I remember when I first started looking into mileage runs. (A term used to describe a flight where someone goes just to earn miles.) At the time, I thought that most people who flew across the world to earn miles just to turn around immediately were CRAZY! CRAZY I SAY! With that said, my thought processes are a little different now and I just booked my first mileage run. While it is not strictly for miles, it will be an incredibly tiring trip. Let me explain a bit.
A couple of months ago I registered for a promotion with American Airlines to earn “elite” status. While the promotion was supposed to be targeted, anyone was allowed to register and AA decided to honor the terms. Those terms were quite generous as well. The promotion involves flying between September 1, 2013 and December 31, 2013. If I fly 6,000 miles then I will get “Gold” status, 12,000 miles gives me “Platinum” status and 30,000 miles would net me the top level “Executive Platinum” status. (Here is a list of the benefits of each respective level.)
While I was not sure at first if I would go after the status, I kept my eye open for cheap fares. I also want to mention a few places you can keep an eye out for cheap airfares yourself. The first place I check is the Flyertalk Mileage Run forum. Usually a mileage run is described in terms of cost per mile (CPM). While this forum is usually used by hardcore miles fanatics, it is actually a good source for anyone looking for cheap fares. Another place to look for cheap CPM is The Flight Deal. They update their site regularly and even have a daily newsletter if you don’t want to keep up with every post.
With that out of the way, I will now get to the point of this story. In the past few weeks I have found fares from Las Vegas to Miami and Miami to Boston for very cheap. These fares intrigued me. I was even able to price out a fare from LAS-MIA-BOS-MIA-LAS for $330. This would have given me about 6,800 miles which would have netted me “Gold” status on American Airlines. Two of these round-trips and could even become “Platinum”.
While I mulled over whether to book any trips back east, another fare came about. I was able to find via The Flight Deal, a fare for $417 round-trip from Los Angeles to Asuncion, Paraguay via Miami. This round-trip nets me about 12,300 miles and “Platinum” status. (Actually I will receive a 25% bonus on the 2nd half of the trip meaning I should receive about 14,000 miles total.) Additionally, it comes at a ridiculously low rate of 3.38 CPM. To be honest, I struggled with the fact that I will only be in Paraguay for 80 minutes. In the end I decided it was worth it and I did manage to schedule a 22 hour layover in Miami to visit a friend.
So in a couple of weeks I will leave on a 2+day adventure that involves more than 27 hours of flying. While I wouldn’t recommend this for everyone, for me it will be totally worth it. Not only do I get a little time to visit a friend and to see Miami, but I will have “Platinum” status on American Airlines until February 2015! The best part of this is that almost the entire flight was paid for with points acquired from the signup bonus for the Barclay Arrival Card!!
Unfortunately this fare went away as of last night, but other deals will always come along. Look for a report from my trip to Paraguay coming in the next few weeks!