Up until a couple of years ago, there was a technique for savvy travelers to reach elite status by going on something called a mileage run.  This would consist of trying to find the cheapest tickets, regardless of the connections or duration to fly as far as one possibly can.  This was because back in the days, airlines would base status on just miles flown alone.

Now and days, airlines got smarter and tacked on spend requirements, which essentially killed the use of mileage runs.  Today, you need to either be young and nimble enough to withstand 10+ economy flights a year or be a business traveler. There is an increased focus on loyal and high paying customers, which is where the airlines make the majority of their income.  

The Modern Day Mileage Run

Recently, Team GTE participated in a “modern day mileage run”. It’s not quite as easy as before, and points are accumulated from more than one source. Here’s what you need:

1) Loyal airline customer – Top tier airline status

2) High yielding credit card – Amex Platinum, Chase Sapphire Reserve, Citi Prestige

3) Arline promotions – Opportunities for you gain additional points.  

Below is the breakdown of how we accumulated almost 100k points for a single $3000 ticket.  

  1. Miles Play promotion – randomly selected by United @ 48,000 bonus miles offered for spending over $1200 on a premium cabin ticket.
  2. High yield credit card – Amex Platinum – 5x Points on Travel
  3. Airline promotion – 3x additional points for flights to Hong Kong
United Miles Play 48,800
UA869 W Economy Class (GPU Eligible) 4,939
UA862 P business class 32,472
HK promo 3x more on fare (11x for 1k + 3x Extra = 14x total) 10,204
Amex 5x 17,006
Total 96,432

 

Conclusion 

There is real no easy way to accumulate miles.  All the opportunities now skew towards higher paying customers.  Even with almost 100k accumulated, Team GTE still spent over $3000 on a single ticket and had to use a GPU to fly business class outbound. Also, 17,000 of those points are in our Amex account, which is not transferable to United.   All in all, it’s still not bad as even 80,000 miles is good enough for a one-way business class supersaver ticket, which is valued still at around $2500-3000.  Just make sure your dates are flexible.

Until Next Time,

Team GTE


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