I wanted to cover a topic today as I take my first ever, true, mileage run. A Mileage Run is a flight or series of flights where the sole purpose of the flight is to collect frequent flyer miles. Mileage runs come in all shapes and sizes. Some from North America to Asia can earn over 20,000 miles in a single weekend. Mileage Running is a great way to boost your frequent flyer account or earn that valuable status. The overall goal of a mileage run is to minimize expenses, so runs are usually constructed to avoid spending a night in a hotel. A quick google search for Mileage Running will tell you all you need to know about the “hobby.”
As I write this I’m currently on my layover in Dallas as part of my first true mileage run. For once there is no destination, just a morning flying to and from Dallas from Chicago. This particular Mileage Run is pretty unique and has been a lot of fun!
This mileage run started with an email from United Airlines reminding me that I had miles which were set to expire in a few months. I’ve really tried to focus on earning Advantage Miles rather than United Mileage Plus miles, but I had thousands of United miles that I didn’t want to lose.
The Search: I started searching for cheap United flights from Chicago on a free day I had. Oddly enough the one that came up was just $69 from Chicago to Dallas / Fort Worth. This was the perfect scenario. I could go to Dallas on United and easily find an American flight home.
The flight home was not as cheap as I had hoped, but for whatever reason, the plane was a 777-200 and the Business Class section was considered Economy since it was a domestic flight. I decided to book the whole trip through United since I was worried about the 50 minute layover in Dallas. If the first flight was delayed United would re-book me. If I had booked these separately and the first flight was delayed, I would be at the mercy of the airport gate agents to get home.
After I booked the trip, I had to call American for my seat assignment and to apply my Advantage number to the reservation. The phone agent was pretty confused by my 50 minute layover, she thought I had made a mistake when booking my flights. She then asked if “this was one of those mileage runs.” I explained my situation with United miles and how I’d get the opportunity to fly Business Class for the price of Coach. Again, she didn’t really get it, but I got everything sorted out.
The Trip: The first United flight left from O’hare at 6:30AM. I got up and made my way to the airport. On the way I checked my seat assignment for the American Airlines flight and noticed there had been an equipment swap. My 777-200 was now a 777-300. This meant flying AA’s new International Business Class with Lie Flat Seats. I picked a new seat and boarded my flight to Dallas.
When I landed in Dallas I made my way to the Admirals Club for breakfast and coffee. I got my boarding pass, but sadly there had been another plane change. We were back to the original 777-200 and my seat was now 42A… I politely requested a new seat and was able to get back into the Business Class section of the plane. I was glad I checked my ticket when it was handed to me.
The flight back to Chicago was uneventful, I was in 9E, which is a middle business class seat, but considering it was an international business class seat for the price of a standard economy ticket, I have no complaints.
Overall, my first mileage run was a success. I was able to save my United miles for another year and pick up a few Advantage Miles along the way. Not to mention, the rare opportunity to ride on a 777 from Dallas to Chicago.
I don’t recommend mileage running to everyone, but if you’re falling behind on earning status or just want a day of cheap flying, it can be a fun way to spend the day!