Yesterday I did something that I would have never thought I would do. I rode around in various airplanes just for the sake of riding in airplanes—I took a “mileage run”. Mileage runs are tickets purchased for the express purpose of gaining frequent flyer miles or segments.

In my case, I needed segments. Six to be precise. I was six segments shy of making Premier Executive on United Airlines (their middle tier of frequent flyer elite membership). My wife and girls were scheduled to be out of town, so I booked a 6-segment round trip that covered 5 states in 24 hours. I left at 8:30am Saturday morning and touched down at 8:23am Sunday morning. The route that I took is below:

  • Nashville to Denver
  • Denver to Los Angeles
  • Los Angeles to San Francisco
  • San Francisco to Seattle
  • Seattle to Chicago O’Hare
  • Chicago to Nashville

That 5-state, 24-hour flight put me at 60 segments on United and their partners for the year. I have to go back out to San Francisco on Friday this week for a weekend full of company meetings. Having made Premier Executive will allow me to earn double miles on that trip. Between the mileage run and the weekend trip, I’ll earn over 18,000 miles in the space of a week.

I booked the mileage run through CheapTickets.com for less than $310. Based on how many miles I earned on the trip (30% bonus because I was a current Premier level), that came out to 4.7 cents per mile. You can’t buy them outright that cheaply.

As another plus, I got to catch up on some reading and finished two 500-750 page novels that I’d been wanted to read before I got home.

It was an interesting experience. I don’t know that I would do that specific routing again, but I like flying enough that I would definitely consider another run to keep my status.

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