- See also: the Final Death of the Mileage Run
Now, if you’re flying just for the fun of flying, then by all means. Fly a lot and focus on a single airline. Earn status, and the flying will become more enjoyable.
But that’s a pretty limiting case.
Someone who is already flying almost enough for their status level may find it worthwhile to take an incremental trip. But starting from zero odds on you spend more to get status than the value that will return to you.
A pure leisure traveler should:
- Be a free agent, buy the cheapest tickets.
- Earn lots of miles to redeem for premium cabin travel, where they get most of the benefits of status with the required flying.
The value of status is based on how much you’re going to fly in the coming year. If you’re not flying a lot in the year you’re earning status, odds on that’s a pattern for most that will repeat – meaning not enough flying to get the value of that status (and to amortize the cost of the mileage runs across).
So my advice, though it may sound strange coming from me, is not to mileage run – don’t earn status – and if you want many of the benefits attached to the introductory tier of status then consider your airline’s co-brand credit card which may come with priority boarding and free checked bags and maybe a couple of lounge passes as well.
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