What’s a Mileage Run really worth?
As a summary of our Labor Day weekend mileage run to Panama City and back (#NMCLaborDay), we thought we’d leave you with an explanation of why it made sense for us to do it and a rundown of all the numbers we tallied up.
- Departure from Seattle: Friday 1:10 PM
- Arrival in Seattle: Monday 5:38 PM
- Time away from Home: 77 hours
- Hours Flown: 27 hours
- Hours in Panama: 16 hours (8 asleep)
- Romantic dim-lit on-board dinners with your +1: 10
- Miles Flown: 12,086
- Flights Flown: 10
- Aircraft Flown: 737-900, 737-800, A321T, 777-200, E175, 767-300, E190
- Lounges Visited: SEA Alaska Board Room, SFO Admirals Club, LAX Admirals Club, JFK Admirals Club, MIA Centurion Lounge, PTY Copa Club, MIA Admirals Club, ORD Flagship Lounge.
- Money Spent: $755/each
- Qualifying Miles earned (Ben): 18,372
- Qualifying Miles earned (Jon): 24,496
- Redeemable Miles Earned (Ben): 27,558 + 50,000 Requalification Bonus
- Redeemable Miles Earned (Jon): 8,000
Now, why does it really make sense for us to do this? A few reasons, other than the fact that we’re crazy and we actually ENJOY traveling. First, since January 2016, which is when I qualified Alaska 75K Gold, I have flown 13 segments on Alaska metal. Out of those, 11 of them I paid for coach tickets and got upgraded to first, sometimes 120 hours out, sometimes at the gate, but upgraded nonetheless.
So, these are the flights I took with prices for coach on the left and first on the right:
If you do the math, I spent $2048 on all Alaska flights alone while going on some vacation trips and a couple mileage runs. If I had chosen to ticket them in first, I would have spent $5793, but instead I got upgraded for free because of my status, so I ended up saving $3745. Yes, THREE THOUSAND, SEVEN HUNDRED AND FORTY FIVE DOLLARS.
Since qualifying as an Alaska 75K Gold member requires me to fly 90,000 miles on Alaska + Partner Airlines, that means I’m earning, as a minimum, 275,000 miles every year that I requalify. Yes, you read that right. TWO HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-FIVE THOUSAND MILES. That’s enough for a one-way first class ticket on Emirates to eat caviar and drink Dom Perignon until I start regretting it, plus a one-way ticket in business class to Europe on KLM to keep my Delft Blue Houses growing.
Now, consider that a one-way first class ticket from Washington DC to Dubai prices at, drumroll please…
And a one-way business class ticket from Amsterdam to San Francisco on KLM costs around…
So, yes, I did spend a couple grand in earning my Elite status on Alaska flights (plus the money spent on other partner flights too), and yes I did have to waste a couple weekends flying for no reason other than getting my qualification miles. But doing so enabled me to save $3745 on free first class upgrades and gave me the miles to purchase a first class ticket that’s worth almost $20,000 plus a business class ticket that’s more than $6,805.
I think a $30,094.88 worth of savings absolutely justifies my butt being in an airplane seat for 27 hours on a long weekend so that I would requalify and keep my elite status.
Are you FULLY taking advantage of your elite status and are you doing some crazy mileage runs to get them?