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What if I told you that each year you could have eight certificates to upgrade any flight to anywhere in the world from coach to business class, no questions asked. What if I told you that to do so, you’d need to fly about 48 hours in the air in a 72 hour window, likely in coach and sleep on a few airport floors in the process? Some people still say yes! No one likes an elitist yet just about everyone would love the opportunity to be amongst the flying elite. The thing is, the pursuit of becoming an elite, like American Airlines Executive Platinum, arguably the best elite status in the world, leads to some insane circumstances. Enter mileage running…

Mileage running is the art of getting as much flying, frequent flyer miles and airline elite status as possible for the least amount of money. Fare rules, stopovers, permitted routings, EQP and RDM are things most of us just don’t think about when we buy tickets. Yet for the “mileage runner”, they are everything. We want to go from point A to point B in as little time as possible in as much comfort as affordably possible. “Mileage runners” are a fascinating sub culture of flyers who will include as many stops, obscure (longer) routings, layovers and nights on airport floors as possible in pursuit of earning and reaping the benefits of top tier elite status. The holy grail.  It doesn’t just apply to my example American Airlines, it’s every airline and it’s everywhere. Just this week I read a fascinating forum centered around yet another American Airlines fast track opportunity where you needed to attain 25,000 American Airlines points, which are equivalent to a mile flown unless you are on a deeply discounted ticket within a narrow window. In order to do this, many flyers had found a trick of flying back and forth between New York and Los Angeles with an onward flight to San Juan, Puerto Rico, which for whatever reason was drastically reducing the overall price. Here’s a look at a sample itinerary…

Is it a good deal? Maybe. Is it a ridiculous amount of flying? Aboslutely!  Is it pointless?It depends who you ask. Are eight upgrade certificates next year good for any flight worth it? Thats where you enter. As far as “mileage runs” go this one is fairly tame. Lots of flat bed business class and all for a somewhat palatable price, especially if you actually needed to take any of these flights! The thing is that most people can’t find as glamorous of an opportunity to complete the challenge and end up flying from Amsterdam to Sydney back and forth next to a toilet on back to back days to make their dreams come true. When I look at an itinerary like this I think wow, this is insane, all those flights in just a couple days for nothing. Yet, then I think again and imagine turning eight segments the following year into thousands worth of upgrades and it seems less insane. 

How do you feel? As Always, Get in Touch: GodSaveThePoints@gmail.com

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