Mileage Run Strategy

Reply

Old Nov 6, 18, 10:06 pm
  #16  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 3,906
Originally Posted by Repooc17 View Post
Yes. For example, if I am paying $1k for lie flat seats, I should expect flight time of around 20 hours ot more.
Are there examples of this with AS partners? The best I've been able to find is a little less than $100 per hour (Condor). Probably I need to look harder.

Also... does earn rate figure into this at all? Some partners earn pretty poorly in discount business.
VegasGambler is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 6, 18, 11:26 pm
  #17  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: SEA, but up and down the coast a lot
Programs: OneSky Alliance Elite+ with Zirconium and oak leaf cluster, Braniff Unobtainium
Posts: 16,822
Originally Posted by VegasGambler View Post
I'll be around 60k this year, but almost 1/3 of it was from international award travel, and a bit was on United.

If you have some decent CoS bonuses you don't need to be at 75k miles flown, of course. 75k on domestic econ is the hard way, for sure... definitely not for me.
Ironically, this year is one of the few years I treated myself to full F on AS: SEA-PVR. It will be the capstone to MVPG requalification just after Christmas, though I would get it if I was flying in Y.

But buying P fares consistently to the point of nailing 75K would be blowing my expenses way up. Even MVPG that way would likely blow them up. Again... why not just buy the RDM? Even paying a change fee on an award I might come out ahead.

Mileage/status runs made a lot more sense at 2-3 CPM than at 9. Which I guess is the point.

eponymous_coward is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 7, 18, 12:14 am
  #18  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 3,906
Originally Posted by eponymous_coward View Post


Ironically, this year is one of the few years I treated myself to full F on AS: SEA-PVR. It will be the capstone to MVPG requalification just after Christmas, though I would get it if I was flying in Y.

But buying P fares consistently to the point of nailing 75K would be blowing my expenses way up. Even MVPG that way would likely blow them up. Again... why not just buy the RDM? Even paying a change fee on an award I might come out ahead.

Mileage/status runs made a lot more sense at 2-3 CPM than at 9. Which I guess is the point.

I was thinking more about partner business.

Now, admittedly this is a contrived example, but it's actually not too far from where I expect to be next year.

Let's say that your "normal" flying gets you 45k miles, all domestic. Say you do it all on AS. So you are gold.

Let's say you can fly 2 round trips on partner business at 11,250 miles each for $2000 each, earning 100% base miles, 100% CoS, 100% "additional", and 100% status (since you are gold)

So.. that's another 45k EQM (90k total, meaning, you are 75k status) and 140k RDM (including the 50k bonus for hitting 75k). You spent $4k.

The next year, in your annual 45k "regular" flying, you will earn an extra 11k RDM (since you will be 75k instead of gold). So, we are talking about approx 150k RDM.

If you could buy the 150k RDM at 2c each (and think that this is a good deal) then they would cost you $3000. So you spent an extra $1000 to get 75k status.

I think that if you get any enjoyment out of the trips, it's a great deal. You are flying in relative comfort (discount carrier business -- not exactly luxury, but not too bad either). If you are doing a 1-night turnaround, but visiting a cool place.. that's not too bad of a weekend IMO.

If you didn't enjoy the trips, then it's a waste of 2 weekends, (which is a much bigger cost than $1000 IMO) and almost certainly not worth it.

I'd probably never do the type of "mileage run" where you never leave the airport, unless if I was just topping up at the end of the year on a very short flight. My time is too valuable to me. But if I can combine it with a mini-vacation.... that's a little different.

This isn't a perfect analysis. You are paying something for airport transportation. You are paying for a hotel if you are doing overnights, like I'm talking about. The true cost is probably closer to $2k than $1k. Still.. it doesn't seem too bad to me.

By the way -- can you still buy AS miles at 2c? I've gotten offers to buy miles when buying tickets before (I think that the rate was 1.9c) but apparently those are discontinued. I'd happily buy miles for 2c.
VegasGambler is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 7, 18, 1:41 am
  #19  
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: British Columbia
Programs: AA, AS Gold 75K, BA, QF, SQ, Marriott Platinum Premiere
Posts: 2,091
Originally Posted by eponymous_coward View Post
.

I get what you're trying to do, and I grant the math's a little bit better for 75K (that's your cue, @Flying for Fun), and I can even see the logic of it, but I've done ~half a million miles on AS between revenue + awards, and I probably have the best possible argument for staying with AS (live in SEA, existing elite status, half way to lifetime Gold) and taking my lumps, outside of someone in ANC or elsewhere in the 49th state... and I can't see it. The casino has changed the rules FT was famous for flouting, and it was a hell of a run, but it's gone like a blackjack team trying to hit up a Strip casino.
Actually, I wasn't going to chime in on this one. You covered it succinctly. I don't see value in discussing generalities. Getting into optimizing EQM would require some specifics, something the OP doesn't have any interest in. Since he later said he won't do transcons in economy, the only thing I can suggest is flying 22,857 miles in P. It will get you to MVPG. Not an efficient way to earn EQM (in most cases) so not a Mileage Run by any means.

I just settled into 1A on CX882. I will be back in LAX before I leave HKG. Boy, travel is quick!

James
be_rettSEA likes this.
Flying for Fun is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 7, 18, 5:26 am
  #20  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: LAX, BOS, and Seat 1A
Programs: DL Plat, VS Gold, UA Plat, VX Gold (RIP), AS MVP 75K, Starriot Plat, Hertz President's Circle
Posts: 387
Originally Posted by Flying for Fun View Post
Actually, I wasn't going to chime in on this one. You covered it succinctly. I don't see value in discussing generalities. Getting into optimizing EQM would require some specifics, something the OP doesn't have any interest in. Since he later said he won't do transcons in economy, the only thing I can suggest is flying 22,857 miles in P. It will get you to MVPG. Not an efficient way to earn EQM (in most cases) so not a Mileage Run by any means.

I just settled into 1A on CX882. I will be back in LAX before I leave HKG. Boy, travel is quick!

James
when you stop by LAX don't forget to say hi to me!
VXforever is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 7, 18, 9:18 am
  #21  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 3,906
Originally Posted by Flying for Fun View Post
Since he later said he won't do transcons in economy, the only thing I can suggest is flying 22,857 miles in P. It will get you to MVPG.
You must just be trolling, because there's no way that you don't understand. I said that I wouldn't fly transcon in regular economy. I've never once not been able to select a premium seat, though, so it's not an issue. My point was, without status, that premium seat would cost money, and I'd pay for it on just about every flight (certainly all long ones, but realistically I'd probably pay for the short ones too). So, I was pointing out that status has a significant cash value to me.
VegasGambler is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 7, 18, 12:19 pm
  #22  
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: PVD, BOS
Programs: AA EXP
Posts: 1,433
Originally Posted by VegasGambler View Post
Are there examples of this with AS partners? The best I've been able to find is a little less than $100 per hour (Condor). Probably I need to look harder.
It's possible. I'll be traveling on QR lie flats next week at a cost of roughly $42 per hour (not an AS partner, I know). I have another ticket next year with CX on lie flats that cost $54 per hour.

So it's definitely possible.
swingaling is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 7, 18, 12:32 pm
  #23  
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 115
I think unless you legitimately enjoy flying and spending time in airports/airplanes over the opportunity cost of whatever else you're doing, mileage runs make less and less sense. If you're not SEA based and/or you travel to limited AS-service parts of the US, I think it's a rough proposition. However, a lot depends how you value the benefits.

With rare exception, I don't believe in taking "Trip to Nowhere" trips for miles. You can use all the mental accounting you want, but if you didn't already want to go to NYC or BOS for a weekend and spend the $$ on a hotel, then it's pretty close to a trip to nowhere. If you wanted to go there anyway, then it makes more sense. I'd way rather pay 8 CPM to go somewhere I want to go than 3 CPM to go to nowhere.

Personally, I think some folks will do mental gymnastics to make a MR worth it in CPM terms but disregard the time/hotel/actually wanting to go there element.

For example: this year I'm about 10k AS/15K partner miles away from MVPG. I could have taken an F RT to HNL that would get me just about 10K AS for $800, or 2 SEA-BOS runs that were $250 each. But I don't actually want to spend a weekend/hotel cost in HNL or spend 24 hours flying between Seattle and boston. So instead, I found a QF flight to SYD that gets me 16k RQM/32K RDM for $800. I actually want to go to Sydney, so this makes a whole lot more sense for me.

(FWIW: I use the following rough value structure [based off what I would pay for it] but everyone is different. Feel free to point out flaws in my rationale.

Get upgraded to premium class: $10
Get upgraded to first class on a <3 hr flight: $45
Get upgraded to first class on a >3 hr flight: $80-100
SDC/Standby free: $50 each time (because I'm likely to pay $50 to save a few hours) normally; $100 for each time I "preemptively" do this (so it saves on booking cost)
Free cancellations/changes: $400 per year (why? Because I have saved roughly this amount each of past 3 years by cancelling/rebooking. Additive value now since low-price guarantee is gone but not included here in valuation.)
Extra miles gained/year from MVPG: $400/yr (I think I've gained about 30000 extra miles this year, and I would probably consider buying them around 1.3c each)

Based off this, my value of MVPG is worth ~$400 (upgrades), $600 (SDCs), $400 (free cancel/changes), and $400 (miles).. so about $1800. Given that 75% of my travel is business from SEA throughout the west coast, it makes deciding to spend $10-30 more (but usually not more than that) for the Alaska flights when I travel for pleasure an easier decision.)
eponymous_coward and DrAlex like this.
barabuski is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 7, 18, 12:52 pm
  #24  
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Programs: A3 *G, AA exePlat, AS MVP 75k Gold, JL sapphire, UA silver
Posts: 3,246
I am never a big fan of flying Y long haul for status.
DrAlex likes this.
pbd456 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 7, 18, 1:07 pm
  #25  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 3,906
Originally Posted by swingaling View Post
It's possible. I'll be traveling on QR lie flats next week at a cost of roughly $42 per hour (not an AS partner, I know). I have another ticket next year with CX on lie flats that cost $54 per hour.

So it's definitely possible.
Hmmm... I'm doing it wrong. Definitely need to do more research.
VegasGambler is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 7, 18, 2:37 pm
  #26  
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Between SFO and STS
Programs: Alaska MVP Gold, United Serf, Delta Peon
Posts: 512
Originally Posted by swingaling View Post
It's possible. I'll be traveling on QR lie flats next week at a cost of roughly $42 per hour (not an AS partner, I know). I have another ticket next year with CX on lie flats that cost $54 per hour.

So it's definitely possible.
Possible and currently available are not the same... It really depends on how you value your time (and your availability) and what you are willing the consider a "deal". Some are fine with long haul whY, some aren't. Some prefer the least amount of time in an airplane, some would gladly spend 4 days in row in planes. If you need 20K EQM before EOY and have exactly 27 hours available to accomplish it, then your options are very limited and more costly than $50/hr in J.

You have to use your personal lens on MR deals. You already have some limiting factors (long haul J or above, PE or better domestically, +/- MR weekends), so you may not find 3 cpm deals that work for you. 4-4.5 cpm deals are around pretty frequently for domestic runs from SFO on AS. Yes, international J knocks that out more quickly, but it's considerably more expensive in the cpm sense.

ETA: You keep an eye on the Premium Fare Deals page, right?
DrAlex is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 7, 18, 2:59 pm
  #27  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: SEA
Programs: AS MVPG75k, NEXUS
Posts: 156
So I am basically 100% employer paid fare based in SEA, mostly small west coast runs with 6-7 TCons and 6-7 MidCons per year. I've barely made 75k the past two years. Adding it all up for this year, I'm going to hit about 71k on 74 segments. I take a lot of short trips.

I decided to buy a SEA-RDU-SEA coach MR on 12/1. Cost would have been $210 for 4100 miles, but I had a $50 coupon in my account so the final cost ended up being $157 + 12 hours of my life.

Mostly, I use my miles for family vacations, so the 50k bonus for that price is absolutely worth it. I seem to get upgraded slightly more then my gold colleagues, and having immediate access to PC means a lot to me.

I will finish the year at 660k lifetime, so I'm not that close to lifetime gold.

Due to my destinations, I'm pretty much stuck with AS, but I'm good with it.
brownnet is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 7, 18, 3:08 pm
  #28  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 3,906
Originally Posted by DrAlex View Post
Possible and currently available are not the same... It really depends on how you value your time (and your availability) and what you are willing the consider a "deal". Some are fine with long haul whY, some aren't. Some prefer the least amount of time in an airplane, some would gladly spend 4 days in row in planes. If you need 20K EQM before EOY and have exactly 27 hours available to accomplish it, then your options are very limited and more costly than $50/hr in J.

You have to use your personal lens on MR deals. You already have some limiting factors (long haul J or above, PE or better domestically, +/- MR weekends), so you may not find 3 cpm deals that work for you. 4-4.5 cpm deals are around pretty frequently for domestic runs from SFO on AS. Yes, international J knocks that out more quickly, but it's considerably more expensive in the cpm sense.
I agree wholeheartedly, and that's why I prefer to discuss strategy than specific fares. What's a "good deal" for you might not be a good deal for me, and vice versa.

FWIW, the PE thing is a non-issue as far as finding flights go. I select one (for free) on 100% of my flights. I only brought it up as a reason why the "free agent" approach would not be a great choice for me. I suppose that at some point I might end up eating a $125 change fee to move a flight if PE was not available, but that hasn't happened yet, and, as long as it's a rare occurrence, I'm ok with it (compared to paying the premium seat fee on every single flight, which would really add up)

Anyway, $50/hr in J is now my goal

ETA: You keep an eye on the Premium Fare Deals page, right?
I do now... thanks!
DrAlex likes this.
VegasGambler is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 7, 18, 3:29 pm
  #29  
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: SEA
Programs: DL FO, Hilton/Marriott Gold, Accor Silver
Posts: 1,965
I kind of feel like I got in on the end of an era by taking one of those ~1.36cpm VX runs last year.
rustykettel likes this.
jinglish is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 7, 18, 4:11 pm
  #30  
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 115
I also think when planning mileage runs, everyone is trying to do all of the following three things... but 99% of the time, you have to pick two:

Save money
Save time
Save your back

barabuski is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread