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The Mileage Run That Wasn't: STL-ORD / ORD-MSP-CDG-IST / IST-CDG-ORD / ORD-STL

The Mileage Run That Wasn't: STL-ORD / ORD-MSP-CDG-IST / IST-CDG-ORD / ORD-STL

Old Jan 19, 13, 10:50 pm
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: St. Louis, MO - AA PLT/2.98MM (Lifetime PLT), Delta PM, SPG Gold, AMEX Plat
Programs: TW Elite (RIP), CO OnePass
Posts: 1,921
The Mileage Run That Wasn't: STL-ORD / ORD-MSP-CDG-IST / IST-CDG-ORD / ORD-STL

I had been a loyal AA (and previously TW) flyer for many years and had been EXP on American from 2007 through 2011. But by 2011, mileage running for top tier status on AA just didn't make financial sense any longer and I decided to fall back to my Lifetime Platinum status thanks to being a 2MM flyer.

I did decide to capitalize on my expiring EXP status by going a status match (challenge) to DL Platinum in late 2011. While I think AA F service is better than DL F service, it was nice not having to pay for stickers in 2012 and still get upgraded 85% of the time.

Back in December, I was thinking through my options with my Delta status for 2013. I was just short of 75,000 miles to renew my PM status on DL and wasn't sure what to do. Then I found the ORD-IST fares for under $600. I decided to drop to Gold Medallion but earn enough miles in early 2013 to get back to Platinum by April or so.

I booked a mileage run (with an overnight) to IST over MLK weekend for about $580 from Chicago to Istanbul. Several days later, I booked an actual vacation there in March with my partner using the same fares.

To get to Chicago, I would redeem BA Avios on AA (9k vs 25k) for the quick flight STL-ORD. Originally, I planned to fly up Saturday morning as Patrick would be appearing on Friday's Jeopardy! episode but once the viewing party schedule was worked out, I changed that to Friday's last flight to get a good night's sleep before the international leg the following day.

AA 1186 MD-80
Scheduled: 7:30pm-8:45pm
Actual: 7:28pm-8:38pm

The AA section of STL was VERY quiet. Didn't get Pre-Check (likely due to the BA ticketed flight) but was the only person going through security.

Had a chance to catch up with Admiral's Club bartender Tim for the first time in a while. Headed to the gate about 30 minutes beforehand and boarded quite quickly. Sat in an exit row next to a woman who had just dropped her daughter off at Mizzou. Chatted quite a bit through the flight.

Most interesting part was the approach to ORD. Winds were out of the SW at 30 knots and we landed to the SE. Crabbing in the wind, I had the runway in sight until the last minute or so of the approach.

Took the long way around the airport, got my bad and went to the Sheraton for the night.

Sheraton Chicago O'Hare
Priceline $60/night

Former Embassy Suites property, very apparent from the layout but quite nice. Got a good night's sleep and took the shuttle back to the airport at 10:30 this morning.

I had spoken with FT'er to and fro several times over the past week. She was on a similar itinerary, but connecting through ATL on the way to CDG and then immediately turning around in IST. We would be on the same flight CDG-IST and hoped to meet up before leaving at the ORD SkyClub

DL 3310 CRJ-900
Scheduled: 12:10pm-1:50pm
Actual: 12:05pm-1:21pm

I met To and Fro briefly at the SkyClub and it turned out we would be sitting next to each other CDG-IST. I headed off to my flight to MSP and boarded about 20 minutes before departure and immediately turned my cell phone off (big mistake).

Departure was fairly quick and after reaching altitude took my laptop out to check email and the like. Immediately I saw an email from Delta (at 11:57am) titled "Urgent Information About Your Trip". Uh oh. Due to snow in Paris, the CDG-IST leg had been cancelled.

I immediately emailed To and Fro and she had rebooked with a turnaround in AMS (quirk due to her overnight there). My flight on Delta now showed ORD -> NULL. Not a good omen.

I checked on ExpertFlyer and the only flight without a full day's layover (through AMS) was sold out in coach. We'll have to see what happens when I get to MSP.

Layover MSP

I head to the SkyClub (walking about five minutes in the wrong direction not realizing where my gate was) and told my story to Hilda who was very willing to do what she could. I explained I was on a mileage run.. asked about the flight through AMS and offered that I'd be willing to just drop the CDG-IST segments and spend the day in Paris.

She said the AMS flights (both legs) were overbooked but she would see what she could do. Dropping the CDG legs (after saying I would just "work" from Paris for a day) was a no-go as the ticket would be repriced.

Eventually, after about 20 minutes with the desk asking for permission to oversell the AMS-IST leg, she was told no. At that point, I claimed a Trip in Vain and asked for a refund.

While they should send me back to ORD, I asked if I could be sent back to STL instead (rather than rebook my ORD-STL award ticket). The new agent (Jolene) said that should be possible and she said she would let me know.

About 15 minutes later, Jolene had me booked MSP-STL and refunded (minus a STL-MSP fare) my original ticket. That seemed a bit odd, since I thought trip in vain sent you back with a full refund.. but I wasn't going to complain.

DL 1987 MD-88
Scheduled: 3:00pm-4:35pm
Actual: 2:55pm-4:24pm

Walked from the C Club to F16. Was told I was on the upgrade list and with 8 seats open would clear no problem. Walked up to the gate and no upgrade. Apparently something wasn't reticketed properly. After about five minutes everything was good and I was onboard.

One of the emptiest flights I've been on in ages. F was half full. Coach had maybe 20-30 people.

Ended up back home less than a day after I left.

Looking at rebooking over President's Day and spending 1 1/2 days there. We'll see.

GregL is offline  

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