The 47,000 mile Mileage Run, plain nuts

There is a thread that went on on FlyerTalk about a person planning a 47,000 miles mileage run. To reach an Elite Status level that takes 100,000 miles to reach, that is going almost half the distance via a mileage run! Even the passenger says it is nuts. Or as he puts it, warm nuts, in a ceramic cup. For those not in on the inside joke here, most airlines serve warm nuts in a ceramic cup, before meals in First Class.

Here is the itinerary (quoted directly from the post):

Day 1:


Overnight at HNL and early morning flight next day.

Day 2:


No chance of an upgrade to Australia, since the fare class is too low. Same day turn-around in MEL… continuing with day 4 due to international date line

Day 4:


This time, the date line helps to cram more flying into one (LONG) day! Again, no chance of an upgrade on the international segment (K class). Continuing on day 5 without a stop in SFO

Day 5:


This time, W class and everything waitlisted. Almost there now… just a short hop the next day!

Day 6:


Time to sleep. Time to do some business. Time to do some christmas shopping – I also have a wife and two kids. The wife shares the mileage addiction and the kids pout – they currently don’t have any status, which they resent a bit. Understandable, considering that my son made AA Platinum for the first time at the ripe age of less than a year and has been 1P in the past… oh well, the gifts will get a bit more pricey, I fear.

Day 10:


Time to go back home, taking the scenic route, of course! Again, waitlisted for FRA-SFO (but should have a chance, Q fare).

Day 11:


Finally done. Sleep again, drive home.

Is it worth it? I hope. A lot will depend on the future of UniCon and the further “enhancements” to come.

The statistics:

Total EQM: 47,786 (emphasis mine)

Total RDM: 95,572

Total cost: $ 2,977 all-in (6.2 cents per eqm)

Excess cost over the required trip to Europe: about $1,800

Apart from the whole absurdity of the travel itinerary, there is also the question of cost. Both in terms of time spent on a plane (or in this case days spent in multiple planes) and in terms of money spent. The author of the post says that this trip will cost him an additional $1,800 over and above what he was going to spend anyway on his already scheduled trip to Europe.United 747.gif

Let me ask you all,

Is Elite Status worth $1,800?

Is it worth spending three days of your life on a plane, just to earn miles?

Have you ever done a Mileage Run? If yes, what are your parameters that make it justifiable?

Do share by leaving a comment below.

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  1. That’s just crazy. I can totally understand doing a couple hundred or thousand miles, especially since you do travel that much that it does make a difference. But 11 days straight away from your family – crazy!

  2. Wow! Unbelievable! I’m a 1K and I only did mileage run once, only once. It was on 12/27/2010 from IAD to SEA for 4,612 EQM. The reason was that UAL gives you 2 extra system wide upgrade for 150K EQM and I was short by 4,535 miles. Was it worth it? I think so as I received 2 extra system wide upgrade for about $400 in airfare.

    11 days of mileage run? Maybe it was worth to him and sounds like his family was OK with him doing the run. But I will never to do it as I rather spend 11 days with my family or I’ll my entire family with me to a 11 day mileage run with me. =)

  3. My wife and I take a lot of crazy “millage run” type weekend trips. Like 40 hours on the ground for a weekend in Tokyo, another 2 days in Scotland, countless weekend trip to London & Paris. Usually we plan it around a long weekend in the US. Typically the cost is around $500 each and we upgraded to business (usually confirmed in advance or we don’t go that weekend).

    All in all, fun, relaxing trips that get us a lot of miles and get to see great destinations around the world. As long as the price is reasonable ($1800 extra I wouldn’t consider reasonable) and I get to spend some time at the destination (not so in this case either) I think it’s worth it. It’s not every day when someone asks what you did this weekend you can say “I went to London” or “I went to Tokyo”.

    I’ve never done the same day turn abounds. Don’t think I would and definitely not in coach. No fun in that. On a side note, I wonder what the customs / immigration officers think when you pass through…

  4. Someone doing this should have his/her passport confiscated for deliberately polluting the atmosphere for ego-reasons, only.

    I never quite understood, what’s so special about achieving any higher status than Gold on legacy U.S. carriers? Apart from the enhanced chance of (basically) domestic upgrades on flights of 6h max (transcons), any higher status than Gold isn’t of much advantage. People claim to “need” status so to make their work related travel more comfortable and at the same time expose themselves to the “comfort” of spending days on a plane just to get status that does not even guarantee the desired upgrades (apart from a few confirmable certs, that is). I don’t get it.

    Anybody thinking it’s too much taking a flight of under 9h in Y should reconsider what travelling was like a mere 70 years ago, when a trip from NYC to the west coast tipically involved a four day train ride…

    But then… what am I asking of a society that is polluting this planet like no other or the sake of ubiquitious airconditons and the like…

    Get a life, recollect and start saving the planet!

  5. I flew 37,489 in two weeks during Thanksgiving break and the first weekend of December.
    First trip was DEN-ORD-HKG-SIN, in Singapore for about 30 hours, so got there at about 1AM and hoped on the flight the next morning around 7AM. Headed back SIN-NRT-ORD-DEN. Base fare was $1,300, got SIN-DEN upgraded to a systemwide eligible fare for $200. Also ended up using miles to upgrade DEN-SIN. For $1,500, I went in all business class on United to the furthest destination, that was 20,755 EQMs, which ends up being 7.23 cents/mile.
    The other one was DEN-LAX-SYD, with 8 hours in Sydney, which was enough to go to the zoo over there, and then hoped back on the last flight out SYD-SFO-DEN. I tried doing an upgrade to business class, and as #1 on the list still didn’t get the upgrade.

  6. Michael, you haven’t traveled outside the US/Canada, don’t you?

    your status also helps you in upgrades OUTSIDE the US also…that’s where things are interesting (plus int’l lounge access, extra bags, extra weights for each bag [20 lbs]. international wait list)

    second, this dude is a UA/CO guy and econ plus is a huge incentive (to the point that DL is coping the same thing now..)

    third, international C is close or better than domestic F trips plus interntaional lounges that serve almost free full meals and free unlimited liquor (sometimes to order) that makes domestic lounges look like janitor closets.

    I agree it is environmentally wasteful…but so are republicans (Rush, Sean H, Glenn B are the worst and typical hypocrite) in general every time they try to roll back protection laws or funding to environmental law enforcement.

    at the end, if the wives and kids don’t care, why do you?

  7. A turnaround from Austrailia on the same day in economy class? That is absolutely insane, I’d be sick when I arrived back in California

  8. Well nice one ah
    Here in Europe people just want to earn miles nothing else.. the new trend is the LH Train from Cologne to Stuttgart with a stop in FRA…
    This costs 400 euros and credits a total amount of 6000 miles … or +25 % if you are FTL / SEN … 7500 miles for 400 euros and 3 hours train is way better than getting tired on the plane etc ..

    I still love the joy of flying.. planes etc

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